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A luxmeter is a accessory that measures illuminance and beaming emittance application the SI assemblage of lux.  It effectively measures the bulk of ability from the ablaze falling on a accustomed assemblage of area, except that the ability altitude is abounding to reflect the acuteness of the animal eye to capricious wavelengths of light.  A simpler way to call a lux beat is to say that it measures how ablaze the ablaze falling on the sensor is. Commercially accessible lux meters alter in bulk from about $15 up to hundreds of dollars, but it is cheaper and abundant added fun to body one yourself.



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The ablaze sensor for a lux beat can be one of several different types of sensors, including photodiodes and phototransistors, but the easiest to use and generally the best readily accessible blazon of sensor is a photoresistor or ablaze abased resistor (LDR).  As you would expect, the attrition of an LDR changes as the bulk of ablaze falling on it changes.  If you can admeasurement the attrition of the LDR and you apperceive the characteristics of your authentic LDR, you can quantify the bulk of lux falling on the LDR.  In general, the brighter the light, the lower the resistance, but unfortunately, the accord amid attrition and lux for an LDR is not a nice beeline relationship.  It is instead an exponential accord which is a little trickier to accord with.  With a little bit of time though, you can booty a few abstracts to actuate the algebraic accord amid attrition and lux and affairs the accord into a microcontroller to actualize a simple and analytic able lux meter.

In this project, I am activity to booty you through the action of characterizing an LDR, writing software that can account illuminance and again architecture an LDR and Arduino based luxmeter.

Plug the LDR into the breadboard and ensure that the collapsed allotment of the sensor is alongside to the ground.



Connect the DMM to the two leads of the LDR and set it to admeasurement resistance.  Place the sensor of the bartering ablaze beat beside the LDR.

While ensuring that the aforementioned levels of ablaze abatement on the two sensors, almanac a account of the LDR attrition and the ablaze beat lux.  Repeat this action for abounding altered lighting levels from absolute aphotic (near 0 lux) to absolute ablaze (thousands of lux).  It is important that at all of these altered ablaze levels, you do your best to ensure that both sensors get the aforementioned bulk of light. 

Transfer your readings to a spreadsheet (or access them anon while you are authoritative measurements) and again accomplish a artifice of the illuminance (lux) as a action of resistance.  You can download the spreadsheet beneath which will actualize the artifice and accomplish all of the all-important assay from your entries.  

Lux_Approximation_from_LDR.xlsx

The abstracts that I acquired from my LDR gave me the afterward plot:

This blueprint indicates that attrition decreases exponentially as the accuracy of the ablaze increases.  Ultimately, what we are attractive for is the blueprint for this blueprint into which we can bung the attrition to access the lux.  This blueprint can be acquired directly from the graph, but it can be a little catchy to do this.  It is abundant easier to access the blueprint from a beeline band area the anatomy of the blueprint is [y=mx b] (where m is the abruptness of the band and b is the y-intercept of the line). 

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It turns out that if you booty the logarithm of both variables (illuminance and resistance) and again re-plot, you will end up with a (more or less) beeline line.  The abject of the logarithm could in approach be anything, but I will use a base-10 log.  Here is the consistent artifice of log of the lux as a action of the log of the resistance.

This artifice is appealing abutting to a beeline line, and application Excel (although you could additionally do this by inspection), I acquired a best fit band with a abruptness of -1.405 and a y-intercept of 7.098 which gives me the equation:

[log_{10}(lux) = -1.4times log_{10} left ( R right ) 7.098]

This is a acceptable blueprint for the blueprint above, but in its accepted anatomy cannot be acclimated to account lux from resistance.  I appetite an blueprint area [lux = something], not [log(lux) = something].  Fortunately, with a little bit of algebra, I can dispense the blueprint into the anatomy that I want.  Let’s accept that I alpha with a accepted anatomy of the blueprint above:

[log_{10}(lux) = mtimes log_{10} left ( R right ) b]

Since I acclimated a base-10 logarithm, I can booty 10 to the ability of anniversary ancillary to get:

[10^{log_{10}(lux)} = 10^{m times log_{10}(R) b}]

Using some rules of logarithms to simplify both abandon of the blueprint gives:

[lux = 10^{m times log_{10}(R)} times 10^{b}]

[= 10^{(log_{10}(R))^{m}} times 10^{b}]

[= R^{m} times 10^{b}]                      

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Note that b is a constant, so [10^{b}] will additionally be a constant.  

Now application the blueprint [lux = 10^{b} times R^{m}], you can account the beam on the LDR

For my authentic LDR, I end up with the equation

[lux = (1.25 times 10^{7}) times R^{-1.4059}]

Building the lux beat is absolute simple.  I alone charge an Arduino, an LCD shield, the LDR that I aloof characterized and a 5 kohm resistor. In theory, you could use any attrition value, but I chose 5 kohm because the attrition of the LDR was in the adjustment of a few kilo-ohms beneath archetypal allowance lighting conditions. I acquainted the absorber into the Arduino, and again congenital a simple voltage affiliate ambit with the LDR and resistor. This voltage affiliate ambit is the body of the sensor circuit. The 5 volt accumulation is breach amid the LDR and the 5 kohm resistor.  As the attrition of the LDR changes, the atom of the voltage beyond the two resistors additionally changes.  If the voltage beyond the 5 kohm resistor is abstinent application the Arduino, it is absolute accessible to add some cipher that will actuate what attrition the LDR is exhibiting.  The LDR is affiliated to 5V, the resistor is affiliated to ground, and the point in amid is affiliated to analog ascribe 0.

This voltage affiliate ambit can be affiliated anon to the LCD absorber and doesn’t charge a breadboard.  This account shows the completed ambit with the LDR and 5 kohm resistor in the LCD shield.

The blueprint acquired in Allotment 1 relates the illuminance to the resistance, but the analog ascribe pin of the Arduino alone measures voltage, so there are a brace of calculations that accept to be done to access the resistance.

First the agenda representation of the analog voltage charge be acquired by application the analogRead action (remember that this is the voltage beyond the 5 kohm resistor, not the voltage beyond the LDR)

rawData = analogRead(LDR_PIN);

Second, the agenda representation charge be adapted aback into a voltage by ascent the analog-to-digital advocate amount to the advertence voltage:

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// MAX_ADC_READING is 1023 and ADC_REF_VOLTAGE is 5<br /> resistorVoltage = (float)ldrRawData / MAX_ADC_READING * ADC_REF_VOLTAGE;

Third, the LDR voltage charge be determined.  Since 5V is breach amid the 5 kohm resistor and the LDR, artlessly decrease the resistor voltage from 5V:

ldrVoltage = ADC_REF_VOLTAGE – resistorVoltage;

Finally, the attrition of the LDR charge be affected based on the voltage (simple attrition adding for a voltage affiliate circuit):

ldrResistance = ldrVoltage/resistorVoltage * REF_RESISTANCE;  // REF_RESISTANCE is 5 kohm

Once the attrition is obtained, the illuminance (in lux) can be affected and the amount can be achievement to the LCD.

ldrLux = LUX_CALC_SCALAR * pow(ldrResistance, LUX_CALC_EXPONENT);  <br /> // LUX_CALC_SCALAR and LUX_CALC_EXPONENT are bent by the Excel spreadsheet  <br /> // They are set to 12518931 and -1.405 appropriately in my archetype

The calculations and affectation achievement are all done in the bend action and the entire source cipher for the account can be begin below. An LCD absorber from Adafruit is acclimated to affectation the lux measurement, so their LCD library charge be downloaded for this account to work 

LuxMeterFromLDR.zip

The accouterments has been assembled, the cipher has been written, all that needs to be done is upload the cipher and analyze the after-effects to the bartering ablaze meter.  In the video beneath you can see a ancillary by ancillary allegory of the LDR ablaze beat and an LX-102 ablaze beat from Lutron.  At accepted allowance ablaze levels (500 lux and below), the two ablaze meters were aural 40 or 50 lux of anniversary other. Beneath brighter lights, the aberration grew to 100 lux or more.  This is acceptable because the appropriate ambit I bent experimentally deviates from the absolute appropriate curve.  If I took added samples and abnormally focused on accepting samples in the ambit of lighting altitude that I apprehend to measure, I would apparently end up with an blueprint that added carefully represents the absolute appropriate curve. 

Overall, I would say that the LDR ablaze beat is acceptable abundant in a accustomed allowance back you aloof appetite a ballpark altitude of the lighting levels, but if you appetite absolute and authentic abstracts you will charge to use a altered affectionate of sensor.

Give this activity a try for yourself! Get the BOM.

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