January has proven to be a busy month with many trade and online orders for our ever popular GSM Auto Dialer system (GSM Dialer). We’ve also taken on a new member of staff, Kelly, to handle orders for this product. Hopefully for her sake the next couple of weeks will be a little quieter! It would also allow further progress on our new Gold series of intercoms.
The early versions have been using the Capacitive Sensing Module on-board the PIC microcontroller. This has proven highly reliable and accurate in the field however in theory this module is susceptible to electrical interference.
The CSM module generates a frequency dependent on the capacitance applied to the pin of the chip. However it is possible for the touch pad to pick up high strength electrical noise and start oscillating at the frequency of the noise. This would be seen as a press even though nobody touched it. In practice we have not seen this but we also developed an alternative software based decoder which measures the voltage on the touch pad after it has been discharge and charged by the Analogue to Digital Convertor (ADC) sampling capacitor.
This technique of measuring the pad charge and then discharge into the same capacitor is known as a Capacitive Voltage Divider (CVD). This method is very resilient to noise and electrical interference but does require more CPU processing time. It is likely to be implemented across all of our Gold GSM Intercoms and will soon be behind the touch pads of our G2 unit. When we have a full keypad version of the intercom available it will be important to use this technique hence it is being developed now.