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Wearable Impedance Analyzer Based on AD5933

Liviu Breniuc and Valeriu David Cristian-Győző Haba

Dept. of Electrical Measurements and Electrotechnical Dept. of Electrical Engineering
Materials Faculty of Electrical Engineering
Faculty of Electrical Engineering Iasi, Romania
Iasi, Romania e-mail:
Abstract—In this paper a system for measuring impedance, based of a resistor Rs in series with a parallel resistor Rp and capacitor
on AD5933 circuit is presented. The impedance measuring range Cp. The impedance modulus of the network is in the range
is between 9 Ω and 18 MΩ for a 1 kHz ÷ 100 kHz frequency 100 kΩ ÷ 10 Ω. To obtain meaningful results it is necessary to
range. Possibilities of expanding this range of measurement are make measurements in the frequency range of 0.1 Hz to
also presented in the paper. The system calibration is automatic 100 kHz for test voltages of ±20 mV. Regarding metal
and the relative error of the impedance modulus measurement is corrosion we also have the problem of characterization of
in the range ±2%. Measured impedance main parameters are anticorrosion coatings. A mathematical model for complex RC
shown locally on an OLED display but can also be stored in an network characterizing anticorrosion coatings is presented in
SD memory card for further processing. The system is portable,
[4] and the measuring system used is derived from the one
modular and adaptable to a large number of applications.
presented in [3]. Based on the same mathematical model works
Keywords-component; AD5933; impedance analyzer; the anticorrosion coating characterization system presented in
microcontroller; medical applications; [5] which is also equipped with wireless communication.
One area where circuit AD5933 is often used is that of
I. INTRODUCTION medical applications. One of the application is to characterize
The Analog Devices AD5933 circuit contains all the the properties of the blood, e.g. in virus strain content or the
hardware and software resources required to realize a system degree of coagulation [6]. Another use refers to the
for measuring and characterizing impedance. Consequently, the construction of electrical bioimpedance spectrometers (EBIS).
application of this circuit refers to the realization of complex Specific problem in measuring electrical bioimpedance is
impedance measurement and measurement of non-electrical attaching a four-wire circuit for eliminating polarization
quantities through impedance measurements. electrodes. The most commonly used mathematical model for
electrical bioimpedance is 2R1C. Several aspects regarding the
An impedance measurement system based on AD5933 design and use of EBIS are presented in [7-11].
circuit is shown in [1]. The system is controlled by an AVR
ATmega128 microcontroller which allows displaying local II. SYSTEM OVERVIEW
results and records them on an SD card. Measuring range of
impedances is 1 kΩ ÷ 5 MΩ for frequencies between 1 kHz The Impedance Characterization System for Wearable
and 100 kHz, with the impedances parameters measurement Applications (ICSWA) proposed in this paper was designed as
error of ±3.5%. Smaller errors for capacity and conductivity a portable and modular system with the following features:
measurement can be obtained with measuring system based on impedance measurement in a large value range and extensive
AD5933 circuit presented in [2]. In this case, the increase in range of frequencies, selection of measurement parameters,
accuracy is obtained by processing the measurement results in display and local storage of the results. The ICSWA block
MATLAB. A portable system for measuring the impedance is diagram is given in Fig. 1.
presented in [3]. Measurement range of impedance is 10Ω ÷ ICSWA is built around a microcontroller based-
10GΩ for frequencies between 0.01 Hz and 100 kHz with the microsystem. Microsystem role is to coordinate the overall
impedance parameters measurement error of ±2.5%. The operation of all modules that compose ICSWA. The Impedance
system uses two AD5933 circuits, one for the generation and Analyzer module is built around AD5933 circuit and is
measurement of test voltage and the other for measurement of controlled via the microsystem IIC interface. Digital sections of
the current that passes through the impedance. The system is the module are supplied with a 3.3 V voltage while the analog
controlled by a microcontroller that generates also the clock sections are supplied with a 3 V voltage. The 3 V voltage is
necessary for the AD5933 circuits. achieved by stabilizing the 3.3 V voltage generated by the
In industry, AD5933 circuit is often used to characterize the microsystem. The stabilization circuit is based on Analog
degree of metal corrosion, for example in the case of steel and Devices ADP150-3.0 chip. In order to obtain stable test
aluminum. This problem is solved by using electrochemical frequencies the system uses an external piloted CFPS-73 quartz
impedance spectroscopy methods (EIS). Mathematically, the oscillator operating at 3.3 V. Test frequencies below 1 kHz are
corrosion of metals is modeled using RC network that consists generated using a Dallas DS1077 external oscillator. The
oscillator operates at 3.3 V, is controlled by IIC interface and III. SYSTEM DESCRIPTION
generates a programmable frequency in the range 8.13 kHz ÷ In this paragraph the main components of ICSWA will be
66.666 MHz. Input of measurement parameters is performed briefly described.
using a rotary encoder and a graphic display. The same display
will be used for numeric and graphic display of measurement
results. Measurement results are stored into a SD memory card. A. The microsystem
In the development of ICSWA system were used several The microsystem used is based on chipKIT Pro MX4
Digilent modules (Pmod type microsystem and peripherals). platform equipped with a powerful Microchip
Information about these modules can be found on PIC32MX460F512L 32-bit microcontroller. Microcontroller site. performance assures all necessary resources to achieve a good
operation of ICSWA. Access to hardware resources is achieved
Microcontroller application was developed using the by means of the nine standard 2x6-pin female micro-
Arduino development platform. Connection with PC to upload connectors. Peripheral modules (Pmod) are equipped with
the program and its debugging is done through the USB standard 6-pin or 2x6 pins male connectors. This allows a
interface. Data on the SD card are recorded in comma or tab simple coupling of microsystem peripheral modules.
separated value format to be easily processed in mathematical Microcontroller programming was done with the MPIDE
software, such as Microsoft Excel. The ICSWA system is derived from the Arduino platform.
presented in Fig. 2.
B. Impedance Analyzer
SPI The schematic diagram of the Impedance Analyzer derived
SD card + SD slot Rotary Encoder
(PmodSD) (PmodENC) from AD5933 application notes [12-16] is given in Fig. 3.

Parallel USB
Display Microsystem
(PmodOLED2) (chipKIT Pro MX4)
to PC

IIC 3.3V
DS1077LZ-66 Impedance Analyzer
MCLK (AD5933)
Oscillator 16 MHz

Voltage Stabilizer Figure 3. Schematic diagram of the Impedance Analyzer.
(ADP150-3.0) 3.3V
Impedance meter is built around AD5933 circuit (the circuit
parameters and details of its use are given in [12-16]). The
Figure 1. ICSWA system block diagram.
AD5933 circuit consists of several main modules: Transmit
Stage, Receive Stage, DFT Engine, 16.776 MHz Oscillator and
IIC Interface. Generation of test voltage is done using
Transmitting Stage module using DDS (Direct Digital
Synthesizer) method. The 27-bit numerical samples are
generated on DDS Core block then converted into voltage by
Digital to Analog Converter block with a 12 bit resolution.
Final test voltage is attenuated in a programmable attenuator.
This results in four voltage ranges. Each range is characterized
by: the test voltage Vout, the DC voltage level (DC Bias) over
which is superimposed the voltage Vout and the output
resistance Rout of the output of the equivalent voltage generator.
For example, for the 3V analogue voltage Vcc, for range 1, Vout
is 1.8 Vpp, DC Bias is 1.35V and Rout is 200 Ω. Vout voltage and
DC Bias values depend on the Vcc voltage and selected range.
Rout resistor values depend on the selected range. Removing
resistor Rout effects is achieved by using the external Au voltage
amplifier based on AD8606 chip with unitary gain factor and
low output resistance (<1 Ω). Using an external power
amplifier has the effect of increasing the test current.
Equalization of DC Bias voltage value at Vcc/2 is achieved by
Figure 2. The ICSWA system.
using a high pass filter (HPF) and a voltage divisor (C1 = 47 software while other parameters can be input using a rotary
nF, R1 = R2 = 49.9 kΩ). Corner frequency (fc) of the HPF is encoder which generates two quadrature digital outputs and
about 68 Hz (fc = 1/2πRC) so far below the lower limit of which also has a switch and a push button. The switch and
measurement frequency. push button are used to select functions or variables (e.g.
The unknown measured impedance Zu is connected range) and two digital outputs for setting variable values (e.g.
between terminals A and B. The Iout current flows through the range 2). These outputs were connected to CN (Change
impedance and is converted into voltage with the amplifier Ai, Notice) type interrupt inputs of the microcontroller.
with conversion reaction resistor Rfb. In order to block the Setting the configuration values is aided by a display
appearance of a DC current through the impedance Zu, the non- system that shows on a display the configuration parameter
inverting input of the amplifier is pre polarized also to Vcc/2 values. For this purpose the system includes an OLED
with resistive divider formed by resistors R3 and R4. If the Ai (Organic LED) display. After the setup phase, the display will
amplifier were not used its role would have been taken over by show the results of measurements. The screen is divided into
the internal I/U amplifier part of Receive Stage module. In this two parts: on the left are displayed measured values of the
case, the I/U amplifier is connected in inverter configuration main parameters while on the right are displayed in graphic
with gain factor -1, the non inverting input being pre- polarized mode, the impedance modulus and phase versus frequency.
with voltage Vcc/2. Next, the resulting voltage is amplified by Displaying the results in real time on the PC can also be done
gain factor 1 or 5, filtered and analog to digital converted with through the USB interface.
a 12-bit resolution.
DFT engine calculates the DFT (Discrete Fourier IV. SYSTEM OPERATION
Transform) of the response obtained from the ADC and stores Depending on the impedance Zu characteristics we will
the result in Real Data and Imaginary Data registers. Data from select: configuration parameters, Rcal calibration resistance and
these registers contain information on overall system Rfb conversion resistance. These should be chosen so that they
impedance, including impedance Zu. To determine Zu will not produce Ai amplifier saturation and of those in the
impedance modulus and phase, a system calibration must be Receive Stage. Impedance Zu, Rcal and Rfb are connected to
made in advance. This is done by connecting between corresponding terminals and the configuration parameters are
terminals C and D a calibration impedance, usually a set using the rotary encoder and OLED display.
calibration resistor Rcal whose phase is 0. During calibration, An example of system configuration is shown in Fig. 4.
system gain is computed as it will be used to compute the
module of Zu impedance. In order to eliminate the need for
manual switching the Zu impedance and Rcal calibration resistor
a simple switching scheme can be implemented using an
analog multiplexer or a relay. In our case we used an ADG849
type analog multiplexer with channel resistance under 0.5Ω
(for selection input Sel = 0, the Rcal impedance is connected for
measurement while for Sel = 1, the Zu impedance is connected
for measurement).
Clock frequency fclk for AD5933 circuit blocks is obtained
from the internal 16.776 MHz oscillator. The clock applied to Figure 4. Example for input of configuration parameters.
DDS module is fclk/4, and the clock applied to ADC block is
fclk/16. In order to achieve stable excitation frequencies and/or
low frequency, an external clock signal can be input to pin
MCLK. The proposed system can use both options.
The AD5933 circuit includes a temperature sensor which
can be checked to determine the circuit temperature. This is Figure 5. Input of Gain and Increment Frequency parameters.
useful to implement circuit protection and for estimation of
effective frequency provided by the internal clock oscillator. Input data in the example are: Range (Vout=1.80 Vpp), Start
Programming and reading results from AD5933 circuit is Frequency (40000 Hz, Increment Frequency 4500 Hz) Gain of
possible through a simple IIC interface. Circuit address is Receive Stage (1) and Rcal=986 Ω. The other configuration
0001101 (0x0D) and the maximum transfer rate is 400 kHz. parameters are set by software. Configuration data that have
small value set is inserted through the selection (Range, Gain)
C. Rotary Encoder and Display while the others by setting each digit. In Fig. 5 is an example of
setting the Gain and Frequency Increment.
For ICSWA operation AD5933 circuit must initially be
configured. The configuration parameters are: the test voltage In next step, the measurement function is selected from
range, the test frequency range (start frequency, frequency "Measure" menu shown in Fig. 4. During an initial phase
increment, number of increments, number of cycles, sweep system calibration is performed. The software commands
mode), the gain of the Receive Stage, internal clock oscillator calibration resistor to be automatically selected (Sel = 0) and
or external clock etc. Some of these parameters are fixed in data taken from Real Data and Imaginary Data registers to be
stored. This data is used to calculate the System Gain and 1953 Ω resistance. After several tests it was concluded that the
System Phase for all generated measurement frequencies. measurement error for impedance modulus is less than ±2%.
Systems proceeds to the actual measurement of Zu impedance
by selection Sel=1. Data taken from the Real Data and
Imaginary Data are stored for all generated measurement
frequencies and computation of impedance module Zu(ω) and
phase φ(ω). Modulus and phase values are also recorded on the
local SD memory card.
The last step is allocated for results presentation on the
Calculated Measured
OLED Display. An example of result display is given in Fig. 6. Imped Imped
Qs Ls/Cs/R
[Ω] [Ω]
1793.08 1791 84.28 40000 1.47 178.50 1782.08 9.98 7.09E-03 H
1992.96 1991 84.59 44500 1.48 187.72 1982.13 10.56 7.09E-03 H
2192.99 2191 84.89 49000 1.48 195.15 2182.29 11.18 7.09E-03 H
2393.15 2391 85.17 53500 1.49 201.32 2382.51 11.83 7.09E-03 H
2593.39 2590 85.35 58000 1.49 209.97 2581.48 12.29 7.08E-03 H
2793.71 2786 85.52 62500 1.49 217.62 2777.49 12.76 7.07E-03 H
2994.09 2990 85.65 67000 1.49 226.79 2981.39 13.15 7.08E-03 H
3194.51 3194 85.77 71500 1.50 235.59 3185.30 13.52 7.09E-03 H
3394.97 3393 85.86 76000 1.50 244.95 3384.15 13.82 7.09E-03 H
3595.46 3596 85.92 80500 1.50 255.85 3586.89 14.02 7.09E-03 H
3795.98 3796 85.98 85000 1.50 266.12 3786.66 14.23 7.09E-03 H

Figure 6. Example of results presentation on the OLED display.

Left side of the display is dedicated to the presentation of

main Zu impedance parameters: initial and final phases
(φi=77.80, φf=-86.20), minimum and maximum values of
impedance (Zmn=3.048 kΩ, Zmx=24.955 kΩ), initial and final
test frequencies (fi=40.00 kHz, ff=85.00 kHz) and circuit
temperature (Temp=25.0 0C). Right side is reserved for graphical
display of module Zu(ω) (continuous line) and phase φ(ω)
(dotted line) of Zu impedance with respect to frequency.

In order to estimate the range for impedance measurement
we must take in consideration the following: test voltage Vout is
maximum 1.80 Vpp and minimum 0.18 Vpp, test current Iout is in
the range 0.1 µA to 20 mA and test frequency can vary
between 1 kHz to 100 kHz. Thus, the system can measure
impedances in the range of 9 Ω to 18 MΩ. More exactly this
means that we can measure resistances R in the range [9 Ω÷18
MΩ], inductances L in the range [14 µH ÷ 3 kH] and
capacitances C in the range [1 pF ÷ 17 µF]. The measurement
range can be extended by lowering the test frequency bellow
1 kHz (using external oscillator DS1077), by increasing current
Iout beyond 20 mA and/or decreasing it bellow 0.1 µA. The Iout
current is generated by an AD8606 amplifier that can output a
30 mA current for a 2.7 V supply voltage. The bias current IB
of this amplifier is 1 pA.
Operation of the ICSWA system was tested by making
measurements of impedance module and phase for different
component types: resistive R, inductive L, capacitive C, series
and parallel combinations of these using various configuration
parameters. Data obtained from measurements were recorded
on SD card and processed in Microsoft Excel. After data
processing additional parameters were determined: impedance
resistance Rs, reactance Xs, capacity Cs or inductance Ls,
quality factor Qs. These parameters characterize the series
model of the impedance. In Fig. 7 are given the results for the
measurement of a 7.1 mH Coilcraft type 715. Calculated
impedance has been computed using datasheet typical
parameters, i.e. DC resistance 176 Ω and inductance 7.1 mH Figure 7. Measurement data for a 7.1 mH inductance.
[17]. In Fig. 8 are given the results for the measurement of
impedance modulus was less than ±2%. The systems measures
directly impedance modulus and phase but with further
processing other parameters can also be determined.
Measurement results are displayed and stored locally into an
SD memory card for further processing. System configuration
can be done using a modern method for input data which uses
Frq RAD Rs Xs
Qs Ls/Cs/R
a rotary encoder and an OLED Display. The same display is
[Ω] [Ω] ee]
[Hz] [radian] [Ω] [Ω]
used to present the measurement results in text and graphic
1953 1955 -0.2 40000 -0.00349 1954.99 -6.82 0.00 1.96E+03 Ω
1953 1957 -0.15 44500 -0.00262 1956.99 -5.12 0.00 1.96E+03 Ω mode. The calibration system is automatic which reduces
1.96E+03 Ω
1.96E+03 Ω
measurement time.
1.96E+03 Ω
1.95E+03 Ω
The system is small, portable with low power
1953 1954 -0.27 67000 -0.00471 1953.98 -9.21 0.00 1.95E+03 Ω consumption, modular and can be adapted to specific
1.95E+03 Ω
1.95E+03 Ω applications. Possible applications of the system include:
1.95E+03 Ω
1.95E+03 Ω
complex impedance measurement, impedance spectroscopy,
bioelectrical impedance analysis, electrochemical analysis,
nondestructive testing etc. For each type of application an
analysis must be done in order to determine the frequency
domain, test signal levels that establish the current which
passes through the unknown impedance. The analysis may
result in the change or adapting the schematic of the
impedance analyzer.
Further developments of the system include the design of
an algorithm for autoranging allowing automatic selection of
conversion and calibration resistance function of measured
impedance. Further work will seek to adapt the system to
specific applications.

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