Interrupt-driven analog input scanner class for Arduino.
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Interrupt-driven analog input scanner class for Arduino.


The built-in function analogRead() can be used to read any of the analog pins on the Arduino. However, that method blocks while waiting for the Analog-to-Digital Converter (ADC) to read the analog voltage level. By default it takes over 100us to read a single analog input. If you have a lot of analog sensors that need to be read frequently, that means you will spend much of the CPU time busy-waiting for the ADC.

The AnalogScanner library avoids busy-waiting by allowing the caller to set up a scan order for the analog pins. The first ADC read is requested, but control immediately returns to the caller. Instead, the ADC read completion interrupt is used to process the analog value and also start the next ADC read. The pins specified in the scan order are read in turn, repeatedly, without requiring the main code to block or busy-wait.


Copyright 2014 Mark Rose

Licensed under the Apache License, Version 2.0 (the "License"); you may not use this file except in compliance with the License. You may obtain a copy of the License at

Unless required by applicable law or agreed to in writing, software distributed under the License is distributed on an "AS IS" BASIS, WITHOUT WARRANTIES OR CONDITIONS OF ANY KIND, either express or implied. See the License for the specific language governing permissions and limitations under the License.


Click the "Download ZIP" button to download a .zip of the entire AnalogScanner library. Unpack the .zip and rename the top-level directory to AnalogScanner. Move or copy that directory to the libraries/ directory inside the sketch folder for your Arduino IDE. You may need to create that libraries/ directory if this is the first library you install. Restart the Arduino IDE to make it available in the Sketch > Import Library... menu.

Basic Usage

Use the Sketch > Import Library... menu item to add the AnalogScanner library to your sketch. This will add a line at the top of your sketch that includes the library definitions:

#include <AnalogScanner.h>

Or, add that #include by hand, instead.

You need to create an instance of the AnalogScanner class, usually a global variable. Set the analog pin scan order and begin scanning. Then, read the latest analog values whenever you like.

AnalogScanner scanner;

void setup() {
    int scanOrder[] = {A0, A1};
    scanner.setScanOrder(2, scanOrder);
    delay(1); // Wait for the first scans to occur.

void loop() {
    int v0 = scanner.getValue(A0);
    int v1 = scanner.getValue(A1);
    ... process the new values ...
    delay(100); // Wait for new values.


The examples/ subdirectory contains analog_read_all.ino, an example program that reads each analog input available on the Uno repeatedly (A0 through A6). The values are written to Serial once per second.

Note: The analog inputs are scanned as fast as possible, usually about 10 pins per millisecond. Only the most recent value is displayed each second by the example program.

Using Read Callbacks

If you want to process new values as soon as they are read, you can use setCallback() to specify a function that should be called as soon as new values are read.

void processValue(int index, int pin, int value) {
    ... process the new value ...


scanner.setCallback(A0, processValue);

The index value is the zero-relative index of the scan in the pin scan order which was specified. (Different processors support different numbers of analog pins.) The pin value is the pin number specified in the scan order, from A0 through A15.

NOTE: Channel numbers can be used instead of pin numbers. See wiring_analog.c for details about how the actual pin index is calculated. This library uses the same method.

WARNING: The call to the callback function is processed from within the ADC interrupt handler. This can happen as often as 10,000 times per second, if only one analog pin is in the scan order. The processing function must operate quickly and return. Further, it should not invoke other libraries that are relatively slow, such as Serial. Do not write debugging output from the callback handler or you will likely hang the Arduino.

Instead, only use callbacks if you need to perform some processing for each input value, such as applying a digital filter to smooth values from a noisy sensor or to square up edges of an analog signal.


API Reference

Only the public API is described here. More information about the private class members and the implementation can be found within the source files.


The constructor to create a new instance of the analog input scanner. Most sketches will need only a single instance of the scanner, but one could create multiple instances for different program modes. However, only a single scanner instance can be actively scanning at one time.

The new instance will have an empty scan order, so no reads will be performed, by default. Set the scanning order by calling setScanOrder(), and start scanning by calling beginScanning().

void setCallback(int pin, void (*pFn)(int index, int pin, int value))

Sets a callback function for an analog pin. The callback function will be invoked whenever a new value is read from the specified pin. Define the callback function like this:

void myCallback(int index, int pin, int newValue) {
    ... process the value ...

Then set the callback to apply to a pin like this (for pin A2, for example):

scanner.setCallback(A2, myCallback);

void setScanOrder(int n, int order[])

Sets the order in which the analog pins are read. The scan order is specified in an array of integer pin numbers or pin indices (0-relative).

A pin may appear more than once in the scan order to read the pin more frequently. For example, if you want to read pins A0, A1, and A2, but want to read A0 twice as often as the other two, you could set up the scan order as follows:

int order[] = {A0, A1, A0, A2};
scanner.setScanOrder(4, order);

int getValue(int pin)

Gets the most recently read value for an analog pin number.

void setAnalogReference(int reference)

Sets the analog voltage reference. See the built-in Arduino function analogReference().

void beginScanning()

Begin scanning the analog pins. Invokes an ADC read from the first pin in the scan order. Subsequent reads will be invoked by the ADC interrupt handling code.

void endScanning()

Ends scanning the analog pins. Disables the ADC to save power.

Release Notes

  • 2015-01-27 - Modified the library to work with the Arduino Leonardo. Testing has now been done on the Uno and Leonardo.
  • 2014-10-17 - Updated the example program to work with the Arduino IDE.