MCP4725 Tutorial Datasheet by Adafruit Industries LLC

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MCP4725 12-Bit DAC Tutorial
Created by lady ada
Last updated on 2018-08-22 03:31:53 PM UTC
Guide Contents
Guide Contents
Arduino Code
Using the library
Increasing the speed
Python & CircuitPython
CircuitPython Microcontroller Wiring
Python Computer Wiring
CircuitPython Installation of MCP4725 Library
Python Installation of MCP4725 Library
CircuitPython & Python Usage
Full Example Code
Python Docs
Schematic & Fabrication Print
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Your microcontroller probably has an ADC (analog -> digital converter) but does it have a DAC (digital -> analog
converter)??? Now it can! This breakout board features the easy-to-use MCP4725 12-bit DAC. Control it via I2C and
send it the value you want it to output, and the VOUT pin will have it. Great for audio / analog projects, such as when
you can't use PWM but need a sine wave or adjustable bias point.
We break out the ADDR pin so you can connect two of these DACs on one I2C bus, just tie the ADDR pin of one high
to keep it from conflicting. Also included is a 6-pin header, for use in a breadboard. Works with both 3.3V or 5V logic.
Some nice extras with this chip: for chips that have 3.4Mbps Fast Mode I2C (Arduino's don't) you can update the Vout
at ~200 KHz. There's an EEPROM so if you write the output voltage, you can 'store it' so if the device is power cycled it
will restore that voltage. The output voltage is rail-to-rail and proportional to the power pin so if you run it from 3.3V,
the output range is 0-3.3V. If you run it from 5V the output range is 0-5V.
Available from the Adafruit shop! (
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Wiring up the MCP4725 breakout PCB is super easy. To start, we'll attach the breakout headers so we can plug it into a
Break off a strip of 6-pins of 0.1" male header and stick the LONG pins down into a breadboard
Break off a strip of 6-pins of 0.1" male header and stick
the LONG pins down into a breadboard
Place the breakout board on top so the short ends of
the header stick up through the pads
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Solder each pin using a soldering iron and solder, to
make solid connection on each pin.
This part is not optional! You cannot 'press fit' the
header on, it must be attached permanently
Now that the header is attached, we can wire it up. We'll demonstrate using an Arduino.
FIrst, connect VDD (power) to a 3-5V power supply, and GND to ground.
The DAC uses I2C, a two-pin interface that can have up to 127 unique sensors attached (each must have a different
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SDA to I2C Data (on the Uno, this is A4 on the Mega it is 20 and on the Leonardo digital 2)
SCL to I2C Clock(on the Uno, this is A5 on the Mega it is 21 and on the Leonardo digital 3)
There's two other pins remaining.
A0 allow you to change the I2C address. By default (nothing attached to A0) the address is hex 0x62. If A0 is
connected to VDD the address is 0x63. This lets you have two DAC boards connected to the same SDA/SCL I2C
bus pins.
VOUT is the voltage out from the DAC! The voltage will range from 0V (when the DAC value is 0) to VDD (when
the DAC 'value' is the max 12-bit number: 0xFFF)
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Arduino Code
Next up, download the Adafruit MCP4725 library. This library does all of the interfacing, so you can just "set and forget"
the DAC output. It also has some examples to get you started
The library is available on GitHub ( You can download it by clicking the button below.
Rename the uncompressed folder Adafruit_MCP4725. Check that the Adafruit_MCP4725 folder
contains Adafruit_MCP4725.cpp and Adafruit_MCP4725.h
Place the Adafruit_MCP4725 library folder your
/libraries/ folder. You may need to create the
libraries subfolder if its your first library. You can figure out your
by opening up the Preferences tab
in the Arduino IDE.
Restart the IDE.
Open up the FileExamplesAdafruit_MCP4725trianglewave sketch and upload it to the Arduino. Then connect
your oscilloscope (or an LED + resistor if you don't have access to an oscilloscope)
We also have a sine wave version showing how to use a lookup table to create a more complex waveform.
Using the library
The library is very simple, so you can adapt it very quickly.
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Firsi. be sure to cail begin(addr) where addr is the QC address (defauit is 0x62. if A0 is connected to VCC its 0x63).
First, be sure to call begin(addr) where addr is the i2c address (default is 0x62, if A0 is connected to VCC its 0x63).
Then call setVoltage(value, storeflag) to set the DAC output. value should range from 0 to 0x0FFF. storeflag indicates
to the DAC whether it should store the value in EEPROM so that next time it starts, it'll have that same value output.
You shouldn't set the flag to true unless you require it as it will take longer to do, and you could wear out the EEPROM
if you write it over 20,000 times.
Increasing the speed
One thing thats a little annoying about the Arduino Wire library in this case is it is set for 100KHz transfer speed. In the
MCP4725 library we update the speed to 400KHz by setting the TWBR
TWBR = 12; // 400 khz
You can speed this up a bit more, if you'd like, check the ATmega328 datasheet for how to calculate the TWBR
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Python & CircuitPython
It's easy to use the MCP4725 digital to analog converter with Python and CircuitPython, and the Adafruit CircuitPython
MCP4725 ( module. This module allows you to easily write Python code that controls the output
voltage from the DAC.
You can use this sensor with any CircuitPython microcontroller board or with a computer that has GPIO and Python
thanks to Adafruit_Blinka, our CircuitPython-for-Python compatibility library (
CircuitPython Microcontroller Wiring
First wire up a MCP4725 to your board exactly as shown on the previous pages for Arduino using an I2C connection.
Here's an example of wiring a Feather M0 to the sensor with I2C:
Board 3V to sensor VIN
Board GND to sensor GND
Board SCL to sensor SCL
Board SDA to sensor SDA
Python Computer Wiring
Since there's
of Linux computers/boards you can use we will show wiring for Raspberry Pi. For other platforms,
please visit the guide for CircuitPython on Linux to see whether your platform is supported (
Here's the Raspberry Pi wired with I2C:
Pi 3V3 to sensor VIN
Pi GND to sensor GND
Pi SCL to sensor SCK
Pi SDA to sensor SDA
CircuitPython Installation of MCP4725 Library
Next you'll need to install the Adafruit CircuitPython MCP4725 ( library on your CircuitPython
board. Make sure you are running the latest version of Adafruit CircuitPython ( for your board
before starting..
You'll need to install the necessary libraries to use the hardware--carefully follow the steps to find and install these
libraries from Adafruit's CircuitPython library bundle ( For example the Circuit Playground Express
guide has a great page on how to install the library bundle ( for both express and non-express
Remember for non-express boards like the Trinket M0, Gemma M0, and Feather/Metro M0 basic you'll need to
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manually instaH the necessary libraries from the bundle:
manually install the necessary libraries from the bundle:
You can also download the adafruit_mcp4725.mpy from its releases page on Github (
Before continuing make sure your board's lib folder or root filesystem has the adafruit_mcp4725.mpy file copied over.
Next connect to the board's serial REPL ( you are at the CircuitPython >>> prompt.
Python Installation of MCP4725 Library
You'll need to install the Adafruit_Blinka library that provides the CircuitPython support in Python. This may also
require enabling I2C on your platform and verifying you are running Python 3. Since each platform is a little different,
and Linux changes often, please visit the CircuitPython on Linux guide to get your computer
ready (!
Once that's done, from your command line run the following command:
sudo pip3 install adafruit-circuitpython-mcp4725
If your default Python is version 3 you may need to run 'pip' instead. Just make sure you aren't trying to use
CircuitPython on Python 2.x, it isn't supported!
CircuitPython & Python Usage
To demonstrate the usage of the DAC we'll initialize it and set the output voltage from the board's Python REPL. Run
the following code to import the necessary modules and initialize the I2C connection with the sensor:
Now you can set the output voltage just like controlling a DAC with CircuitPython's built-in AnalogOut class and the
value property. Simply set this to any 16-bit value (0-65535) and the output of the Vout pin will change to a voltage
proportional to 0-3.3V. For example to set the output to 1.65V or about halfway within its range:
import board
import busio
import adafruit_mcp4725
i2c = busio.I2C(board.SCL, board.SDA)
dac = adafruit_mcp4725.MCP4725(i2c)
dac.value = 32767
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Hook up a multimeter to the Vout pin of the board
(positive/red lead to Vout, ground/black lead to board
GND) and you should see about 1.65 volts DC output.
Try setting dac.value to other numbers like 0 or 65535
to see how the voltage changes.
Hook up a multimeter to the Vout pin of the board (positive/red lead to Vout, ground/black lead to board GND) and
you should see about 1.65 volts DC output. Try setting dac.value to other numbers like 0 or 65535 to see how the
voltage changes.
You can use the MCP4725 instance anywhere you might use the AnalogOut class!
However you might prefer a few other simpler properties to change the output voltage:
normalized_value - Set this to a floating point number between 0 and 1.0. A value of 0 is ground/0V and 1.0 is
Vdd or max voltage/3.3V. Anything in-between is a proportional voltage. This is handy for scaling the output
value without having to worry about how many bits of resolution it has.
raw_value - Set this to a 12-bit value 0-4095 to control the raw 12-bit output of the DAC. Unlike the value
property this raw_value exposes the true 12-bit resolution of the DAC and is free from quantization errors. If you
need the most precise output use the raw_output value for setting voltage.
That's all there is to using the MCP4725 DAC with CircuitPython!
Below is a complete example that shows changing the DAC voltage to a triangle wave that goes up and down
repeatedly. Save this as on your board and connect a multimeter to measure the Vout pin voltage to see it
oscillate up and down from 0 to 3.3V and back.
dac.normalized_value = 0.5 # ~1.65V output
dac.raw_output = 2047 # Also ~1.65V output
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Full Example Code
# Simple demo of setting the DAC value up and down through its entire range
# of values.
# Author: Tony DiCola
import board
import busio
import adafruit_mcp4725
# Initialize I2C bus.
i2c = busio.I2C(board.SCL, board.SDA)
# Initialize MCP4725.
dac = adafruit_mcp4725.MCP4725(i2c)
# Optionally you can specify a different addres if you override the A0 pin.
#amp = adafruit_max9744.MAX9744(i2c, address=0x63)
# There are a three ways to set the DAC output, you can use any of these:
dac.value = 65535 # Use the value property with a 16-bit number just like
# the AnalogOut class. Note the MCP4725 is only a 12-bit
# DAC so quantization errors will occur. The range of
# values is 0 (minimum/ground) to 65535 (maximum/Vout).
dac.raw_value = 4095 # Use the raw_value property to directly read and write
# the 12-bit DAC value. The range of values is
# 0 (minimum/ground) to 4095 (maximum/Vout).
dac.normalized_value = 1.0 # Use the normalized_value property to set the
# output with a floating point value in the range
# 0 to 1.0 where 0 is minimum/ground and 1.0 is
# maximum/Vout.
# Main loop will go up and down through the range of DAC values forever.
while True:
# Go up the 12-bit raw range.
print('Going up 0-3.3V...')
for i in range(4095):
dac.raw_value = i
# Go back down the 12-bit raw range.
print('Going down 3.3-0V...')
for i in range(4095, -1, -1):
dac.raw_value = i
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Python Docs
Python Docs (
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For more details about the chip, please check out the MCP4725 datasheet (
MCP4725 Arduino Library is on GitHub (
Fritzing object in the Adafruit Fritzing library (
EagleCAD PCB files on GitHub (
Schematic & Fabrication Print
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