STM32 ADC Read Example – DMA / Interrupt / Polling

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STM32 ADC Read Example – 3 Methods To Read ADC
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STM32 ADC DMA Interrupt Tutorial - Examples HAL Tutorial


In this tutorial, we’ll discuss the different possible methods to Read Analog Input With STM32 ADC. The LAB we’ll implement is an LED dimmer using a potentiometer to analog input pin and PWM to control the LED brightness.


   Required Components For LABs   


All the example code/LABs/projects in the course are going to be done using those boards below.

QTY Component Name 🛒 🛒
2 BreadBoard Amazon eBay
1 LEDs Kit Amazon Amazon eBay
1 Resistors Kit Amazon Amazon eBay
1 Capacitors Kit Amazon Amazon eBay & eBay
2 Jumper Wires Pack Amazon Amazon eBay & eBay
1 9v Battery or DC Power Supply Amazon Amazon Amazon eBay
1 Micro USB Cable Amazon eBay
1 Push Buttons Amazon Amazon eBay
1 Potentiometers Amazon Amazon eBay

★ Check The Full Course Complete Kit List

Some Extremely Useful Test Equipment For Troubleshooting:

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   STM32 ADC Read Methods   


We can read actually configure the ADC module to take samples (conversions) in 3 different ways. Depending on the application types and requirements you can choose the best fit for you.

1 Polling

First of which is the polling method, in this method we’d start an ADC conversion and stop the CPU at this point to wait for the ADC conversion completion. Only after ADC conversion completion, the CPU can resume the main code execution.

2 Interrupts

The second method is by using interrupts, so we can trigger the ADC in order to start a conversion and the CPU continues executing the main code routine. Upon conversion completion, the ADC fires an interrupt and the CPU is notified so that it can switch the context to the ISR handler and save the ADC conversion results.

Despite being an efficient way, the interrupt method can add so much overhead to the CPU and cause very high CPU loading. Especially when you’re doing so many conversions per second.


And here comes the third method which is using the DMA unit that can directly transfer the ADC result from the peripheral to the memory in the manner that you want and program it to. All that being done without any CPU intervention and upon DMA transfers completion to maybe a 1kb in length buffer, it can notify the CPU to process the data of whatever.


   STM32 ADC LED Dimmer – LAB19   


LAB Number 19
LAB Title STM32 ADC Read LAB (LED Dimmer With Analog Pot.)
  • Set up a new project as usual with system clock @ 72MHz
  • Set up An Analog Input Pin (Channel 7) In single Conversion Mode (The Pot. Pin)
  • Set up timer2 in PWM mode with output on channel 1 (The LED Pin) 

The Application will have 3 versions each does the same thing which is read the ADC result and move it to the timer CCR register which decides the PWM duty cycle percentage on the output LED pin.

Example 1, ADC is used in blocking mode (polling)

Example 2, ADC is used in non-blocking mode (interrupt)

Example 3, ADC is used in non-blocking mode (DMA)


   STM32 ADC Polling Example   


In this LAB, our goal is to build a system that initializes the ADC with an analog input pin (channel 7). And also configure a timer module to operate in PWM mode with output on channel 1 pin (LED pin). Therefore, we can start an ADC conversion and map the result to the PWM duty cycle and repeat the whole process over and over again.


And now, let’s build this system step-by-step


Step1: Open CubeMX & Create New Project

Step2: Choose The Target MCU & Double-Click Its Name

Step3: Configure The ADC1 Peripheral, Enable Channel7 & Set it to be triggered by software

You’ll actually find that the analog channel has these default configurations which happens to be ok for us in this LAB.

STM32 ADC Example HAL Code And CubeMX Configurations

Step4: Configure Timer2 To Operate In PWM Mode With Output On CH1

STM32 ADC Read Example HAL Code

Step5: Set The RCC External Clock Source

Step6: Go To The Clock Configuration

Step7: Set The System Clock To Be 72MHz

The ADC peripherals will be assigned a default clock of 12MHz that you can optionally increase to a maximum of 14MHz. But we won’t do that in this example.

Step8: Name & Generate The Project Initialization Code For CubeIDE or The IDE You’re Using


Here is The Application Code For This LAB (main.c)

Download The STM32 ADC Read Example Project LAB19


The LAB Connections

STM32 ADC DMA Example HAL Code And CubeMX Tutorial


The Result For LAB Testing (video)

Another Testing That I’ve Also Done

I did configure a GPIO pin to be an output pin and programmed it to toggle HIGH at the beginning of ADC conversion and drive the pin LOW after the polling function immediately. This is in order to approximately measure the conversion time. It’s around 3.4μs.

STM32 ADC Conversion Time Measurement - Sampling Rate Estimation


   STM32 ADC Interrupt Example   


The Exact Same Steps As The Previous Example Except For Step 3. The ADC Configuration Will Be As Follows:

All ADC settings will remain the same but we’ll need to enable the interrupt from the NVIC controller tab.

STM32 ADC Example HAL Code And CubeMX Configurations Tutorial

Generate The Project & Open It In The CubeIDE


Here Is The Application Code Using The Interrupt Method


   STM32 ADC DMA Example   


Also The Exact Same Steps As The First Example Except For Step 3. The ADC Configuration Will Be As Follows:

Everything in ADC configurations will be as default in normal mode. However, this time the ADC interrupts are not activated and the DMA is configured instead and DMA interrupt is enabled by default in the NVIC controller tab. The DMA configurations for the ADC will be as shown down below. Just add a DMA channel and that’s all.

STM32 ADC DMA Example HAL Code And CubeMX Configurations Tutorial

Generate The Project & Open It In The CubeIDE


Here Is The Application Code Using The DMA Method



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Khaled Magdy
Embedded systems engineer with several years of experience in embedded software and hardware design. I work as an embedded SW engineer in the Automotive & e-Mobility industry. However, I still do Hardware design and SW development for DSP, Control Systems, Robotics, AI/ML, and other fields I'm passionate about.
I love reading, writing, creating projects, and teaching. A reader by day and a writer by night, it's my lifestyle. I believe that the combination of brilliant minds, bold ideas, and a complete disregard for what is possible, can and will change the world! I will be there when it happens, will you?

4 thoughts on “STM32 ADC Read Example – DMA / Interrupt / Polling”

  1. In Polling and Interrupt mode, i am getting the 12-bit output in STM32F429ZI, but in DMA mode i am getting 8-bit output(max value 255 at 3.3V). I checked the ADC DR register in debug mode, the value is 12-bit. I do not understand the reason. need help.

    • You need to set in the DMA configurations the word size for each transfer to be 2bytes i think this could be the reason

  2. hello, I need to control the brightness of 4 LEDs with 4 potentiometers. What kind of way should I follow for this?

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