Unlock Your Electronics Skills with DIY 12-MHz Generator

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Unlock Your Electronics Skills with DIY 12-MHz Generator

Table of Contents

  1. Introduction
  2. Limitations of Arduino Nano
  3. Introducing the AD9833 Module
  4. Operating the AD9833 Module with Arduino 4.1. GitHub Documentation for AD9833 4.2. Writing Code for AD9833
  5. Testing and Results 5.1. Generating a 1kHz Sine Wave 5.2. Generating Triangle and Square Waves 5.3. Increasing the Frequency
  6. Advantages of the AD9833 Module
  7. Building the Function Generator 7.1. PCB Order and SMT Assemble Service 7.2. Benefits of SMT Assembly
  8. Using Shaggydog's Code and Circuit Diagram
  9. Assembling the Breadboard
  10. Uploading the Code and Testing the Display
  11. Order PCB from GLC PCB 11.1. Using SMT Option for ICs
  12. Soldering the SMD ICs and Burning the Bootloader
  13. Mounting Additional Components and Finalizing the PCB
  14. Testing the Function Generator 14.1. Connecting the Transformer and AC Jack
  15. Designing a 3D Printed Housing
  16. Final Assembly and Conclusion


The Arduino Nano is a popular development board, but it has limitations when it comes to generating higher frequencies. This article explores an alternative solution for creating a function generator using the AD9833 module. We will delve into how to operate the AD9833 module with Arduino, discuss testing and results, highlight the advantages of the AD9833 module, and guide you through the process of building a function generator.

Limitations of Arduino Nano

The Arduino Nano performs well within a frequency range of 60kHz to 200kHz. However, when it comes to producing higher frequencies, it falls short. This limitation makes it inadequate for applications requiring frequencies between 5MHz and 10MHz. Therefore, an alternative module is needed to overcome this limitation and create a more versatile function generator.

Introducing the AD9833 Module

To overcome the limitations of the Arduino Nano, the AD9833 module comes into play. This module is well-known for its ability to generate various waveforms, including square, triangle, and sine waves. Its versatility makes it a perfect fit for our function generator project. But the question arises: how do we operate the AD9833 module with Arduino?

Operating the AD9833 Module with Arduino

To operate the AD9833 module, we turn to GitHub for the necessary documentation. The AD9833 library on GitHub provides all the commands we need to effectively control the module. By leveraging these commands and writing our own code, we can operate the AD9833 module in the right way. This allows us to generate different waveforms and select the desired frequency accurately.

GitHub Documentation for AD9833

By visiting the GitHub webpage, we gain access to the AD9833 library. This library includes detailed documentation on every command necessary for module operation. With this valuable resource, we can create our own code to effectively control the AD9833 module and achieve the desired results.

Writing Code for AD9833

Using the commands provided in the AD9833 library, we can now write our own code for operating the module. As a first step, we set a one-kilohertz sine wave as a test purpose. Connecting our oscilloscope to the module, we observe a beautiful one-kilohertz sine wave. The module is not limited to just sine waves; it can also generate triangle and square waves, both of which look awesome. With the ability to increase the frequency up to 5 megahertz, the AD9833 module proves to be easy to operate and suitable for most hobby projects. However, its performance starts to degrade at 10 megahertz, making 5 megahertz the practical limit for our needs.

Testing and Results

After successfully operating the AD9833 module, it's time to test and examine the results. We begin by generating a one-kilohertz sine wave, which we successfully achieve. Moving on, we explore the module's capability to generate triangle and square waves. The results are impressive, further confirming the module's quality and precision.

Increasing the Frequency

The AD9833 module allows us to increase the frequency beyond one megahertz. By adjusting the code and settings, we can generate frequencies up to 5 megahertz and even beyond. However, it's important to note that at extremely high frequencies, such as 10 megahertz, the signal quality may start to degrade. Therefore, 5 megahertz is considered the optimal frequency range for most hobby projects.

Advantages of the AD9833 Module

The AD9833 module boasts a 28-bit phase resistor section and a 10-bit digital-to-analog converter in its output stage. This design ensures precise and stable output, resulting in highly accurate resolution. The module's impressive performance guarantees that it will never disappoint, making it an excellent choice for a function generator.

Building the Function Generator

Now that we understand the features and advantages of the AD9833 module, let's proceed with building our function generator. This section covers PCB order and the SMT assemble service provided by GLC PCB. We'll also explore the benefits of using SMT assembly for our project.

PCB Order and SMT Assemble Service

GLC PCB offers a convenient PCB ordering service. To save time and ensure perfect soldering, we can opt for their SMT assemble service. By using SMT symbols when ordering our PCB, we can rest assured that we will receive genuine components with impeccable soldering. This service is especially beneficial for beginners and those looking to streamline their PCB assembly process.

Benefits of SMT Assembly

Using the SMT assemble service from GLC PCB brings numerous advantages. These benefits include the availability of 3D printing, a wide variety of PCB colors, the option for up to 6-layer PCB, and many more. By taking advantage of this service, we can enhance our PCB assembly experience while enjoying maximum convenience and professionalism.

Using Shaggydog's Code and Circuit Diagram

While attempting to build the function generator ourselves, we can turn to Shaggydog's code and circuit diagram for assistance. Shaggydog has created highly accurate code for the AD9833 function generator, along with a beautifully designed circuit diagram. By downloading this code and referencing the circuit diagram, we can easily recreate the function generator without any hassle.

Assembling the Breadboard

With the code and circuit diagram in hand, we proceed to assemble the function generator on a breadboard. Following Shaggydog's diagram, we connect all the necessary components. After just 10 minutes of assembly, we are ready to upload the code and test the functionality of our function generator.

Uploading the Code and Testing the Display

Once the breadboard assembly is complete, we upload the code to our Arduino Nano. Connecting the display, we are pleased to see that the interface is exactly as we envisioned. The display provides options for selecting waveforms like square, sine, and triangle waves, along with the ability to specify the desired frequency. The function generator performs flawlessly, offering a user-friendly experience.

Order PCB from GLC PCB

Satisfied with the breadboard prototype, we proceed to order a professional PCB from GLC PCB. The purple-colored PCB adds a touch of elegance to our function generator. By choosing the SMT option for ICs, we mitigate any concerns about soldering delicate components.

Using SMT Option for ICs

Choosing the SMT option for ICs is an excellent choice for those uncomfortable with soldering such components. This option not only saves time but also ensures a professional finish, making it ideal for beginners and those without advanced soldering skills.

Soldering the SMD ICs and Burning the Bootloader

Upon receiving the professional PCB, we embark on the task of soldering the SMD ICs. Taking utmost care, we solder each component onto the PCB. Once the soldering is complete, we proceed to burn the bootloader and firmware onto the microcontroller using a homemade programmer. This step is crucial for the correct functioning of the function generator.

Mounting Additional Components and Finalizing the PCB

To complete the PCB assembly, we mount additional components such as the LM7812 and LM7912 for positive and negative voltages, respectively, and the LM7805 for logic voltage. Additionally, we incorporate an operational amplifier for amplitude adjustment and signal shifting. With all the components in place, our PCB is now one step closer to being fully functional and ready for testing.

Testing the Function Generator

Before considering our function generator complete, we put it to the test. Connecting a 1202 center-tap transformer and an AC jack, we power on the function generator. To our delight, everything is working as intended, with no signs of smoke or malfunction. The function generator is now fully operational and outputs precise waveforms within the desired frequency range.

Connecting the Transformer and AC Jack

Powering the function generator requires connecting a 1202 center-tap transformer and an AC jack. By establishing the necessary connections, we ensure that our function generator receives the required power input for accurate waveform generation.

Designing a 3D Printed Housing

To improve the aesthetics and usability of our function generator, we take the challenge of designing a 3D printed housing. After one day of design and printing, we unveil the final 3D printed frame for our function generator. This housing not only provides a sleek and organized appearance but also adds protection and convenience.

Final Assembly and Conclusion

With the 3D printed housing ready, we proceed to fit all the components neatly. The final assembly is an exciting step, as it showcases the culmination of our efforts. After meticulous fitting and adjustment, our function generator is complete. The final product impresses with its professional appearance and functionality. It is now ready to serve our hobby projects with its versatile waveform generation capabilities.

In conclusion, the AD9833 module proves to be a valuable addition to the Arduino Nano, overcoming its limitations and enhancing the functionality of the function generator. By carefully following the steps outlined in this article, anyone can build their own function generator and enjoy the benefits of precise waveform generation for their hobby projects.


  • Overcoming the limitations of the Arduino Nano with the AD9833 module
  • Operating the AD9833 module with Arduino using GitHub documentation
  • Generating different waveforms and accurately selecting frequencies
  • Advantages of the AD9833 module, including its precise output resolution
  • Building a function generator using the AD9833 module
  • Leveraging PCB order and SMT assembly services from GLC PCB
  • Benefits of SMT assembly and its convenience for beginners
  • Utilizing Shaggydog's code and circuit diagram for easy assembly
  • Testing the function generator and adjusting frequency settings
  • Finalizing the PCB and ordering a professional version from GLC PCB
  • Soldering SMD ICs and burning the bootloader for correct functionality
  • Completing the PCB assembly and adding additional components
  • Testing the function generator and verifying precise waveform output
  • Designing and 3D printing a custom housing for the function generator
  • Final assembly of all components and conclusion of the project

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