I have had a lot of fun with some superb products from Dallas Semiconductor, which is now part of Maxim. These pages attempt to help you join the fun. One apology: My material on this topic has become a little disorganized... persevere if you don't find what you want immediately? There are some very dated pages, and pages from when I was doing things "the hard way".... but also some new stuff, and 1-Wire is very much alive in January 2019 when this page was reviewed. Reading a DS1820-family temperature sensor with an Arduino, in a simple way, couldn't be easier. (And if you want the frills "the hard way" bring, that's possible too!)
If you are already convinced, I've produced a "How do I get started" page for you, which will open in its own tab/ window. (This is quite dated, 1/19)
You don't need to write software to use the MicroLan chips and products... but it is so much more fun if you do write your own! You can make everything work just the way you think it ought to! I use Delphi, but there is good support for other languages, and you can work from a Linux based machine.
Years ago, I wrote: "If you are into microcontrollers, you might want to explore (Dallas) Maxim's TINI, which will drive 1-Wire chips, and is really cool... but a story for another day!" I updated that link 1/19, I gather the TINI line is still alive. But I haven't played with TINIs for years. I suspect the Pi would be the way to go for that sort of thing today. The Arduino, similar in some ways, but very different in important essentials is my preferred platform for "small stuff".
Much of the stuff at the page this paragraph talks about is from my Delphi days, when I "made a meal" of using the 1-wire chips. (As I said, I now use Lazarus for Delphi work.) But there are gems among the chaff, to mix two metaphors a bit. Go here for detailed tutorials, most of them focused on specific chips. They also often incorporate the sourcecode for useful programs. Once you've written your first program, to access a specific chip, you'll find that accessing further chips is relatively easy. The essay mentioned above (A more detailed look at...) goes into a thorough (longwinded?) explanation of accessing a DS1820 temperature sensor and a DS2405 switch, and might be a good starting point. It also takes you through installing the drivers your system will need.
The following references to "Delphi" are dated! I now use the excellent free, open source, multi-platform Lazarus for the things I used to do with Delphi. The two application development IDEs are very similar... except for price!
While you don't have to use Delphi to work with 1-Wire chips, Borland's superb Delphi was once given away many times on cover discs of magazines like Personal Computer World, and, for non-commercial use, and there used to be a version available by download from a "Free stuff" site at Borland.. If you can find it today, I'd be glad of the URL. Dallas provides good sample programs in Delphi (and in several other languages). You don't need to add components to your Delphi IDE, or anything tedious like that. (Borland has changed its name several times over the years... now Imprise?)
Dallas's demo programs for 1-Wire work are 'professional'... flexible, user friendly, fault tolerant. Good, I suppose, but I think that the "frills" obscure the essentials. I've written stripped down demos to illustrate the core of working with 1-Wire. The source code for my versions is available from the MicroLan section of my Delphi tutorials site.
One solution to the software problem was to use the free DDEViewer. Sadly, it seems to have been withdrawn, but maybe you can find a copy, or buy a descendant. DDEView was a DDE server. Once it was running, you could access the chips on the Microlan remarkably easily. There's more at this page I wrote about Roso-Control's DDEViewer. You could, for example, put a formula in a spreadsheet cell, and the cell would begin to report the temperature of one of the 1-Wire chips. The product seemed a little unstable... but it was worth what we paid for it, and it points to the potential of MicroLans.
You can do quite a lot without needing to be able to program or build electronics, but if you are able to program or make simple electronic devices a whole bunch of further fun is available to you.
have no connection with Dallas, beyond being a happy user of their products for many years.
The terms "1-Wire", "Microlan" and "iButton" are Dallas trademarks. The first two are used almost interchangeably. An iButton is a 1-Wire chip encased in a small metal can, like a battery.
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Book and Website: Want more help? Weathertoys is not only a website, but also of a book. Both discuss lots of fun things about building your own weather station. There is good coverage of using 1-Wire devices, but both the book and the site look at other answers, too. In May 2007, it was quite recently launched, but the site is not "under construction". There's lots of good stuff there.
FarWatch (Active 1/19, has been for more than ten years) Do you have an "always on" internet connection, e.g. DSL or broadband? (Even a basic home user account is fine. You don't need a fixed IP address.) Want to set something up that lets you check all is well at your home or business.... from any internet terminal in the world? (The terminal needs nothing more than a standard browser.) You don't have to spend anything on software, everything you need is free. You might want to dedicate an old Win98 "box" to doing the work, but you don't have to. You'll probably want to spend a little money to attach one or more 1-Wire temperature sensors to the system, but there are ways around even that expense. Sound interesting? See the pages about my FarWatch system.
Sheepwalk Electronics: At least 9 years old at 1/19 (Pages appear in the Internet Wayback Machine, from December 2010, about the time I started listing it.)
Good basic information about 1-Wire installations. Also a supplier of hardware: Simple ordering, pay by PayPal. All your basic needs... adapters, sensors... either as components, or made up on RJ-11 / RJ-45 cables. Some interesting "convenience" connectors and PCBs.
Please note: Sheepwalk Electronics and SheepdogSoftware are unrelated... we both adopted our names long ago (SheepWalk Electronics is a diversification of a different SheepWalk enterprise), and independently. (SheepdogSoftware and SheepdogGuides are related, and are the source of the page you are currently reading.)
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