MMA7455 Accelerometer

The Freescale MMA7455L sensor is a 3-axis, 10-bit accelerometer with a digital interface.

This page provides information and a sketch to get the MMA7455 running with I2C, and to get to know the MMA7455.

Freescale has good information about this accelerometer, and Application Notes:

For other programs and sensors, see the Accelerometer-section in the playground index: Accelerometer

Things to know

  • The 10-bit values of the accelerometer are 10-bit signed integers. Some code is needed to convert them into normal signed integers of 16-bits.
  • Soldering this chip can be very hard. There are however many easy to use modules with this accelerometer. Some modules have a voltage regulator to make 3.3V for the accelerometer.
  • The MMA7455 has internal offset registers. But the actual offset of the accelerometer changes if those offset registers are used.
  • The chip is temperature compensated. There is even a temperature register, but reading that register returns always a zero.
  • The MMA7455 is able to generate an interrupt for a certain level or pulse. But only one mode can be used at one time ("Measurement" or "Level Detection" or "Pulse Detection").

Conversion of 10-bits value

The MMA7455 has two sets registers for the x, y, and z values of the accelerometer. A set of 8-bit values for fast and easy use, and a set of 10-bit values for more accuracy.

The 10-bit value uses two registers for a LSB (least significant byte) and a MSB (most significant byte).

In my sketch on this page, I don't use the 8-bit value, but only the 10-bits value.
The LSB part is copied from the register of the MMA7455 and used as it is. The MSB part is converted for a 16-bit integer.
The output is 10-bits and could be negative. To use the output as a 16-bit signed integer, the sign bit (bit 9) of the msb is tested, and if it is set (indicating a negative value), it is extended for the 16 bits.

  if (x_msb & 0x02)    // Bit 9 is sign bit.
    x_msb |= 0xFC;     // Stretch bit 9 over other bits.

Collecting the 10-bits values (6 bytes) could be almost as fast as collecting the 8-bits values (3 bytes), by retrieving all 6 bytes in a single I2C-bus session. The MMA7455 is capable to receive or send multiple bytes.


The code below is for Arduino 1.0.1 and I2C-bus communication. For the I2C-bus the /CS pin of the chip must be connected to the supply voltage (the DVDD_IO pin), or a pull-up resistor to DVDD_IO could be used.

A i2c_scanner can be used to check if the device is connected to the i2c bus.

The code uses the Arduino functions as much as possible. It can be used as a start and can be used for a class or a library.

The code shows how the 10-bits accelerometer values should be used to get normal 'g'-force values. It also shows how the internal offset of the acceleromter can be used.

The sketch is about 7kbyte, and will fit in a ATmega8.

// MMA7455 Accelerometer
// ---------------------
// By user "Krodal".
// May 2012
// Open Source / Public Domain
// Fixes to union and type conversions by user "Afroviking"
// August 2014
// Using Arduino 1.0.1
// It will not work with an older version, since Wire.endTransmission()
// uses a parameter to hold or release the I2C bus.
// Documentation:
//     - The Freescale MMA7455L datasheet
//     - The AN3468 Application Note (programming).
//     - The AN3728 Application Note (calibrating offset).
// The MMA7455 can be used by writing and reading a single byte,
// but it is also capable to read and write multiple bytes.
// The accuracy is 10-bits.

#include <Wire.h>

// Register names according to the datasheet.
// Register 0x1C is sometimes called 'PW', and sometimes 'PD'.
// The two reserved registers can not be used.
#define MMA7455_XOUTL 0x00      // Read only, Output Value X LSB
#define MMA7455_XOUTH 0x01      // Read only, Output Value X MSB
#define MMA7455_YOUTL 0x02      // Read only, Output Value Y LSB
#define MMA7455_YOUTH 0x03      // Read only, Output Value Y MSB
#define MMA7455_ZOUTL 0x04      // Read only, Output Value Z LSB
#define MMA7455_ZOUTH 0x05      // Read only, Output Value Z MSB
#define MMA7455_XOUT8 0x06      // Read only, Output Value X 8 bits
#define MMA7455_YOUT8 0x07      // Read only, Output Value Y 8 bits
#define MMA7455_ZOUT8 0x08      // Read only, Output Value Z 8 bits
#define MMA7455_STATUS 0x09     // Read only, Status Register
#define MMA7455_DETSRC 0x0A     // Read only, Detection Source Register
#define MMA7455_TOUT 0x0B       // Temperature Output Value (Optional)
#define MMA7455_RESERVED1 0x0C  // Reserved
#define MMA7455_I2CAD 0x0D      // Read/Write, I2C Device Address
#define MMA7455_USRINF 0x0E     // Read only, User Information (Optional)
#define MMA7455_WHOAMI 0x0F     // Read only, "Who am I" value (Optional)
#define MMA7455_XOFFL 0x10      // Read/Write, Offset Drift X LSB
#define MMA7455_XOFFH 0x11      // Read/Write, Offset Drift X MSB
#define MMA7455_YOFFL 0x12      // Read/Write, Offset Drift Y LSB
#define MMA7455_YOFFH 0x13      // Read/Write, Offset Drift Y MSB
#define MMA7455_ZOFFL 0x14      // Read/Write, Offset Drift Z LSB
#define MMA7455_ZOFFH 0x15      // Read/Write, Offset Drift Z MSB
#define MMA7455_MCTL 0x16       // Read/Write, Mode Control Register
#define MMA7455_INTRST 0x17     // Read/Write, Interrupt Latch Reset
#define MMA7455_CTL1 0x18       // Read/Write, Control 1 Register
#define MMA7455_CTL2 0x19       // Read/Write, Control 2 Register
#define MMA7455_LDTH 0x1A       // Read/Write, Level Detection Threshold Limit Value
#define MMA7455_PDTH 0x1B       // Read/Write, Pulse Detection Threshold Limit Value
#define MMA7455_PD 0x1C         // Read/Write, Pulse Duration Value
#define MMA7455_LT 0x1D         // Read/Write, Latency Time Value (between pulses)
#define MMA7455_TW 0x1E         // Read/Write, Time Window for Second Pulse Value
#define MMA7455_RESERVED2 0x1F  // Reserved

// Defines for the bits, to be able to change
// between bit number and binary definition.
// By using the bit number, programming the MMA7455
// is like programming an AVR microcontroller.
// But instead of using "(1<<X)", or "_BV(X)",
// the Arduino "bit(X)" is used.
#define MMA7455_D0 0
#define MMA7455_D1 1
#define MMA7455_D2 2
#define MMA7455_D3 3
#define MMA7455_D4 4
#define MMA7455_D5 5
#define MMA7455_D6 6
#define MMA7455_D7 7

// Status Register
#define MMA7455_DRDY MMA7455_D0
#define MMA7455_DOVR MMA7455_D1
#define MMA7455_PERR MMA7455_D2

// Mode Control Register
#define MMA7455_MODE0 MMA7455_D0
#define MMA7455_MODE1 MMA7455_D1
#define MMA7455_GLVL0 MMA7455_D2
#define MMA7455_GLVL1 MMA7455_D3
#define MMA7455_STON MMA7455_D4
#define MMA7455_SPI3W MMA7455_D5
#define MMA7455_DRPD MMA7455_D6

// Control 1 Register
#define MMA7455_INTPIN MMA7455_D0
#define MMA7455_INTREG0 MMA7455_D1
#define MMA7455_INTREG1 MMA7455_D2
#define MMA7455_XDA MMA7455_D3
#define MMA7455_YDA MMA7455_D4
#define MMA7455_ZDA MMA7455_D5
#define MMA7455_THOPT MMA7455_D6
#define MMA7455_DFBW MMA7455_D7

// Control 2 Register
#define MMA7455_LDPL MMA7455_D0
#define MMA7455_PDPL MMA7455_D1
#define MMA7455_DRVO MMA7455_D2

// Interrupt Latch Reset Register
#define MMA7455_CLR_INT1 MMA7455_D0
#define MMA7455_CLR_INT2 MMA7455_D1

// Detection Source Register
#define MMA7455_INT1 MMA7455_D0
#define MMA7455_INT2 MMA7455_D1
#define MMA7455_PDZ MMA7455_D2
#define MMA7455_PDY MMA7455_D3
#define MMA7455_PDX MMA7455_D4
#define MMA7455_LDZ MMA7455_D5
#define MMA7455_LDY MMA7455_D6
#define MMA7455_LDX MMA7455_D7

// I2C Device Address Register
#define MMA7455_I2CDIS MMA7455_D7

// Default I2C address for the MMA7455
#define MMA7455_I2C_ADDRESS 0x1D

// When using an union for the registers and
// the axis values, the byte order of the accelerometer
// should match the byte order of the compiler and AVR chip.
// Both have the lower byte at the lower address,
// so they match.
// This union is only used by the low level functions.
typedef union xyz_union
    uint8_t x_lsb;
    uint8_t x_msb;
    uint8_t y_lsb;
    uint8_t y_msb;
    uint8_t z_lsb;
    uint8_t z_msb;
  } reg;
    uint16_t x;
    uint16_t y;
    uint16_t z;
  } value;

  int led = 13;

void setup()
  int error;
  uint8_t c;

  Serial.println("Freescale MMA7455 accelerometer");
  Serial.println("May 2012");

  // Initialize the 'Wire' class for I2C-bus communication.

  // Initialize the MMA7455, and set the offset.
  error = MMA7455_init();
  if (error == 0)
    Serial.println("The MMA7455 is okay");
    Serial.println("Check your wiring !");

  // Read the Status Register
  MMA7455_read(MMA7455_STATUS, &c, 1);
  Serial.print("STATUS : ");

  // Read the "Who am I" value
  MMA7455_read(MMA7455_WHOAMI, &c, 1);
  Serial.print("WHOAMI : ");

  // Read the optional temperature output value (I always read zero)
  MMA7455_read(MMA7455_TOUT, &c, 1);
  Serial.print("TOUT : ");
    pinMode(led, OUTPUT);

void loop()
  uint16_t x,y,z, error;
  double dX,dY,dZ;

  // The function MMA7455_xyz returns the 'g'-force
  // as an integer in 64 per 'g'.

  // set x,y,z to zero (they are not written in case of an error).
  x = y = z = 0;
  error = MMA7455_xyz(&x, &y, &z); // get the accelerometer values.

  dX = (int16_t) x / 64.0;          // calculate the 'g' values.
  dY = (int16_t) y / 64.0;
  dZ = (int16_t) z / 64.0;

  Serial.print("error = ");
  Serial.print(error, DEC);
  Serial.print(", xyz g-forces = ");
  Serial.print(dX, 3);
  Serial.print(", ");
  Serial.print(dY, 3);
  Serial.print(", ");
  Serial.print(dZ, 3);

  if (dZ < 0.8)
      digitalWrite(led, HIGH);   // turn the LED on (HIGH is the voltage level)
    digitalWrite(led, LOW);    // turn the LED off by making the voltage LOW


// --------------------------------------------------------
// MMA7455_init
// Initialize the MMA7455.
// Set also the offset, assuming that the accelerometer is
// in flat horizontal position.
// Important notes about the offset:
//    The sensor has internal registers to set an offset.
//    But the offset could also be calculated by software.
//    This function uses the internal offset registers
//    of the sensor.
//    That turned out to be bad idea, since setting the
//    offset alters the actual offset of the sensor.
//    A second offset calculation had to be implemented
//    to fine tune the offset.
//    Using software variables for the offset would be
//    much better.
//    The offset is influenced by the slightest vibration
//    (like a computer on the table).
int MMA7455_init(void)
  uint16_t x, y, z;
  int error;
  xyz_union xyz;
  uint8_t c1, c2;

  // Initialize the sensor
  // Sensitivity:
  //    2g : GLVL0
  //    4g : GLVL1
  //    8g : GLVL1 | GLVL0
  // Mode:
  //    Standby         : 0
  //    Measurement     : MODE0
  //    Level Detection : MODE1
  //    Pulse Detection : MODE1 | MODE0
  // There was no need to add functions to write and read
  // a single byte. So only the two functions to write
  // and read multiple bytes are used.

  // Set mode for "2g sensitivity" and "Measurement Mode".
  c1 = bit(MMA7455_GLVL0) | bit(MMA7455_MODE0);
  error = MMA7455_write(MMA7455_MCTL, &c1, 1);
  if (error != 0)
    return (error);

  // Read it back, to test the sensor and communication.
  error = MMA7455_read(MMA7455_MCTL, &c2, 1);
  if (error != 0)
    return (error);

  if (c1 != c2)
    return (-99);

  // Clear the offset registers.
  // If the Arduino was reset or with a warm-boot,
  // there still could be offset written in the sensor.
  // Only with power-up the offset values of the sensor
  // are zero.
  xyz.value.x = xyz.value.y = xyz.value.z = 0;
  error = MMA7455_write(MMA7455_XOFFL, (uint8_t *) &xyz, 6);
  if (error != 0)
    return (error);

  // The mode has just been set, and the sensor is activated.
  // To get a valid reading, wait some time.


  // Calcuate the offset.
  // The values are 16-bits signed integers, but the sensor
  // uses offsets of 11-bits signed integers.
  // However that is not a problem,
  // as long as the value is within the range.

  // Assuming that the sensor is flat horizontal,
  // the 'z'-axis should be 1 'g'. And 1 'g' is
  // a value of 64 (if the 2g most sensitive setting
  // is used).  
  // Note that the actual written value should be doubled
  // for this sensor.

  error = MMA7455_xyz (&x, &y, &z); // get the x,y,z values
  if (error != 0)
    return (error);

  xyz.value.x = 2 * -x;        // The sensor wants double values.
  xyz.value.y = 2 * -y;
  xyz.value.z = 2 * -(z-64);   // 64 is for 1 'g' for z-axis.

  error = MMA7455_write(MMA7455_XOFFL, (uint8_t *) &xyz, 6);
  if (error != 0)
    return (error);

  // The offset has been set, and everything should be okay.
  // But by setting the offset, the offset of the sensor
  // changes.
  // A second offset calculation has to be done after
  // a short delay, to compensate for that.

  error = MMA7455_xyz (&x, &y, &z);    // get te x,y,z values again
  if (error != 0)
    return (error);

  xyz.value.x += 2 * -x;       // add to previous value
  xyz.value.y += 2 * -y;
  xyz.value.z += 2 * -(z-64);  // 64 is for 1 'g' for z-axis.

  // Write the offset for a second time.
  // This time the offset is fine tuned.
  error = MMA7455_write(MMA7455_XOFFL, (uint8_t *) &xyz, 6);
  if (error != 0)
    return (error);


  return (0);          // return : no error

// --------------------------------------------------------
// MMA7455_xyz
// Get the 'g' forces.
// The values are with integers as 64 per 'g'.
int MMA7455_xyz( uint16_t *pX, uint16_t *pY, uint16_t *pZ)
  xyz_union xyz;
  int error;
  uint8_t c;

  // Wait for status bit DRDY to indicate that
  // all 3 axis are valid.
    error = MMA7455_read (MMA7455_STATUS, &c, 1);
  } while ( !bitRead(c, MMA7455_DRDY) && error == 0);
  if (error != 0)
    return (error);

  // Read 6 bytes, containing the X,Y,Z information
  // as 10-bit signed integers.
  error = MMA7455_read (MMA7455_XOUTL, (uint8_t *) &xyz, 6);
  if (error != 0)
    return (error);

  // The output is 10-bits and could be negative.
  // To use the output as a 16-bit signed integer,
  // the sign bit (bit 9) is extended for the 16 bits.
  if (xyz.reg.x_msb & 0x02)    // Bit 9 is sign bit.
    xyz.reg.x_msb |= 0xFC;     // Stretch bit 9 over other bits.
    xyz.reg.x_msb &= 0x3;

  if (xyz.reg.y_msb & 0x02)
    xyz.reg.y_msb |= 0xFC;
    xyz.reg.y_msb &= 0x3;

  if (xyz.reg.z_msb & 0x02)
    xyz.reg.z_msb |= 0xFC;
    xyz.reg.z_msb &= 0x3;

  // The result is the g-force in units of 64 per 'g'.
  *pX = xyz.value.x;
  *pY = xyz.value.y;
  *pZ = xyz.value.z;

  return (0);                  // return : no error

// --------------------------------------------------------
// MMA7455_read
// This is a common function to read multiple bytes
// from an I2C device.
// It uses the boolean parameter for Wire.endTransMission()
// to be able to hold or release the I2C-bus.
// This is implemented in Arduino 1.0.1.
// Only this function is used to read.
// There is no function for a single byte.
int MMA7455_read(int start, uint8_t *buffer, int size)
  int i, n, error;

  n = Wire.write(start);
  if (n != 1)
    return (-10);

  n = Wire.endTransmission(false); // hold the I2C-bus
  if (n != 0)
    return (n);

  // Third parameter is true: relase I2C-bus after data is read.
  Wire.requestFrom(MMA7455_I2C_ADDRESS, size, true);
  i = 0;
  while(Wire.available() && i<size)
  if ( i != size)
    return (-11);

  return (0);                  // return : no error

// --------------------------------------------------------
// MMA7455_write
// This is a common function to write multiple bytes
// to an I2C device.
// Only this function is used to write.
// There is no function for a single byte.
int MMA7455_write(int start, const uint8_t *pData, int size)
  int n, error;

  n = Wire.write(start);        // write the start address
  if (n != 1)
    return (-20);

  n = Wire.write(pData, size);  // write data bytes
  if (n != size)
    return (-21);

  error = Wire.endTransmission(true); // release the I2C-bus
  if (error != 0)
    return (error);

  return (0);                   // return : no error