I am conducting an experiment where I would like to use a home-made strain gauge based load cell to measure dynamic loads.
Here is my hardware:
Strain Gauges -> Wheatstone bridge -> A/D Converter (ATMEGA48) -> UART -> RS232 -> Laptop computer
This setup works well, but I would like to go back and improve the system so that I can get better resolution. Currently at full scale I am reading only 86 mV off my wheatstone bridge. My current plan is to use a MAX4194 instrumentation amplifier to get more resolution. How ever for this to have any positive effect I need to reduce the 5 mV p-p of noise that I am reading on my ADC. 5 mV is tolerable for my application but it would be nice if their was an easy way to reduce this.
Currently I am not doing much to manage noise:
1) Power is supplied by batteries so no 60 Hz
2) 20 uF cap (ceramic thru-hole) at vcc and 20 uF at AREF pin.
3) Vcc and AVcc are straight connected
I am guessing that I will get the best improvement by adding a 10 uH inductor as recommended in the datasheet.
What do you think is the best way to reduce noise for the least effort/time?