I am writing a function

void Sound_Play(int frequency,int millisec)

A part of this function is:

  counting=(millisec*frequency/1000);  //counting is type int
  Serial.println((String)"millisec="+millisec+" frequency="+frequency+" (millisec*frequency/1000)="+(millisec*frequency/1000)+" counting set to="+counting);

But when I call the function with millisec=500 and frequency=220, the result on the Serial Monitor is:

millisec=500 frequency=220 (millisec*frequency/1000)=-21 counting set to=-21

Shouldn't counting should be 110 instead.I tried casting the result to int but in vain. What am I doing wrong and how to correct it? Thanks! Bhuvnesh

1 Answer 1


Once again an example to Why should I learn C/C++ first before learning Arduino.
The main point here is: know your data types.

Your calculation millisec*frequency/1000 would work if it was a compile time constant that is evaluated by the pre processor. In any other case this is a runtime value and so the limitations of the datatype apply.

Unless stated otherwise I assume your variables millisec, frequency and counting are of type int. int has a platform specific width. On Arduino this is 16-bit. (Other platforms have other widths)

It is also signed, that is why it can hold values between -32768 and 32767. You calculation millisec*frequency evaluates to 500 * 220 = 110000 which is many times larger than the value that can be represented.

You can do two things:

  • Use long which is 32-bit on Arduino. But actually I'd prefer to use a type with an obvious width. As you don't seem to need negative values I'd prefer uint32_t.

  • If milliseconds is a constant, you can make it smarter by reducing your calculation to a division by two (or better a single right shift).

  • Thankyou for your Answer. I was a bit distracted could not see the fact that you mentioned. Changing millisec and frequency to type long solved the issue
    – Bhuvnesh
    Aug 12, 2019 at 8:58
  • 1
    You forgot the negative sign in the range for int. Otherwise great answer. Upvote
    – chrisl
    Aug 12, 2019 at 12:47

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