Tag Archives: sensor

Ultrasonic sensor comparison: HC-SR04, PING, Maxbotix

For many projects You will need to measure distance, let’s say You are building a robot and You don’t want to have it bouncing on the walls, aren’t You? One of the first ideas to get some orientation in surroundings is to use ultrasonic range sensor. We took three different sensors and do some basic checks to do ultrasonic sensor comparison.  Which one could be best for Your project?

Ultrasonic sensor comparison

Ultrasonic sensor comparison

We did tested: Seeedstudio SEN136B5B, HC-SR04 and MaxBotix MaxSonar EZ1 (MB1010).

How ultrasonic sensor does work? They are built from sound source and receiver – both can be separate devices or single one. Maxbotix has both integrated into one case, while two other sensor have separate sound source and receiver. Sound source emits sound impulse in ultrasonic range (usually 32 kHz) and receivers listens for echo. Knowing how fast sound is in air, from time we get an echo we can calculate how far from sensor object is located.

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Hall effect sensor

Hall effect sensor is a sensor utilizing the Hall effect to measure magnetic field. Briefly speaking, it’s about diference in voltage charges within a conductor placed in magnetic field.

CS3144E available in Nettigo store is a Hall effect sensor in TO-92UA package. It consists of voltage regulator, Hall voltage generator, differential amplifier and Schmitt trigger. The output is open-colector type.

Internal sensor’s structure:

Internal sensor's structure

And it looks like the following:
Sensor's pinout

Don’t bother about the markings – it’s totally different device, but the package is the same. I’m just not able to make a decent photo in macroscale ;) Of course, the terminal no. 1 is the first from the left, when looking at the package from the marked side.
The sensor gives two voltage values on its output: VOH, near to the supply voltage and VOL, near to zero. High value appears on the output when it’s no magnetic field. To be more accurate, when the field around our sensor is to weak to exceed the threshold value. When the field strength will increase enough, the output voltage will fall hardly to zero. It will return to the previos state only when the field strength will become lower, and the threshold value for

L->H change is lower than for H->L. To illustrate this – a graph:

Output voltage change

Such a output voltage levels are so called hysteresis. And why there’s no single threshold value? In this case, when the field strength is near threshold
value, output voltage switches rapidly between high and low states.

With two threshold values, there is no problem – when magnetic field reaches BOP value, output switches from high to low state. It changes in the opposite direction only when the field reaches BHP value, which is lower than BOP.

Thanks to this, there is no blinking effect, which would appear when the switching is performed independently from the direction.

Simplest aplication

Of course, the Hall effect sensor has many sophiscated applications, for example in a rpm meter, but I’ll show the simplest one – turning a LED diode on and off with a magnet.

The sensor gives two voltage levels on its output, so the best solution is to wire it up to one of Arduino’s digital pins. To do this we must, as usual, declare the pin as input in setup() function entering:

pinMode(hallPin, INPUT)

where hallPin means the digital pin number – I chose 8. Another thing to do is to pull it up using internal resistor. In other case, the input will remain unconnected and receive interferences, which will result with the diode blinking in a random way. So, immediately after the previous line, we are adding:

digitalWrite(hallPin, HIGH);

As a output we choose another digital pin. The best is 13th, because most Arduino models have internal LED diode connected there. The rest of the code rather doesn’t need any comments – the input is read in a loop and the output is set according to its value. The whole program code is here:

const int hallPin = 8;
const int ledPin = 13;

int hallState = 0;

void setup(){
  pinMode(hallPin, INPUT);
  pinMode(ledPin, OUTPUT);
  digitalWrite(hallPin, HIGH);
}

void loop(){
  hallState = digitalRead(hallPin);

  if (hallState == HIGH){
    digitalWrite(ledPin, LOW);
  }
  else{
    digitalWrite(ledPin, HIGH);
  }
}

Connection diagram (just in case – there’s rather no vaguenesses):

Connection diagram

External LED diode is optional, unless our Arduino has a built-in one. In the other case it should be connected, as shown. A resistor limiting the current can be safely omitted.

This is how an assembled circuit looks:

Assembled circuit

And it works in this way.

As you can see, I tried two different magnets and the difference in range is clearly visible. Unfortunately, I hadn’t any neodymium magnet, but I suppose the sensor would react from farther distance.