Picture of Arduino Ultrasonic
     For my first instructable, I'd like to present The Parking Spotter. This is not a new concept, I know. However, this build was done specifically to suit my needs/wants/materials already in my possession. Typically, a project begins with an idea, parts are then gathered, and the building commences. In my case I looked around at the parts and material that I had on-hand, browsed Instructables (a daily occurrence), and found inspiration from others. I shouldn't fail to mention the site of wooden saw horses in front of my sister-in-laws $30k car to protect the $200 bicycle!! So, let's dive in!

BOM (bill of materials):

* Arduino Uno, clone (Freeduino, etc.), compatible (Perfboard Arduino, etc.)
* SRF04 Ultrasonic Ranging Sensor
* (8) 5mm LED's for indicator lights (I used red, yellow, and green for this project; but you can use whatever colors you would like)
* (4) Appropriate resistors for your LED's (I used 100 Ohm for red & yellow, and 82 Ohm for green)
* (9) LED holders of your choosing (I used LED Holder Model:276-079 for the indicator lights, and LED Holder Model:276-080 for the power indicator/pathway light)
* (1)Power-On/Walkway 5mm LED & resistor(for pathway illumination in front of your car)
* SPST switch (power)
* Power source - I used a wall wart with 7.4v DC output because, well, I had one on my bench. You can use a 9v battery & battery clip. I just don't want to mess with batteries.
* Wire
* Heat-shrink tubing and/or electrical tape
* An enclosure (I used the plastic 4" x 6" enclosure from Radio Shack)
**     Optional:
     * One row of (5) male header pins
      *Hook-up wire with female connectors: (5) for the LED's & (4) for the sensor
* PCB standoffs
* cyanoacrylate (super glue, finger nail glue)


Soldering iron, solder & fume extractor
Drill or drill-press
Appropriate drill bit for your LED holders
5/8" drill bit for the sensor holes
Screwdriver for the enclosure
And, anything that you feel you need to make your task easier.

I am going to assume that you are, at least, familiar with the Arduino development platform. If you are not, I suggest visiting the Arduino homepage. Study the hardware and software. Learn the basics. Build some circuits (actually, this could be your first! It's not that hard!) When you have reached that point, learn more! I've been learning this stuff on my own with TONS of help from the wealth of information on the Arduino site, great Instructables members and the web in general.
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Raphango11 months ago
Great ible man!
AptPupil (author)  Raphango11 months ago
Mihos1 year ago
I made something almost exactly like this a few months back, but added a motion sensor so that would sleep until I needed it. I used the 'green, yellow, red' LED method some others mentioned here as well.
AptPupil (author)  Mihos1 year ago
Cool. I've thought about adding motion to it in that way as well. Been to busy lately, though.
da831 year ago
Thanks alot for giving the files together in Zip file. hope others do the same.
kmarriott1 year ago
If you go to you will find everything you need to know! I am a backer of this Kickstarter project. You went to the wrong site they changed it a few weeks back. All the smARtMAKER products connect together by a bus system, there are a whack load of sensors and cpu's all Arduino compatible written in Arduino code but much easier to use. I backed this project the 1st day I seen it. Let me know what you think! I'm looking for Ideas for new projects to do with this system.
kmarriott1 year ago
This is going to be a good project with my smARtCORE U
AptPupil (author)  kmarriott1 year ago
I spent the last 45 minutes checking it out at smARtDUINO – Do it yellow… , as well as, your Kickstarter page. Wish I had seen it in Nov.! Very cool!! I'd like more info. on your products. I'm not sure as to the method of connecting, for example, the ultrasonic sensor. Solder? Plug? Can you post a link to more info? Are you developing your own line of smARTsensors to plug in like your other pieces? I am intrigued!!

BTW, I am glad you like my project!!

Very nice construction technique ...great job!
AptPupil (author)  Build_it_Bob1 year ago
Thanks Bob!
Chinasaur1 year ago
I remember someone posting something like this; he pointed out that you can get salvage ultrasonic rangers from auto scrapyards for very cheap. Obviously more involved to get it wired up, but if you want to cut BoM costs maybe look into it.
AptPupil (author)  Chinasaur1 year ago
Chinasaur, I actually got mine on Ebay for about $2US. I just won another bid - (2) for $4.35US with free shipping. I've read that there are more accurate ultrasonic sensors available, and maybe you can find one of those. That is a very cool idea. However, I'll probably just stick with these.
BTW, I like the name!


Gelfling61 year ago
One of my first projects, with the Arduino, was such as this, but a little less equipment.. I do like the dedicated case & extra LED's though.. the one I concepted, used just a 3 LED's, 1 each red, yellow, & green.. the concept was as soon as you got within 6 feet, it would turn on the green LED, less than 4 feet it would change to the yellow, then 2 feet the red.. Anything closer than 1 foot, all three would flash rapidly. Never got too far on it, though.. Very good design!
cawerBR1 year ago
Great idea! I will try to adapt using a buzzer to indicate how close the car is in addition to leds. This will make easier to reverse parking. Thanks for sharing. My father in law will love this device.
tolstoyan1 year ago
hi, im louie from the philippines, i am interested on doing your project, i am a beginner on the arduino and your atmega 168 is just an IC, may i ask, how will you burn the code into your IC what tool will you use?
by the way this is so cool that's why i want to build it :)
on the actual picture of your prototype you use 6 capacitor while in your schematic diagram you only use 5 capacitor? im confused on the missing capacitor and where to place it, and also what is its value. i also open the ArduinoParkingSpot.fzz in fritzing and it open, i also find out that it also has 1 capacitor missing. i hope you will respond on my query because i seriously want to try this project :)
by the way very great project
AptPupil (author)  tolstoyan1 year ago
Tolstoyan: Good eye. I forgot to add the 100nf capacitor to the breadboarded picture (Fritzing layout). If you follow the instructable mentioned in the intro (Perfboard Hackduino (Arduino-compatible circuit) by jmsaavedra) to build your circuit &/or look at the breadboard overlay, you will see that it goes to both chip-pins 7 & 8. It is part of the Arduino circuit. If you are using a pre-built board (Arduino Uno, Freeduino, etc), you don't need to worry. It's alraedy there. I'm not exactly sure what it does in the circuit. Someone else may be able to answer that. I will fix that a.s.a.p.

if i am going to use a arduino uno all i need to buy is the proximity sensor, LED's and its resistor?. is the pin configuration of the ( is the same with the arduino uno? can you provide me a schematic diagram of it using an arduino uno? im worried on which pin to put in each pin, because im a beginner and im not really an arduino jockey. hope you can understand THANKS :)
AptPupil (author)  tolstoyan1 year ago
Hi Louie. Thanks for viewing & the comment! To answer your question, there are several ways to program your chip. I have an Arduino Uno & ATMega 2560. I uploaded the sketch to an ATMega 328 with bootloader while it was in the Uno board. Then I extracted the chip & placed it into the IC socket on the Perfboard Arduino (step 11 of the Perfboard Arduino 'Ible mentioned) . Here is another method that I've used before, shown on the site: From Arduino to a Microcontroller on a Breadboard. There are programmers. Many more options to program an ATMega 328 chip. Browse, and you shall find. :)

Let me know how your project turns out!

Thanks again,

danny591 year ago
Your Instructable is very Good. I'm in the process of designing one for my wife's car, but instead of starting from scratch, I believe I'll be using your concept. For just starting out in electronics you are very good at it. I have been teaching myself the hobby for the past two years, and people like yourself and all the others on this site have been invaluable in my learning process.
Thank you.
AptPupil (author)  danny591 year ago
Thank you so much for the kind words!! Let me know how yours turns out.

"others on this site have been invaluable in my learning process"

I couldn't have said it better myself!!

You are welcome, and keep on having fun.
Great instructable! I have a pair of these ultrasonic sensors, I've to try to make this parking spotter.
AptPupil (author)  andrea biffi1 year ago
Thanks!! Let me know how it turns out!
Thiso1 year ago
wouldn't it be possible to integrate it in your car in the rear bumper? Perhaps extend to use 4 sensors?
AptPupil (author)  Thiso1 year ago
Great idea. Here's one. This guy has great knowledge and Instructables! Arduino reverse obstacle sensor for cars by liudr
mooster1 year ago
I have a tennis ball on a string in our garage, and that's fine for my purposes, but we really need something like this in public parking areas. They could sound an embarrassing alarm if anyone takes up more than one parking space, or in paid garages, perhaps they could send a signal to the check-out that will result in the person being charged double. Great!
AptPupil (author)  mooster1 year ago
Great ideas! In the meantime, check this out.
Kiteman1 year ago
I assume this fastens to the garage wall?
AptPupil (author)  Kiteman1 year ago
Thanks. I've updated the final step to say that it is to be installed on the garage wall.
AptPupil (author)  Kiteman1 year ago
Yes! Sorry. It attaches to the garage wall, which makes it stationary. This is not meant to be attached a vehicle.