Hello guys! In this instructable I'll teach you how to make a very simple proximity sensor using infrared LEDs and Arduino.
After several times trying to optimize it, I finally came up with something that is quite simple e precise. Just like my first instructable, this project is perfect for beginners in the arduino's world, with a few components anyone can make it. I hope you all enjoy it.

Step 1: Materials

For this instructable you are gonna need:
- Arduino
- 1 IR LED receiver (photodiode with 2 pins, not the phototransistor with 3 pins)
- IR LED emitters (as much as you can get, but at least 2)
- 100K resistor (brown black yellow)
- Jumper wires
- Breadboard
- Electrical tape
- Buzzer(optional)

Be careful to don't mix up the LED receiver with the LED emitter, they all look the same.
<p>This Is the code with the buzzer working!!</p><p>int IRpin = A0; // IR photodiode on analog pin A0<br>int IRemitter = 2; // IR emitter LED on digital pin 2<br>int ambientIR; // variable to store the IR coming from the ambient<br>int obstacleIR; // variable to store the IR coming from the object<br>int value[10]; // variable to store the IR values<br>int distance; // variable that will tell if there is an obstacle or not<br><br>void setup(){<br> Serial.begin(9600); // initializing Serial monitor<br> pinMode(IRemitter,OUTPUT); // IR emitter LED on digital pin 2<br> digitalWrite(IRemitter,LOW);// setup IR LED as off<br> pinMode(11,OUTPUT); // buzzer in digital pin 11<br>}<br><br>void loop(){<br> distance = readIR(5); // calling the function that will read the distance and passing the &quot;accuracy&quot; to it<br> Serial.println(distance); // writing the read value on Serial monitor<br> buzzer(); // uncomment to activate the buzzer function<br>}<br><br>int readIR(int times){<br> for(int x=0;x&lt;times;x++){<br> digitalWrite(IRemitter,LOW); //turning the IR LEDs off to read the IR coming from the ambient<br> delay(1); // minimum delay necessary to read values<br> ambientIR = analogRead(IRpin); // storing IR coming from the ambient<br> digitalWrite(IRemitter,HIGH); //turning the IR LEDs on to read the IR coming from the obstacle<br> delay(1); // minimum delay necessary to read values<br> obstacleIR = analogRead(IRpin); // storing IR coming from the obstacle<br> value[x] = ambientIR-obstacleIR; // calculating changes in IR values and storing it for future average<br> }<br> <br> for(int x=0;x&lt;times;x++){ // calculating the average based on the &quot;accuracy&quot;<br> distance+=value[x];<br> }<br> return(distance/times); // return the final value<br>}<br><br><br>//-- Function to sound a buzzer for audible measurements --//<br>void buzzer(){<br> if (distance&gt;1){<br> if(distance&gt;100){ // continuous sound if the obstacle is too close<br> digitalWrite(11,HIGH);<br> }<br> else{ // bips faster when an obstacle approaches<br> digitalWrite(11,HIGH);<br> delay(150-distance); // adjust this value for your convenience<br> digitalWrite(11,LOW);<br> delay(150-distance); // adjust this value for your convenience<br> }<br> }<br> else{ // off if there is no obstacle<br> digitalWrite(11,LOW);<br> }<br>}</p>
Update:The buzzer work but is always on...it isnt giving beeps as in the video...??
I made the project...But the buzzer isnt working..plz help
<p>Very low range At least for me and the photo diode is reverse biased</p>
I think there is some error in schematic ...... I think that the reverse bias should be added to photodiode ( IR LED Receiver) and not forward bias. I connected up with forward bias and could not get any reading. I have even triple checked my arduino's analog input pins. Mostly at many other IR sensor tutorials and schematic it is reversed biased. I think Arduino is not sensitive to voltage changes in forward bias. Please double check your schematic and your project.
<p>i her you but i dont understand where you see a issue? can you post a quick pencil sketch pic of the proposal diagram of the renewed schematic? thanks </p>
<p>Thanks for the very good example and the error logs in this posts. Keep up the good work. I will try to move brushless motors through ESCs by using IR proximity sensors (probably 2). I will post the example when I'm done.</p><p>Cheers</p>
<p>did you ever got this esc and motors done?&gt; </p>
<p>Yeah, actually the vast majority of the IR sensors are supposed to be reverse biased, and forward biasing them would create almost the same effect of a normal IR emitter, and sometimes it may even burn the diode.</p>
I have been faced to the same problem. My ir receiver didn't worked in forward (I have tried with different bipolar IR receiver) but it nicely works on reverse bias. Like you said the arduino wasn't sensible in forward. Your comment help me much. Thank you @mgupta15
<p>why 4 ir's emitters ? why not just 1 if is only going to be in a upwards direction? or any direction really this works by reflecting of waves coming back from a object in proximity and waves expands like water ripples so why 4? </p>
<p>Hello, nice work for putting this together, I'm wondering if there's a possibility to replace the buzzer for a servo, I'm trying to make an IR proximity sensor that moves the servo depending on the distance but I can't figure it out yet, any help will be very much appreciated!</p>
<p>The output of the IR sensor is Vcd at certain level which in this case Ricardo is sending it to OutPin11 &quot;pinMode(11,OUTPUT); // buzzer in digital pin 11&quot;</p><p>When the voltage is too low you won't be able to move your servo but with this same output you could move it to a certain extent. Im gonna try this approach for a prototype but I will connect the output of the micro controller to an ESC and a brushless motor. Before I do that I will try it on a servo because I will be using a similar code in the ESC. </p><p><strong>SOLUTION:</strong></p><p>Have you tried just plugging the servo control signal to pin 11 and making the changes in the code using the example on arduino's webpage and replacing the pot for the IR output? <em>See images attached and weblinks...</em></p><em><strong>This webpage shows what you are attempting exactly to do but with IR integrated sensors. SHARP </strong>brand (see image 3)</em><a href="http://electronics.stackexchange.com/questions/59467/sharp-ir-distance-sensor-outputting-consistently-high-voltage" rel="nofollow"><strong>http://electronics.stackexchange.com/questions/594...</strong></a><p>Arduino's forum for servo control:</p><p><a href="http://playground.arduino.cc/Learning/SingleServoExample" rel="nofollow">http://playground.arduino.cc/Learning/SingleServoE...</a></p><p><strong>Important: You will have to make some changes to the code posted in Ricardo's example and combining it with what the servo needs. </strong></p><p>Let me know how it goes? I will have my code in about a week. I am using a SHARP IR sensor instead due to the application but it is the same principle.</p><p>Cheers, I hope everything works. Otherwise do not hesitate to contact me.</p><p><em><strong>IMAGES ARE NOT MINE. CREDIT TO THE REFERENCES.</strong></em></p>
<p>there are 2 green wires in which pin did u insert it </p>
What does 150-distance mean? Help!
The value 150 he imposed as a &quot;threshold&quot;, where the &quot;beeps&quot; from the buzzer will repeat at decreasing rates, since the distance(variable) will get higher(because the object is getting close) providing the distance variable value to be inversely proportional to the real, physical distance measure.
<p>on line 55 and 57, I am wondering what happened more than 151 negative number of distance? if 150 - 151(151 is convert distance number) will be negative 1. because it said delay(150 - distance); , so will it work if delay(-1) function? </p><p>here example code...</p><p>```</p><p>void buzzer(){</p><p> if (distance&gt;1){</p><p> if(distance&gt;100){ // continuous sound if the obstacle is too close</p><p> digitalWrite(11,HIGH);</p><p> }</p><p> else{ // beeps faster when an obstacle approaches</p><p> digitalWrite(11,HIGH);</p><p> delay(150-distance); // adjust this value for your convenience</p><p> digitalWrite(11,LOW);</p><p> delay(150-distance); // adjust this value for your convenience</p><p> }</p><p> }</p><p> else{ // off if there is no obstacle</p><p> digitalWrite(11,LOW);</p><p> }</p><p>}</p><p>```</p>
<p>any ideas on how to get this to work in the raspberry</p>
<p>Hello, i followed every step of your tutorial, but i get values raging from -5 to -6. I have made sure that every component is okay and working.Do you have any idea why i get this values and how to fix it.</p><p>P.S. I did disconnect the IR leds and the IR receiver(the photodiode) and then i am getting 0 as a value.Which means that the leds and the IR receiver work...?</p>
<p>Where do you recommend buying the IR LED receiver and multiple IR LED emitters? All the electronic parts shops I've talked to only sell them in pairs so I can't get more than one emitter at a time.</p>
<p>I've been doing this with on IR Transmitter but it isn't working</p>
<p>am trying this code...but in my project i connected buzzer ...and the problem is no voltage at pin 11...bcoz of that buzzer is not genrated sound..wt can i do???Please help me.</p>
look at my comment in this post, would you? ;)
I am done making it successfully, Alhamdulillah!<br><br>I am seeing a lot of people planning that instead of buzzer if you use an led, it doesn't blink. It's because you haven't done the following,<br>&quot; Clear The Double Slash to Make the Function Call Uncommented in the Last Line within the Void Loop&quot;.<br><br>Even if you used a buzzer, it wouldnt work if you haven't uncommented the following.
<p>Hi, your setup works great! However, I want to change it to a setup where the receiver and transmitter are disconnected from each other. That is: I will need 2 arduino's. For a correct setup I need to know at what frequency the receiver and transmitter LED's are flashing. How to find this frequency? </p>
<p>Good one. It can be used to sense distance and adjust value in code,where as if an IR Receiving IC is used it can only give ON or OFF state </p>
<p>HEAT SHRINK TUBING MAY be used instead of the tape tube</p>
<p>Would it make sense to switch off the LEDs in your code after checking the distance. The current code only switches them off momentarily. Considering that you're not using any current limiting resistors - the LEDs could get damaged.</p>
<p>everything works fine .........but in the serial monitor i can see some negative values coming up randomly.......which make my LED go crazy sometimes even in a static position(i used an LED instead of a buzzer).......i fixed it......but i wanted to know why was it happening .....????</p>
<p>Works like a charm. Thanks</p>
<p>does itwork with a phototransistor?</p>
<p>Is there a way I could extend the range some how? Awesome project by the way! I'd like to make a Laser Guitar (like a Laser Harp) and I play to use something along these lines for the distance sensing, can any one help me?</p>
<p>we are trying to use a photo diode with for our project which is fire fighting robot with two continuous servo and one castor wheel but it does not work can you help us</p>
<p>Sure!</p><p>What is the problem? Have you tried using the Serial Monitor for debugging?</p><p>If you are using it outside, the sunlight may cause it to not work properly. The fire may cause it too.</p>
Great sensor Mr Ricardo! I really enjoyed making it and even used it to create a gesture controlled LED cube. Check it out......but forgive the bad lighting in the vid.<br> <br> <a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LADpkeqRgic" rel="nofollow">http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LADpkeqRgic</a><br>
<p>Thank you! Excellent project you have made!</p>
Can ANYONE help me please. I have the project ALMOST running. The problem for me is that when i give the microcontroller power and burn the program to it it does absolutely nothing. But when i touch the cable that goes from A0 to the board it comes on. Why is that? Please help me.
I ran into the same issue for awhile, and it turns out I had the anode/cathode wires for the receiver mixed up. I flipped it around and it worked prefectly.
Probably you are using the resistor after the IR LED receiver, I recomend you to look up carefully the schematic and follows as it is, and check if all the wires are well fixed.
Specifically, what type of photodiode is needed here?
Commonly, we buy the emitter and receiver in pairs(at least I do), and I see mostly the pair TIL-32 and TIL-78. I can't assure you that these are the names since I don't remember, but with a lil' google search you can differ the emitter and receiver and their names.
Hello. <br>I did it as you said and I have one problem. <br>It works great but only when light is on. When I turn light off LEDs turn on with no obstacle in front of it. <br>Why is that so? <br>Please help me.
Can you work this out with one ir led <br>
@arocafor, <br>yeah that would work.. <br> <br>but i would like to suggest a good sensor for your motor... <br>you can use HC-SR04...cause it measures distance <br> <br>well google is our friend...you may get your answer there.. :)
Hello sir.. <br> <br>Noob here. How can i reduce the range of the sensor? I want to use it as a hidden switch for a motor. Would that work?tnx
The buzzer does not make any sound. And the serial monitor does not vary. How to solve this? Help!
well, you need infrared leds, those in the picture seems to be normal &quot;blue&quot; leds, the infralight can not be seen be human eye, but in cameras seem to be like a purple light, u can buy infrared in any electronic store or you can use some from TV remotes
HI, Very thankful for your effort and code. <br> <br>I have a no0b Q. <br>I know you've deliberately simplified the code for ppl like me so maybe this Q is redundant but i was wondering about your 1 millisecond delay. Would you get a more accurate result if the delay was shorter? And if so, is there a way to do that with PortManipulation? i.e. http://www.arduino.cc/en/Reference/PortManipulation

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