Arduino Sensors 1

10 sensors you can use with the Arduino board

A big part of what makes Arduino great for projects is the myriad of sensors that can be used with the Arduino. This article is about some useful sensors that allow you to create awesome projects and prototypes on the Arduino board.

Connect the sensors

For your own electronics and prototyping projects, I’d recommend using Breadboards and connection cables To connect the sensors to your Arduino.

There is, too Extended prototype armor plates It generally fits on top of the Arduino to give it more functionality and allow more sensors to be connected. Normally, you’ll need to connect the sensor to the Arduino’s 5V pin, ground, and another pin; However, this depends on the sensor.

Arduino and a shield with sensors

New to Arduino? paying off Our guide to making a DIY smart home using Arduino.

1. Gas sensors

Gas sensors detect carbon monoxide, hydrogen, and smoke, among other gases.

Here are some examples:

These gas sensors are chemical devices, because they sense how resistance changes when a chemical compound comes into contact with a combustible gas. The gas sensing material, for example, is tin oxide, which has a high enough conductivity only when the air has one of the gases in it. The sensitivity of the gas sensor can be changed by rotating the included potentiometer.

For most of these gas sensors, while the presence of gas can be detected, the type of gas cannot be determined.

2. Accelerometer

There are sensors that can be used to determine acceleration and tilt (gyroscope measurements). Sensors can be added to Breakout boards that measure acceleration and direction.

One of the projects these sensors benefit is step counting constructions, as it requires Measure changes of direction and acceleration.

Another use for these sensors is in game controllers or intuitive remote controls for drones, where tilt and gesture inputs are important.

NB: If you prefer a ready-made solution to track your steps, check it out Pedometer apps for Android and iOS.

3. Temperature and motion sensors

If you want to create your own alarm system, a passive infrared (PIR) sensor is useful. The PIR sensor is a motion sensor It can detect when a person (or a warm object) is moving near it.

PIR detects changes in heat as infrared (IR) radiation. When a person moves in front of the sensor, within the specified range, a change in infrared activates the sensor and any alarm triggered along with it.

4. Air quality sensors

A dust sensor can be used to determine air quality in terms of the amount of fine dust particles in the air. Measures concentration – the number of dust particles per million air. The sensor contains an infrared light-emitting diode and a phototransistor and detects dust when the path of light is interrupted by fine dust particles in the air.

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Arduino sensor example

Dust reflects infrared rays and absorbs some of them, and the degree is determined by the size and number of dust particles. dust sensors Useful for a number of projects, including air filtration systems or vacuum cleaners.

There are also sensors that are calibrated to identify the number of gases in the air, such as formaldehyde, acetone, and carbon monoxide. These sensors help determine air quality, both inside and out.

5. Liquid sensors

A moisture sensor is useful for things like checking how moist the soil is on a potted plant to determine if it needs watering.

The moisture sensor can be placed in the soil, then connected to Arduino. The moisture sensor works on the basis of measuring the moisture resistance of the soil.

An alcohol sensor can be used to sense alcohol in projects such as a breathalyser. It works using semiconductors, which have a voltage output that depends on the amount of alcohol in the breath.

6. Temperature and humidity sensors

Some sensors can help detect weather and are used in weather stations, thermometers, hygrometers, and weather displays. It is often grouped as Temperature and humidity sensors.

A temperature sensor, also known as a thermistor (thermal resistor), is specifically temperature dependent and consists of two metals that have a rheostat when the temperature changes. They are also known as resistance temperature detectors (RTDs).

Humidity sensors usually have a thin metal capacitance that changes based on how humid the air is.

Temperature and humidity sensors have certain operating ranges and may not be able to measure very low temperatures and extremely high temperatures. The type of thermocouple used will determine the range of operating temperature that can be measured. Accuracy depends on the sensor and the size and type of metal used.

By measuring humidity and temperature, these sensors can also tell atmospheric pressure. This depends on the height input.

7. Optical sensors

Light sensors are among the most common types of sensors. They work by converting photons of light into electrical output, hence they are known as optical sensors.

One such sensor is the photoresistor, which can be used to detect sunlight. The resistance varies based on the amount of photons hitting the compounds in the photoresistor.

The resistance generally decreases with increasing light intensity. here they are Light dependent resistors (LDRs), which are useful in a number of projects, such as controlling lights so they turn on automatically at night.

Not only are light sensors used for visible light, but there are also infrared light sensors, such as those in Infrared distance sensors. These work by emitting infrared (IR) light and then measuring it with a phototransistor on its return.

In general, the lighter the color of the object that the infrared light hits, the more light is reflected back.

advice: Learn how Light bulbs with Arduino.

8. Touch sensors

The touch button can be used for many projects to start or stop the process when the button is pressed.

Capacitive touch sensor It detects a change in capacitance when you press your finger on the touchpad (or when your finger is close enough to the touch sensor).

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Some of the many sensors that work with the Arduino microcontroller board

There are also resistive touch sensors that do not measure capacitance changes, but rather measure the pressure applied to the sensor. This applied pressure is measured by three layers: two conductive layers and one non-conductive layer sandwiched between them. When the button or sensor is pressed, the two conductive layers touch and the sensor is activated.

Capacitive touch sensors allow for more precise adjustments and multi-touch, while resistive touch usually allows simple on and off activation.

9. Sound and ultrasound sensors

Sound sensors are generally generated from microphones. It works similarly to the human ear, with a diaphragm that vibrates when sound waves hit it. These vibrations are then converted into electrical inputs sound sensor.

There is usually a potentiometer on the sound sensor that can be turned on to adjust the sensitivity.

Ultrasound sensors Commonly used to measure distances, a sound wave travels at ultrasonic frequencies (undetectable by the human ear) and then bounces off objects and is received by the transducer.

10. Hall magnetic sensors

Hall sensors are named after the Hall effect, which is used to measure magnetic fields. These are useful for a number of projects that require velocity and proximity measurements.

An example of this is detecting when a door or window is open, using a magnet and a Hall sensor that detects when the magnetic field is no longer closed (when the door is opened with the magnet attached away from the Hall sensor).

There are of course other sensors, such as cameras with artificial intelligence. You can too Learn the basics of Arduino. If you are excited about the capabilities of Arduino, read more about it Arduino starter kits so you can get to work on a project.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do you choose the right sensor?

There are certain specifications you should look out for, such as temperature sensors, the temperature ranges in which they operate, and levels of accuracy. The supplier should also be reputable so you know the sensor is well made. Cost is always a factor, but size can be another good thing, especially if you need to mount the sensor in a confined space.

What is the difference between actuator and sensor?

A sensor is used to take physical measurements, then transmit them as electrical signals, while actuators have electrical inputs that then transmit them into a physical or mechanical action.

How do you measure proximity on an Arduino?

The easiest way is to use an infrared sensor. The emitted infrared light strikes an object and is reflected back to the image sensor. Another method is by using an ultrasonic sensor, which allows measuring the distance to objects.

The author took all photographs and screenshots.

Graham Morrison
Graham Morrison

Graham is a tech enthusiast. He is a scientist with a background in engineering. He enjoys writing and has been doing so for over 10 years.

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