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The SparkFun Line Follower Array is a long board consisting of eight IR sensors that have been configured to read as digital bits! We have designed the SparkFun Line Follower Arrays to follow a dark line of about ¾ inch width or smaller (spray paint or electrical tape) on a light background. Each array features visible LEDs that point upward when the board is attached (properly) so you can see what the robot sees, brightness control right on the board, and an I2C interface for reading and power control. Here at SparkFun, the RedBot Shadow Chassis was used as a test platform but really this was designed as an add-on for almost any bot.
The line follower functions by taking an 8-bit reading of reflectance for use with following lines or reading dark/light patterns and can see from about 1/4 to 3/4 inches away. The IR brightness control and indicator can be adjusted with the on-board potentiometer and is capable of showing you the strength of the IR LEDs. Illumination can be turned on and off with software to conserve power, or left on all the time for faster readings. The SparkFun Line Follower Array requires 5V of power with a supply current range of 25-185mA with strobing disabled and 16-160mA with it enabled. Additionally we have added six mounting holes to the line follower with the two inner holes designed to fit our Shadow Chassis while the other four are general purpose.
Note: As you know our Sun emits quite a bit of infrared light, making the SparkFun Line Follower Array much less effective in direct sunlight. Plan your projects accordingly!
This skill concerns mechanical and robotics knowledge. You may need to know how mechanical parts interact, how motors work, or how to use motor drivers and controllers.
Skill Level: Noob - You will be required to put together a robotics kit. Necessary parts are included and steps will be easy to follow. You also might encounter basic robotics components like bearings, mounts, or other hardware and need a general idea of how it goes together.
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If a board needs code or communicates somehow, you're going to need to know how to program or interface with it. The programming skill is all about communication and code.
Skill Level: Competent - The toolchain for programming is a bit more complex and will examples may not be explicitly provided for you. You will be required to have a fundamental knowledge of programming and be required to provide your own code. You may need to modify existing libraries or code to work with your specific hardware. Sensor and hardware interfaces will be SPI or I2C.
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If it requires power, you need to know how much, what all the pins do, and how to hook it up. You may need to reference datasheets, schematics, and know the ins and outs of electronics.
Skill Level: Rookie - You may be required to know a bit more about the component, such as orientation, or how to hook it up, in addition to power requirements. You will need to understand polarized components.
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Based on 7 ratings:
The product works great, and is much easier to use than similar analog/digital arrays from other electronics component companies (the I2C connection is much more convenient).
It would be 5* if Sparkfun developed a 3D-printable adjustable mounting bracket for the array, since not everyone plans to use this on a small format toy robot chassis.
This was easy to setup and use. I was actually planning on making something like this when I found it, so thank you sparkfun for saving me some work. The potentiometer to set the brightness is nice and since it's I2C you can hook up multiple boards without using extra pins. The library was also very easy to use and it was able to do a good job of detecting a red line from about an inch away. Overall I'm happy with this board.
Works great. Library made it easy to use, and I saved pins with I2C. It has 6 holes for mounting - I made my own bracket no trouble out of actobotics parts to mount to a line follower.
It works really well. You will have to play with the calibration knob a lot, and for initial testing its better to clearBarStrobe() to get faster readings and to see the state of the sensors, but so far I got my robot doing basic line following. Will work on more advanced next. As far as the mounting, I had to drill my own holes to use with my own robot, but it wasn't a big deal.
0 of 1 found this helpful:
nothing says that it will only follow black or white lines.. so it's kinda useless to me now
The sensor is based off of the IR reflective difference between the colors that it's looking at - you can run different colors, but they need to have a high contrast ratio for the device to be able to recognize it.
Worked perfectly on the first try. Performed well. Very responsive.