The SparkFun AS7262 Visible Spectral Sensor Breakout brings spectroscopy to the palm of your hand, making it easier than ever to measure and characterize how different materials absorb and reflect different wavelengths of light. The AS7262 Breakout is unique in its ability to communicate by both an I2C interface and serial interface using AT commands. Hookup is easy, thanks to the Qwiic connectors attached to the board --- simply plug one end of the Qwiic cable into the breakout and the other into one of the Qwiic Shields, then stack the board on a development board. You’ll be ready to upload a sketch to start taking spectroscopy measurements in no time.
The AS7262 spectrometer detects wavelengths in the visible range at 450, 500, 550, 570, 600 and 650nm of light each with 40nm of full-width half-max detection. The board also has multiple ways for you to illuminate objects that you will try to measure for a more accurate spectroscopy reading. There is an onboard LED that has been picked out specifically for this task, as well as two pins to solder your own LED into.
Note: The I2C address of the AS7262 is 0x49 and is hardware defined. A multiplexer/Mux is required to communicate to multiple AS7262 sensors on a single bus. If you need to use more than one AS7262 sensor consider using the Qwiic Mux Breakout.
The SparkFun Qwiic Connect System is an ecosystem of I2C sensors, actuators, shields and cables that make prototyping faster and less prone to error. All Qwiic-enabled boards use a common 1mm pitch, 4-pin JST connector. This reduces the amount of required PCB space, and polarized connections mean you can’t hook it up wrong.
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The flash memory on the board is only rated up to 3.6V.
Do not use a 5V UART/FTDI connector to power/communicate with the board.
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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Sparkfun and other do a great service by making breakout boards available for surface mount parts like this. I have hooked this board up to a teensy 3.2 and run the available software. The board seems to work just fine. I am in the process of building and instrument that will use this board. When that instrument is built and operating I will write a blog article on it. Until then I can't say much more than it works. BTW I also purchased the IR version of this board.
I set up this sensor with an STM32F103 controller. So the 1st thing you need to do is write the functions needed to communicate. There are only 4 registers - the device address, status, read, and write. That is were the quirkiness starts. To read or write you need to read and write to those registers and provide a "virtual register" address to get to the register you want. This is the only device I've seen that does this. There is some example code in the data sheet, which is helpful. If you are not using this with an Arduino you need to download the AS726X header and implementation files (.h and .ccp) from the link provided. Use these as a guide to write your functions.
I made a light table setup with a diffraction grating and lens and set the device at the focal point and moved it through the color bands. I found that I got the highest response on Orange and Green - not what I expected but on reflection that could be just the characteristic of the lamp I was using - a 60 W equivalent LED bulb (UtiliTech) I got from WalMart. I think of this as another "quirk".
Bottom line. This is an interesting device, it works fine, and I'm still learning how it behaves. If you are considering using this device, you really need to think about what the values you measure really mean and how you want to use them. This will depend on your particular setup and light source. I'd like to eventually use it as a spectrometer for measuring light being absorbed by solutions or to take elemental spectra. So I'm not sure how to take the output and use it quantitatively. Still working on that.