The SparkFun AS7263 Near Infrared (NIR) 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 AS7263 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 AS7263 spectrometer detects wavelengths in the visible range at 610, 680, 730, 760, 810 and 860nm of light, each with 20nm 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.
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.
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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The board is basically the AS7263 reference circuit with the Qwiic connectors. It's part of a Qwiic family that makes it easy to integrate these, though I am using them one at a time. The board worked out of the box, I already had pullups on my I2C pins so it was super easy to get it running. The Arduino library worked fine on my Wemos D1 Mini clone, and the example on the product page were helpful.
I will eventually build my own sensor board, but this is a very convenient way to verify that the AS7263 is the right sensor for my application. The price is fair given the cost of the components. If you only need one NIR sensor, it's probably the most cost-effective way to give it a try.