SparkFun Proximity Sensor Breakout - 20cm, VCNL4040 (Qwiic)

The SparkFun Proximity Sensor Breakout is a simple IR presence and ambient light sensor utilizing the VCNL4040. This type of sensor is often seen in automatic towel and soap dispensers or automatic faucets. With the ability to detect objects qualitatively up to 20cm away, you will be able to detect if something is there and if it is closer or further away since the last reading. Utilizing our handy Qwiic system, no soldering is required to connect it to the rest of your system. However, we still have broken out 0.1"-spaced pins in case you prefer to use a breadboard.

The SparkFun Proximity Sensor Breakout is a great digital alternative to the popular analog based Sharp sensors. The VCNL4040 has no dead zone and can read all the way up to the face of the sensor. This sensor also has an ambient light sensor built it which is excellent if you need a digital light sensor for your next glitter cannon. If you need quantitative distance readings (for example sensing that an object is 177mm away) check out the SparkFun 2 meter and 4 meter Time of Flight (ToF) sensors with mm accuracy.

We've written an Arduino library to flex every feature of this sensor. You can grab it from the Arduino Library Manager or from the SparkFun repo.


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.


  • Qualitative Detection Range: 20cm
  • Integrated Modules: Infrared Emitter (IRED), Ambient Light Sensor (ALS), Proximity Sensor (PS)
  • Operates ALS and PS in Parallel Structure
  • No Dead Zone
  • Operating Voltage: 3.3V
  • I2C Address: 0x60
  • 2x Qwiic Connectors

SparkFun Proximity Sensor Breakout - 20cm, VCNL4040 (Qwiic) Product Help and Resources

Qwiic Proximity Sensor (VCNL4040) Hookup Guide

February 28, 2019

The SparkFun Qwiic Proximity Sensor is a great, qualitative proximity (up to 20 cm) and light sensor. This hookup guide covers a few examples to retrieve basic sensor readings.

Qwiic Kit for Raspberry Pi Hookup Guide

July 4, 2019

Get started with the CCS811, BME280, VCNL4040, and microOLED via I2C using the Qwiic system and Python on a Raspberry Pi! Take sensor readings from the enviroment and display them on the microOLED, serial terminal, or the cloud with Cayenne!

Core Skill: Programming

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.

3 Programming

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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Core Skill: Electrical Prototyping

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.

2 Electrical Prototyping

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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