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MIKROE BDC-AFBR-S50 ToF Sensor Board

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AFBR-S50 ToF Sensor Board represents an integrated solution based on the Broadcom AFBR-S50 medium-range 3D multipixel Time-of-Flight (ToF) sensor for distance and motion measurement. The AFBR-S50 has been optimized to measure distances up to 30m working equally well on white, black, colored, and metallic reflective surfaces. It provides an ideal solution for robotics and industrial applications requiring precise 3D information and an extended range like drones or AMR/AGV. The AFBR-S50 ToF Sensor Board includes a 32-bit MCU and a VCSEL-based ToF sensor (Laser Class 1 eye safety), mounted on a compact-sized PCB, measuring only 35mm×35mm in size, alongside a 4-pin standard CAN connections compatible with Pixhawk®, a popular general-purpose flight controller. The size of the entire PCB allows users to realize an easy-to-implement subsystem and be used as a complete ToF module in an out-of-the-box manner, cutting the time to market.

AFBR-S50 ToF Sensor Board as its foundation uses the AFBR-S50, a multi-pixel optical distance and motion measurement sensor module based on the Time-of-Flight principle from Broadcom. The AFBR-S50 is developed with a particular focus on applications with the need for the highest speed and accuracy at medium distance ranges with low power consumption (50m in short-range and 100m in long-range mode). Due to its best-in-class ambient light suppression, use in outside environments is possible in direct sunlight and also on white, black, colored, metallic, and retroreflective surfaces. This feature makes it suitable for optical distance measurements requiring precise 3D information and extended range like drones or AMR/AGV.

This board represents an integrated solution consisting of a 32-bit MCU, RA4M2 group of Renesas MCU with Arm® Cortex®-M33 core, and a ToF sensor with an integrated infrared laser light source (850nm) mounted on a compact-sized PCB that measures 35mm×35mm. In addition to an SPI-compatible interface for data transferring to the MCU, the AFBR-S50 also has an interrupt line through which the MCU can register the data-ready event. Also, such conditions and other interrupts can be visually represented using the yellow LED indicator marked with STATUS.

As mentioned before, this board has two 4-pin CAN connectors, J1 and J2, controllable through onboard CAN controller MCP2542WFD, which allows the connection of additional external sensors in the company with one standard 2.54mm 6-pin male connector labeled as J3, exposing the UART interface. Since the AFBR-S50 is known to be used in both robotics and drones, it is essential to note that this ToF sensor is compatible with Pixhawk®, a popular general-purpose flight controller. Also, there is a clear visual indication of the execution of the communication itself; more precisely, the user can catch the operation of CAN communication/signal transfer via orange LED indicators provided for indication of received and transmitted CAN signals.

It offers complete debugging and programming capabilities supported through an additional header marked with J5. With this header, the user can use a Serial Wire Debug interface for programming and debugging, available through the SWD interface pins. Besides, it also has a Micro B USB connector allowing the board to be powered and configured by a personal computer (PC). This way, it is possible to flash the AFBR-S50 ToF Sensor Board via bootloader very simply. You can complete the programming procedure following the easy steps described in the attached Flash Start Guide document.

The ToF sensor requires a single power supply of 5V. For this reason, the user can choose how to power the board itself and the ToF sensor. The first way is to connect an external power supply to the connector marked with VEXT in the range of 2.5 to 16V, while the second is a level of 5V obtained from active CAN connectors (channels). The desired power supply can be selected by populating the preferred option on the PWR SEL header.

Bearing in mind that for communication with the MCU, the AFBR-S50 requires a level of 3.3V, there are two LDO regulators on the board, the SPX3819. One of them is used for the realization of 5V, necessary for the AFBR-S50 main power supply from an external power supply, while the other regulator serves to create a voltage of 3.3V essential for the proper operation of the MCU. Also, for the active voltage levels, 5V and 3.3V, green and blue LED indicators visually show such existence.

  • Interface: CAN, SWD, UART, USB
  • Supply Voltage: External
  • External Power Supply Voltage: Min. 2.5V, Max. 16V
  • Emission Wavelength: 850nm
  • Measurement Range: Min. 10mm, Max. 30,000mm
  • Accuracy: ±1%
  • Sensor Field of View: Min. 1°, Typ. 2°, Max. 3°
  • Ambient Light Illuminance Suppression: Typ. 100.00 lx, Max. 200.00 lx
  • Operating Temperature Range: Min. -20°C, Typ. +25°C, Max. +70°C


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