Piezo Vibration Sensor - Large

This basic piezo sensor from Measurement Specialties is often used for flex, touch, vibration and shock measurements. A small AC and large voltage (up to +/-90V) is created when the film moves back and forth. A simple resistor should get the voltage down to ADC levels. Can also be used for impact sensing or a flexible switch.

Comes with solderable crimp pins.


  • Flexible PVDF Piezo Polymer Film
  • Wide dynamic range
  • Laminated for higher voltage output
  • 0.1" breadboard friendly leads

Piezo Vibration Sensor - Large Product Help and Resources

Piezo Vibration Sensor Hookup Guide

May 5, 2016

How to combine a piezo sensor, high-value resistor, and an Arduino to create a vibration sensor.

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.

1 Electrical Prototyping

Skill Level: Noob - You don't need to reference a datasheet, but you will need to know basic power requirements.
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Looking for answers to technical questions?

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  • Member #744843 / about 6 years ago / 1

    I was wondering if someone has used this sensor to know if somebody is knocking the door. Can you recommend me this or any other sensor for this purpose.

    • M-Short / about 6 years ago / 1

      Wow, that brings back memories. Many years ago Chris actually did just that

  • Member #1323 / about 7 years ago / 1

    Great Sensor, the data sheet indicates 50 mV/g, am I reading this right, can I determine number of G's from this sensor by using 50 mV per G? Of course I have added the 1 Meg. resistor to get it down to DC Compatibility.

  • Member #596739 / about 8 years ago / 1

    These sensors are very good. However, I struggled for quite a while to get them to work as a music pickup. After much trial and error, I discovered that this different sensor is the correct one to use as a music pickup: http://www.digikey.com/product-detail/en/te-connectivity-measurement-specialties/1-1000288-0/223-1224-ND/3911239 It is much more expensive, but works great

    • Member #1630319 / about 3 years ago / 1

      Interesting. I am also working on a music pickup project. Would you mind explaining why the sensors you link to work much better? Also, where you working on a guitar? If so, where were you placing the sensors?


  • Andersh / about 8 years ago / 1

    There's an amazing amount of conflicting information in this comment thread! Can we get a clear guide published by Sparkfun plzzz?

  • Bohica / about 15 years ago / 5
  • Member #358438 / about 12 years ago / 3

    Hi , is there a tutorial for connect this to arduino? does it need a resistor? how the connection?I mean I would connect it to a analog in ,is it right and possible? sorry, I'm new ... thanx

    • Member #459777 / about 11 years ago / 1

      Simply follow this tutorial: http://arduino.cc/en/Tutorial/Knock or this one: http://www.arduino.cc/en/Tutorial/KnockSensor

      they use simple piezo sounders as sensors, but it works in the exact same way. Just experiment a little on the resistors, I think I used 100K or so.

      • Member #461527 / about 10 years ago / 1

        Is there another reason besides limiting current going into the analog input as to why we connect a resistor in parallel to the analog input?

        • dvdnhm / about 9 years ago / 1

          It s to keep ADC pins down when there is no input from piezo

  • Rob R. / about 14 years ago / 2

    Hi, I'm new to electronics and solder so I was wondering if there were any connectors available for these? And if so what kind do I need? Radio Shack had no help except some Female Interlocking Connectors and some Heat-shrink tubes. Any ideas?

  • Member #688923 / about 9 years ago / 1

    Okay... so let's get this straight. The lead on the side with the writing, "MEAS-SPEC.COM" is NEGATIVE "-" correct?

    Would it kill them to draw a friggin' "+" and "-" on the damn thing?

    Last question - If you shouldn't solder this, how the heck are you supposed to connect it to a circuit? Alligator clips?

    • chrwei / about 9 years ago / 1

      no, because piezo outputs AC, not DC. it should work no matter which way you wire it.

  • Member #641521 / about 9 years ago / 1

    Hi guys. Can this vibration sensor be used in the peizelectric power generation using the vehicular traffic laboratory prototype///

  • Igoy / about 10 years ago / 1

    I want to use this to measure small vibrations on the index finger and need a frequency response in the range of 400-1000Hz. It seems like this can be done by minimizing the clamp at different lengths - but I don't know what that means. Could someone please clarify?

  • POT / about 10 years ago / 1

    Can this piezo device be used to measure vibrations on/from a window? Does it do well for low, audible frequencies? Does anybody answer these questions?

  • Member #585565 / about 10 years ago / 1

    Can this be used for raspberry pi model B+

  • WattsUp314 / about 10 years ago * / 1

    Hi, I have a project that links RGB LEDs to brass instruments, specifically tuba. Would this be able to sense the relative volume if taped on? High, midium, and low is accurate enough. Would a "normal" piezo element work better? Also if attached directly to the instrument, would filtering need to used to cut the high instruments (is it insensitive to sound pressure, only mechanical vibration)? Extra info: Lowest frequency: 30 Hz Highest frequency: 2 kHz

  • Member #567386 / about 10 years ago / 1

    Hey guys I have a quick question. Are these piezo's polarized? I bought them and can't seem to find anything about the polarization in the manuals. If they aren't could this mess with my Arduino board since the voltage could go in the opposite way? I've seen the example Knock sensor tutorial on Arduino website, but those sensors are polarized and have a high and low terminal to connect to ground and the pin. How would you connect this sensor then?

    • WattsUp314 / about 10 years ago * / 1

      Yes they are polarized. The first page of the manual, in the demensions picture, shows the positive and negative sides. The side with the writing is negative.

  • Member #495578 / about 11 years ago / 1

    I have just bout this sensor and I have been trying to get an output voltage from it but i haven't succeeded. I am bending it and using a multimeter to read the voltage . Is there anything im missing ?

    • eeKnud / about 10 years ago / 1

      I suspect your DMM is too slow to see the transient. The sensor does not produce a constant AC voltage proportional to how much it is bent, rather it produces a "spike" (+ve and -ve). If you are using an analogue multimeter, you are in even worse shape. Put it on a scope and you will see the spikes...

  • Member #477472 / about 11 years ago / 1

    could this be good for sound energy detection and used for power harvesting and storage?..i want to know if its possible before i purchase. thansks

  • Member #389565 / about 12 years ago / 1

    I need to create a "switch" within a PVC tube. Essentially I'll be having a lightweight object pass downwards through the tube, trigger a switch, and continue onwards. I looked into using a motion sensor, but it would not be accurate enough for my purposes, even with much tweaking of design.

    Can I get this sensor to only respond to an object bumping it as it passes, instead of any little vibration to the build?

    • Doktor Jones / about 10 years ago / 1

      If you adequately pad the piezo sensor's mounting, so that vibration in the tube is dampened by whatever it's mounted on, it should be less sensitive to vibrations of the tube, and actually possibly more sensitive to getting bumped directly.

      Another solution, if the impact of the object is hard enough, might be a force sensitive resistor such as SEN-09673. You could also mount a flex sensor almost parallel to the tube wall to act as a sort of "whisker" that actuates when the object pushes past it -- this of course only works one way (since the end of the sensor would be sticking out into the tube, and could jam if the object tries to pass backwards) and the object needs to be moving with enough force to bend the sensor and move past it.

    • Member #167681 / about 11 years ago / 1

      Did you get your answer?

  • AutoMaker / about 12 years ago / 1

    Does any one have any suggestions for how to connect to this? I read in the comments and in the Technical Manual that they advise not solder directly to the leads because the heat can damage the piezo polymer film. Has anyone tried crimps or other methods? I am also trying to pick up small "knocking" vibrations on a wooden workbench or door. would a 1M Ohm resistor be appropriate for this? Thanks!

  • These are great little sensors. I'm using them in my graduate work for detecting impacts on deployable space structures. For just a proof of concept sensor part, these are fantastic. They are exceptionally sensitive, so they pick up even the slightest vibrations.

    If you are measuring tiny vibrations, like if it's bonded to something, say a drum skin, you won't need a resistor. Only large deflections are likely to give you that.

  • Member #253439 / about 13 years ago / 1

    how can i get the DT4-028k part no. 1-1002149-0 and what is the price for this part

  • fraguada / about 13 years ago / 1

    I would like to detect whether water is flowing through a pipe without having to break into the plumbing. Could this sensor be wrapped around the pipe? If the appropriate amps and resistors were used, could this work?

  • Luke H. / about 13 years ago * / 1

    Would it be possible to get piezoelectric film elements in larger sizes (3+ square inches)? I want to use these in a piezoelectric energy harvester application, and it would help greatly if I didnt need to daisy chain many individual units.

  • AdrianZ / about 13 years ago / 1

    I'm not sure I'm understanding the function of this correctly. Would it work in contact microphone applications the same way as a simple piezo element? For context, I'm looking for something to use as an acoustic guitar pickup.

    • jfearnside / about 12 years ago / 1

      Page 47 of the manual is on exactly this subject. Using these as music pickups. http://www.sparkfun.com/datasheets/Sensors/Flex/MSI-techman.pdf

  • EliTheIceMan / about 13 years ago / 1

    Some advice on these. DO NOT SOLDER THEM! (Especially top side soldering -haha) You might get away with regular through hole soldering if your very fast but I somewhat melted mine in about a second. Use a 3 pin female header.
    If your using them for very slight vibration sensing connect one side to ground and the other to the analog pin. Use a pull down resistor of at least 10Meg. (1/10 of the 100M input resistance on Arduino) Then use a divider on Aref to pull VDD down to under a volt. Mine (the weighted model) senses someone jumping on the other side of the room.
    Use one for each axis you want to sense. I use two positioned perpendicular for horizontal vibrations.

    • Member #461527 / about 10 years ago / 1

      haha i just soldered mine and melted it. Why did you use a 3 pin header? i thought there were only 2 pins on the sensor?

    • Member #671456 / about 9 years ago / 0

      Could you leave a circuit diagram? I am new to this and a little confused. I've read tutorials on using Aref and dividers but don't see how they are relevant to the circuit.

  • ThinkerT / about 14 years ago / 1

    Could you use this as transducer?

    • technically, it is a transducer. are you thinking of a loudspeaker?

      • ThinkerT / about 14 years ago / 1

        I have this hardhat that I put a normal speaker in, but it didn't work very well. I was looking for a small piezo speaker that would fit on the head band of it. Do you think this sensor would work?

        • Oh, this is not a speaker. Unfortunately we don't have anything that would fit that requirement, sorry!

  • MatthewB / about 14 years ago / 1

    Could the exact manufacturer part number be included? The datasheets that are attached are for a generic product range. None of the parts have product identifiers, other than identifying the manufacturer.

  • cookie / about 15 years ago / 1

    Im wondering if anyone knows how much resistance is needed? I've tried a bunch of resistors, but the values still climb.

    • Ookseer / about 15 years ago / 1

      What are you using it for? A 1 Megohm is just about right for analog in on an Arduino (5v).

      • dogfuel / about 14 years ago / 1

        pls excuse my embarrassing ignorance but does the recommendation of a 1 meg resistor for a 5v pin imply 1.5 megs for a 3.3v input? the Audrino tutorial shows the resistor in parallel but it seems to me like ot should be in series (100% of the signal through the resistor) to reduce the voltage... what am I missing

        • dimitristzortzis / about 13 years ago / 3

          I was also confused about that but I found the answer in the "Technical Manual" you can find above. Check out page 37, "Input Resistance". Basically, the equivalent for this sensor is a voltage source in series with a capacitance. This capacitance combined with the input resistance of your Arduino (or any other circuit you're using for measuring) creates a voltage divider. So as the capacitance increases (this depends on the frequency of the vibrations) the output of the sensor decreases. That's why you have to choose a resistor that will minimize this effect -- so-called "loading effect" http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Voltage_divider#Loading_effect
          Someone correct me here if I'm wrong but as I get it we're not using the resistor to limit the current that goes in our analog input but for the reason I stated above.

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