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Description: This sensor is composed of an infrared emitter on one upright and a shielded infrared detector on the other. By emitting a beam of infrared light from one upright to the other, the sensor can detect when an object passes between the uprights, breaking the beam. Used for many applications including optical limit switches, pellet dispensing, general object detection, etc. Gap width = 10mm

A breakout board is available.

Documents: Datasheet

Comments 20 comments

  • Snapping the alignment pin off the bottom of this thing is very easy and is required if you want a flush fit against the SparkFun breakout board.

  • does anyone know, the maximum sampling rate of those?? i would like to use it, to count “Gaps ” in a rotating wheel… the wheel would rotate with about 4000rpm, and would have 36 gaps ,, per revolution…. would this sensor work??

  • Be VERY careful about voltage reversal! I cooked 4 of these (immediate poof of smoke when power applied) before i realized that the datasheet physical drawing shows the pins when the sensor is upside down. Thank god i ordered 5. Running straight off Arduino Uno and used a 330ohm resistor for the transmitter and getting nice response so far.

    Would be nice on the next version if the components were a bit more tolerant. I’d pay an extra $.50 for that peace of mind.

  • Does anyone know if these pins fit into a standard breadboard or perfboard?

  • I’m pretty novice about all this - but it isn’t clear to me how much voltage to pump through this part. The datasheet says 5v output, but input goes all the way up to 17v? Does this thing regulate voltage by itself?

    • Turns out datasheets tell a lot - by the look of the schematic, it does in fact have a regulator internally.

  • So… the V0 pin is useless, right? The middle one on the detector, pin 4 on the diagram?

  • Had to cut them half to widen the gap to almost 20mm. Still worked pretty well.

  • Before I go chop mine apart, I’m wondering if there is any connection between the two “arms” of this thing? I’d like to cut it in half in the middle and custom-mount the light and detector in a different housing. Anyone done that?

    Also, any thoughts on how far apart this thing can be and still detect?

  • I just got round to using this with the sparkFun breakout board.

    my issue is that it doesn’t seem to be sensitive enough.

    I’m trying to detect a drop of liquid falling and it doesn’t want to trigger the sensor.

    Is there any way to increase the sensitivity, I used a 220 ohm resistor on the board and am wondering if a different value would help me.

    Any ideas?



    • I think your issue is due to the light passing through the liquid (and not tripping the sensor). I’ve been able to detect small objects moving at about 300 m/s with these but the trick is to fully eclipse the detector. If your liquid doesn’t absorb IR is will be essentially transparent to the detector.

  • Would you consider carrying a photo interrupter with a narrower gap? This gap appears to be almost 0.5 in. I would like one that is twice or thrice as wide as a PCB (so I can use PCB material and the interrupters to make a quadrature encoder.

    • I’ve had great success in narrowing the gap on these simply by gluing a piece of tubing on the LED side, the transistor side… or both.

    • If you’re going to be making PCBs anyway, you could make a PCB with these spaced however far apart you need. (They were commonly used in old ball-style mice).

  • Going to pick up a few of these to detect if the front door of my motel is open. I was going to use a hall sensor or laser trip beam, but this one is shaped just right. Just need a small protrusion on the door to break the beam when the door is closed, and un-obstruct the beam when the door is open.

  • if i use 2 off thes could i make a crono to take the measurements of and fps of a small object with the arduino uno?

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