LilyPad Light Sensor

This is a simple to use light sensor that outputs an analog value from 0 to 5V. With exposure to daylight, this sensor will output 5V. Covering the sensor with your hand, the sensor will output 0V. In a normal indoor lighting situation, the sensor will output from 1 to 2V.

LilyPad is a wearable e-textile technology developed by Leah Buechley and cooperatively designed by Leah and SparkFun. Each LilyPad was creatively designed to have large connecting pads to allow them to be sewn into clothing. Various input, output, power, and sensor boards are available. They're even washable!

Note: A portion of this sale is given back to Dr. Leah Buechley for continued development and education of e-textiles.

  • 20mm outer diameter
  • Thin 0.8mm PCB


LilyPad Light Sensor Product Help and Resources

LilyPad Safety Scarf

November 21, 2017

This scarf is embedded with a ribbon of LEDs that illuminate when it gets dark out, making yourself more visible to vehicle and other pedestrians.

LilyPad Light Sensor Hookup Guide

November 19, 2015

How to hook up the LilyPad Light Sensor as well as some project ideas and example code.

LilyPad Light Sensor V2 Hookup Guide

June 7, 2018

How to hook up the LilyPad Light Sensor as well as some project ideas and example code.

TEMT6000 Ambient Light Sensor Hookup Guide

October 26, 2016

Bring the ability to detect light levels to any project with the SparkFun TEMT6000 Ambient Light Sensor Breakout.

Cackling Apple Head Witch

October 30, 2014

Make your own cackling apple head witch to scare all of the trick or treaters this Halloween!

Resources and Going Further

Check out the activity guide's Arduino code and examples using a LilyPad Simple Board with the LilyPad Light Sensor:

Core Skill: DIY

Whether it's for assembling a kit, hacking an enclosure, or creating your own parts; the DIY skill is all about knowing how to use tools and the techniques associated with them.


Skill Level: Noob - Basic assembly is required. You may need to provide your own basic tools like a screwdriver, hammer or scissors. Power tools or custom parts are not required. Instructions will be included and easy to follow. Sewing may be required, but only with included patterns.
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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.

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?

We welcome your comments and suggestions below. However, if you are looking for solutions to technical questions please see our Technical Assistance page.

  • mudskipper / about 13 years ago / 3

    This may be a kinda dumb question (I'm new to this!)... is there a sensor that does the opposite? I mean, a sensor that increases power to (say, an LED or 4) when available light decreases?
    I'm looking to create a motion detection system using lilypad in a quilt. I want the whole thing to fire up when someone walks by it (as it hangs on the wall) so they are surprised by the effect.

    • ebird97 / about 12 years ago / 2

      Yes, connect one lead of a 10k ohm resistor to +V, connect other lead of resistor to one lead of a photocell, then connect last lead of the photocell to GND. The output will be where the lead of the resistor touches the lead of the photocell. As photocell detects less light, the output increases.

  • Member #24502 / about 10 years ago / 2

    Does this need to be driven at 5V or can it be driven by 3.3V?

  • Member #410356 / about 11 years ago / 1

    I guess if you were doing a stationary project you could stick this thing onto a cheap night light with its own sensor, and black out everything around your mcguyvered rig so when the night light came on in the dark, the light triggered this thing on.

  • Does this need a battery to work, or is this like a solar panel, creating the power?

    • Kamiquasi / about 11 years ago / 1

      It is very much like a solar panel (one could argue it is a solar panel, albeit a very very very very very tiny one with slightly different characteristics). You wouldn't really use it to power anything, but it's great as a sensor.

      • OK, so I would use this with a battery, and more of a switch to turn something on when it is exposed to light... Like the mini photocell, it just works different?

        • Kamiquasi / about 11 years ago / 1

          Yep. I figured the sensor used was the TEMT6000, and it is, so if you google for e.g. 'arduino temt6000', you'll find tons of examples. If you're not going to use an arduino (or any other microcontroller platform, since they're mostly the same in approach), look for circuits that use a "phototransistor", which is what this technically is :)

  • Member #365337 / about 12 years ago / 1

    OK. If it measures intensity, then does a formula exist for converting from voltage to lux?

  • Member #365337 / about 12 years ago / 1

    Do you have a conversion formula from voltage to nanometers?

  • JopieK / about 13 years ago / 1

    I added support of this part to the Fritzing custom libary. You can download it at the Fritzing code site:<br /><br />

  • JopieK / about 13 years ago / 1

    I added support of this part to the Fritzing custom libary. You can download it at the Fritzing code site:<br />

  • JeffG / about 14 years ago / 1

    The link to the sensor sheet appears to be incorrect. It is the same as the product sticker sheet. Thanks.

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