Product News: MaxBotix Ultrasonic Rangefinders

By Robert Cong
Product Manager

When it comes to enhancing the design of your robot, there are many types of sensors that are available, but the most important one may be the ultrasonic sensor. The most precise ultrasonic sensors will be needed and those come from MaxBotix Inc.

While some sensors use light waves such as infrared, ultrasonic sensors pose an advantage by using sound waves, enabling better detection of clear objects, objects on uneven surfaces, and even liquids. Typical ultrasonic sensors like the PING))) utilize one transmitter to send the sound wave at a very high frequency and one receiver to detect the echo that bounces back from an object.
MB1040 Ultrasonic SensorMaxBotix MB1040 Ultrasonic Sensor
with 21-foot Detection Range (P/N 2157335)
MaxBotix ultrasonic sensors use one transceiver to perform both
functions, giving the sensor the ability to take up less space and be more discrete.

PING))) Ultrasonic SensorPING))) Ultrasonic Sensor (P/N 282861)
Wave DiagramTypical Sensor Using a Transmitter and Receiver




There are a few different models of ultrasonic sensors available from MaxBotix. The original ultrasonic range-finding LV-MaxSonar-EZ Line measures less than 1 square inch in size. The XL-MaxSonar-EZ Line has greater sensitivity and greater noise tolerance. The industrial outdoor ultrasonic XL-MaxSonar-WR Line has robust PVC housing designed to meet IP67 water intrusion
MB7092 Ultrasonic SensorMaxBotix MB7092 Ultrasonic Sensor
with 25-foot Detection Range (P/N 2157394)

All lines of sensors essentially do the same job, but exactly which model is right for you depends on your project's application, target size, and distance to be detected. Most operate from 3.0V to 5.5V, so it's easy to integrate with low voltage microcontrollers like the Arduino.

LV-MaxSonar®-EZ™ & XL-MaxSonar®-EZ™ Sensor Lines


Jameco Part No. Mfr. Part No.
Overview
2157319 MB1000 Widest and most sensitive beam pattern. An excellent low cost choice for use where high sensitivity, wide beam, or people detection is desired.
2157327 MB1010 Most popular indoor ultrasonic sensor. A great choice for use where sensitivity is needed along with side object rejection.
2157335 MB1040 The narrowest beam width sensor that is also the least sensitive to side objects. An excellent choice when only larger objects need to be detected.
2157343 MB1210 Offers a lower hardware gain and a smaller, narrower detection zone. A great choice for people detection applications.
2157351 MB1240 The highest noise tolerance and narrowest beam of any of our indoor sensors. Designed to provide reliable range information to large targets even in environments with noise sources.


XL-MaxSonar®-WR™ Sensor Line


Jameco Part No. Mfr. Part No.
Overview
2157360 MB7052 Advanced weather resistant sensor designed for large target detection and ranging outdoors in tank or bin applications. Outputs are: Analog Voltage, Serial, & Pulse Width.
2157378 MB7060 Most popular weather resistant sensor designed for outdoor detection and ranging. Outputs are: Analog Voltage, Serial, & Pulse Width.
2157386 MB7066 Longest range (10m) outdoor sensor. Outputs are: Analog Voltage, Serial, & Pulse Width.
2157394 MB7092 Most advanced weather resistant sensor designed for large target detection and ranging outdoors or in tank or bin applications, outdoor detection and ranging. Outputs are: Analog Voltage, Serial, & Analog Envelope.

Beam patterns for each sensor are displayed on each product datasheet. Beam patterns provide information on approximate target sizes and distances so you can identify the optimal application for your robot and choose the appropriate sensor.

Beam PatternBeam Pattern for the MB1000 (P/N 2157319)


Ulttrasonic sensors can be used in a variety of ways, from detecting and avoiding objects to measuring precise distances. People (and animal) detection is also a possibility, though it may not be as accurate, as living things have different reflective properties compared to hard surfaces (sound is mostly absorbed) Because ultrasonic sensors do not rely on mechanical operation, they are less prone to wear and tear and possess a very high MTBF. Best of all, ultrasonic sensors add a cool feature that can be integrated with any of your existing robot designs.


Robert is a graduate from Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo in Electrical Engineering. He is originally from Lincoln Heights in Los Angeles, CA, and currently resides in Belmont, CA where he works as a Technical Copy Writer/ Product Manager for Jameco Electronics. His interests include sports, movies, music, and playing with cool, new gadgets.

Jameco welcomes the contributions of its customers. Frankly, we think what you write is more interesting than anything we could write. Share your electronic component story, project, or challenge, and we'll share it with the world. Send your story to: MyStory@Jameco.com