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Points to note when choosing an ultrasonic ranging sensor

Views: 52     Author: Site Editor     Publish Time: 2020-05-09      Origin: Site

Choosing the right ultrasonic ranging sensor can be a daunting task, especially with the multitude of options available in the market. Ultrasonic sensors are devices that use sound waves to detect and measure distance, making them ideal for various applications, such as robotics, automotive systems, and industrial automation. This article aims to guide you through the essential points to consider when selecting an ultrasonic ranging sensor for your project.

Types of Ultrasonic Sensors

Ultrasonic sensors can be broadly classified into two categories:

  • Proximity Detection Sensors:

    These sensors detect the presence of an object within a specified range without measuring the exact distance.

  • Distance Measuring Sensors:

    These sensors accurately measure the distance to an object and provide output in the form of distance data.

Criteria for Choosing Ultrasonic Sensors

Selecting the right ultrasonic sensor depends on the specific requirements of your project. Understanding the different factors that influence a sensor's performance will help you make an informed decision.

Factors to Consider

To choose the right ultrasonic ranging sensor, consider the following factors:

  1. Sensing Range: Sensing range refers to the minimum and maximum distances within which the sensor can accurately detect objects. Choose a sensor with a sensing range that matches your application's requirements.

  2. Accuracy and Resolution: Accuracy represents how closely the sensor's measurement corresponds to the actual distance, while resolution refers to the smallest detectable change in distance. Consider a sensor with high accuracy and resolution for applications that demand precise measurements.

  3. Beam Angle: The beam angle is the width of the sound cone emitted by the sensor. A narrow beam angle provides better object discrimination and longer sensing range, while a wider beam angle increases the sensor's field of view. Choose a beam angle that best suits your application.

  4. Environmental Factors: Temperature, humidity, and air pressure can affect the performance of ultrasonic sensors. Select a sensor that can operate reliably under the environmental conditions of your application.

  5. Frequency: The frequency of an ultrasonic sensor determines the speed of sound propagation and the resolution of the measurement. Higher frequencies offer better resolution but have a shorter sensing range, while lower frequencies provide a longer range with lower resolution. Choose a sensor with a suitable frequency for your application.

  6. Response Time: The response time is the time taken by the sensor to update its output after detecting a change in distance. Faster response times are essential for applications that require real-time measurements, such as obstacle avoidance in robotics.

  7. Output Type: Ultrasonic sensors can have analog, digital, or serial outputs. Choose a sensor with an output type that is compatible with your system's requirements.

  8. Mounting Options: Consider the available mounting options and ensure the sensor can be easily installed in your desired location.

  9. Power Consumption: Power consumption is an essential factor for battery-powered applications. Choose a sensor with low power consumption to extend battery life and minimize energy usage.

Common Applications

Ultrasonic ranging sensors are widely used in various industries and applications, including:

  1. Robotics: obstacle detection and avoidance, distance measurement, and navigation.

  2. Automotive systems: parking assistance, blind-spot detection, and collision avoidance.

  3. Industrial automation: level control, object detection, and material handling.

  4. Security systems: intrusion detection, access control, and perimeter monitoring.

  5. Medical devices: fluid level monitoring and flow rate measurement.


Selecting the right ultrasonic ranging sensor is crucial for the success of your project. By considering factors such as sensing range, accuracy, resolution, beam angle, environmental factors, frequency, response time, output type, mounting options, and power consumption, you can make an informed decision and choose the best sensor for your application.


  1. Can ultrasonic sensors detect all types of materials?Ultrasonic sensors can detect most materials, but their performance may vary depending on the material's composition, surface texture, and geometry. In general, hard and flat surfaces provide better reflections for ultrasonic waves.

  2. How does temperature affect the performance of ultrasonic sensors?Temperature affects the speed of sound in the air, which can impact the accuracy of distance measurements. Some ultrasonic sensors come with built-in temperature compensation to maintain accuracy across varying temperatures.

  3. What is the difference between ultrasonic sensors and infrared sensors for distance measurement?Ultrasonic sensors use sound waves to measure distance, while infrared sensors rely on light waves. Ultrasonic sensors are generally more accurate and less affected by environmental factors such as ambient light or color, whereas infrared sensors may have faster response times.

  4. Are ultrasonic sensors suitable for outdoor applications?Ultrasonic sensors can be used outdoors, but their performance may be affected by environmental factors such as temperature, humidity, and air pressure. Ensure that the sensor you choose is rated for outdoor use and can withstand the specific environmental conditions of your application.

  5. Do ultrasonic sensors require a line of sight to detect objects?Yes, ultrasonic sensors require a clear line of sight to detect objects, as the sound waves need to travel directly to the object and back to the sensor. Obstructions between the sensor and the object can cause inaccurate readings or false detections.

The principle and structure of modern ultrasonic ranging sensors vary greatly. How to select a sensor reasonably according to the specific measurement purpose, measurement object and measurement environment is the first problem to be solved when performing a certain amount of measurement. After the ultrasonic sensor is determined, the matching measurement method and measurement equipment can be determined. The success or failure of the measurement results depends to a large extent on whether the choice of ultrasonic ranging sensors is reasonable. This article mainly introduces several parameters that are generally noticed when selecting an ultrasonic ranging sensor, for reference only.

1) Determine the type of ultrasonic sensor (hereinafter the sensor will replace the ultrasonic ranging sensor) according to the measurement object and measurement environment

   To carry out a specific measurement work, we must first consider what principle is used to solve this problem, which needs to be determined after analyzing many factors. Because, even when measuring the same physical quantity, there are multiple principles of sensors to choose from, which principle of the sensor is more suitable, you need to consider the following specific issues according to the characteristics of the measured and the use conditions of the sensor: the size of the range; The requirements of the measured position on the volume of the sensor; whether the measurement method is contact or non-contact; the signal extraction method, wired or non-contact measurement; the source of the sensor, whether it is domestic or imported, whether the price can bear, or developed by itself. After considering the above problems, you can determine which type of sensor to choose, and then consider the specific performance indicators of the sensor.

2) Sensitivity selection of ultrasonic ranging sensor

   Generally, in the linear range of the sensor, the higher the sensitivity of the sensor, the better. Because only when the sensitivity is high, the value of the output signal corresponding to the measured change is relatively large, which is conducive to signal to process. However, it should be noted that the sensitivity of the sensor is high, and external noise that is not related to the measurement is also easily mixed in, and it will also be amplified by the amplification system, which affects the measurement accuracy. Therefore, it is required that the sensor itself should have a high signal-to-noise ratio to minimize interference signals introduced from the outside. The sensitivity of the sensor is directional. When the measured value is a single vector and the directionality is high, you should select a sensor with low sensitivity in other directions. If the measured value is a multidimensional vector, the smaller the cross-sensitivity of the sensor, the better.

3) Frequency response characteristics of ultrasonic ranging sensors

   The frequency response characteristic of the sensor determines the frequency range be measured. It must maintain undistorted measurement conditions within the allowable frequency range. In fact, the response of the sensor always has a certain delay. The shorter the delay time, the better. The frequency response of the sensor is high, and the frequency range of the measurable signal is wide. However, due to the influence of structural characteristics, the inertia of the mechanical system is large. The frequency of the measurable signal of the sensor with low frequency is low. In the dynamic measurement, the response characteristics should be based on the characteristics of the signal (steady-state, transient, random, etc.), so as to avoid excessive fire errors

4) The linear range of ultrasonic ranging sensor

   The linear range of the sensor refers to the range in which the output is proportional to the input. In theory, within this range, the sensitivity remains constant. The wider the linear range of the sensor, the larger the range, and it can ensure certain measurement accuracy. When selecting a sensor, when the type of sensor is determined, it is first necessary to see whether its range meets the requirements. But in fact, no sensor can guarantee absolute linearity, and its linearity is also relative. When the required measurement accuracy is relatively low, within a certain range, the sensor with small nonlinear error can be regarded as linear, which will bring great convenience to the measurement.


5) Stability of ultrasonic ranging sensor

   After a sensor is used for a period of time, its ability to keep its performance unchanged is called stability. In addition to the structure of the sensor itself, the factors that affect the long-term stability of the sensor are mainly the use environment of the sensor (the use environment is a very important link. To accurately select the ultrasonic ranging sensor, please contact our company staff). Therefore, to make the sensor have good stability, the sensor must have a strong ability to adapt to the environment. Before selecting a sensor, the environment in which it is used should be investigated, and the appropriate sensor should be selected according to the specific use environment, or appropriate measures should be taken to reduce the environmental impact. There are quantitative indicators for the stability of the sensor. After the period of use is exceeded, the calibration should be re-calibrated before use to determine whether the performance of the sensor has changed. In some situations where the sensor can be used for a long time and cannot be easily replaced or calibrated, the stability of the selected sensor is more stringent, and it must be able to withstand the test for a long time.






Transmitting and receiving


Open structure



Center Frequency



Transmitting Sound Pressure Level


Min.110 (30cm/10Vrms Sine Wave) 0dB=0.0002u bar

Receive Sensitive


Min. –75Db/V/μ bar(at 40Khz 0Db=1v/u bar)

Nominal Impedance



Max. Driving Voltage(cont.)





2500±20% at 1KHZ

Operating Tem.Range

-20 to +70

Storage Temerature

-30 to +80

Housing Material


6) Accuracy of ultrasonic ranging sensor

   Accuracy is an important performance index of the sensor, it is an important link related to the measurement accuracy of the entire measurement system. The higher the accuracy of the sensor, the more expensive it is. Therefore, as long as the accuracy of the sensor meets the accuracy requirements of the entire measurement system, it does not have to be selected too high. In this way, it is possible to select a cheaper and simpler sensor among many sensors that meet the same measurement purpose. If the measurement purpose is qualitative analysis, use a sensor with high repeat accuracy. It is not appropriate to use a sensor with high absolute value accuracy. If it is for quantitative analysis, accurate measurement values must be obtained, and a sensor with an accuracy level that meets the requirements must be selected.

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