Ultra-Sonic Ranging Design

Posted on Feb 5, 2014

The module costs GB38. 00 and the transducer costs a further GB17. 00. In fairness, the Polaroid module does the job it was intended to do, which requires the range, but that job is not to provide the eyes of a small robot. The circuit is designed to be low cost. It uses a PIC12C508 to perform the control func

Ultra-Sonic Ranging Design
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tions and standard 40khz piezo transducers. The drive to the transmitting transducer could be simplest driven directly from the PIC. The 5v drive can give a useful range for large objects, but can be problematic detecting smaller objects. The transducer can handle 20v of drive, so I decided to get up close to this level. A MAX232 IC, usually used for RS232 communication makes and ideal driver, providing about 16v of drive. The receiver is a classic two stage op-amp circuit. The input capacitor C8 blocks some residual DC which always seems to be present. Each gain stage is set to 24 for a total gain of 576-ish. This is close the 25 maximum gain available using the LM1458. The gain bandwidth product for the LM1458 is 1Mhz. The maximum gain at 40khz is 1000000/40000 = 25. The output of the amplifier is fed into an LM311 comparator. A small amount of positive feedback provides some hysterisis to give a clean stable output. The problem of getting operation down to 1-2cm is that the receiver will pick up direct coupling from the transmitter, which is right next to it. To make matters worse the piezo transducer is a mechanical object that keeps resonating some time after the drive has been removed. Up to 1mS depending on when you decide it has stopped. It is much harder to tell the difference between this direct coupled ringing and a returning echo, which is why many designs, including the Polaroid module, simply blank out this...

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