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Tips & Tricks: Using Long Range Ultrasonic Sensors for Soft Targets

Sound proofing has an uneven surface that dissipates soundUltrasonic level sensors are great at measuring the distance, or level, of many different material targets. However not all targets are created equal:

The easiest to measure, for an ultrasonic sensor, is large, smooth, and flat. This is a hard target.

A soft target, on the other hand, has poor reflective characteristics. Soft targets include uneven surfaces, sound absorbent material, and small objects.

As a rule of thumb, a soft target cuts the effective range of the sensor in half. For example, a 50 ft. range sensor would work well up to 25 ft. on a soft target.

To get the best results for soft targets, use a long distance ultrasonic sensor (such as the IRU-3435 or IRU-2425) and ramp up the sensor’s gain feature.

To set up the gain control feature for soft targets in the IRU series of sensors, do the following steps:

Step 1: Connect the RST-3001 module to the sensor and your computer. Open the IRU software.

Step 2:  After communication has been established, enter “3” in the window marked “Gain Control”.

Step 3:  Click on the “Send” tab.  This will send the new parameter to the sensor.

Using a long range ultrasonic sensor with gain control set for soft targets will provide better readings for poor reflective characteristics. This will enable the sensor to give the best possible readings for an accurate level measurement.

photo credit: Victorgrigas via Wikimedia Commons

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