QTR Relectance Sensors

Pololu QTR / QTRX / QTRXL family of reflectance sensors overview

With 80 different types, these reflectance sensors feature various sizes of linear array of infrared emitter/phototransistor pair modules in a high-density (4 mm pitch) or medium-density (8 mm pitch) arrangement, with analogue or digital outputs. These sensors are well suited for applications that require detection of changes in reflectivity. This change in reflectivity can be due to a colour change at a fixed distance, such as when sensing a black line on a white background, as well as due to a change in the distance to or presence of an object in front of the sensor. A variety of sensor counts and densities is available so you can pick the ideal arrangement for your application. Since the outputs are all independent, you can connect just some of the channels to attain irregular or non-standard sensor spacing.

Unlike the original Pololu QTR sensor modules, these units have integrated LED drivers that provide brightness control independent of the supply voltage, which can be anywhere from 2.9 V to 5.5 V, while enabling optional dimming to any of 32 possible brightness settings. For high-density (HD) modules with five or more sensors and medium-density (MD) modules with eleven or more sensors, there are separate controls for the odd-numbered and even-numbered LEDs, which give you extra options for detecting light reflected at various angles. See the “Emitter control” section below for more information on using this feature.

Two different sensor options are available, denoted by “QTR” or “QTRX” in the product name. The “QTR” versions feature lower-cost sensor modules without lenses while the “QTRX” versions feature higher-performance sensor modules with lenses, which allow similar performance at a much lower IR LED current

We also have several single-channel modules with the “QTRXL” designator that offer extra-long range by using the QTRX-style sensor module with higher current through the emitter.

Each sensor option is available in two output types: an “A” version with analogue voltage outputs between 0V and VCC, and an “RC” version with outputs that can be read with a digital I/O line on a microcontroller by first setting the lines high and then releasing them and timing how long it takes them to read as low (typically anywhere from a few microseconds to a few milliseconds). The lower the output voltage or shorter the voltage decay time, the higher the reflectance.

An Arduino library makes it easy to use these sensor modules with an Arduino or compatible controller by providing methods for controlling the emitters, calibrating the module, and reading the individual sensor values from either the A or RC versions. It also has a method specifically for line-following applications to compute the location of the line under the array.