HC-SR04 Ultrasonic Distance Sensor Module

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The HC-SR04 Ultrasonic Sensor Module is a popular and versatile distance measuring device that utilizes ultrasonic waves to determine the distance between itself and an object. Widely used in robotics, automation, and various electronic projects, this sensor offers reliable performance and ease of use.


Specifications of HC-SR04 Ultrasonic Sensor Module:

  • Input Voltage: 5V
  • Working Current: 15mA
  • Standby current: less than 2mA
  • Working Frequency: 40KHz
  • Induction Angle: <15°
  • Distance Range: 2cm ~ 400cm
  • Resolution : 1cm
  • Trigger Input Pulse Width: 10uS
  • Pin Number: 4 Pin
  • Interface: TTL
  • Compatible with Arduino
  • Size: 45mm x 20mm x 15mm

Key Features of HC-SR04 Ultrasonic Sensor Module

  • Wide Measurement Range: Capable of accurately measuring distances from as close as 2cm to as far as 400cm, providing versatility for various applications.
  • High Precision: Offers precise distance measurements with an accuracy of up to 1cm, ensuring reliable performance in demanding projects.
  • Low Power Consumption: Operates on a low voltage of 5V DC and consumes minimal current (less than 15mA), making it energy-efficient and suitable for battery-powered applications.
  • Easy Interface: Features trigger and echo pins for straightforward interfacing with microcontrollers, Arduino boards, and other electronic devices, simplifying integration into projects.
  • Compact Design: With dimensions of 45mm x 20mm x 15mm, the HC-SR04 sensor module is compact and lightweight, enabling easy installation and integration into space-constrained setups.
  • Fast Response Time: Provides quick and accurate distance measurements, thanks to its fast response time, enabling rapid feedback and control in real-time systems.
  • Cost-Effective Solution: Offers a cost-effective solution for distance measurement needs, making it accessible to hobbyists, educators, and professionals on a budget.
  • Robust Construction: Built with durable materials and components, ensuring long-term durability and stable performance in various environmental conditions.

Overall, the HC-SR04 Ultrasonic Sensor Module combines advanced features, ease of use, and affordability, making it an ideal choice for a wide range of distance sensing and measurement projects.

SR04 Ultrasonic Sensor Pinout

This Module has 4 pins:

  • VCC: Module power supply – 5V
  • Trig: Trigger pin for sending ultrasonic waves
  • Echo: produces a pulse when the ultrasonic waves are sent and stays High until they’re reached back to the sensor
  • GND: Ground

You can see the pinout of this module in the image below.


What you will need to use HC-SR04 ultrasonic sensor module?

To use the HC-SR04 Ultrasonic Sensor Module, you will typically need the following components and equipment:

  • Microcontroller or Arduino Board: A microcontroller such as an Arduino Uno or similar development board such as ESP32 or ESP8266 is needed to interface with the HC-SR04 sensor module and process the distance measurements.
  • Jumper Wires: These are used to establish connections between the HC-SR04 sensor module and the microcontroller or Arduino board. You can use like this one.
  • Power Supply: The HC-SR04 sensor module typically operates at 5V DC, so you'll need a suitable power supply to provide power to both the sensor module and the microcontroller or Arduino board.
  • USB Cable (if using Arduino): If you're using an Arduino board, you'll need a USB cable to connect it to your computer for programming and power. If you use Arduino UNO board, you can use this one. If your microcontroller board has mini or micro USB, you can use this one and this one

With these components and equipment, you'll have everything you need to set up and use the HC-SR04 Ultrasonic Sensor Module for your distance sensing and measurement projects.

What can I do with HC-SR04 Ultrasonic Sensor module?

The HC-SR04 Ultrasonic Sensor Module is highly versatile, offering various applications:

  • Distance Measurement: Primarily used to measure distances accurately in robotics and automation projects.
  • Obstacle Detection: Detects obstacles for collision avoidance when mounted on robots or vehicles.
  • Proximity Sensing: Identifies objects within a certain range, useful for automatic doors and switches.
  • Liquid Level Measurement: Measures liquid levels in tanks, applicable in agriculture and vehicle fuel systems.
  • Parking Assistance Systems: Multiple modules create parking aids by monitoring distance from obstacles.
  • Gesture Recognition: Detects hand gestures for interactive systems like gesture-controlled devices.
  • Animal Detection: Monitors animal presence for wildlife research and conservation.
  • Liquid Flow Measurement: Measures liquid flow rates in pipes or channels, aiding in irrigation and plumbing.

These examples highlight the HC-SR04's versatility for various projects, from hobbyist experiments to professional applications.

Which projects is not suitable to be done with HC-SR04 Ultrasonic Sensor Module ?

The HC-SR04 Ultrasonic Sensor Module may not be suitable for tasks that require extremely precise measurements over long distances or in highly variable environmental conditions. Additionally, it may not be ideal for applications where the target object is extremely small or irregularly shaped, as the ultrasonic waves may not accurately reflect off such surfaces. Furthermore, tasks that demand high-speed or real-time processing capabilities beyond the module's capabilities may not be suitable. Examples include:

  • Sub-millimeter Precision Measurements: For tasks requiring precision at a sub-millimeter level, alternative sensors with higher resolution might be more appropriate.
  • Long-Range Distance Measurement in Uncontrolled Environments: In environments with significant air turbulence or acoustic interference, the accuracy of ultrasonic sensors like HC-SR04 may degrade, limiting their suitability for precise long-range measurements.

In such cases, alternative sensing technologies like laser rangefinders, LiDAR (Light Detection and Ranging), or radar may be more appropriate, depending on the specific requirements of the task.

How HC-SR04 Ultrasonic Sensor Module Works

The HC-SR04 Ultrasonic Sensor Module works on the principle of echolocation. It emits an ultrasonic pulse from its transmitter and then waits for the pulse to bounce back off an object and return to its receiver. By measuring the time taken for the pulse to travel to the object and back, the sensor calculates the distance to the object using the formula:

Distance = (Time taken for the pulse to return * Speed of sound in air) / 2



Can I use ultrasonic sensors in dusty environments to measure distance?


Using ultrasonic sensors in dusty environments for distance measurement can be challenging and may affect accuracy. Dust particles can interfere with ultrasonic waves, causing errors. Consider:

Interference: Dust scatters and absorbs waves, distorting measurements.

Reflection: Dust creates reflective surfaces, leading to false readings.

Calibration: Dust buildup affects sensor performance, requiring maintenance.

Range Limitations: Dust reduces sensor range due to attenuation.

Environmental Conditions: High humidity or temperature can further impact sensor performance.

Assess the application carefully. Laser-based sensors or LiDAR may perform better in dusty conditions. Implementing dust mitigation measures like protective enclosures can help improve sensor performance.


What is the limitations of ultrasonic sensor modules?

  • Limited Range: Ultrasonic sensors have a maximum range, affected by design and environmental factors.
  • Interference: Environmental conditions like temperature and humidity can affect wave accuracy.
  • Surface Properties: Object materials impact wave reflection and absorption, affecting measurements.
  • Directional Sensing: Sensors have a limited field of view, challenging omnidirectional detection.
  • Environmental Conditions: Airborne particles reduce range and accuracy, especially outdoors.
  • Multipath Reflections: Complex environments can cause overlapping signals, affecting measurements.
  • Frequency Limitations: Sensor frequencies vary in resolution and range suitability.
  • Cost: High-performance sensors may be costly, limiting budget-friendly options.
  • Despite these limitations, ultrasonic sensor modules remain useful for distance measurement, object detection, and proximity sensing. With proper calibration and environmental consideration, their performance can often be optimized for various applications.


    What are the alternatives to ultrasonic sensors that have the same price?


    Several alternatives to ultrasonic sensors exist within a similar price range, offering various sensing principles. Here are a few examples:

    • Infrared (IR) Sensors: Use infrared light for proximity sensing and obstacle detection. IR sensors use infrared light to detect objects and measure distance. They are commonly used for proximity sensing and obstacle detection in robotics and automation projects. You can find some of them
    • Time-of-Flight (ToF) Sensors: ToF sensors measure the time it takes for a light signal to travel to an object and back, providing accurate distance measurements. This module is an example of a TOF range sensing module.
    • Capacitive Sensors: Capacitive sensors detect changes in capacitance caused by the presence of nearby objects. They are commonly used for proximity sensing, touch detection, and object detection in various industrial and consumer applications. You can find some of them in this page.
    • Laser Diode Sensors: Laser diode sensors emit laser beams to detect objects and measure distances with high precision. They offer long-range sensing capabilities and are commonly used in industrial automation, robotics, and measurement applications. You can see some of them like first and second one.
    • Time-Domain Reflectometry (TDR) Sensors: TDR sensors measure the time it takes for an electromagnetic pulse to travel along a conductor and reflect back, allowing for accurate distance measurements. They are commonly used in soil moisture sensors, level measurement systems, and industrial automation applications.

    These alternatives can be suitable replacements for ultrasonic sensors in different applications. Careful evaluation of features and performance is essential for selecting the best option within the desired price range.


    Can the HC-SR04 be used outdoors?


    Yes, the HC-SR04 Ultrasonic Sensor Module can function outdoors, though its performance may vary due to environmental factors like wind, temperature, humidity, and airborne particles. Outdoor conditions can affect measurement accuracy and reliability, especially with ultrasonic waves, which may not propagate as well outdoors due to wind interference and temperature differences.

    Despite these challenges, with proper calibration and consideration of environmental factors, the HC-SR04 sensor module can still be useful outdoors for tasks such as distance measurement, object detection, and obstacle avoidance in robotics and automation projects. It's crucial to carefully evaluate outdoor conditions and tailor solutions to mitigate potential issues for optimal performance.


    Can ultrasonic sensor modules be used for level measurement in tanks or containers?


    Yes, ultrasonic sensor modules are commonly used for level measurement in tanks or containers. However, factors like liquid surface conditions and sensor positioning should be considered for accurate measurements.


    Can ultrasonic sensor modules detect transparent or soft objects?


    Ultrasonic sensor modules may have difficulty detecting transparent or soft objects because these materials may not reflect sound waves effectively. Calibration and testing may be necessary for accurate detection.

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