IoT Sensors and Actuators

In this post, We talk about Basic “IoT Sensors and Actuators” that are used for IoT projects. So we are trying to provide a list of basic sensors and actuators for build any IoT projects. Lets explore some of the commonly used IoT Sensors and Actuators in IoT Applications.

Internet of things

Above picture is an Equation of Internet of things. IoT Sensors and Actuators plays main role in any IoT Projects. Without IoT Sensors and Actuators, there’s no IoT.


IoT Sensors and Actuators


IoT Sensors

Generally speaking, a sensor is a device that is able to detect changes in an environment. By itself, a sensor is useless, but when we use it in an electronic system, it plays a key role. A sensor is able to measure a physical phenomenon (like temperature, pressure, and so on) and transform it into an electric signal. So Sensors are hardware components that can detect events or changes in its surroundings, and then provide a corresponding output. Sensors are the eyes and ears of any IoT Project. Without sensors, there’s no IoT.

Lets explore some of the commonly used sensors in IoT Applications.

1. Temperature Sensors:

TMP36:

The TMP35/TMP36/TMP37 are low voltage, precision centigrade temperature sensors. They provide a voltage output that is linearly proportional to the Celsius (centigrade) temperature. The TMP35/ TMP36/TMP37 do not require any external calibration to provide typical accuracies of ±1°C at +25°C and ±2°C over the −40°C to +125°C temperature range.

LM35:

The LM35 series are precision integrated-circuit temperature devices with an output voltage linearly-proportional to the Centigrade temperature. The LM35 device has an advantage over linear temperature sensors calibrated in Kelvin, as the user is not required to subtract a large constant voltage from the output to obtain convenient Centigrade scaling. The LM35 device does not require any external calibration or trimming to provide typical accuracies of ±¼°C at room temperature and ±¾°C over a full −55°C to 150°C temperature range.

DS18B20:

The DS18B20 digital thermometer provides 9-bit to 12-bit Celsius temperature measurements and has an alarm function with nonvolatile user-programmable upper and lower trigger points. The DS18B20 communicates over a 1-Wire bus that by definition requires only one data line (and ground) for communication with a central microprocessor.

Waterproof DS18B20:

This sealed digital temperature probe lets you precisely measure temperatures in wet environments with a simple 1-Wire interface. The DS18B20 provides 9 to 12-bit (configurable) temperature readings over a 1-Wire interface, so that only one wire (and ground) needs to be connected from a central microprocessor.

2. Temperature and Humidity Sensors:

DHT11:

The DHT11 is a basic, ultra low-cost digital temperature and humidity sensor. It uses a capacitive humidity sensor and a thermistor to measure the surrounding air, and spits out a digital signal on the data pin (no analog input pins needed). Its fairly simple to use, but requires careful timing to grab data. The only real downside of this sensor is you can only get new data from it once every 2 seconds, so when using our library, sensor readings can be up to 2 seconds old.

DHT22:

The DHT22 is a basic, low-cost digital temperature and humidity sensor. It uses a capacitive humidity sensor and a thermistor to measure the surrounding air, and spits out a digital signal on the data pin (no analog input pins needed). It’s fairly simple to use, but requires careful timing to grab data. The only real downside of this sensor is you can only get new data from it once every 2 seconds, so when using our library, sensor readings can be up to 2 seconds old.

Simply connect the first pin on the left to 3-5V power, the second pin to your data input pin and the rightmost pin to ground. Although it uses a single-wire to send data it is not Dallas One Wire compatible! If you want multiple sensors, each one must have its own data pin.

Recommended: DHT11 vs DHT22: Overview

3. Temperature, Humidity and Barometric Pressure Sensors:

BME280:

The BME280 is as combined digital humidity, pressure and temperature sensor based on proven sensing principles. Its small dimensions and its low power consumption allow the implementation in battery driven devices such as handsets, GPS modules or watches. The BME280 achieves high performance in all applications requiring humidity and pressure measurement.

4. Temperature, Altitude and Barometric Pressure Sensors:

BMP180:

The BME280 is an integrated environmental sensor developed specifically for mobile applications where size and low power consumption are key design constraints. The unit combines individual high linearity, high accuracy sensors for pressure, humidity and temperature in an 8-pin metal-lid 2.5 x 2.5 x 0.93 mm³ LGA package, designed for low current consumption (3.6 μA @1Hz), long term stability and high EMC robustness.

The humidity sensor features an extremely fast response time which supports performance requirements for emerging applications such as context awareness, and high accuracy over a wide temperature range. The pressure sensor is an absolute barometric pressure sensor with features exceptionally high accuracy and resolution at very low noise. The integrated temperature sensor has been optimized for very low noise and high resolution. It is primarily used for temperature compensation of the pressure and humidity sensors, and can also be used for estimating ambient temperature.

MPL3115A2:

The MPL3115A2 is a compact, piezoresistive, absolute pressure sensor with an I2Cdigital interface. MPL3115A2 has a wide operating range of 20 kPa to 110 kPa, a rangethat covers all surface elevations on earth. The MEMS is temperature compensatedutilizing an on-chip temperature sensor. The pressure and temperature data is fed intoa high resolution ADC to provide fully compensated and digitized outputs for pressurein Pascals and temperature in °C.

5. Motion Sensors:

PIR Sensor:

PIR sensors allow you to sense motion, almost always used to detect whether a human has moved in or out of the sensors range. They are small, inexpensive, low-power, easy to use and don’t wear out. For that reason they are commonly found in appliances and gadgets used in homes or businesses. They are often referred to as PIR, “Passive Infrared”, “Pyroelectric”, or “IR motion” sensors.

6. Light Sensors:

LDR:

A photoresistor (or light-dependent resistor, LDR, or photocell) is a light-controlled variable resistor. The resistance of a photoresistor decreases with increasing incident light intensity; in other words, it exhibits photoconductivity.

Photodiode:

A photodiode is a semiconductor device that converts light into current. The current is generated when photons are absorbed in the photodiode. A small amount of current is also produced when no light is present. Photodiodes may contain optical filters, built-in lenses, and may have large or small surface areas.

Phototransistor:

A phototransistor is a light-sensitive transistor. A common type of phototransistor, called a photobipolar transistor, is in essence a bipolar transistor encased in a transparent case so that light can reach the base–collector junction.

7. Gas Sensors:

This sensor is used in air quality control equipment for buildings/offices, are suitable for detecting of NH3,NOx, alcohol, Benzene, smoke,CO2 ,etc.

MQ-2 (LPG, Butane, Propane, Methane, Ethanol, Hydrogen, Smoke Sensor):

MQ – 2 is a flammable gas and smoke sensor detects the concentrations of combustible gas in the air and outputs its reading as an analog voltage. It is used for home or factory gas leakage monitoring devices, suitable for liquefied petroleum gas, butane, propane, methane, ethanol, hydrogen, smoke and other monitoring devices.

MQ-3 (Alcohol Sensor):

This module is made using Alcohol Gas Sensor MQ3. It is a low cost semiconductor sensor which can detect the presence of alcohol gases at concentrations from 0.05 mg/L to 10 mg/L. The sensitive material used for this sensor is SnO2, whose conductivity is lower in clean air. It’s conductivity increases as the concentration of alcohol gases increases. It has high sensitivity to alcohol and has a good resistance to disturbances due to smoke, vapor and gasoline. This module provides both digital and analog outputs. MQ3 alcohol sensor module can be easily interfaced with Microcontrollers, Arduino Boards, Raspberry Pi etc.

MQ-6 (LPG, Iso-Butane, Propane):

This propane gas sensor detects the concentrations of LPG, isobutane, and propane in the air and ouputs its reading as an analog voltage. The sensor can measure concentrations of 300 to 10,000 ppm.The sensor can operate at temperatures from -10 to 50°C and consumes less than 150 mA at 5 V.

MQ-7 (Carbon Monoxide Sensor):

This is a simple-to-use Carbon Monoxide (CO) sensor, suitable for sensing CO concentrations in the air. The MQ-7 can detect CO-gas concentrations anywhere from 20 to 2000ppm.

This sensor has a high sensitivity and fast response time. The sensor’s output is an analog resistance. The drive circuit is very simple; all you need to do is power the heater coil with 5V, add a load resistance, and connect the output to an ADC.

8. Distance / Proximity Sensors:

HC-SR04 (Ultrasonic Distance Sensor):

This is the HC-SR04 ultrasonic distance sensor. This economical sensor provides 2cm to 400cm of non-contact measurement functionality with a ranging accuracy that can reach up to 3mm. Each HC-SR04 module includes an ultrasonic transmitter, a receiver and a control circuit.

GP2Y0A02YK0F (IR Distance Sensor):

Infrared proximity sensor made by Sharp. Part # GP2Y0A02YK0F has an analog output that varies from 2.8V at 15cm to 0.4V at 150cm with a supply voltage between 4.5 and 5.5VDC. The sensor has a Japanese Solderless Terminal (JST) Connector. We recommend purchasing the related pigtail below or soldering wires directly to the back of the module.

9. Motion / Direction / Location Sensors:

L3G4200D (3-Axis Digital Gyroscope):

This sensor is a carrier/breakout board for the ST L3G4200D three-axis gyroscope, which measures the angular rates of rotation about the roll (X), pitch (Y), and yaw (Z) axes. Angular velocity measurements with a configurable range of ±250°/s, ±500°/s, or ±2000°/s can be read through a digital I²C or SPI interface. The board operates from 2.5–5.5 V and has a 0.1″ pin spacing.

MPU-6050 (3-Axis Digital Gyroscope):

MPU6050 sensor module is complete 6-axis Motion Tracking Device. It combines 3-axis Gyroscope, 3-axis Accelerometer and Digital Motion Processor all in small package. Also, it has additional feature of on-chip Temperature sensor. It has I2C bus interface to communicate with the microcontrollers.

ITG3205 (3-Axis Digital Gyroscope):

The ITG-3200 features three 16-bit analog-to-digital converters (ADCs) for digitizing the gyro outputs, a user-selectable internal low-pass filter bandwidth, and a Fast-Mode I2C (400kHz) interface. Additional features include an embedded temperature sensor and a 2% accurate internal oscillator.

HMC5883L (3-Axis Digital Compass):

HMC5883L is Honeywell’s  3-axis digital compass. Communication with the HMC5883L is simple and all done through an I2C interface. There is no on-board regulator, so a regulated voltage of 2.16-3.6VDC should be supplied.

FGPMMOPA6C / MT3339 (GPS Module):

The GlobalTop FGPMMOPA6C is an ultra‐compact POT (Patch On Top) GPS Module, The module utilizes the  MediaTek new generation GPS Chipset MT3339  that achieves the industry’s highest level of sensitivity (‐165dBm )  and  instant Time‐to‐First Fix (TTFF) with lowest power consumption for precise GPS signal processing to give the ultra‐precise positioning under low receptive, high velocity conditions.

10. Imaging Sensors:

Raspberry Pi Official Camera Module:

This camera module is capable of 1080p video and still images and connects directly to your Raspberry Pi. Connect the included ribbon cable to the CSI (Camera Serial Interface) port on your Raspberry Pi, boot up the latest version of Raspbian and you are good to go.

OV7670/OV7171 (640×480 VGA CMOS Camera):

The ov7670 is an image sensor manufactured by Omnivision. It can provide the full functionality of a single-chip VGA camera and image processor in a small footprint package. The OV7670/OV7171 provides full-frame, sub-sampled or windowed 8-bit images in a wide range of formats, controlled through the Serial Camera Control Bus (SCCB) interface.

11. Magnetic Sensors:

Reed Switch:

The reed switch is an electrical switch operated by an applied magnetic field. It was invented at Bell Telephone Laboratories in 1936 by W. B. Ellwood. When the device is exposed to a magnetic field, the two ferrous materials inside the switch pull together and the switch closes. When the magnetic field is removed, the reeds separate and the switch opens.

Magnetic Switch (Magnetic Door / Window Sensor):

Magnetic Switch is a small reed switch assembly specifically designed to alert you when doors, drawers, or any other aperture opens. These types of switches are primarily used in home security systems. One half of the assembly set on a window or door frame and the other attached to the window or door itself. When the switch set is separated from each other the contact is broken and triggers an alarm.

US1881 (Hall Latch):

The US1881 is a Hall-effect latch designed in mixed signal CMOS technology. The device integrates a voltage regulator, Hall sensor with dynamic offset cancellation system, Schmitt trigger and an open-drain output driver, all in a single package.

SCT-013-000 (Non-invasive AC Current Sensor):

The split core type sensor, is particularly suitable for DIY projects. It can be clipped straight on to either the live or neutral wire coming into the building without having to do any high voltage electrical work. The measured current is alternative, and the sensor is calibrated to measure a max of 100A AC. 100A is the RMS value of the maximum current the sensor can handle.

IoT Actuators

An actuator is a device that converts energy into motion. It is usually used to apply a force on some thing. In our example, the actuator would apply force to switch on the motor of the water pump. Actuators can create linear, oscillatory or rotatory motion based on how they are designed.

Let’s explore some of the basic actuators you may use in your IoT projects –

1. Servo Motors:

A servomotor is a rotary actuator or linear actuator that allows for precise control of angular or linear position, velocity and acceleration. It consists of a suitable motor coupled to a sensor for position feedback. It also requires a relatively sophisticated controller, often a dedicated module designed specifically for use with servomotors.

2. Stepper Motors:

Stepper motors are DC motors that move in discrete steps. They have multiple coils that are organized in groups called “phases”. By energizing each phase in sequence, the motor will rotate, one step at a time.

With a computer controlled stepping you can achieve very precise positioning and/or speed control. For this reason, stepper motors are the motor of choice for many precision motion control applications.

3. DC Motors (Continuous Rotation Motors):

DC (Direct Current) Motors are two wire (power & ground), continuous rotation motors. When you supply power, a DC motor will start spinning until that power is removed. Most DC motors run at a high RPM (revolutions per minute), examples being computer cooling fans, or radio controlled car wheels.

4. Linear actuator:

A linear actuator is an actuator that creates motion in a straight line, in contrast to the circular motion of a conventional electric motor. Linear actuators are used in machine tools and industrial machinery, in computer peripherals such as disk drives and printers, in valves and dampers, and in many other places where linear motion is required. Hydraulic or pneumatic cylinders inherently produce linear motion. Many other mechanisms are used to generate linear motion from a rotating motor.

5. Relay:

A relay is an electrically operated switch. Many relays use an electromagnet to mechanically operate a switch, but other operating principles are also used, such as solid-state relays. Relays are used where it is necessary to control a circuit by a separate low-power signal, or where several circuits must be controlled by one signal. The first relays were used in long distance telegraph circuits as amplifiers: they repeated the signal coming in from one circuit and re-transmitted it on another circuit. Relays were used extensively in telephone exchanges and early computers to perform logical operations.

6. Solenoid:

A solenoid is simply a specially designed electromagnet. Solenoids are inexpensive, and their use is primarily limited to on-off applications such as latching, locking, and triggering. They are frequently used in home appliances (e.g. washing machine valves), office equipment (e.g. copy machines), automobiles (e.g. door latches and the starter solenoid), pinball machines (e.g., plungers and bumpers), and factory automation.

IoT Hardware Platforms

Visit This: Popular Development Boards for IoT

IoT Protocols

Visit This:


So these are some basic IoT Sensors and Actuators. I hope you like this post “IoT Sensors and Actuators”. Do you have any questions? related to IoT Sensors and Actuators.  Leave a comment down below!

 

Harshvardhan Mishra

Hi, I'm Harshvardhan Mishra. I am a tech blogger and an IoT Enthusiast. I am eager to learn and explore tech related stuff! also, I wanted to deliver you the same as much as the simpler way with more informative content. I generally appreciate learning by doing, rather than only learning. Thank you for reading my blog! Happy learning! Follow and send tweets me on @harshvardhanrvm

One thought on “IoT Sensors and Actuators

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: