Principle of Operation - Motion Sensor

Technote: How do the PASCO motion sensors work?

The PASCO motion sensors use ultrasonic pulses to determine distance to the surface of reflection. Specifically, by emitting a train of 16 square wave pulses at a sound frequency of about 49.4 kHz and detecting their echoes. The distance d is calculated from d = v (t-t0) /2 , where v is the local velocity of sound, t0  is a small correction for electronic delays, and t is the round-trip time interval between the emitted pulse train and the returning pulse train. There is a dead time of about 0.85 ms, where the sensor will not detect a return, which accounts for the inability of the sensor to measure distances of less than 15 cm.

Changing the range setting of the motion sensor adjusts the sensitivity of the receiver to pulses. On the "far" setting, the receiver is less sensitive to return pulses than on the "near" setting. (On PASPORT and ScienceWorkshop models this is a physical switch on the sensor; on the Wireless Motion the range setting can be changed in the software).

CI-6742 Specific Technical Details

The signal to and from the Motion Sensor II are normally both high (5 V). To initiate a sensor cycle, the trigger signal is held low (0 V) for about 0.13 milliseconds. This then causes the return echo signal to also go low. A series of ultrasonic pulses are then emitted by the Motion Sensor II when the trigger signal goes back to high. There will be a period of 'Dead Time' of about 0.85 milliseconds where the motion sensor does not receive a signal. Thus, the return echo should not return to the Motion Sensor II during this time. When the return echo is detected, the return echo line is forced high.

The CI-6742 Motion sensor II has two different stereo plugs, in which five of six conductors are used. These two plugs connect to a British telecom style connector at the sensor end. The pins are as follows, with pin 1 numbered from the side of the plug furthest away from the retaining clip:

Yellow plug:

  1. Tip: NC (No connection.)
  2. Ring: Trigger Signal
  3. Sleeve: GND.

Black plug:

  1. Tip: + 5 V
  2. Ring: Echo Signal
  3. Sleeve: GND.

The signal protocol is as follows: Input signal to the sensor is normally +5 VDC. The signal drops to 0 VDC for 0.13 ms. At the falling edge of the input signal, the output signal from the sensor drops from +5 VDC to 0 VDC. When the echoes have been detected, the output signal rises from 0 VDC to +5 VDC. The trigger rate can be adjusted from 5 Hz to 120 Hz. Receiver gain is a step routine that is built into the Motion Sensor II.

Related Products

Motion Sensor II

Motion Sensor II

Accurately measures position, velocity, and acceleration of a target. ScienceWorkshop version.

Motion Sensor

PASPORT Motion Sensor

The PASPORT Motion Sensor accurately measures the position, velocity, and acceleration of a target. It can be used to track the motion of balls, carts, people, and more.

Motion Sensor

Wireless Motion Sensor

The Wireless Motion Sensor uses ultrasound to measure the position, velocity, and acceleration of objects.