It emits an ultrasound at 40 000 Hz which travels through the air and if there is an object or obstacle on its path It will bounce back to the module. Considering the travel time and the speed of the sound you can calculate the distance.
The HC-SR04 Ultrasonic Module has 4 pins, Ground, VCC, Trig and Echo. The Ground and the VCC pins of the module needs to be connected to the Ground and the 5 volts pins on the Arduino Board respectively and the trig and echo pins to any Digital I/O pin on the Arduino Board. In order to generate the ultrasound you need to set the Trig on a High State for 10 µs. That will send out an 8 cycle sonic burst which will travel at the speed sound and it will be received in the Echo pin. The Echo pin will output the time in microseconds the sound wave traveled.
For example, if the object is 10 cm away from the sensor, and the speed of the sound is 340 m/s or 0.034 cm/µs the sound wave will need to travel about 294 u seconds. But what you will get from the Echo pin will be double that number because the sound wave needs to travel forward and bounce backward. So in order to get the distance in cm we need to multiply the received travel time value from the echo pin by 0.034 and divide it by 2.
You can get these components from any of the sites below:
- Ultrasonic Sensor HC-SR04 ………… Amazon / Banggood
- Arduino Board …………………………… Amazon / Banggood
- Breadboard and Jump Wires ……… Amazon / Banggood
*Please note: These are affiliate links. I may make a commission if you buy the components through these links. I would appreciate your support in this way!
First you have to define the Trig and Echo pins. In this case they are the pins number 9 and 10 on the Arduino Board and they are named trigPin and echoPin. Then you need a Long variable, named “duration” for the travel time that you will get from the sensor and an integer variable for the distance. In the setup you have to define the trigPin as an output and the echoPin as an Input and also start the serial communication for showing the results on the serial monitor. In the loop first you have to make sure that the trigPin is clear so you have to set that pin on a LOW State for just 2 µs. Now for generating the Ultra sound wave we have to set the trigPin on HIGH State for 10 µs. Using the pulseIn() function you have to read the travel time and put that value into the variable “duration”. This function has 2 parameters, the first one is the name of the echo pin and for the second one you can write either HIGH or LOW. In this case, HIGH means that the pulsIn() function will wait for the pin to go HIGH caused by the bounced sound wave and it will start timing, then it will wait for the pin to go LOW when the sound wave will end which will stop the timing. At the end the function will return the length of the pulse in microseconds. For getting the distance we will multiply the duration by 0.034 and divide it by 2 as we explained this equation previously. At the end we will print the value of the distance on the Serial Monitor.
If you want to display the results from the HC-SR04 Ultrasonic Sensor on an LCD you can use the following source code: