Wednesday, July 31, 2013

37 sensor kit from Sunfounder lab

So, I saw this kit on Amazon.  It seemed too good too be true.  The kit was priced right, it was less than 2 dollars for each board.  Of course many of the boards are not sensors, some of the 37 are emitters of various frequencies of light and sound.

The package arrived in just a few days.  It was small enough to have been left by my mail carrier in my mail box.  I opened the medium sized padded envelope  and pulled out a nice plastic case that firmly latched shut.  Opening the case revealed the 37 modules each in little plastic bags.  None of them were labelled and there was no documentation.  Each module seemed to be well made and I didn't see any badly soldiered joints. 

Freshly unpacked.

Everything came mounted on tiny boards.  These easily plugged into a breadboard and I was able to connect several different modules to an Arduino board.   I sorted the various modules 2 or three into a single small bag.  I used the picture from the Amazon web page to identify each item.  This got rid of more than half the bags and organized the modules by function.

The list of modules from Amazon:

1.Passive Buzzer Module
2.common-cathode RED&GREEN LED Module
3.Knock sensor module
4.Shock-switch sensor Module
5.Photo resistor sensor Module
6.Push button Module
7.tilt-switch Module
8.RGB LED Module
9.infrared-transmit Module
10.RGB LED Module
11.hydrargyrum-switch sensor Module
12.two-color commoncathode LED Module
13.Active buzzer Module
14.Analog-temperature sensor Module
15.Colorful Auto-flash Module
16.Magnet-ring sensor Module
17.Hall sensor Module
18.Infrared-receive sensor Module
19.Analogy-Hall sensor Module
20.Magic-ring Module
21.Rotate-encode Module
22.Light break sensor Module
23.Finger-Pulse sensor Module
24.Magnetic spring Module
25.Obstacle avoidance sensor Module
26.Tracking sensor Module
27.Microphone sensor Module
28.Laser-transmit Module
29.Relay Module
30.18b20 temperature sensor Module
31.Digital-Temperature sensor Module
32.Linear-Hall Sensor Module
33.Flame sensor Module
34.High-sensitive voice sensor Module
35.Humidity sensor Module
36.Joystick PS2 Module
37.touch sensor Module

There was also a download link that had more information about how to use the various modules. 

The download is kind of a mess.  The manual reads like it was machine translated from another language.  I need to work on cleaning this up and uploading it to github so that people can just drop in the library and have examples for all the modules, and modules that show how to wire everything up.

It was also not clear to me how to wire these modules up to an Arduino board.

Oh look, it is a DHT11 !  Ignore the G N D V, that is just gibberish.

Looking down from the top, brown wire is ground, red is 3.3-5v power, and orange is signal.


Overall the hardware is nice.  Everything I have spent the time figuring out I have been able to get working.  Many of these boards would be several dollars individually by themselves.  The humidity sensor itself is 5 or 6 dollars if bought by itself.  IR receiver's are $2 as a bare component.  Having the bare component mounted on small boards makes it much easier to breadboard up examples, and the components are much tougher mounted in the modules than they would be otherwise.  Especially for me, since as I get older my hands get more and more apelike.

The only possible thing that one might consider bad is that many of these boards are near duplicates... there are 4 modules that sense temperature, 3 hall effect modules, a couple RGB lights, and so on. A little less duplication and a little more variety might be good.  But this might also be seen by some as a good thing.  Maybe you want to explore how variations on these components all work. 

Unfortunately, if you are currently looking for something you can just buy and get working in a day, you must look elsewhere.  The sole negative, but it is a giant negative, is that the Arduino sketches and instructions on how to wire up these modules is fairly difficult to do.  I've been spending a couple of hours getting each sensor to work in an evening.  I like doing this, so no big deal to me, but this might be a deal breaker for someone else.

Another thing that would be nice would be to throw in a few 3 wire, 4 wire, and one 5 wire female to male connectors so that you can easily wire the components right up to the pins on an Arduino board.  I bought this wiring kit for the variety of wiring options it gave me for Arduino, breadboard, and Raspi.


  1. Is this thing compatible with the Uno R1?

  2. Could you also send me the link when you translate the text that comes with the sensors. You are correct it does not make much sense lol. I bought it as a present and it would be nice to have better info on it. I added you on google + so I can follow all your sensor tutorials thanks!!

  3. I have an Uno, I don't know what version it is, but I don't see how that could matter. Any Arduino should work.

    I am in the process of downloading data sheets for all the components that are part of the kit. I am also looking at the Arduino playground to try to find libraries that support these chips. For example, I downloaded and installed a dht11/22 library that can support either one of these humidity sensors and used the example sketch to read the dht11 sensor that came with the Sunfounder kit. I found another library that supports the dallas temperature sensor ds18s20 1-wire protocol that is also part of the kit.

    Once I figured out the pattern of "- + s" with the middle connector not being marked I was able to use the generic analog serial example and digital button example sketches that come with the arduino to rapidly try out most of the 3 wire sensors.

    One thing to watch out for though, is that I hooked up the IR transmitter the same way I hooked up most of the other sensor modules and it popped after just a second and let out all its magic smoke.

    1. Hi James thanks for the update! This will all be very helpful! I look forward to more of your blog posts in the future! I hope you make it through all 37!!

    2. Did you ever get the github up and running?

    3. Sorry for the delay. Too busy trying to finish my degree and two minors. I have a few hours this weekend, I will get something organized and checked into github and put a link in these comments.


    This is the placeholder in git hub, will be creating a directory for each sensor, and uploading some projects as I get around to it.


      OK, the repository is up and has a copy of everything I could find for the kits. Most of the files are from the manufacturer and many do not work strait out of the box. It is also not always clear how to wire things up for a given sketch to work.

  5. So, now we have a central repository of data for the 37 projects. Now we can get busy translating this to readable english and making good diagrams to show how to wire things up.

  6. I bought this for a Maker Workshop and have been sketching it out slowly. Not "live" yet, but you can see the work in progress at

    It's not checked out yet, so if you see any errors, please email