[Dprglist] VL53L sensors

Murray Altheim murray18 at altheim.com
Wed Dec 15 04:38:18 PST 2021

On 15/12/21 11:13 pm, Paul Bouchier via DPRGlist wrote:
> We had a discussion about the VL53 family of IR proximity sensors at RBNV last night, an > we were unsure of the differences between e.g. VL53L1X, VL53L1 (no X) etc. This st page
> has a family decoder chart:
> https://www.st.com/en/imaging-and-photonics-solutions/time-of-flight-sensors.html <https://www.st.com/en/imaging-and-photonics-solutions/time-of-flight-sensors.html>
> In a nutshell, it looks like:
> VL53L0CX is 200cm single zone
> VL53L1CX is a 400cm single-zone programmable FoV
> VL53L1CB is 800cm multi-zone/multi-target programmable FoV (looks like best of all - what's the downside?) 27 degree max FoV
> VL53L3CX is 500cm multi-zone/multi-target with close distance detection
> VL53L5CX is 400cm multi-zone/multi-target Wide FoV: 64 degrees

Hi Paul,

Thanks very much for the summary. At some point I'll try to collate all this onto a wiki page.

> Sparkfun sells the VL53L3CX, VL53L1X and VL53L5CX, and some have arduino libraries, some don't. 
> They refer to the VL53L1X as "venerable", aka old, single-zone. I only find the VL53L0X and VL53L1X
> (single-zone) sensors on Amazon.

I'm looking forward to someday receiving the VL53L5CX I ordered from SparkFun. Someday.

> It seems to me the VL53L1CB is also known as VL53L1 (no X). Someone at ST ought to be shot for 
> defining VL53L1 and VL53L1X part numbers that have such different characteristics but only
> differ in part number by inclusion or not of X.

Agreed, but I think ST must have a well-funded department of people drinking gin in a hot metal
shed whose job it is to make their product line more confusing, maybe the Confused Department
of Confusion Department.

To fill out this list a bit:

Smart Prototyping in Taiwan (who also sell a rather nice "Zio Pyboard") have a very tiny VL53L0CX
for US$5.90, a VL53L1X for US$12.90, and a VL6180X (range 1m) for US$3.90:


This to compare their VL6180 at US$3.90 with SparkFun's for US$27.50. [woof]

I've been happily using one of Pimoroni's Breakout Garden boards:

   VL53L1X Time of Flight (ToF) Sensor

and Adafruit sell theirs as well:

   Adafruit VL53L0X Time of Flight Distance Sensor - ~30 to 1000mm, US$14.95

   Adafruit VL53L1X Time of Flight Distance Sensor - ~30 to 4000mm - STEMMA QT / Qwiic,  US$14.95

   Adafruit VL6180X Time of Flight Distance Ranging Sensor (VL6180) - STEMMA QT (range: 150-200mm), US$13.95

I've had experience with the latter board, works fine for short range.

I've been kinda jonesing for a TFmini, which is rather expensive at US$44.95 and has a claimed
range of 12 meters (!):

   TFmini Infrared Time of Flight Distance Sensor

But then again, I don't really know what my robot would do with that kind of range, seems a
bit overkill, and it does use 800mA. This is in the same neighbourhood range-wise as the
massive Sharp infrared 5m sensor I have, which uses only 30mA:

   IR Distance Sensor - Includes Cable (100cm-500cm) - GP2Y0A710K0F

My favourite is actually the Pimoroni, for my purposes. So my vote I suppose goes for the
VL53L1CX as a good all-around 4m distance sensor, especially since it uses only 16mA while
ranging and 6µA on standby. Great chip!



Murray Altheim <murray18 at altheim dot com>                       = =  ===
http://www.altheim.com/murray/                                     ===  ===
                                                                    = =  ===
     In the evening
     The rice leaves in the garden
     Rustle in the autumn wind
     That blows through my reed hut.
            -- Minamoto no Tsunenobu

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