Pololu IR Beacon

We are a group of electrical-electronics engineering 4th year students. For our 4th year final project we think that we may use Pololu IR Beacon Tranciever kit. However, we could not find a detailed datasheet at your web address. We have some questions about how this kit works. We will appreciate if you answer these questions or send a detailed datasheet answering those questions. Thanks for your help. It will be very helpful if you reply this mail as soon as possible.
Our questions are as follows;
1)What is the output of this kit? It is written that the kit outputs 4 value corresponding to its 4 side; however it is not specified that whether these outputs are analog voltage levels or digital 1’s or 0’s.
2)From the description we understand that the kit tells us where the other kit is by dividing the environment to 4 zone? We concluded that these 4 zone should be 360/4=90 degrees.We want to know how actual this 90degree is. Is there any information about the switching performance (from one zone to another)? Is there a margin defining the switching errors?
3)There may be another devices using IR transmitters and receivers and we need to differ our target from other transmitters. Are these IR Beacon pairs are actually paired to each other eliminating the interferences? (we cannot use local navigation points, we have 2 IR beacons one on the target another on the robot)
4)Can we use receivers and transmitters other than that you will send us? (By this way we want to choose our own frequency to reduce interference issuses)
5)We understand that we can find the zone where the target is, we want to know whether we can send binary data from the installed transmitters and receive them from the receivers while we are still detecting the zone of the target?


  1. Outputs are digital (it says so on the product page).

  2. The outputs correspond to the four sensors, so resolution will depend on how you arrange them and what kind of optical shielding you might install between them. If more than one sensor gets the same readings, more than one output will be activated.

  3. Other IR sources could definitely interfere with the beacons.

  4. Using different receivers and transmitters would defeat the point of this product, since it’s basically some receivers and transmitters, with code made for that purpose. You could get the dev kit and write your own code, and then you could use whatever receiver you want (you would still be using the transmitters on the board).

  5. There is not provision for data transfer. Again, you could do your own thing with the dev kit, but in general, you’re not going to be able to get much data through, especially if you also want some kind of direction-finding functionality. However, the whole point of the beacon design is to allow for symmetric operation; if you just need one beacon and one receiver, you could do more. You could then just use one of the dev kits as a programmable transmitter, and connect your receiver modules directly to your own microcontroller for more processing options.

- Jan

Can you say anything about the interference with sharp sensors? We want to use both of them on the same robot and want to know how their operation will be affected from each other?
Thanks for your answer, it was very helpful for us.

The beacons have been used on robots that also have the Sharp distance sensors, and as far as I know, they have worked together without major problems. However, we don’t have anything more specifically characterized. In the contests they were originally designed for, the beacons were about 18" off the ground, while the distance sensors were typically an inch or two off the ground.

- Jan

Does anyone have a picture or sketch on how they may have mounted the beacon to an RC Servo?
I have a couple ideas but hoping someone may have already figured it out.

I am part of a high school electrical and computer engineering class and for our senior project we are building a robot that will store and carry medical equipment to doctors. We are using the Pololu IR transmitter and receiver kit to detect where the user is. We were wondering if there was a way to calculate the distance between the transmitter and receiver so that we know when to stop the equipment