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High-Resolution Conversion of Light Intensity to Frequency Programmable Color and Full-Scale Output Frequency Communicates Directly With a Microcontroller Single-Supply Operation (2.7 V to 5.5 V) Power Down Feature Nonlinearity Error Typically 0.2% at 50 kHz Stable 200 ppm/°C Temperature Coefficient Low-Profile Surface-Mount Package
In the TCS3200, the light-to-frequency converter reads an 8 x 8 array of photodiodes. Sixteen photodiodes have blue filters, 16 photodiodes have green filters, 16 photodiodes have red filters, and 16 photodiodes are clear with no filters.
Now coming back to the sensor, a typical color sensor includes a high-intensity white LED that projects a modulated light onto the object. To detect the color of reflected light, almost all the color sensors consists of a grid of color-sensitive filter, also known as ‘Bayer Filter‘ and an array of photodiodes underneath, as shown in the picture below.
A single pixel is made up of 4 filters, one red, one blue, one green and one clear filter (no filter). This pattern is also known as the ‘Bayer Pattern‘. Each filter passes light of just a single color to the photodiode beneath, while the clear filter passes light as it is, as shown below. This extra light passed through the clear filter is a major advantage in low light conditions.
The processing chip then addresses each photodiode (one color at a time), and measures the intensity of the light. As there is an array of photodiodes, the results are first averaged and then sent out for processing. By measuring the relative level of red, green and blue light, the color of the object is determined.
TCS230 Color Sensor Module
The sensor itself can be seen at the center of the module, surrounded by the four white LEDs. The LEDs light up when the module is powered up and are used to illuminate the object being sensed. Thanks to these LEDs, the sensor can also work in complete darkness to determine the color or brightness of the object.The TCS230 operates on a supply voltage of 2.7 to 5.5 volts and provides TTL logic-level outputs.