Measuring distance accurately is important for many projects, such as building autonomous robots or drones. Ultrasonic range finders provide an inexpensive and easy way to measure distance using sound waves. In this guide, I will show you how to build a low cost ultrasonic range finder using an Arduino microcontroller board for precise distance measurements.

Parts Needed

To build the ultrasonic range finder, you will need:

That's it for the main components! Optionally, you can also add an LCD display to show the measured distance.

How Ultrasonic Sensors Work

An ultrasonic range finder determines distance by using sound waves. The sensor sends out a short ultrasonic pulse and then listens for the echo. By measuring the time between the pulse being transmitted and the echo being received, the sensor can calculate the distance to an object using the speed of sound.

Key factors that affect the accuracy include:

Circuit Diagram

Here is the circuit diagram showing how to connect the ultrasonic sensor to the Arduino:

How to Build a Low Cost Ultrasonic Range Finder With an Arduino for Accurate Distance Measurement

The trig and echo pins of the sensor connect to any two digital I/O pins on the Arduino. Power and ground are connected to the 5V and GND pins on the Arduino.

Optionally, you can also add an LCD display and current limiting resistor.


Here is the Arduino code to control the ultrasonic sensor and calculate the distance:

/ Code to read an ultrasonic distance sensor with Arduino /

// Pins for the sensor

define trigPin 13

define echoPin 12

// Other constants

define SOUND_SPEED 0.034 // cm/us

void setup() {

// Initialize pins
pinMode(trigPin, OUTPUT);
pinMode(echoPin, INPUT);

// Begin serial communication at 9600 baud

void loop() {

// Clear trig pin
digitalWrite(trigPin, LOW);

// Send 10 microsecond pulse
digitalWrite(trigPin, HIGH);
digitalWrite(trigPin, LOW);

// Read echo pin, calculate and print distance
long duration = pulseIn(echoPin, HIGH);
float distance = duration * SOUND_SPEED/2;

Serial.print("Distance: ");
Serial.println(" cm");


The code starts by defining pins and constants. In the loop, it sends a pulse on the trig pin, listens for the echo, calculates the distance based on the pulse duration, and prints the result. Adjust the constants as needed for your setup.

Making Accurate Measurements

To get accurate and consistent measurements with your ultrasonic range finder, keep these tips in mind:

With some calibration and testing, ultrasonic sensors can achieve distance measurement accuracy within a few millimeters.


Building an ultrasonic range finder with Arduino opens up many possibilities for DIY projects. Some examples include:

Ultrasonic sensors are very versatile for distance measurement. With an Arduino, you can make an accurate and fully customizable ultrasonic range finder on a budget.

So that covers the basics of building and using an ultrasonic range finder with Arduino! Let me know if you have any other questions.