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SF03

Laser rangefinder

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Product manual

SF03

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SF03

The SF03 is an OEM laser rangefinder


product family that can be integrated
into new or existing products to
provide fast distance measuring
capability.
The SF03 modules comprise all the
necessary optical and electronic
components along with embedded
software for a pulsed laser, time-offlight, distance measuring instrument.
Easy configuration commands can
adjust the update rate from 1 reading
per second to 1000 readings per
second.

Features:

! A laser based rangefinder modules suitable for


OEM applications.!
! Measure the distance to most surfaces and
objects.!
! Can detect targets up to 200 meters away with a
resolution of 37.5 centimeters.!
! Update rate is programmable from 1 to 1000
readings per second.!
! Includes digital communication interface.!
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! Fully calibrated and ready to run.!
Available as single units or in production
quantities.!

www.lightware.co.za

info@lightware.co.za

SF03/XLR

SF03/LR

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SF03 Laser Rangefinder - Product Manual - Revision 2

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LightWare Optoelectronics (Pty) Ltd, 2013

SF03

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Table of contents

Product manual

1. Overview ...................................................................................................................................................3
2. Quick start guide .........................................................................................................................................4
3. Interfaces ..................................................................................................................................................5
4. Connections ................................................................................................................................................5
Appendix A :: Specifications ................................................................................................................................6
Appendix B :: Dimensions ...................................................................................................................................6
Revision history ...............................................................................................................................................7

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Table of figures
Figure
Figure
Figure
Figure
Figure

www.lightware.co.za

info@lightware.co.za

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:: Time of flight measurement ..................................................................................................................3


:: Connection diagram ...........................................................................................................................5
:: SF03 Dimension drawings . ....................................................................................................................6
:: SF03/LR Dimension drawings .................................................................................................................7
:: SF03/XLR Dimension drawings ...............................................................................................................7

Disclaimer

Information found in this document is used entirely at the readers own risk and whilst every effort has been made to
ensure its validity neither LightWare Optoelectronics (Pty) Ltd nor its representatives make any warranties with respect the
accuracy of the information contained herein.

SF03 Laser Rangefinder - Product Manual - Revision 2

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LightWare Optoelectronics (Pty) Ltd, 2013

SF03

Laser rangefinder

SF03
Laser rangefinder

Product manual

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1. Overview
The SF03 laser rangefinder product family of prototyping and production modules is designed to be integrated into products and
systems that need fast, accurate and reliable distance measuring capability. Each module comprises all the optical components,
electronics and software for a pulsed laser, time-of-flight, distance measuring instrument.

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Operating from a single 5V DC supply, the SF03 includes a serial interface that can be easily connected to an embedded controller or
a standard processing platform such as Arduino or Raspberry Pi.
The SF03 works by measuring the time it takes for a very short pulse of laser light to travel to a target surface and back again. The
distance to the target is half of this time multiplied by the speed of light. The distance result can be updated up to 1000 times per
second and is measured with a resolution of 37.5cm. The accuracy is not affected by the distance to the target, the colour of the
surface or the angle of incidence of the laser beam to the surface.

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The SF03 is designed to be integrated into many different products in order to add fast distance measuring capability. There are
literally thousands of possible uses and here are few examples:
Hobby electronics - The SF03 can be incorporated into autonomous robots, AGVs or UAVs to help with navigation and obstacle
avoidance. The fast update rate makes it ideal for scanning an area for obstacles.
Safety - The SF03 can be used to create light barriers that detect when people, vehicles or machinery intrude into hazardous
areas.
Scientific - The SF03 can be used to measure the time to optical events that have been stimulated by individual laser pulses.
Industrial - The SF03 can be used to measure distance or level to many different types of surface.

Laser rangefinders fall into the category of non-contact, active sensors. By using laser light to sense the distance to an object or
surface, these devices arent affected by noise, wind or air temperature so the results are very stable and repeatable. In addition,
the parallel laser beam travels long distances without loosing energy and so the sensing range is also long.

Another advantage of laser rangefinders is that they are able to measure natural materials and surfaces at any angle. This means
that the return signal is practically constant no matter what angle the laser beam strikes a surface. In real world conditions, this
means that reliable and consistent measurements can be made to many different types of surface - smooth, rough, granular, sloping,
undulating or flat.

www.lightware.co.za

info@lightware.co.za

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SF03 Laser Rangefinder - Product Manual - Revision 2

Figure 1 :: Time of flight measurement

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SF03

SF03
Laser rangefinder

Product manual

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1. CAUTION - The SF03 rangefinder module contains a laser and should never be aimed at a person or an animal. Do not
look at the beam directly with optical instruments.
2. Plug the SF03s TTL to USB converter cable into a PC. This provides both power and communication for the unit.
3. Download LightWare Terminal software from www.lightware.co.za onto your PC. Open the installer package and follow
the installation instructions.
4. Start the LightWare Terminal software and click the Laser icon.
5. Select the correct serial port from the list shown and set the baud rate to 460800.
6. Click the Connect icon to open a communications port and distance measurements should begin to scroll in the
LightWare Terminal window.
7. The update rate can be changed by sending the following command string over the serial port:
#Snnnn:
where nnnn is the update rate in readings per second. This can be set from 1 to 1000.
8. The threshold can be changed by sending the following command string over the serial port:
#Ann:
where nn is the sensitivity threshold in percentage. Valid values are from 10 to 50

7. Once you have confirmed your settings, make sure the SF03 is measuring correctly then click the Disconnect icon.

www.lightware.co.za

info@lightware.co.za

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SF03

2. Quick start guide

SF03
Laser rangefinder

Product manual

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The SF03 has a single, high speed serial interface that uses 3.3V logic levels. The baud rate is fixed at 460800 and there is one stop
bit, no parity and no handshaking.

All distance results are transmitted continuously through this serial port and can be monitored by a host controller. Synchronization
of the data stream can be achieved by waiting for the \CR or \LF characters and using them as start indicators for the next distance
result. The distance is given as an ASCII string with one decimal place, such as 37.8\CR\LF. Lost signal conditions are indicated by
the distance reading -1.0\CR\LF.

Note that in order to make use of the maximum 1000 readings per second, the host processor will need to be handle the fast
incoming data stream. If this update rate is too fast then it can be changed by sending the following command:

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#Snnnn:

where nnnn is the update rate in readings per second. Valid values are from 1 to 1000.
The threshold can be changed by sending the following command string over the serial port:
#Ann:

where nn is the sensitivity threshold in percentage. Valid values are from 10 to 50

www.lightware.co.za

info@lightware.co.za

4. Connections

Figure 2 :: Connection diagram

Safety warning
Like all devices that contain lasers, caution must be used to keep the beam away from anyones eyes. The laser
beam of the SF03 LRF has very low energy and is normally safe to use (Class 1M). However, because this
product may be used for research or experimentation, it is possible that the laser or optical parts may be
modified or get damaged. Special precautions should be taken when handling the laser under these
conditions. Do not stare into the beam, wear the appropriate protective glasses and take safety
precautions. The laser light emitted from the pulsed laser is invisible, with a wavelength of 850 nm, an
average power of 11mW and a peak power of 14 W. To view this beam use a camera, webcam or florescent
card. Never look at the beam through a magnifying optical instrument.

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SF03

3. Interfaces

SF03
Laser rangefinder

Product manual

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SF03

SF03/LR

SF03/XLR

Power supply voltage

5.0 V 0.5 V DC

5.0 V 0.5 V DC

5.0 V 0.5 V DC

Power supply current

150 mA (maximum)

150 mA (maximum)

200 mA (maximum)

Measuring range

60 m (natural targets)

100 m (natural targets)

200 m (natural targets)

Resolution

37.5 cm

37.5 cm

37.5 cm

Update rate
[readings per sec]

1 to 1000

1 to 1000

1 to 1000

Laser power

14 W (peak)
<10 mW (average)
Class 1M

14 W (peak)
<10 mW (average)
Class 1M

50 W (peak)
<15 mW (average)
Class 1M

Weight

185 g (6,53 oz)

272 g (9.59 oz)

283 g (9.98 oz)

Optical module dimensions


[L x W x H]

60 x 52 x 155 (extended) mm
25 mm (laser lens)
25 mm (receiver lens)

82 x 70 x 97 mm
25 mm (laser lens)
50 mm (receiver lens)

130 x 58 x 97 mm
50 mm (laser lens)
50 mm (receiver lens)

Operating temp.

0 ... 40C

0 ... 40C

0 ... 40C

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Appendix B :: Dimensions

www.lightware.co.za

info@lightware.co.za

SF03 rangefinder module

SF03 Laser Rangefinder - Product Manual - Revision 2

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Figure 3 :: SF03 Dimension drawings

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LightWare Optoelectronics (Pty) Ltd, 2013

SF03

Appendix A :: Specifications

SF03
Laser rangefinder

Product manual

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SF03

SF03/LR rangefinder module

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Figure 4 :: SF03/LR Dimension drawings

SF03/XLR rangefinder module

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www.lightware.co.za

info@lightware.co.za

Figure 5 :: SF03/XLR Dimension drawings

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Revision history
Version

Date

Authors

Comments

Rev 2

30 September 2014

TLP

Include Figure 1 :: Time of flight measurement (page 3). Updated Quick


start guide (page 4). Updated SF03/XLR weight specification to 283 g (9.98
oz) (page 6). Delete all references to the SF03/H module. Update Figure
4 :: SF03/XLR Dimension drawings to include mounting plate and distance
between lens centre points (page 7).

Rev 1

9 December 2013

JEP

Include information, diagrams and photographs for SF03/LR, SF03/XLR and


SF03/H.

Rev 0

15 August 2013

Laser Developer

First edition

SF03 Laser Rangefinder - Product Manual - Revision 2

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LightWare Optoelectronics (Pty) Ltd, 2013