Products for USB Sensing and Control
Products for USB Sensing and Control


Unit 1 - 6115 4 St SE
Calgary AB  T2H 2H9
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Sonar Phidget

ID: DST1200_0
Recommended for new designs: This product (or a similar replacement with a compatible form, fit and function) is estimated to be available for ten years or more.

Detect several solid objects up to 10m away in a wide sensing range, or use this Phidget as an ultrasonic range finder.


Quantity Available: 635

Qty Price
5 $23.75
10 $22.50
25 $20.00
50 $17.50
100 $16.25
250 $15.00
500 $13.75
1000 $12.50

The DST1200 accurately measures distances between 40mm and ~10m. Use this Phidget when you for motion sensing, object detection, or spatial awareness. This Phidget connects to your computer through a VINT Hub.


  • Distance is measured using ultrasonic waves reflected off objects.
  • Detect up to 8 reflections, strongest reflection will be reported by default
  • Retrieve data as often as every 100 milliseconds.


This Phidget is a smart device that must be controlled by a VINT Hub. For more information about VINT, have a look at the VINT Primer. You can use a Phidget Cable to simply and easily connect the two devices. Here's a list of all of the different VINT Hubs currently available:

Product Board
Image Part Number Price Number of VINT Ports Controlled By
HUB0000_0 $30.00 6 USB (Mini-USB)
HUB5000_0 $60.00 6 Local Network (Ethernet or Wi-Fi)
SBC3003_0 $120.00 6

Phidget Cables

Use a Phidget cable to connect this device to the hub. You can solder multiple cables together in order to make even longer Phidget cables, but you should be aware of the effects of having long wires in your system.

Product Physical Properties
Image Part Number Price Cable Length
3002_0 $2.00 600 mm
3003_0 $1.50 100 mm
3004_0 $3.00 3.5 m
3034_0 $1.50 150 mm
3038_0 $2.25 1.2 m
3039_0 $2.75 1.8 m
CBL4104_0 $1.75 300 mm
CBL4105_0 $2.00 900 mm
CBL4106_0 $2.50 1.5 m

Part 1: Setup

Welcome to the DST1200 user guide! In order to get started, make sure you have the following hardware on hand:

Next, you will need to connect the pieces:

DST1200 Functional.jpeg
  1. Connect the DST1200 to the VINT Hub using the Phidget cable.
  2. Connect the VINT Hub to your computer with a USB cable.

Now that you have everything together, let's start using the DST1200!

Phidget Control Panel

In order to demonstrate the functionality of the DST1200, the Phidget Control Panel running on a Windows machine will be used.

The Phidget Control Panel is available for use on both macOS and Windows machines.


To open the Phidget Control Panel on Windows, find the Ph.jpg icon in the taskbar. If it is not there, open up the start menu and search for Phidget Control Panel

Windows PhidgetTaskbar.PNG


To open the Phidget Control Panel on macOS, open Finder and navigate to the Phidget Control Panel in the Applications list. Double click on the Ph.jpg icon to bring up the Phidget Control Panel.

For more information, take a look at the getting started guide for your operating system:

Linux users can follow the getting started with Linux guide and continue reading here for more information about the DST1200.

First Look

After plugging the DST1200 into your computer and opening the Phidget Control Panel, you will see something like this:

DST1200 Panel.jpg

The Phidget Control Panel will list all connected Phidgets and associated objects, as well as the following information:

  • Serial number: allows you to differentiate between similar Phidgets.
  • Channel: allows you to differentiate between similar objects on a Phidget.
  • Version number: corresponds to the firmware version your Phidget is running. If your Phidget is listed in red, your firmware is out of date. Update the firmware by double-clicking the entry.

The Phidget Control Panel can also be used to test your device. Double-clicking on an object will open an example.

Part 2: Using Your Phidget


The DST1000 uses reflected ultrasonic waves to measure distance. Use this Phidget for motion sensing, object detection, or spatial awareness. The sensor will measure the distance of as many as 8 objects at the same time, from 40mm to ~10m in optimal conditions with an accuracy of about 10mm.

DST1200 About.gif

Explore Your Phidget Channels Using The Control Panel

You can use your Control Panel to explore your Phidget's channels.

1. Open your Control Panel, and you will find the following channel:

DST1200 Panel.jpg

2. Double click on the channel to open the example program. This channel belongs to the DistanceSensor channel class:

Sonar Phidget: Measures the distance of objects in front of the DST1200

In your Control Panel, double click on "Sonar Phidget":


Part 3: Create your Program

1. Setting up your Programming Environment

2. Phidget Programming Basics

Part 4: Advanced Topics and Troubleshooting

How do I know what channel, serial number, or hub port to use in my program?

Before you open a Phidget channel in your program, you can set these properties to specify which channel to open. You can find this information through the Control Panel.

1. Open the Control Panel and double-click on the red map pin icon:

The locate Phidget button is found in the device information box

2. The Addressing Information window will open. Here you will find all the information you need to address your Phidget in your program.

All the information you need to address your Phidget

See the Phidget22 API for your language to determine exact syntax for each property.

Setting the Change Trigger and Data Interval

The Change Trigger is the minimum change in the sensor data needed to trigger a new data event. The Data Interval is the time (in ms) between data events sent out from your Phidget. You can modify one or both of these values to achieve different data outputs. You can learn more about these two properties here.

Quiet Mode

The DST1200 has a Quiet Mode which reduces the volume of the sound pulses used by the sonar sensors. While the sound that this Phidget makes is audible in either mode, it is much less noticeable with quiet mode enabled. By enabling quiet mode, you will decrease the maximum sensing range and the number of reflections detected. Quiet mode also consumes less power (see product page specifications for details).

What does "Amplitude" mean for this sensor?

When you receive data from the DST1200, you will end up with an array of sonar reflections that each have a distance and an amplitude. The distance, of course, refers to how far away the object is. The amplitude gives you a general idea of the size of the object. The amplitude value can range from 3 to approximately 900, with 3 being a very small reflection and 900 being a very large reflection. In some applications, you will want to ignore reflections with an amplitude you deem is too small.

Saturation Error

The DST1200 will fire saturation error events when the nearest reflection is closer than 40mm from the sensor. At this range it is too close for the sensor to accurately determine the range of the object.

Product Specifications

Sensor Properties
Sensor Type Distance (Sonar)
Controlled By VINT
Measurement Distance Min 40 mm
Measurement Distance Max 10 m
Measurement Distance Resolution 10 mm
Sampling Interval Min 100 ms/sample
Sampling Interval Max 60 s/sample
Electrical Properties
Current Consumption Max * 5.6 mA
Current Consumption Min (unconfigured) 47 μA
Physical Properties
Operating Temperature Min -40 °C
Operating Temperature Max 85 °C
Customs Information
Canadian HS Export Code 8471.80.00
American HTS Import Code 8471.80.40.00
Country of Origin CN (China)

Errata: The enclosure for the DST1200 may state the range as being 220mm to 10m, but it is actually 40mm to 10m, as listed in the specification table.

* - Current consumption varies depending on selected data interval. See the graph below for details.



Product History

Date Board Revision Device Version Comment
June 2017 0 104 Product Release
January 2018 0 105 Fixed inability to set change trigger to max
April 2018 0 106 First valid measurement after saturation now always triggers an event

Software Objects

Channel NameAPIChannel
Sonar Distance Sensor DistanceSensor 0


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Code Samples

Example Options


				Make your selections to display sample code.

Code Samples


DistanceSensor Visual Studio GUI C# Windows Download
DistanceSensor Java Android Download
DistanceSensor JavaScript Browser Download
DistanceSensor Objective-C macOS Download
DistanceSensor Swift macOS Download
DistanceSensor Swift iOS Download
DistanceSensor Visual Basic .NET Windows Download
DistanceSensor Max/MSP Multiple Download

Have a look at our distance sensors:

Product Sensor Properties
Image Part Number Price Sensor Type Controlled By Measurement Distance Min Measurement Distance Max
1128_0 $25.00 Distance (Sonar) VoltageRatio Input 152.4 mm 6.5 m
1146_0B $5.00 Distance (Infrared) VoltageRatio Input 1.5 mm 4 mm
3520_0 $14.00 Distance (Infrared) Sharp Adapter 40 mm 300 mm
3521_0 $12.00 Distance (Infrared) Sharp Adapter 100 mm 800 mm
3522_0 $16.00 Distance (Infrared) Sharp Adapter 200 mm 1.5 m
DST1000_0 $30.00 Infrared (Time-of-Flight) VINT 4 mm * 170 mm
DST1001_0 $30.00 Infrared (Time-of-Flight) VINT 20 mm * 650 mm
DST1002_0 $35.00 Infrared (Time-of-Flight) VINT 20 mm * 1.3 m
DST1200_0 $25.00 Distance (Sonar) VINT 40 mm 10 m