Sharp IR Sensors Obsolete?

I've been reading on these Sharp IR distance/proximity sensors and was a little surprised when I read that they're obsolete (at least according to Sparkfun).

What are folks using for object avoidance these days? I have several little robot projects in the works and had planned on using the Sharp IR sensors for some basic stuff. I'd rather not use obsolete stuff if I can help it.

Does anyone know why they're considered obsolete now?

Is everyone using the ultrasonic sensors now for range finding? Are any places selling a good sensor at a decent price? The MaxSonar sensors at Sparkfun look awesome but they're considerably more expensive than the Sharp IR sensors I had planned on using.

I should add that what I'm looking for ideally is something I can use on a servo to "sweep" 180 degrees. The sonic distance sensors all have pretty long cycle times from what I've seen so that's why I avoided them in the past.

Don’t think it’s obsolete. Maybe sparkfun is not making 2000% profit on the sensors so they opt for something more profitable ;D. I’d use it if I have a robot to build. It’s a pretty straight forward sensor to use, either in analog mode or digital mode.

no the sharp ir sensors are not obsolete they only cant detect black coour ( i mean objects of black colour ) if you are about to purchase one go for ultrasoinc rangefinder but if you aldready have those sharp ir rangefinders stick to them.
why waste money when they could to the job ?

A component goes obsolete when the manufacturer stops making them. It is nothing to do with how useful they are or if they have been supersede. After this point there are usually plenty about in the supply chain that keeps demand supplied for years. This is known in the trade as "the gray market". This is happening all the time with components especially graphic LCDs.

I appreciate the information guys. I haven't been disappointed with the performance of mine but I thought there might be some other specific issue as to why SF would say they're obsolete. It looks like SF is the only place putting a quantity limit on those - Adafruit has them as well as a number of other Chinese places.

I looked up my serial number and can tell my Sharp IR sensor was manufactured in November of 2009 so they couldn't have stopped production very long ago, if at all.

The only issue I've run into is that when "sweeping" with the Sharp IR sensor I only get accurate readings during the clockwise movement. It's funny that I haven't seen that mentioned in any of the projects I've looked at that do sweeping but it might be one of those things that everyone knows but no one talks about. I think the reason has something to do with the placement of the emitter and receiver (since they're side-by-side).

Thanks again to everyone.

Hi Richard - just so you don't think I'm making bogus assumptions..


There were a number of comments on that and the other Sharp IR products about it being obsolete so I emailed Sparkfun and their support confirmed it. I'm pretty sure everyone there is saying obsolete just to mean not manufactured but no one seemed to want to say that explicitly (that's why I posted here).

I did reverse the sensor and sweep both ways and the results were the same either way, that's why I said I thought it had to do with the spacing being side-by-side. Perhaps I am using it for something it wasn't designed for (are you saying I am, or?) but I'm sure not the only one if that is the case :wink:

Thanks for the reply.

It's funny that I haven't seen that mentioned in any of the projects I've looked at that do sweeping but it might be one of those things that everyone knows but no one talks about.

If no one else seems to have the same issue, then it is probably something particular to your "sweeping" setup. Try keeping the sensor still and moving an object back and forth in front of the sensor and see if you get the same results.

Both digikey and Mouser claim it to be "obsolete."

Mouser lists a potential replacement, but it's not in stock, and Sharp's website says that some of the products in this area (GP2D15J0000F) are "not sold in usa."

According to Sharp the part GP2Y0A21YK has been discontinued. Suggested replacement is GP2Y0A21YK0F, which is “not sold in the United States.”


No clue as to why it wouldn’t be availiable in the U.S. I don’t see anything that looks hazardous (Pb-free RoHS-compliant). Might be an intellectual property issue.

So, anything sold in the U.S. has to be grey market; might explain why they are somewhat limited to come by.

Thanks for all the extra information guys - I appreciate it!!