MAX30105 Particle and Pulse Ox Sensor Hookup Guide

Contributors: Nate
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The SparkFun MAX30105 Particle Sensor is a flexible and powerful sensor enabling sensing of distance, heart rate, particle detection, even the blinking of an eye. This tutorial will get you up and running to get the raw data from the sensor.

SparkFun Particle Sensor Breakout - MAX30105


Behind the window on the left, the MAX30105 has three LEDs. On the right is a very sensitive photon detector. The idea is that you obstruct the different LEDs, detecting what light shines back at the detector, and, based on the signature, you can tell the presence of different types of particles or materials (such as oxygenated blood or smoke from a fire).

Close up photo of the MAX30105 sensor

Close up photo of the MAX30105 sensor.

Suggested Materials

You’ll need a handful of extra parts to get the MAX30105 breakout up-and-running. Below are the components used in this tutorial, if you want to follow along.

A microcontroller that supports I2C is required to communicate with the MAX30105 and relay the data to the user. The SparkFun RedBoard or Arduino Uno are popular options for this role, but just about any microcontroller development board should work. (The firmware examples use an Arduino library, if that serves as any extra motivation to use an Arduino.)

Arduino Uno - R3

Arduino Pro Mini 328 - 5V/16MHz

SparkFun SAMD21 Mini Breakout


127 Retired
5V Recommended! The MAX30105 can run at 3.3V to 5V and can communicate with 3.3V and 5V microcontrollers. Most USB based development boards have a 5V pin that will power the MAX30105 nicely.

Four or five jumper wires and a breadboard help interface the sensor to your Arduino. To insert the breakout into the breadboard, you’ll need to solder headers or cut jumper wires to the pins. (Don’t forget a soldering iron and solder!)

Breadboard - Self-Adhesive (White)

Break Away Headers - Straight

Soldering Iron - 30W (US, 110V)



Suggested Reading

The MAX30105 is designed for a handful of uses including Pulse Oximetry. If you’re unfamiliar with optical pulse detection there are some very good app notes from TI and NXP that have great starter information.

The MAX30105 communicates over I2C. We’ve got a great library to make it easy to use. And, we’re going to be using a breadboard to connect the breakout board to the RedBoard. If any of these subjects sound foreign to you, consider browsing through that tutorial before continuing.

How to Solder: Through-Hole Soldering

This tutorial covers everything you need to know about through-hole soldering.

Installing an Arduino Library

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How to Use a Breadboard

Welcome to the wonderful world of breadboards. Here we will learn what a breadboard is and how to use one to build your very first circuit.


An introduction to I2C, one of the main embedded communications protocols in use today.