SparkFun Photodetector (MAX30101) Hookup Guide

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Introduction

The SparkFun Photodetector - MAX30101 (Qwiic) is the successor to the MAX30105 particle sensor, a highly sensitive optical sensor. This tutorial will get you up and running to retrieve the raw data from the MAX30101 sensor.

SparkFun Photodetector Breakout - MAX30101 (Qwiic)

SparkFun Photodetector Breakout - MAX30101 (Qwiic)

SEN-16474
$19.95

The MAX30101 includes three LEDs and an optical detector in a single package, which can be utilized as a wearable, biosensor for pulse oximeter and heart-rate measurements. For accurate and reliable biometric readings, we recommend the SparkFun Pulse Oximeter and Heart Rate Sensor, which utilizes proprietary algorithms programmed on the MAX32664 Biometric Sensor Hub. Other possible applications include proximity sensing and particle detection by measuring the changes in light that is reflected back from the LEDs.

Required Materials

The Qwiic Photodetector Sensor does need a few additional items for you to get started. The RedBoard Qwiic will be used for the Arduino examples. A single board computer and the Qwiic pHAT are required for the Python examples (see note below). You may already have a few of these items, including the required Qwiic cable, so feel free to modify your cart based on your needs. Additionally, there are also options that are available as well (click button below to toggle options).

SparkFun Qwiic Cable Kit

SparkFun Qwiic Cable Kit

KIT-15081
$7.95
5
SparkFun RedBoard Qwiic

SparkFun RedBoard Qwiic

DEV-15123
$19.95
5
USB micro-B Cable - 6 Foot

USB micro-B Cable - 6 Foot

CAB-10215
$4.95
13
SparkFun Qwiic pHAT v2.0 for Raspberry Pi

SparkFun Qwiic pHAT v2.0 for Raspberry Pi

DEV-15945
$5.95
Qwiic Compatible Microcontrollers:
SparkFun RedBoard Qwiic

SparkFun RedBoard Qwiic

DEV-15123
$19.95
5
SparkFun RedBoard Turbo - SAMD21 Development Board

SparkFun RedBoard Turbo - SAMD21 Development Board

DEV-14812
$24.95
3
SparkFun Thing Plus - SAMD51

SparkFun Thing Plus - SAMD51

DEV-14713
$19.95
1

SparkFun Thing Plus - ESP32 WROOM

WRL-14689
7 Retired
In addition we also offer, Qwiic compatible stackable shields for microcontrollers and pHATs for single board computers (like the Raspberry Pi boards) that don't include a Qwiic connector.
SparkFun Qwiic Shield for Arduino

SparkFun Qwiic Shield for Arduino

DEV-14352
$6.95
3
SparkFun Qwiic Adapter

SparkFun Qwiic Adapter

DEV-14495
$1.50
1
SparkFun Qwiic Shield for Thing Plus

SparkFun Qwiic Shield for Thing Plus

DEV-16138
$3.50
SparkFun Qwiic Shield for Arduino Nano

SparkFun Qwiic Shield for Arduino Nano

DEV-16130
$3.50
SparkFun Auto pHAT for Raspberry Pi

SparkFun Auto pHAT for Raspberry Pi

ROB-16328
$29.95
SparkFun Top pHAT for Raspberry Pi

SparkFun Top pHAT for Raspberry Pi

DEV-16301
$49.95
SparkFun Qwiic HAT for Raspberry Pi

SparkFun Qwiic HAT for Raspberry Pi

DEV-14459
$5.95
3
SparkFun Qwiic pHAT v2.0 for Raspberry Pi

SparkFun Qwiic pHAT v2.0 for Raspberry Pi

DEV-15945
$5.95
SparkFun Servo pHAT for Raspberry Pi

SparkFun Servo pHAT for Raspberry Pi

DEV-15316
$10.95
1
SparkFun Qwiic SHIM for Raspberry Pi

SparkFun Qwiic SHIM for Raspberry Pi

DEV-15794
$0.95
1
SparkFun Qwiic pHAT for Raspberry Pi

SparkFun Qwiic pHAT for Raspberry Pi

DEV-15351
$5.95
You will also need a Qwiic cable to connect to your MAX30101 (Qwiic), choose a length that suits your needs.
Qwiic Cable - 100mm

Qwiic Cable - 100mm

PRT-14427
$1.50
Qwiic Cable - 500mm

Qwiic Cable - 500mm

PRT-14429
$1.95
1
Qwiic Cable - 200mm

Qwiic Cable - 200mm

PRT-14428
$1.50
Qwiic Cable - 50mm

Qwiic Cable - 50mm

PRT-14426
$0.95

Python Example: If you don't already have them, you will need an SBC (single board computer) such as a Raspberry Pi and standard peripherals or Jetson Nano and standard peripherals. An example setup is listed below.
NVIDIA Jetson Nano Developer Kit (V3)

NVIDIA Jetson Nano Developer Kit (V3)

DEV-16271
$99.00
8
Raspberry Pi 3 B+

Raspberry Pi 3 B+

DEV-14643
$39.95
31
SparkFun DLI Kit (without Jetson Nano)

SparkFun DLI Kit (without Jetson Nano)

KIT-16389
$74.95
SparkFun Noobs Card for Raspberry Pi (16GB)

SparkFun Noobs Card for Raspberry Pi (16GB)

COM-15052
$19.95
Multimedia Wireless Keyboard

Multimedia Wireless Keyboard

WIG-14271
$29.95
3
pi-topCEED (Green)

pi-topCEED (Green)

KIT-14035
$114.95
4

Rubber Band

Note: For the heart beat plotter examples, users will require a small to medium size rubber band.

rubber band in use
rubber band

Suggested Reading

If you're unfamiliar with serial terminals, jumper pads, or I2C be sure to checkout some of these foundational tutorials. 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 application notes from TI and NXP that have great starter information.

Installing an Arduino Library

How do I install a custom Arduino library? It's easy! This tutorial will go over how to install an Arduino library using the Arduino Library Manager. For libraries not linked with the Arduino IDE, we will also go over manually installing an Arduino library.

Logic Levels

Learn the difference between 3.3V and 5V devices and logic levels.

I2C

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

Serial Terminal Basics

This tutorial will show you how to communicate with your serial devices using a variety of terminal emulator applications.

MAX30105 Particle and Pulse Ox Sensor Hookup Guide

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. Get ready. Set. Shine!

How to Work with Jumper Pads and PCB Traces

Handling PCB jumper pads and traces is an essential skill. Learn how to cut a PCB trace, add a solder jumper between pads to reroute connections, and repair a trace with the green wire method if a trace is damaged.

RedBoard Qwiic Hookup Guide

This tutorial covers the basic functionality of the RedBoard Qwiic. This tutorial also covers how to get started blinking an LED and using the Qwiic system.

SparkFun Pulse Oximeter and Heart Rate Monitor Hookup Guide

Find out your oxygen saturation level or check out your heart rate using the MAX30101 biometric sensor and MAX32664 Biometric Hub via I2C!

Raspberry Pi SPI and I2C Tutorial

Learn how to use serial I2C and SPI buses on your Raspberry Pi using the wiringPi I/O library for C/C++ and spidev/smbus for Python.

Python Programming Tutorial: Getting Started with the Raspberry Pi

This guide will show you how to write programs on your Raspberry Pi using Python to control hardware.

Qwiic pHAT for Raspberry Pi Hookup Guide

Get started interfacing your Qwiic enabled boards with your Raspberry Pi. The Qwiic pHAT connects the I2C bus (GND, 3.3V, SDA, and SCL) on your Raspberry Pi to an array of Qwiic connectors.

Working with Qwiic on a Jetson Nano through Jupyter Notebooks

We created a few Jupyter Notebooks to make using our Qwiic boards with your Jetson Nano even easier!

Qwiic Connect System

The Qwiic Photodetector utilizes the Qwiic connect system. We recommend familiarizing yourself with the Logic Levels and I2C tutorials (above) before using it. Click on the banner above to learn more about our Qwiic products.

Note: First time Raspberry Pi users should also head over to the Raspberry Pi Foundation website and check out their quickstart guides:

We have also listed a few additional resources for users to familiarize themselves with the Raspberry Pi: