Thank goodness for public restrooms! But yet, most of us would rather not touch the communal objects in them. Fortunately, many of these facilities now offer automated flushing, soap dispensers, and faucets.
TT Electronics OPTEK Technology has developed the OPB720 series of packaged optical prox sensors flexible enough to automate all the fixtures of a restroom. Commercial plumbing designers will find it handy that this reflective sensor can detect the presence or absence of objects from 0.04 in. to >24 in. (1–610 mm). Why the range? Well, the average user distance for a faucet is 1–2 in. For a commode or urinal flushing actuator it's more like up to 24 in. The sensing distance is factory preset to meet the application requirements.
The unit consists of a synchronized IR LED and photosensor, packaged in a 1.1 x 0.68 x 0.33 in. (27.9 x 17.3 x 8.4 mm) housing. It features collector DC current of 50 mA, with power dissipation at 300 mW, and can switch from high level with no reflective target to low level with reflection. It's easy to mount, and has an opaque plate housing that provides ambient light reduction of <100 k lux.
Other OPB720 applications include conveyor belt package recognition, moving sidewalks and escalators, near-focus security sensors, product dispensing systems, and vending machine drop sensors.