I'm working on two arduino (one a dock, the other one on a robot) communicating through a IR to let the latter know about its location.

I 3D printed a piece which goal was to channel the 3 IR led lights, to prevent them from overlapsing (exactly in the same manner as the Kobuki.

For a reason I don't know, the IR signals seem to go through the 3D printed piece which doesn't seem to let visible light through.

I known that there is no 100% absorbant materials, and I know "black for visible lights" doesn't necessarily mean "black for IR lights".

I think my problem is more related to my lack of experience in the field. My question is : why do I get signals from a IR led channeled toward a location I am not in ?

Patently, it means my light channels are not channeling light.

Therefore, better : How can I make a better (and cheap) channel for IR light ?

The piece I 3D printed is grey (silvery like I guess)

edit : to prevent incomprehension, i would like to clarify "channel". What I mean is to block all light "not going" in the right direction, whatever happens to that light. I apologize if it is not the word I should have used.

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    IR (infrared) is like heat, right? If you have a fire in your room, does it still get hot at the other end of the room, even if you have a chair between you and the fire? – Nick Gammon Dec 28 '16 at 8:40
  • We had this problem at a previous job - and it's surprisingly difficult. Long story short, we found that enclosing the devices inside cardboard boxes did NOT work, but wrapping the boxes entirely in aluminum foil, without a single gap, pretty much did work - although then it's difficult to get the cables in. Good luck. – Mark Smith Dec 28 '16 at 8:48
  • Well one is first and foremost an electromagnetic radiation I can deflect with a mirror while the other is a mechanical energy of shock between molecules, isn't it ? – Pierre-Antoine Guillaume Dec 28 '16 at 8:52
  • Oh, really ? I'm going to try and spread a little aluminum on the 3d printed thing, thank you – Pierre-Antoine Guillaume Dec 28 '16 at 8:54
  • I use aluminium tape for this kind of thing. It's used for sealing joints in heat ducting. Cheap and easily obtainable, and being self adhesive makes it easy to apply. – Majenko Dec 28 '16 at 9:59

You can not use common modulation remote control receivers as they contain an ACG feature which will likely "turn up the volume" until it detects even a weak reflected signal. Instead consider if this reflective sensor, which does not contain an AGC feature, is appropriate for your design.

Alternatively you might explore the response time of the AGC feature to see if you can defeat its intended purpose. That is to say, rapidly switch between IR transmitters in order to keep the AGC level at low gain. Essentially blinding it from weak reflected signals.

You might also transmit continuously on all IR sources and determine if the AGC will put the weak signals below the noise floor.

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  • I don't know if it will work but i've ordered some of these. Do you happen to know if they work with IRremote ( github.com/z3t0/Arduino-IRremote ) ? – Pierre-Antoine Guillaume Jan 4 '17 at 11:04
  • We are supposed to avoid making recommendations. However I could not find good technical information w/o referencing an actual part. – st2000 Jan 4 '17 at 14:34
  • When working beyond tried and tested Arduino projects, you need to take the extra effort to verify if components will do what you expect. In this case, most IR remote controls operate at about 38KHz. There are exceptions. Vishay makes several parts based on the linked to specifications. According to this specification, the last 2 digits of the Vishay part number indicate the operating frequency. At the bottom of page 1 two parts are listed in the parts table. There the TSSP4038 is listed as operating at or near 38KHz. – st2000 Jan 4 '17 at 14:34

The best and cheapest way would be to use BLACK colored printing material as it would absorb the IR waves and would not let them pass! I did a similar thing when I was building a IR based Robot so using a black reflector and painting the chasis black increased the efficiency!


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  • There are plenty of black materials that are completely transparent to IR. – Ignacio Vazquez-Abrams Dec 28 '16 at 18:18
  • The 3D printing material is generally not. – Manav Dec 28 '16 at 18:33

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