Distance Measurement using VL6180X & ESP32

This post is just to document using a VL6180X Satellite module to measure distance to a range of 100mm (about 4 inches).

The VL6180X Datasheet can be found here and the VL6180X Satellite can be found here.

VL6180X Satellite
VL6180X Satellite

The VL6180X Satellites come in a little package from ST Micro.  Inside are two identical VL6180X modules.  Each module has a voltage regulator, a bunch of passive parts, and the VL6180X chip.

Here are a couple things to know about the chip:

  • Communicates using i2c.
  • Operates on 2.7V (hence the regulator).
  • Has a range of 100mm (about 4 inches).
  • Can output ambient light levels and distance at about 10Hz.
  • There are ready made libraries available inside the Arduino IDE.  Simply search for the libraries using the keyword “VL6180X”.  Adafruit, among others, should pop right up.  This post uses the library from Pololu that can be found here.  Note, it is simpler to use the library manager inside the Arduino IDE to install this software, as compared to, installing using the provided link.

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Useful Links

  • FIRST Web Site: This is a link to the official FIRST web site.  This is the place to go to setup your FIRST account.  This is a requirement for every student.


  • OCCRA: “Oakland County Competitive Robotics Association” is a fall competition for just Oakland County schools.  The competition is run in the fall and is kind of a mini FIRST.


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