Vibration sensor to switch on a light

Hopefully someone can help.
I do long range target shooting and seeing whether you have hit the target ( generally a ply board , 1mtr x 1 mtr ) is not possible.
Is there a vibration sensor which can trigger a "bright light "- say 10-15w led as minimum , when the target is hit ?
The light would need to be visible from approx 800mtrs during the day
Can be powered by any dc power source ( 12v batt , aaa batteries , etc )
If so , what goodies would i need to buy and can you provide a detailed wiring / build diagram.
Your assistance would be appreciated.

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Tested the piezo devices I have, simple basic bench test. Tapping the device works good but attached to a board and tapping the board it does not. Found a web site detailing construction of what may help you. The sensor used in the project is stocked by Core electronics. I don’t have any of these sensors but might buy some in my next order.

Piezo Vibration Sensor - Large SKU: SEN-09196
Piezo Vibration Sensor - Large with Mass SKU: SEN-09197

Any of the Arduino Micros would work. Using a micro allows you to make adjustments to sensor trigger level and to activate a light for longer than the instant the bullet hits. The output of the Arduino can drive a mosfet which then drives a high wattage light. The LED used in the web link is really not bright enough in my opinion.

I have used the smaller of the two devices linked below. It is very sensitive. A bullet hitting a piece of ply should easily trigger it. You could then use a mosfet to drive a high wattage light. 10 to 15W might not be enough over 800mtrs on a sunny day. I’ll have a look through my parts bin and see if I can come up with a workable design.

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Thanks for your prompt response James.
If possible could i get a detailed parts list with your part no’s,cost etc required and a “hand drawn” assembly diagram ( as i have not constructed one of these kits before )

Hi Elvis,

Thanks for making a post! :slight_smile:

My suggestion is exactly the same as James - set up a Vibration sensor as an input to a microcontroller, then switch the LED via a relay or Power transistor.

Sparkfun have a really good hook-up guide here:

As for switching the light on and off, check out our article on using relays:

Or there’s a really good article here on using a MOSFET as a switch:

I’d recommend having a look at our Arduino for beginners workshop for the coding side of things:

As for equipment, you’ll want to start off with some basic prototyping gear:

And of course an Uno R3:

You’ll also want your LEDs, a way to power the whole setup, and MOSFETs or Relays depending on what you decide to go with.
I’d suggest picking a red LED, as the human eye will be able to pick it out better than blue or green:

Also checkout our Arduino workshop for beginners:

Thanks Oliver,
Don’t think it will work with a few Led’s ( won’t be visible from 800 mtrs)
I’ll do some more homework as i’d like to power at least a 10-15 w led globe / light

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I was thinking high power LEDs like this:

Your best option is to have a look through the tutorials linked by Oliver.
Using and programming an Arduino UNO can be a tall ask if you have no experience in this area.
Also if you have never built anything electronic there are many pitfalls.
The first objective in designing an electronic device is safety. (of people and the equipment)
It is very easy to connect things wrong and something goes bang. (my past experience)

I do intend to look into the vibration sensor triggered when a board is hit. It has been in the back of my mind for some time. It would be for my grandkids, a nerf gun shot at a target on a board in the garage. So it would not have the same impact as a bullet from a gun. But similar.

I am also interested as how far the bright LEDS linked by Oliver can be seen. I have one, never used it at full brightness inside, it leaves spots on your eyes if looked at directly, even on a low intensity. I intended to use it as a headlight on a robot cart but the intensity worried me when little kids are playing with it. I opted for bright LEDs not super bright ones.

I will post my findings in here, but it might take a while, I need to get the sensors first. The piezo sensor I have is good for sound vibration not physical vibration of the object it is attached to.

This kind of trial and error experimentation can take some time, stay tuned. I will post here progress as it occurs.

btw there are very good kits that can do what you want and better with Wifi to a tablet or PC but they are rather expensive and the target is highly specialised. The one I saw could place where the bullet hit on the target. If you can get it shipped from USA. (think it was around $800USD)



I built a test unit for the super bight LED (1W) I have using the old board from the robot cart. Alas it is raining, so I went searching and found some maths for calculating wattage needed for distance.

The only product I can see on Core Electronics web site that might do is linked below.
The specification you need is the luminance (lm). You need something over 350 lm. This device achieves it by multiple LEDs. Unfortunately it has a narrow viewing angle, 60 degrees. It would need careful alignment.

It is also quite dangerous at 500lm, you could suffer permanent vision impairment if you looked directly at it when close to.

Anyway …


Thanks for your reply.


Hi Jim
Thanks for your replies.
I will do some more homework.