Color Sensor

TCS3200 Module

Color Sensor (TCS3200) is a color detector that detects surface color which has 4 white LEDs and a TAOS TCS3200 RGB sensor chip. It can detect and measure the nearly limitless range of visible colors.

The Color Sensor (TCS3200) has an array of photodetectors, each with either a red, green, or blue filter, or no filter (clear).

The filters of each and every color are distributed evenly throughout the array to eliminate location bias among the colors.

Internal to the device is an oscillator which produces a square-wave output whose frequency is proportional to the intensity of the color chosen.

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Colour Sensor

Color Sensor outputs a square wave (50% duty cycle) with a frequency corresponding to light intensity and color, the frequency is directly proportional to light intensity.

The typical output frequency of TCS3200D is in a range of 2Hz to 500KHz. Users can control the frequency values of 100%, 20%, and 2% by two programmable outputs, S0 and S1.

TCS3200D has different sensitivities to red, green and blue. The output of pure white in RGB is not always 255. Therefore, white balance adjustment is required after power-up within 2 seconds. Here are the processes.

  • Place a white paper at the top of the sensor at a distance of 1cm, and input a High-level voltage to the LED port to light up 4 bright white LED indicators.
  • The program selects R, G, and B filters respectively, and measures the corresponding RGB values of red, green and blue.
  • Calculate 3 adjustment parameters corresponding to red, green and blue respectively, and performs automatic white balance adjustment.

Color Sensor TCS3200 Pinout

TCS3200 has 8 pins.

colour sensor pinout

Color Sensor Specifications

  • Supply Voltage:2.7V- 5.5V.
  • Communicates Directly With a Microcontroller/Arduino.
  • High-Resolution Conversion of Light Intensity to Frequency.
  • Power Down Feature.
  • Programmable Color and Full-Scale Output Frequency.

Pin Description

GNDPower Supply Ground
VCCSupply Voltage to the sensor
OEOutput Enable Pin
OUT (Output)Output frequency (f0)
S0 and S1Select lines for output frequency scaling
S2 and S3Select lines for photodiode type


  • Color Sensor provides a readout of individual RGB color components as a digital frequency.
  • Onboard white LEDs can be gated on and off for ambient light subtraction.
  • The included 5.6mm lens provides a well-defined field of view.
  • The module is plug-compatible with Parallax motherboards.
  • The module can run from 3.3V or 5V logic supplies, plus 5V for the LED.

Frequency Scaling Selection Pins

S0S1Output Frequency Scaling (f0)
LLPower down

Photodiode Type Selection

S2S3Photodiode Type
HLClear (No filter)


  • Test strip reading.
  • Sorting by color.
  • Ambient light sensing and calibration.
  • Color matching.

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