The Vishay TSSP58P38 looks like typical modulated IR receiver modules but is actually unique: it has an automatic gain control (AGC) that predictably sweeps from most sensitive to least sensitive so that you can get an absolute brightness measurement. To use the unit, illuminate the sensor with a burst of IR modulated at 38 kHz and measure the output pulse width: weak illumination (e.g. weak reflections from distant objects) will give a short pulse, while bright illumination will result in longer output pulses.

The datasheet suggests a relatively low update rate of two measurements per second based on a 120 ms IR burst followed by 380 ms for recovery, but in our basic tests, we were able to get some meaningful measurements at up to 10 Hz. These sensors work nicely with our high-brightness 38 kHz IR proximity sensor modules; a pair of those along with a few stand alone sensors can enable sophisticated object detection systems.

These sensors are sold in packs of three units. We also carry the similar TSSP58038, which has a fixed gain.

Modulated IR detector comparison

Part TSOP34156 TSOP38438 TSSP58P38 TSSP58038
Intended function IR remote control brightness/proximity sensing predictable modulated IR presence sensing
Modulation frequency 56 kHz 38 kHz 38 kHz 38 kHz
Gain (sensitivity) automatic but inaccessible automatic, predictable fixed high gain
Output binary (data) analog (pulse width) binary (on/off)
Update rate a few kHz a few Hz a few kHz


  • Operating Voltage: 2.5 V to 5.5 V
  • Carrier Frequency: 38 kHz
  • Package: Through-hole with 0.1″ lead spacing

For more information, see the TSSP58P38 datasheet (127k pdf).


File downloads

Vishay TSSP58P38 IR detector datasheet (127k pdf)


SKU PL-2463
Brand Pololu

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