Testing the real world range of the Pololu IR transcievers

As you know, we've had a lot of trouble with the short range of our Pololu IR transceivers that we use with our Blimp UAV. They're rated at up to 20 feet, but we can't seem to get more than 10 feet (and usually more like 5) in real world conditions, with the usual amount of IR noise and the two transceivers not being on the same horizontal plane. I know that the power of the transmitting LEDs should be roughly proportional to input voltage (they're rated from 6-16 volts), so I thought I'd test them at different voltages.

Here are the results:


Note that this is on the same horizontal plane. If you're not on the same plane, as we usually aren't, you need to cut those figures in half. So basically it doesn't look like we're ever going to get more than about 7 ft of range reliably. That means it's time to make our own custom IR transceivers with high-power LEDs and a dome array (to handle 3D positions). We'll save weight and money in the process, so this is well worth doing.

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