The SDS011 Air Quality Sensor experiment
Real-time Air Quality readings from the SDS011


For a complete list of all the Air Quality Sensors test on the World Air Quality Index project, check our sensor overview page.

The SDS 011 Sensor

The SDS 011 Sensor is a quite recent Air Quality Sensor developed by Nova Fitness, a spin-off from the university of Jinan (in Shandong).

With its size, it is probably one of the best sensor in terms of accuracy: While other sensors tend to focus on shrinking the sensor size, the SDS 011 has opted for a size tradeoff allowing it to use a larger fan. And the larger the fan, the better the quality.


Spec sheet: SDS011-datasheet-v1.3

This is the specification for the SDS011. One should not consider all those values for granted as there is quite often a big difference between what is said to be possible and what is actually possible (and this is why we are setting up all our experiments).

  • Output: PM2.5, PM10
  • Measuring Range: 0.0-999.9μg/m3
  • Input Voltage:5V
  • Maximum Current: 100mA
  • Sleep Current: 2mA
  • Response Time 1 second
  • Serial Data Output Frequency: 1 time/second
  • Particle Diameter Resolution: ≤0.3μm
  • Relative Error:10%
  • Temperature Range:-20~50°C
  • Physical Size: 71mm*70mm*23mm

Note that the SDS011 humidity working range is 0-70%. This is so good, since above 70% humidity, the readings become unrealiable.

Inside look at the sensor

The clever engineering in the SD011 is to use the PCB as one side of the casing (allowing to reduce the BOM cost). The diode is mounted on the PCB side (this is mandatory as any noise between the doide and the LNA should be avoided). The laser mounted on the plastic box and connected to the PCB via flying wire.

The biggest problem of this design is that the entire sensor inside is getting very dusty, as shown on the picture below after running 24/7 for more than 6 months. This is actually not so bad since the dust did not get accumulated on the diode, nor on the laser frontend. As concern the fan, dust accumulation is a "normal behavior" also seen on the dylos.

Last, as concerns the PCB, is it quite simple. The main CPU is an 8bit processor (scratched to prevent from beeing reversed engineered!). Under the shielding one can find the Low Noise Amplifier (directly mounted on the opposite side of the diode).

Experiment Setup

There are two SDS011 colocated. The SDS011i #1 is a sensor which has been used outdoor for several months. The SDS011 #2 is a brand new sensor (from Sept. 2016).

Real-time data

Current BAM readings are:
  • PM2.5 mass in mg/m3 -,
  • updated on - - (China time).
First SDS011i #1 (old) readings are:
  • PM2.5 mass in mg/m3 -,
  • PM10 mass in mg/m3 -,
  • updated on - - (China time).
Second SDS011i #2 (new) readings are:
  • PM2.5 mass in mg/m3 -,
  • PM10 mass in mg/m3 -,
  • updated on - - (China time).

Comparison with Official BAM readings

PM2.5 based Air quality data:

PM10 based Air quality data:

- -

For the list of all air quality sensors, check the Sensor Overview page

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