Tilt switches have a little ball inside, and it will bounce around a little inside the can. Don't be surprised if the connection is a little intermittant instead of 'constant'

Simple Tilt-Activated LED

This is the most basic way of connecting to a tilt switch, but can be handy while one is learning about them. Simply connect it in series with an LED, resistor and battery. Tilt to turn on and off.

Reading Switch State with a Microcontroller

Note that the layout above shows a 10K pullup resistor but for the code I use the 'built-in' pullup resistor that you can turn on by setting an input pin to HIGH output (its quite neat!) If you use the internal pull-up you can skip the external one.
/* Better Debouncer
 * This debouncing circuit is more rugged, and will work with tilt switches!
 * http://www.ladyada.net/learn/sensor/tilt.html
int inPin = 2;         // the number of the input pin
int outPin = 13;       // the number of the output pin
int LEDstate = HIGH;      // the current state of the output pin
int reading;           // the current reading from the input pin
int previous = LOW;    // the previous reading from the input pin
// the following variables are long because the time, measured in miliseconds,
// will quickly become a bigger number than can be stored in an int.
long time = 0;         // the last time the output pin was toggled
long debounce = 50;   // the debounce time, increase if the output flickers
void setup()
  pinMode(inPin, INPUT);
  digitalWrite(inPin, HIGH);   // turn on the built in pull-up resistor
  pinMode(outPin, OUTPUT);
void loop()
  int switchstate;
  reading = digitalRead(inPin);
  // If the switch changed, due to bounce or pressing...
  if (reading != previous) {
    // reset the debouncing timer
    time = millis();
  if ((millis() - time) > debounce) {
     // whatever the switch is at, its been there for a long time
     // so lets settle on it!
     switchstate = reading;
     // Now invert the output on the pin13 LED
    if (switchstate == HIGH)
      LEDstate = LOW;
      LEDstate = HIGH;
  digitalWrite(outPin, LEDstate);
  // Save the last reading so we keep a running tally
  previous = reading;

This guide was first published on Jul 29, 2012. It was last updated on Jun 27, 2012.

This page (Using a Tilt Sensor) was last updated on Jun 27, 2012.

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