A low-cost chemical sensor comprising surface-mount light-emitting diodes (LEDs) has been developed for colorimetric gas detection. The device consists of a pair of LEDs connected to a simple PIC microcontroller circuit and in the most basic form, requires the use of only two input-output (I/O) pins on the chip. The key features of this sensor are the use of a LED rather than a photodiode for light detection and an all-digital light detection protocol that leads to a reduction in cost and power consumption by avoiding the need for an analog-to-digital converter. The surface-mount diodes employed are more compact than standard LEDs and are more amenable to coating by solid-state sensor films. Results from sensors employing a chemochromic ammonia sensitive film are presented, and the detection of this target is demonstrated in the parts-per-million range. The configuration is applicable to a wide range of colorimetric gas sensing materials.