At it’s most basic, a weather station is any system that gathers environmental/climate data. While more useful as a network, I designed a single node as this would be a practical introduction to weather data gathering. I wanted the system to collect and store a handful of metrics: wind speed, light, humidity, temperature, pressure, and air quality. The weather station has a lot of distinct parts and goals; to simplify the design process I broke it down into three distinct parts: electrical, hardware, and software. Here’s a brief breakdown of each:
I wanted to the make the weather station low maintenance, so I decided to make it solar powered with a built-in beefy (by embedded project standards) Li-Po battery pack. This setup allows the station to run remotely and, barring excessive daily darkness, a reasonably endless run time. The Edison board has very low current draw and Bluetooth and WiFi radios should I want to add wireless connectivity later on. The electrical design and components are discussed in depth on the following step.
The main body consists mostly of parts available from a hardware store. A conduit tube forms the core of the body and a solid mounting point for the other components. A series of laser cut panels form the headpiece for mounting a couple of the sensors, and a solid mount place for the solar panel and power electronics. A large galvanized ventilation tube provides a weather resistant housing for the the additional sensors that need to be “exposed” to the elements for proper data collection. The hardware design is explained more in-depth on step 5.
In order to minimize the amount of time I spent writing code, I chose sensors that were already well documented and had either libraries or simple analog interfaces. The actual software is the Wiring language written in Intel’s custom Arduino IDE. Developing with Arduino style syntax allowed me to work quickly, since it is my go to environment for interactive projects. The software is discussed more in detail on step 10.
Medium 6V 2W Solar panel – 2.0 Watt: These panels come to us from Voltaic Systems, makers of fine solar-powered bags and packs. These are waterproof, scratch resistant, and UV resistant. They use a high efficiency monocrystalline cell. They output 6V at 330 mA via 3.5mm x 1.3mm DC jack connector. The substrate is an aluminum / plastic composite, specifically designed to be strong and lightweight (read more).
USB / DC / Solar Lithium Ion/Polymer charger – v2: Make your projects to go green this summer with our specialized USB/Solar Lithium Ion Polymer Battery charger! This charger is a very unique design, perfect for outdoor projects, or DIY iPod chargers. We’ve spent over a year testing and tinkering with this charger to come up with a plug and play solution to charging batteries with the sun and we’re really pleased with what we ended up with (read more).
We are angry, frustrated, and in pain because of the violence and murder of Black people by the police because of racism. We are in the fight AGAINST RACISM. George Floyd was murdered, his life stolen. The Adafruit teams have specific actions we’ve done, are doing, and will do together as a company and culture. We are asking the Adafruit community to get involved and share what you are doing. The Adafruit teams will not settle for a hash tag, a Tweet, or an icon change. We will work on real change, and that requires real action and real work together. That is what we will do each day, each month, each year – we will hold ourselves accountable and publish our collective efforts, partnerships, activism, donations, openly and publicly. Our blog and social media platforms will be utilized in actionable ways. Join us and the anti-racist efforts working to end police brutality, reform the criminal justice system, and dismantle the many other forms of systemic racism at work in this country, read more @ adafruit.com/blacklivesmatter
Stop breadboarding and soldering – start making immediately! Adafruit’s Circuit Playground is jam-packed with LEDs, sensors, buttons, alligator clip pads and more. Build projects with Circuit Playground in a few minutes with the drag-and-drop MakeCode programming site, learn computer science using the CS Discoveries class on code.org, jump into CircuitPython to learn Python and hardware together, TinyGO, or even use the Arduino IDE. Circuit Playground Express is the newest and best Circuit Playground board, with support for CircuitPython, MakeCode, and Arduino. It has a powerful processor, 10 NeoPixels, mini speaker, InfraRed receive and transmit, two buttons, a switch, 14 alligator clip pads, and lots of sensors: capacitive touch, IR proximity, temperature, light, motion and sound. A whole wide world of electronics and coding is waiting for you, and it fits in the palm of your hand.