This New Board Makes Environmental Monitoring Affordable #CitizenScience
Last year I was lucky enough to collaborate on a stream monitoring project with Stroud Water Research Center. This was no accident, as I had been lurking on the blog posts of their engineer, S. Hicks for quite some time. I knew there had to be a way to implement sensors with Arduino and this was the right person for the job. Stroud is well known for their freshwater monitoring systems and has been using them to collect data on their own property as well as data for other clients, like environmental centers and farmers. They realized there was a need for an inexpensive DIY solution and after years of research it’s now available—the Mayfly Data Logger.
Just from my own experience building my logger with Hicks, I can tell you that sensors are not always plug and play with the boards available on the market. With this new board using an ATmega 1284p processor, it’s easy to incorporate many types of sensors and there is enough memory to handle them. Here’s the specs:
128K Flash memory, 16K RAM
28 digital I/O pins, 8 analog pins, plus 4 additional high-resolution ADC pins
2 serial UART ports
microSD memory card socket
Onboard realtime clock (RTC) (DS3231)
Solar lipo battery charging
Bee module socket
2 LEDs, 1 user programmable pushbutton
3.3v main board voltage, additional 5-volt boost circuity for external devices
Two 20-pin headers for accessing all available I/O pins
6 Grove-style sockets for easy connections to sensors and devices
Certainly the solar power option and bee socket for connectivity make this a smart board for remote locations. The angled shape of the board facilitates its placement in a weatherproof box, as well. The Mayfly comes with a sample sketch which will blink the on-board LEDs and look at the temperature sensor of the device. So far the board is only available in the US, so countries facing water quality challenges should definitely stay up-to-date by following Stroud’s EnviroDIY blog. I know I’ll be on the look-out to see what the community posts for projects. It’s another big step for citizen science. Have you been working on your own environmental sensing project and having issues powering it? You should consider solar power, as long as you don’t have major tree cover. Check out our learning guide on Solar Charging and get started with your own green energy solution.
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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.