EYE on NPI: ScioSense ENS160 Air Quality Sensor #EYEonNPI #digikey @sciosense @digikey @adafruit

This week’s EYE ON NPI (video) is just in time for Earth Day – it’s a new environmental sensor: the ScioSense ENS160 Air Quality Sensor – a digital multi-gas sensor that offers optimum detection of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and oxidizing gases.

This is a 4-in-one sensor that improves on common MOX gas sensors that have become popular on the market, but is still super easy to use.

This sensor is the successor to the popular CCS811, which we used for many years and was one of the first embedded MOX sensors on the market. It was quite popular but only had one MOX plate, and has been improved with the introduction of the ENS160.

Gas sensors are all essentially resistive sensors, where the exposed silicon has a metal oxide layer (MOX) that is susceptible to ambient gasses. There’s a heater element that you need to turn on, then wait until the silicon chunk can react with the air. The resistance changes with the amount of organic compounds in the air and you can measure the resistive differences.

Traditional gas sensors came with 4 pins: two for the heater, and two for the resistor. You have to power the heater, then use a resistor divider or op-amp to read the resistance and back calculate. There’s no built-in calibration available, you’ll have to figure out what each resistance ‘means’ in human-friendly terms like AQI or ppm/ppb concentrations. This made a lot of gas sensors difficult to use, and also unreliable without constant upkeep.

The new generation of MOX gas sensors follow in the footsteps of humidity sensors that were originally just capacitive sensors, but now are fully integrated with instant usable data. The CCS811 was one of the first to do this, a real pioneer. For these types of sensors, the MOX element is hidden inside, and the heater is automatically or digitally controlled.

Baseline readings are used to provide home or office-grade calibration where we may care more about changes in readings rather than absolute readings. For example, an office’s eCO2 reading has increased over the day from “good” to “poor” – that would indicate a need to turn on an HVAC fan or alert someone to open a window.

The ENS160 has 4 different sensor elements, each one will have slightly different MOX doping, which means it will react to different classes of gasses. Which is something to remember: it’s not like you can tell which TVOC you’re sensing – the whole family of ethanol, methane, acetone, etc. are all going to activate the sensing bodies. Likewise – if you need precision CO2 measurements, nothing beats an NDIR sensor. But those sensors are also pretty expensive – and don’t do TVOC sensing. For basic usage, eCO2 will work just as well and at significant power and cost savings. Likewise, if you need specific TVOC sensing, those will cost a lot more but they are tuned.

What we like about the sensor is that it’s fully integrated: no firmware blobs or NDAs required which means we were able to get it ported to Python without difficulty. There’s also an Arduino library published by ScioSense for integration in any C/C++ build. The library supports temperature and humidity compensation as well.

If you think the ScioSense ENS160 Air Quality Sensor is a breath of fresh air, then you’re in luck because they’re in stock right now at Digi-Key for immediate shipment!

You can also pick up some of the Adafruit-made breakouts for the ENS160 to get you started fast – our breakout includes regulators and level shifting, so you can drive it from 3 or 5V power and logic. Order today and you’ll have them in your hands by tomorrow afternoon.

See the ScioSense video:

Adafruit publishes a wide range of writing and video content, including interviews and reporting on the maker market and the wider technology world. Our standards page is intended as a guide to best practices that Adafruit uses, as well as an outline of the ethical standards Adafruit aspires to. While Adafruit is not an independent journalistic institution, Adafruit strives to be a fair, informative, and positive voice within the community – check it out here: adafruit.com/editorialstandards

Join Adafruit on Mastodon

Adafruit is on Mastodon, join in! adafruit.com/mastodon

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.

Have an amazing project to share? The Electronics Show and Tell is every Wednesday at 7pm ET! To join, head over to YouTube and check out the show’s live chat – we’ll post the link there.

Join us every Wednesday night at 8pm ET for Ask an Engineer!

Join over 36,000+ makers on Adafruit’s Discord channels and be part of the community! http://adafru.it/discord

CircuitPython – The easiest way to program microcontrollers – CircuitPython.org

Maker Business — “Packaging” chips in the US

Wearables — Enclosures help fight body humidity in costumes

Electronics — Transformers: More than meets the eye!

Python for Microcontrollers — Python on Microcontrollers Newsletter: Silicon Labs introduces CircuitPython support, and more! #CircuitPython #Python #micropython @ThePSF @Raspberry_Pi

Adafruit IoT Monthly — Guardian Robot, Weather-wise Umbrella Stand, and more!

Microsoft MakeCode — MakeCode Thank You!

EYE on NPI — Maxim’s Himalaya uSLIC Step-Down Power Module #EyeOnNPI @maximintegrated @digikey

New Products – Adafruit Industries – Makers, hackers, artists, designers and engineers! — #NewProds 7/19/23 Feat. Adafruit Matrix Portal S3 CircuitPython Powered Internet Display!

Get the only spam-free daily newsletter about wearables, running a "maker business", electronic tips and more! Subscribe at AdafruitDaily.com !

No Comments

No comments yet.

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.