With my previous three-part Raspberry Pi feature for Incisive Media’s Computeractive having driven significant sales, features editor Scott Colvey was eager for me to do something similar – and this time we hit upon the idea of using the open source Arduino Microcontroller. The task: to build a digital weather station.
At the inception of the piece, various ideas were bandied around including the possibility of making a rainfall sensor that would use a constantly filling and emptying bucket linked to a switch. Sadly, making one of these from scratch within the confines of a few pages isn’t straightforward. Instead, the finished build uses three main components: an Arduino microcontroller, a DHT22/RHT03 temperature and humidity sensor, and a BMP085 temperature and pressure sensor.
Linking them all together with a short bit of code outputting comma separated values over a USB serial connection, the result is a hackable weather monitor that can be easily covered with an upturned bowl for outdoor use.
Keeping things as simple as possible, in deference to Computeractive’s target market of those interested in computing but put off the more technical nature of most mainstream magazines, the build won’t be putting Maplins’ finest to shame any time soon – but it works, and leaves the path open for a Part 2 where the Arduino is connected to a Raspberry Pi. Doing away with the PC, this would create a truly stand-alone weather station.