Mini-Environment Monitor

Researchers in the field are always looking for something small, not too power hungry, and able to sense several environmental conditions to complement their primary project data. Even ten years ago this would have been a large, current sucking unit, impossible to piece together from parts readily available on the internet. Open source development systems were rare and most were tied to manufacturers' hardware with costs that could run into the thousands.

 

Today, open source development systems such as those for the arduino and raspberry pi are available to download free and there dozens of hardware variants available depending the the required complexity of the project.

The Arduino Nano a perfect choice for this type of project. It involves integrating several sensors and modules into the Nano and coding it with the Arduino Development System (C Language).

 PT-19

Ambient Light Sensor From Everlight.

The Mini Monitor senses temperature, relative humidity, barometric pressure, light level, and soil moisture content. It records the data to a MicroSD chip at rates from 1 sample every hour up to 1 sample per second. A real-time clock adds date and time to every data point and the resulting files are tab separated values which are easily imported into Excel.

                   Date/Time                                          Lux                             RH%                         T (C)                            BARO
                   8/16/2016 14:33                              6515.31                         19                              22                               9.23
                   8/16/2016 14:33                              5920.38                         18                              22                               8.85
                   8/16/2016 14:33                              6041.23                         19                              21                               8.9
 
For the RH and Temperature, Ivan over at Brainy Bits has an excellent tutorial using the UNO. The code is the same for the NANO with minor mods.

 DHT11

DHT-11 Module for relative humidity and temperature.

Educ8s.tv has a nice video for setting up a simple datalogger with a MicroSD chip and a real-time clock.

 minim2

Inserting the MicroSD chip into the carrier.

 mmchart

Some data plotted from mid-afternoon through sunset. The sudden drops in Lux are clouds.


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