Winter Sensor Test

A strong winter nor’easter was predicted, working its way up the US East Coast to dump nearly a foot of snow where I live. What better time to field test my latest weather sensor rig?

It’s been a while since I posted anything. Since starting a new job last spring, I’ve been busy with work, but fortunately, the holidays have afforded me some time to go back and revisit my Raspberry Pi project.

Previously, I’d gotten a Pi3B+ sending telemetry to the cloud using a Node.js tutorial; later, I had to learn all over again in Python in order to use a Pi Zero, because the Pi Zero doesn’t support the version of Node that I needed. I’ve since postponed the cloud presentation in order to focus on building a simple standalone weather station using a different Python3-based tutorial.

Along the way, I’ve also tested solar power, and briefly got that to work, but I’ll have details in a later post. I need to add some components to the design. Here’s a pic all the same – running off the Lipo though, probably not the panel.

Look Ma, No Outlet!

Meanwhile, to test my new rig, I wired up my old friend, the BME280, to the PiZero via a breadboard. To protect the sensor from the elements, I mounted it in a small plastic box.

Mounted BME280
Mount Up,

Then, I hung the sensor out the window as the snow began to fall. The BME280 would brave the elements while the Pi stay inside, warm and cozy. I fired up the script on the Pi (shelled in using VS Code on my Surface Pro), and immediately telemetry started showing, line by line, second by second.

BME280 at Night
In the Dark.

The next morning, I checked my shell session – still active, and telemetry was still arriving. Since Celsius is default, it was quite a few degrees in the negative!

I looked out the window, and saw the housing was entombed in snow.

BME280 in the Snow
BME280 in the Snow

A little scrape later and I could make out the box. Data still being sent.

BME280 in the Snow
BME280 in the Snow – Uncovered.

I eventually brought the sensor back inside, figuring it might have been jealous of the PiZero’s warm surroundings. It was a successful first test however, of the sensor being in adverse elements – my previous tests were in the spring and summer, and always on nice weather days.

I’m waiting on some more sensors, and will need to wire and code those. I also plan to wire things directly in order to remove the breadboard, and all of this will eventually rely on a HAT that I’ve ordered. So, I’m a ways off from completion, but having a simple test using something new yet also familiar was rather gratifying.

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