The apartment [Angus] lives in must be sealed up pretty tight. It was so humid during the winter that there was a mold issue. We usually have the opposite problem, needing to add humidity to the air in the colder months. To combat the issue he bought a small dehumidifier, but wanted to automate the system a bit more than what was built into its meager controls. He combined a set of wireless sensors and remote control outlets to switch the dehumidifier automatically.
The sensors are from a weather station he bought on eBay. It came with a base station and three remote units, all of which monitor both temperature and humidity. He wanted a system that could compare temperature with dew point and make decisions based on a simple look-up table. An Arduino with a custom milled shield reads these measurements from the sensors and feeds them to a router which is running a cron job script every minute. When that script judges the time and weather conditions warrant a change it tells the Arduino to switch the wireless outlet to which the dehumidifier is connected.
This is [Pierre Cauchois’] digital weather display. Since weather displays are ubiquitous in this day of smart phones in every pocket he went out of his way to give it a unique look. He started with a wooden voltmeter case, swapping the ancient display for a modern LCD screen.
He used Gadgeteer components for the retrofit. The images for the LCD are stored on an SD card and displayed on demand. Since the digital bezel will be the same no matter what the time or environmental conditions [Pierre] used the power of the .NET framework that drives the system. He made up an image using magenta for all of the dial openings. This way a sprite can be used just for the changing numbers, weather icon, and graphing area.
Looking at all that went into coding the project we think the Gadgeteer components are perfect for those that are well-versed in upper-level languages and don’t really want to deal with low-level microcontroller issues.
If you’re a big Minecraft fan, the folks at [radikaldesign] have something that might be of interest to you. (Translation) Inspired by some of their Minecraft-loving friends, they have developed Minestation – a weather station for your Minecraft game.
The concept is simple. Here in the real world we have the ability to look out the window and see what it is like outside, but many of us turn to digital weather stations, the Weather Channel, or the local news to get the real scoop. They decided that the world of Minecraft should be no different, so they constructed an Arduino shield that allows players to see weather conditions as they play.
The shield contains a Nokia 6100 LCD screen which displays all sorts of useful information. It features a clock and calendar that reflect in-game time, making it easy to know when night is going to fall. It also continually displays the player’s coordinates as well as what the weather looks like in that region. Having this information at hand when you’ve been slogging away in the mines (losing track of time and weather) seems like it could be pretty useful at times.
You can buy one of the devices at Minestation.me, but the design is completely open, so you can easily construct one of your own without too much hassle.
Continue reading to see a video of the Minestation in action.
Continue reading “Minestation – An external weather display for your Minecraft world”
Can you believe that [hpux735] pulled this satellite weather image down from one of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s weather satellites using home equipment? It turns out that they’ve got three weather satellites in low earth orbit that pass overhead a few times a day. If you’ve got some homebrew hardware and post processing chops you can grab your own images from these weather satellites.
The first step is data acquisition. [hpux735] used a software defined radio receiver that he built from a kit. This makes us think back to the software-radio project that [Jeri Ellsworth] built using an FPGA–could that be adapted for this purpose? But we digress. To record the incoming data a Mac program called DSP Radio was used. Once you do capture an audio sample, you’ll need something to turn it into an image. It just so happens there’s a program specifically for weather image decoding called WXtoImg, and another which runs under Linux called WXAPT. Throw in a little post processing, Robert’s your mother’s brother, and you’ve got the image seen above.
[Hpux735] mentioned that he’s working on a post about the antenna he built for the project and has future plans for an automated system where he’ll have a webpage that always shows the most current image. We’re looking forward hearing about that.
[Sebastian] wrote in to share his web site, where he has a bunch of different electronics projects. After looking through them, we found a pair that we thought you might find interesting.
The first project is a homebrew weather monitoring station that [Sebastian] put together. He designed a weather shield, incorporating humidity, pressure and light sensors, along with digital I/O ports for monitoring an anemometer. The entire setup is powered using solar panels, and data is relayed to his computer via an Xbee.
The second item that caught our eye was a digital camera pan and tilt rig. The system was built using a Lynxmotion pan and tilt kit, which is controlled by an Arduino. The code he provides allows him to capture very large composite images without having to spend too much time “sewing” them together. While this second project mostly consists of schematics for a base plate and pan/tilt code, it struck us as something that could be very useful for any budding photographers looking to take panoramic shots.
All of the schematics and code for his projects are available on his site, so be sure to look around – you might find something interesting!
[Sean_Carney] build this clock that tells the weather instead of the time. The two hands display the current conditions and the temperature. Forty below zero seems amazingly cold if you’re on the Fahrenheit scale but [Sean’s] from Winnipeg so he’s operating on the Celsius side of things.
Two servos move the hands to match the data scraped off of the Internet. An Arduino does the scraping with the help of an Ethernet shield. This reminds us of the Harry Potter clock that tells a persons location.
Ever wanted to be able to launch a balloon into space, track its location via GPS, take some photographs of the curvature of the earth, and recover the balloon, all for the low low cost of $150? [Oliver Yeh] sent in his teams project, Icarus, which does just that. The group of MIT students found that they could use a weather balloon filled with helium to reach heights of around 20 miles above the earth; their particular balloon achieved 93,000 feet (17.5 miles). Then, utilizing only off the shelf components with no soldering, conjured up a GPS tracker using a Motorola i290 Prepaid Cellphone. They then used a Canon A470 loaded with the chdk open source firmware to take pictures. After seeing the results of their launch, the team hopes that this could rejuvenate interests in science and the arts.