$6 Weather Station Goes Where You Do

We admit, we see a lot of weather stations. What makes [Mike Diamond’s] take on this old favorite interesting is that it is tiny enough to carry with you, and uses your cell phone as a hotspot to deliver its data. Of course, that assumes you have a phone that can act as a hotspot.

The parts are straightforward, a power supply, an ESP8266, and a weather sensor board. It looks as though you could easily slip the whole affair into a tube or maybe a 3D printed enclosure. We were a little concerned about the bare wire used, but as [Mike] points out you can use insulated wire if you like, and we’d encourage you to do so.

There are some modifications required including removing the pin headers. [Mike] uses the old trick of smacking your hand on the table after melting the pins. You can also heat up each pin and pull it out with pliers. Or, if you have a hot air gun, get all the pins molten at once — just don’t heat up more of the board than you need.

On the data end, the ESP8266 uses Cayenne to transmit data which is the same kind of IoT backend we see a lot lately. On the one hand, this allows you to distribute it without developing a phone application. On the other hand, we would have been tempted to just make the ESP8266 a web server and populate a simple web page. Of course, you could still do that if you wanted to.

We’ve seen plenty of weather stations, but a lot of them are not nearly as compact. If you want to go old school, there’s always the TI 99/4A weather station.

24 thoughts on “$6 Weather Station Goes Where You Do

    1. No, this is not a neat layout. This is what is called “bastl” here. That means something like “something ugly which should be hidden in a box so no-one sees how awfully it is made, but still, it works and serves its purpose”.

      1. My apologies MS_BOSS, I missed including the word “representative”, though for those in the industry it’s pretty much a given from this paradigm. IOW: Isn’t it obvious its not any sort of final commercial product at this point and therefore does not deserve your drive to acrimony for what gain other than ‘status of criticism’. Its illustrative as part of the process of moving towards a more elegant outcome. ie. The modules simple and off the shelf, interconnections also simple and minimal, take note – thus ideal for teaching the less experienced. Many in audience here mostly unlike those on product development forums or editorials referencing compete commercial designs. Even there tenured professionals more polite, worth a try…

        Not being a packaged final version product its not helpful criticising the author/poster with your facile march, completely out of place reflecting on your motivation to push argument. Instead how about offering augmentation such as Robert Marsha kindly proposed, that would have done more towards design collaboration. Surely you have lots of better things to do than barking “something ugly” for a intermediate step in the process. You miss the point of this post and likely hackaday in general too, exception being teardowns of course :-) Cheers

          1. What, are you projecting as some aesthetic ? I think you really missed the point, open up any number of production devices and the internals could easily be deemed “ugly” as some less elegant than the design posted, depending on your motive to do nothing more than add implied insult – geesh…
            How about thinking on an augmentation to add something useful ? Eg Layout, wiring, connectors, holders etc so that in your mind specifically and maybe your like-minded associates as to what could improve the aesthetics to be far less “ugly” ? Of course if you cannot do anything other than complaint what does that tell us of you, your intent and the likelihood that you and maybe your alias is only pursuing argument and idle criticism for its own sake :-(

            Claims are dead easy and very cheap MS-BOSS/Mitch Henderson. Please consider something rather more substantive would be more invigorating and “go somewhere” than a mere emotional blurt that kills progress whilst casting aspersions. Surely it’s more interesting, inviting and attractive acting as a creator than an emotional terminator ;-) Cheers

  1. Currently doing some work with the BME chip. The temperature is the die temperature so be aware it is not ambient temperature. Added a TMP102 sensor to get ambient readings. Programming and settings can reduce the offset from ambient on the BME.

    1. I imagine John when Al Williams wrote “..and uses your cell phone as a hotspot to deliver its data” that the (cell or mobile {as we say in Australia}) phone is the only way in that situation to connect to the internet. For example, where I live outside Perth in Western Australia getting adsl/dsl/nbn on copper lines outside the fibre areas is very problematic whilst cell/mobile phone coverage vastly improved in last year or two.

      There are lots of people who are renters too even in good copper/fibre areas that prefer their mobile for convenience to attach to the internet as well ie Don’t have to go through re-assigning lines through the telcos. The various cell/mobile plans these days offer cheap access at 10Gbytes/month. I also read a fairly new entrant TPG is committing 1.6$B AUD to their own networks and with some cross/local roaming will also extend to fringe country areas where copper lines disappearing as 3G – 5G becoming far for convenient…

      1. Obviously, this is [Mike Diamond’s] design and not mine — I’m just talking about his design. Assuming your phone is the only known good connection to the Internet, though, you almost have to do it this way. If you make the ESP8266 an AP and connect your phone to it, the phone won’t have internet access at the same time. Doing it this way means your phone is connected and so is the ESP8266 client.

        1. I think he means that you connect to the ESP for reading the sensor’s data on your phone. Why send the data directly to the Internet, when you can read it locally? In this way you could also just store the data on your phone and send it to some server when you have free WiFi somewhere. No mobile plan required.

      1. FWIW; John,
        I know a few people who have two cell/mobile phones, though I have resisted that for a while but, up for review. One gives then mix of good bandwith in areas where they don’t have copper/fibre and use it as a resident gateway for home access/status when they travel – some across the country and others further afield as I will be doing to Malaysia perhaps now the government has changed. The area I worked in Sabah in 1998 now has great cell coverage, click on my link for a brief summary ;-) The other phone for their travel needs and suitably sync’d of course too – though with some layer of VPN style obfuscation/protection for obvious reasons…

        So having a weather station at my home or office can be useful also as a risk assessment issue as some local services furnish storm warnings, getting into stormy winters Eg in Perth, Western Australia worth considering and especially so if your place is not well attended that often and you have one or more vehicles also you can have automatically monitored. A good backup is an SMS outgoing gateway as backup and a cloud cache too in event of local transient comms issues. This of course can then sit atop the security/intervention system for labs, offices, homes such as room snap-shots, downloading various files in respect of visitors their chats outside your front door when you don’t answer or outside your cars and a few other “niceties” such as psychological methods to dissuade the numb nut thieves trying it on etc, less said about that the better ;-)

        1. Re the two cellphones: If you’re on Project Fi, you can put a data-only SIM in the phone. There’s no charge for the SIM, and it’s just part of your $1/GB plan. I have a Pixel XL 2 for the phone, and a half dozen iPads, a Galaxy S6 and a Galaxy S5 with data-only SIMs. They can do everything the Pixel can do except make voice calls.

          1. Thanks for the info jcwren,
            Best I’ve seen in Australia is $10/month voice and data. The way things seem to be going the cost differential of data only vs full cell/mobile converging in most western countries. The $1/G does sound really good for lower end stuff ideal if minimal monthly network access fee and especially if snapshot pics included and short videos of suitable resolutions via device compatibility…

            I’m also on several devices with more to come, will look into other plans over here, last I looked some bulk plans ‘reserved’ for those in the know for premises security with a minimal monthly $5 fee. There is a lot that can be done with that, cheers.

      2. “I don’t see why it connects to the Internet, it is a weather station.”

        Dear John,
        Internet weather is a rapidly growing science, research is advancing as we speak (type).
        Setting up a world wide web, of Internet Weather Stations (IWxS) is helping many computer scientists not only track Internet weather phenomena such as DDoS storms, but they hope to one day actually predict them and give reliable Internet weather forecasts. Many Internet events are now troubled by poor distribution during webcasts. In the future, event planners may be able to know when there is clear Internet weather and schedule their events during those times. Another aspect of Internet weather is the lightning speed at which false news travels. Researchers are also hoping to identify and mitigate the damage of these lightning strikes.

    1. Don’t forget: accuracy vs. precision.

      I don’t think significant figures are that great, people tend to use them without really understanding the underlying idea.

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