M5Paper Gets Open Source Weather Display Firmware

We know you like soldering irons, we’re quite fond of them ourselves. But the reality is, modular components and highly capable development boards allow the modern hardware hacker to get things done with far less solder smoke then ever before. In fact, sometimes all you need to finish your project is the right code.

Case in point, check out the slick electronic paper weather display that [Danko Bertović] shows off in the latest Volos Projects video. While it certainly fits the description of a DIY project, he didn’t have to put any of the hardware together himself. The M5Paper is an ESP32 development kit designed around a crisp 4.7″, 960 x 540 e-paper panel that includes everything from environmental sensors to an internal 1150 mAh battery. To make your handheld e-paper dreams come true, the only thing you need to provide is the software.

The weather display code provided by [Danko] should certainly get you going in the right direction. Now don’t get us wrong, there’s certainly no shame in just flashing his code to the device and plunking it on your desk. It’s a gorgeous looking interface, and we all know that a sprinkling of open source code is often all it takes to make a standard consumer device extraordinary. But by using the code he’s provided as a launching point, you can take this turn-key device and really make it your own.

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E-Paper Weather Display Is A Great Base To Build From

As e-paper modules have become more affordable, we’ve started to see them pop up more and more in hacker projects. It used to be that you had to force a second-hand Kindle to do your bidding, but now you can buy just the screen itself complete with a header to plug right into your Raspberry Pi. It will still cost you as much as a used Kindle…but at least it comes with some documentation and there are Python libraries to talk to it.

But where to start? If you need some inspiration, and perhaps a little source code, this very slick weather display put together by [James Howard] is a great as baseline. Not that it really needs any additional refinement, as we think it already looks gorgeous. But rather than starting from scratch for your own project, it would be much easier to graft some additional functionality onto his code.

A lot of that has to do with how concise and well commented his code is. We’ve seen enough of these projects to know the kind of spaghetti that’s often running on the backend, but there’s none of that here. [James] assembles the display using the powerful Pillow graphics library, which lets you draw primitives and drop in text and icons with just a couple lines of code.

Once all the data is plugged in, the entire screen is saved as an image file which is then opened up on the e-paper display. Even if you aren’t a Python expert, you should be able to understand what’s happening and how to bend it to your will.

We’ve always had high hopes for electronic paper, and it seems the technology might finally be hitting critical mass. While it’s still a bit expensive, we’ve started seeing it pop up in unexpected places to great effect. Hopefully projects like this one will inspire others to take the B&W plunge.

Vintage Gauges Turned Classy Weather Display

It’s always good to see old hardware saved from the junk pile, especially when the end result is as impressive as this analog gauge weather display put together by [Build Comics]. It ended up being a truly multidisciplinary project, combing not only restoration work and modern microcontroller trickery, but a dash of woodworking for good measure.

Naturally, the gauges themselves are the real stars of the show. They started out with rusted internals and broken glass, but parts from a sacrificial donor and some TLC from [Build Comics] got them back in working order. We especially like the effort that was put into making the scale markings look authentic, with scans of the originals modified in GIMP to indicate temperature and humidity while retaining the period appropriate details.

To drive the 1940s era indicators, [Build Comics] is using an Arduino Nano and a DHT22 sensor that can detect temperature and humidity. A couple of trimmer pots are included for fine tuning the gauges, and everything is mounted to a small scrap of perfboard hidden inside of the custom-made pine enclosure.

This is hardly the first time we’ve seen analog gauges hooked up to modern electronics, but most of the projects are just that: modern. While the end look might be somewhat polarizing, we think maintaining the hardware’s classic style was the right call.

Weather Display Is Cloudy With A Chance Of ESP8266

[Mukesh Sankhla] writes in to share this unique weather display that looks to be equal parts art and science. Rather than show the current conditions with something as pedestrian as numbers, this device communicates various weather conditions to the user with 25 WS2812B LEDs embedded into the 3D printed structure. It also doubles as a functional planter for your desk.

So how does this potted plant tell you if it’s time to get your umbrella? Using a NodeMCU ESP8266 development board, it connects to openweathermap.org and gets the current conditions for your location. Relative temperature is conveyed by changing the color of the pot itself; going from blue to red as things heat up. If there’s rain, the cloud over the plant will change color and flash to indicate thunder.

[Mukesh] has made all of the STL files for the printed components available, as well as the source code for the ESP8266. You’ll need to provide your own soil and plant though, there’s only so much you can send over the Internet. Incidentally, if the clever way he soldered these WS2812B modules together in the video catches your eye, you’ll really love his “RGB Goggles” project that we covered earlier.

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Viewing Countrywide Weather At A Glance

For his latest project, weather display aficionado [Richard] has put together a handsome little device that shows the temperatures recorded at nine different airports located all over the British Isles. Of course the concept could be adapted to wherever it is that you call home, assuming there are enough Internet-connected weather stations in the area to fill out the map.

The electronics are fairly minimal, consisting of a NodeMCU ESP8266 development board, a few seven segment LED display modules, and a simple power supply knocked together on a scrap of perfboard. As you might expect, the code is rather straightforward as well. It just needs to pull down the temperatures from an online API and light up the displays. What makes this project special is the presentation.

As [Richard] shows in the video after the break, the key is a sheet of acrylic that’s been sanded so it diffuses the light of 42 LEDs that have been painstakingly installed in holes drilled around the edge of the sheet. Combined with a printed overlay sheet, this illuminates the map and its legend in low-light conditions. It’s a simple technique that not only looks fantastic, but makes the display easy to read day or night. Definitely a tip worth mentally filing away, as it has plenty of possible applications outside of this particular build.

With his projects, [Richard] has shown himself to be a master of unique and data-rich weather displays, and a great lover of the iconic seven segment LED display. While his particular brand of climate data overload might not be for everyone, you’ve got to admire his knack for visualizing data.

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This Barometer Looks Mighty Fine, Rain Or Shine

Mythological legend has it that Tempestas, the Roman goddess of storms and sudden weather, saved the consul Scipio when his fleet of ships got caught in a storm off of Corsica. In return, she demanded that a temple be dedicated to her.

[SephenDeVos]’ beautiful barometer, dubbed Tempestas II,  demands nothing of the viewer, but will likely command attention anyway because it looks so cool. If the weather is anything but clear and sunny, the appropriate sun-obscuring weather actor, be it clouds, more clouds, rain, or lightning will swing into place, blocking out the blue sky in layers, just like real life.

There’s a total of five weather-serving servos, and they’re all controlled by an Arduino Nano through a 16-channel PWM driver. The Nano gets the news from a BMP280 barometric pressure/temperature sensor and drives the servos accordingly.

Nine layers of nicely-decorated Plexiglas® hide the clouds and things in the wings while it’s nice outside. We totally love the way this looks —  it’s even pretty on the back, where the sun don’t shine. This one is new and ongoing, so it seems likely that [Sephen] will post the code before the sun sets on this project. In the meantime, check out the demo after the break.

We don’t see too many barometers builds around here — maybe there’s too much pressure. This one tells you to lay off the coffee when the pressure’s too low.

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1984 WeatherMan Pi Shows The Ch-Ch-Ch-Ch-Changes

When [MisterM]’s MIL gave him a rad 80s portable cassette player, he jumped for joy. Once he figured out the window was exactly the same size as the standard for Raspberry Pi HATs, the possibilities left him reeling. A flurry of ideas later, he settled on a weather display featuring a Pimoroni Unicorn HAT HD.

The 1984 Weatherman Pi pulls data from the Dark Sky API every 1.5 seconds using a Zero W. [MisterM] chose to highlight the current temperature, conditions, and rain probability, though there are heaps of other API goodies still on the table. It shows the current weather conditions as animations, scrolls the temperature, and gives a nice graph of rainfall probability.

Surprisingly, the dazzling display isn’t our favorite part. See those spongy headphones up top? They’re not just for decoration, though they go a long way in helping the cassette player keep its identity. Whenever there’s a change in the weather, they shimmy back and forth on a 9g servo. If the servo were continuous, it might be neat to use them as a weather vane.

Be sure to check out [MisterM]’s comprehensive demo/build video waiting for you on the B-side. We love a good weather display around here, and the more colorful and literal, the better.

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