DIY Air Quality Sensor


[Andrew Lamchenko], who has built a number of small e-ink-based sensors this year, released another design called the eON Indoor Air Quality Sensor. As his previous sensor designs, the eON boasts a striking appearance with all the spit and polish of a commercially made product. Except [Andrew]’s design is completely open-source.

Besides showing air quality, it also shows basic weather conditions, and there’s a built-in weather forecasting algorithm as well. It can operate standalone or use the radio module to send readings to a smart home system.

The core sensor is the SGP40, which detects volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in the air while consuming less than 3 mA (compared to the 48 mA of the previous generation). There’s a temperature, barometric pressure, humidity, and light sensors in the package as well. Like many projects these days, [Andrew] encountered parts supply issues along the way. Because of that, and to make the design more flexible, several versions of the board have been made to accommodate the different permutations of:

  • Displays
    • 2.13-inch e-ink display
    • DES e-ink display, coming soon
  • Radio, four flavors
    • MINEW MS88SF3 (nRF52833, nRF52840)
    • MINEW MS50SFA1 (nRF52810, nRF52811)
    • MINEW MS50SFA2 (nRF52832)
    • EBYTE E73-2G4M08S1C (nRF52833, nRF52840)
  • Temp / Pressure sensor:
    • BME280
    • BMP280
    • SHTC3

[Andrew] not only designed the sensor but has done a thorough job on the documentation. Check out the GitHub repository of the project for a complete data package covering all aspects of the design, including the weather forecasting app note by John Young (an NXP engineer, not the astronaut). Last week the design was named as a finalist of the 2021 Hackaday Prize. We’re excited to see where he goes with this between now and the end of October!

Do you use an air quality sensor in your home? If so, is it only for informational purposes or do you take action based on the data, such as automatically turning on a fan or escaping to the countryside? Let us know in the comments below.

Desktop Weather Monitor Leaves Nothing To Chance

[Mirko Pavleski] has put together a little weather station for himself that combines Internet-sourced forecasts with physical sensor data to give him a complete view of his local conditions. There’s no shortage of weather applications for our smartphones and computers that will show us the current local conditions and the forecast for the next couple of days. It’s so easy to pull weather data from the various APIs out there that you even see the functionality “baked in” to different gadgets these days. Of course, you can dig through every weather API in the world and not find the temperature and humidity inside your office; for that, you need your own sensors.

[Mirko] took a somewhat unconventional approach by essentially building two totally separate weather devices and packing them into one enclosure, which gives the final device a rather unique look thanks to the contrasting display technologies used.

Local conditions are detected by an Arduino Nano connected to a BMP180 sensor and displayed on a Nokia 5110 LCD. The screen shows not only real-time temperature and barometric pressure, but the change in pressure over the last several hours. The three-day forecast, on the other hand, is provided by a NodeMCU ESP8266 development board connected to the increasingly ubiquitous 0.96 inch OLED.

If you’re not into the whole duality thing and would rather do it all on the same device, you might be interested in one of the ESP8266 weather monitors we’ve seen in the past.