Core Electronics Forum

New weather station project - looking for advice

Hi everyone,

I’m looking to build a weather station for my home automation projects. I plan on building something more powerful than the projects shown in the tutorials, but not so expensive as the professional Davis brand weather stations. For context, I work with Python and industrial time series data so I’m very confident with the software side, less so with the hardware though.

So I need advice as to what I should build. My requirements are that I should be able to HTTP post data to a REST endpoint, it should be able to communicate over WiFi and handle multiple sensors (wind, rain, temp, pressure and eventually others).

Which sensor kit should I use? The DFRobot one costs twice as much as the SparkFun one, is there any advantage? Or is there a better option than either of them?

Can I use one of the new RPi Pico’s to run this or will it not have enough power? How would I connect it to WiFi anyway?

I’d be happy to write about my experiences at the end if that helps.

Thank you all,
Aiden

Hi Aiden,

In terms of the hardware, this kit would be nice:

With this hooked up to a raspberry pi via the GPIO pins you have a wifi-capable weather station, all you would need to do is make a python script that acts as an API. A weatherproof case to house the pi would also be nice:

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Okay, I’ve got some spare RPi4bs I can use.

Is that the best weather sensor kit I could use (without stepping up to professional stuff)? And do the sensors need their own power?

Speaking of which should I run an extension cord out to the station to power all this or is there a better way?

Thanks,
Aiden

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Hey Aiden,

That questions is dependent on a few factors: the sensors you want to include in your project, the boards that you would connect it to (an analog to digital converter will be required so you will need a HAT for the Pi, an Arduino Uno talking to a Pi is another option) and the price.

The sensors will need their own power, (you might be able to power it through the Pi’s 5V pin in this case) Take a look at the datasheet for the current requirements when using different external resistors.

Powering the system is up to you. PiJuice has a range of solar and storage solutions that you could use to handle it?

Ultimately these decisions are steered by your scope in the project.

Regards,
Liam.

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Hi Aiden,

Starting out on any project is always tricky. The first question to ask is Why, the second question is What, and finally, Which.

1. Why am I doing this thing?
Figure out the purpose of the project.
2. What does need to do?
Identify technical requirements.
3. Which things do I need to make it do that?
Start looking for parts.

It’s important to have clear answers to the first two questions - if you skip the first two, you’ll get very lost.

It’s a bit like this:

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Thank you @Oliver33, I’ve already got the first two well in hand.

It’s the first step in my own home automation system, need to monitor before I can improve basically. I’m going to forward data to my own IoT system, model my home in a state machine and then in the future get the state machine to issue commands to devices.

I have a plan as to what I’d like to sense, rainfall, temperature, wind direction and speed, humidity, pressure and eventually lightning (so I can tell the kids to get out of the pool).

But as to what I should buy to build the sensor stack, that’s what I’m trying to figure out. Budget is in the less than $500 range but I’m happy to pay to get the best gear I can in that range. While that means I could afford a proper weather station, I wouldn’t be able to customise it or force it to send data to HTTP or MQTT etc.

@Liam Which RPi hat would you recommend for this? Would it be possible to use a Pico instead of an Arduino in that case as well?

Thank you everyone
Aiden

Hey @aidenprice, I am finishing up a similar project at the moment.

Im using a arduino mega with built in wifi, cellular shield and I ended up creating my own custom pcb shield for the top.
The top pcb has all the headers for external sensors and some SMD sensors. I added a solar charging circuit with a step up converter aswell(5v everything)

I used the sparkfun sensors which use a combination of voltage dividers, pull up resistors and ADC’s for the software side of things

The data is being sent to a API every 10mins and is also visable on a touch screen thats on the front of a 3d printed enclosure I made

I am currently working on making it take a photo and upload it every 10 aswell.

Happy to answer any questions and help where I can. So far ive spent about $2k and 2 years working on my weather station

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