WiFi clock radio with sensors


I am 100% new to Arduinos and would like to start on a simple project which can be expanded on as I get more experienced. I have an idea for my project and mainly would like to check if I am purchasing the right components and the components will be capable of what I am aiming for.

-------- Project Idea ---------
At the moment, I am thinking of ultimately ending up with a WiFi alarm clock with temperature, humidity, pressure, CO2 and dust sensors; and a micro SD card slot to temporarily store sensor value. I am also thinking about attaching two physical switches, one to switch of the LCD screen (for when I’m asleep for example) and one to switch of the alarm. The device will be powered via the USB port as I have way too many USB cables and chargers…

The points of having WiFi connectivity are

  • the time of the clock can be updated via a NTP server
  • can automatically change with daylight saving
  • query my Arduino frankenstein on the sensor values and download saved data from the SD card
  • adjust the alarm time for the clock
  • adjust the LCD display cycle (e.g. show clock for 5s -> show temperature, pressure and humidity 3s -> show CO2 and dust levels 3s)

-------- Parts ---------
The parts I think I will need are

  • Arduino Uno R3 [SKU: A000066]
    Is this enough, should I get a better model or is there potential to get this project working with a cheaper alternative. I am not married to the Arduino brand if there is an alternative, but please list pros and cons for alternatives.
  • WiFi Module - ESP8266 [SKU: WRL-13678]
  • W5100 Ethernet + SD Card Shield (Arduino Compatible) [SKU: CE05307]
  • DHT22 Temperature and Relative Humidity Sensor Module [SKU: 018-DHT22]
  • GY-68 BMP180 Digital Pressure Sensor Module (Replaces BMP085) [SKU: 018-GY-68]
  • CO2 Sensor (Arduino compatible) [SKU: SEN0159]
  • Optical Dust Sensor - GP2Y1010AU0F [SKU: COM-09689]
  • Dust Sensor Adapter [SKU: DFR0280]
    Do I need this, does it makes things easier and/or is this completely unrelated to the dust sensor I listed immediately above?
  • Graphic LCD 128x64 STN LED Backlight [SKU: LCD-00710]
  • Buzzer 5V - Breadboard friendly [SKU: ADA1536]
  • Rocker Switch - SPST (round) [SKU: COM-11138] × 2

-------- The rest… ---------
What I want to know:

  • Is my project feasible (with the listed parts or minor modifications)?
  • Are there any suggestions on improving or expanding the project?
  • Are the listed components sufficient?
    • Do I need to purchase more/can I get away with less?
  • Do you have suggestions on substituting parts and why?

This is ultimately a WiFi clock with some room air quality and temperature sensors… Whilst I do value performance of parts and how easy they are to work with (both physically and software side) and definitely open to opinions regarding these factors, the cost and value considerations MAY trump part performance and I am also open to opinions where you may believe I can b̶e̶ ̶a̶ ̶m̶i̶s̶e̶r̶a̶b̶l̶e̶ ̶m̶i̶s̶e̶r̶ improve the overall cost value…

Lastly I feel this project could be made significantly easier by also attaching a Raspberry Pi or some other micro computer (particularly the networking side of things), but I also feel this is cheating and a last resort if everything else fails…

Sorry about the non-clicky links… forum doesn’t trust new users…

HI Eugene,

Thanks for dropping by. It sounds like you have a big project underway, and given you are new to Arduino, lots of questions as well! Which is totally natural.

Given you are new to digital electronics, my advice would be to keep your project on the back of your mind, and first start with an educational kit. You’ll learn the structure of code, and how to interact with a wide range of electronics

Afterward, you’ll be well versed for a range of projects, including the one you have in mind. Perhaps change lanes into the Particle Photon which is very modern (120Mhz, with WiFi onboard). It uses a very similar approach for coding but is less nourished for educational kits (hence the recommendation to use Arduino for that).

Keep us posted with your project, sounds like a great one in work!

NB - I’ve purposefully not addressed all of your questions as most of them will be answered in more rewarding ways as you learn the ropes. You’ll get a feel for how sensors work, connecting them, communication methods, etc. Nothing beats “doing”!

Thanks for the reply Graham!
I think I probably will get the SparkFun Inventors Kit from you guys, looks like it could be fun at the very least.
In regards to the Particle Photon… as far as I can see, when compared to the Arduino Uno it has

  • a faster processor (120 vs 16 Mhz)
  • more flash memory [equivalent to HD storage?] (1024 vs 32 KB)
  • more RAM (128 vs 2 KB)
  • more analog pins (8 vs 6)
  • maybe more digital pins (18 vs 14) [18 is the listed number on the product datasheet, but I see D0-D7, TX and RX which counts to 10… I’m not sure if DAC, WKP and RST are digital or analog, but it still doesn’t add up…
  • Can draw more power on board (5V×1A=5W vs 3.3V×50mA=165mW)
  • Can be programed using the same syntax and libraries
  • Is sold cheaper

The question arises, are there any disadvantages with the Particle Photon when compared with the Arduino Uno?
It seems better in almost every way and cheaper…

Lastly, I had actually started drawing something in KiCad (describing it as started maybe generous…) and started calculating current draw and trying to make sure nothing will fry and realized I may need to power my device with a transformer rather than the USB plug (the two modules that worry me are the CO2 sensor which uses 5V×0.5A=2.5W and the WIFI module, which I may not get if I buy the Photon instead, which I couldn’t find the power draw on the datasheet but read somewhere a warning on an online tutorial using the same ESP8266 module stating it can draw up to 3V×1A=3W and can get very hot)…

I just happen to have a spare 12V 2A transformer lying around (maybe slight overkill, but it’s just lying around gathering dust at the moment…) and will need to step down the voltage. I can see you have stock Pololu 5V, 2.5A Step-Down Voltage Regulator D24V25F5 [SKU: POLOLU-2850] which is suitable (>0.5A for the CO2) sensor, but suppose there is a reason to buy the Arduino instead of the Particle Photon and I need the wifi module, I think the Pololu 3.3V, 2.6A Step-Down Voltage Regulator D24V22F3 is the most suitable step down regulator (since it is rated higher than 1A, but not heaps more which would be overkill and more expensive…). You guys don’t seem to have this listed on your site (at least when I checked) so, ASSUMING I need this item, would I still be able to order this item from you guys (I assume you can get wholesale prices) or will I need to get this one individual part elsewhere? (Big assumption, I probably won’t need the ESP8266 anymore)

Hi Eugene,

Just a quick note, the analog pins on the Particle Photon (and a lot of Arduino based boards) can also be read digitally, so D0-D7, A0-A7 and the TX/RX pins make up the 18.

Let me know how you get on!

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