Weather Station Project

Using the instructions and parts from Adafruit, I’m building a weather station that gets information from the Weather Underground.  More information on the Adafruit project can be found here.  I’ve been wanting to do this for a while because of how easy it is and useful it can be. It’s not cheap overall, but it’s not that bad either with about $75 in costs (not including my labor). It’s a good learning experience but also just something I can say “Hey, I made that!”.

The following images are courtesy of the Adafruit project page referenced above. As I’m awaiting parts to arrive, I’ve at least worked out some of the details with the code and I have started the 3D printing of the case – I’m using black filament instead of the cream one shown below. I’ve not printed any 3D objects in a while and had to clean up the printer a bit. The first few attempts at the printing just made a mess, but I was able to get things to work better once I covered the bed with some glue stick. After getting that worked out, I ran into some issues with the code compiling. Ended up resolving one issue (not sure how) but caused another so I had to install the Arduino IDE again… that resolved all my issues and at least I’m able to verify the code. Once the parts come in (today as I write this page), I’ll be able to put it all together. I’ll upload some of my own images once I have my own version up and running. I may play around with making the case out of my wood filament if I have enough. Otherwise, I may use my wood colored filament.

Updates to the project are below the following images.

Status as of Saturday, December 31, 2016

Since I’m not used to doing these projects, only dabble here and there, I ran into a few things to resolve.

A bit of soldering was required – I only install the pin strips to the board – which was provided – however, not attached. I do very little in this area so I was very careful and pulled out some memories of techniques found on YouTube videos and Twit.TV (Know How). I was careful to not heat the solder directly, but the metal which I was applying the solder. I didn’t apply to much and I didn’t breath in the fumes. Overall, I think I did a good job and am a little less apprehensive on doing this again in the future.

Apparently, in order to program the board, I had to install a driver for the MAC – otherwise the port wouldn’t appear. The article didn’t specify this and only after some Googling and Troubleshooting did I find the link – it was in a FAQ on Adafruit’s website and regarding the same board, but it was no where referenced in the article directly, but was spoken about in the “prerequisites” articles. I would have had less problems had I paid attention to that and followed the links and read up on things.  Here is the driver for the board.

After that, I had to figure out why I was getting some errors. Turned out that I had selected the wrong “programmer” setting in the Arduino IDE. Now there is no mention of that setting in the article (that I found) or directly in the text of the prerequisite post – however, I did see in a screen cap the setting and although I didn’t use that one directly, I found the one I needed and used it. I used and successfully loaded the memory with the USBasp programmer – the images shows the USBtinyISP – which I tried first and didn’t work for me.

My 3D printing didn’t turn out as good as I’d hoped, and I’m printing a new enclosure for the device. Below is a my own version with the “bad” enclosure. I’m currently having my printer produce another one – but both parts at the same time with slightly different settings.

I may have to play around with the code next and see if I can add some more things or change the behavior a bit to make it work better. Right now you have to touch the screen to wake it up and it then does an update. I’m sure this is for battery saving – it would be nice if there was a battery gage on the display – perhaps if possible, I’ll add that myself.