Remote weather station w/Cerbuino Bee

As part of our recent local maker faire, we did a (stationary) weather balloon project in cooperation with SparkFun’s education department. They provided the hardware and balloons and we provided the helium and a great location. They kindly donated some of the hardware to us after the faire so we could continue to develop this project as part of our educational outreach. What you see below is “Version 2” of the hardware, which contains the following:

Collecting the data:

  1. Cerbuino Bee
  2. XBee Pro, 802.15.4 w/external antenna
  3. BMP085 pressure (and altitude) sensor
  4. Seeed temperature and humidity sensor module
  5. My MakeGPS v2 module (lat, long, and altitude)

Solar recharge:

  1. 6.6 Ah single cell lipo

  2. Small 6V 2W panel
    8 ) Adafruit Solar lipo recharger

  3. Adafruit Minty Boost to provide power to the Cerbuino

  4. Weatherproof (more like resistant) enclosure

This box will get hung about 60 ft up from a small weather balloon and transmit the data down to a receiving station. Version 1 of the receiver is currently an app I wrote running on a Windows netbook which relays the data up to COSM via WiFi. The data is also logged locally on the Bee’s SD card. Another maker friend grabs the data from COSM and does cool stuff with Max/MSP to dazzle the crowd. Version 2 of the receiver is in the works and will probably be something gadgeteer based. We’ve got an event coming up on 10/28-29, and I’ll take some pictures of it hanging from a balloon.

And before you ask, I will eventually post a more thorough technical writeup of the project along with code on my website and/or here.

3 Likes

Cool project! That’s a sexy GPS module, too. This reminds me of a project I worked on for a DOE research lab one summer during college. We had to build an automated weather balloon launcher that could be dropped in any climate/location and it would periodically load up a new balloon and sensor pack and launch it up. The biggest challenge came from the fact that the sensor pack battery was activated by adding water. Keeping the water fluid in the expected climates was an engineering task of its own. That was a great job and fun project that I still look back at often as one of my best experiences.

Soon you can add the Bolt module :slight_smile:

You betcha! It’s on the list to add.

@ ransomhall - Wonderful project, be sure to keep us up to speed on additions or changes!

Congratulations on your beautiful work. wonder solor energy needed to charge the battery charger

Nice project, added to community showcase http://www.tinyclr.com/forum/topic?id=9234

Love seeing the FBB in the pictures :slight_smile:

Are they ever coming to market?

@ murat - is that a question? can you clarify your meaning?

The solar panel does not generate enough power to keep up with the load. The panel isn’t big enough. However, it just so happened to fit nicely on top of the enclosure, and it does extend the time between full recharges. I’m still testing exactly how long it will go between “refills”. This is an educational project, so the solar recharging is more for show than practical use.

@ Gus. What is the FBB?
@ ransomhall
What is the difference between the GHI’S GPS module and the Custom made MakeGPS v2 module?
Do you use GBee library or just use serial ?
Thanks

@ Tzu Hsuan - FBB - FEZ Building Blocks

http://www.tinyclr.com/forum/topic?id=8070

Very cool, that is what I need.

MakeGPS is my own creation. It uses a MT3339 GPS chip, http://www.gtop-tech.com/en/product/MT3339/Software_Services_21.html . I don’t know the specific differences between the two modules, as I have never used the Seeed module. Datasheets will help answer that.

For this project, it is only point to point, so I just use XBee transparent mode. No GBee library needed.

ehyy what about the driver for the BMP085 pressure module??

seems you are using this module w.adafruit.com/products/391 isn’t it?

I used the SparkFun breakout, https://www.sparkfun.com/products/11282 and Nicolas3’s driver, http://www.tinyclr.com/codeshare/entry/178