JDIY1 : Weather Staion & Binary Clock


This project started out as something I wanted to keep at my desk at work, and just grew. I had wanted to make a binary clock project since I saw some in a cool tech store somewhere, it was only a handful of LEDs and a quick clock program and 'wa-la' it's completed. I thought of a mirror concept at first, where as you could only see an LED once it was turned on, giving the illusion of double sided mirrors, but I wanted to build something more complex than just a clock; however needed to keep the binary aspect.

I decided to include a Sensirion SHT1x into the mix because it offers some great function and easy to control, instead of using a ADC and various probes, I was using the SHT1x on a tether as it was, and I got temp and humidity out of each reading. I put the sensor out in a plastic container protected from the elements but still able to get readings. I couldn’t get the correct rating of shielding for the sun but with a smart placement and container I was able to get reliable readings and ones that were consistent. I learned a lot about the rules for a device that is keeping track of temperatures “officially”; for example, the weather.com or your local weather channel. Each of their devices undergo a whole list of requirements before the readings are allowed, there cannot be any asphalt within 20m of the device, because it adjusts the ambient readings so much, it has to be properly shielded, and the list go on and on. So I just put mine in a smart location to give correct readings, and even though there was a road close the house (as you can see from my pictures), I still got temperatures that were close, but oddly they were higher than the average by a few degrees. We cook ourselves on those road and walk ways, and it's pretty easy to see.

So once I had the weather bits, I needed to build the clock portion, and that meant ordering a whole bunch of LEDs (green) and resistors (4.7k Ohms 5%). I quickly learned that LEDs are made similar but not the exact same (haha). As you can tell from the picture, I had various colors of green to choose from. I had ordered some 100 LEDs and had to break them into batches and then select from those for each section. This was much harder than I thought it was going to be, I figured I had ordered 100 of the same color LEDs; lesson learned is know more about the product in mass purchases. I selected the best match for each section: Hour, Minute, Second and went ahead with the project. I think it turned out ok, but might choose some different colors or order close to 1000 to make sure they are all the exact same.

Once I selected the LEDs and soldered up the cable out of old CAT5 cable and connected the plastic jar, I just needed a place to put it? We had a perfect place in the kitchen that needed a DIY touch to go along with the plant life. In Colorado, we got some super cold winters and it was nice to get an idea of what just outside was like while we got ready in the morning. The weather station was complete and working great, there was a couple morning with early AM posts of how cold it was showing outside.

Difficulty: !!!!
I give this a 4 !!!! because of all the soldering and testing it took to get it the way I wanted. I am very happy I built this, it's very helpful and useful. Learning how to read binary is fun and easy, plenty of videos and tutorials online.

The video below is the Binary Clock, the initial project that grew into the Weather Station. I left it open to continue the development as you will see in the video. Once the Weather Station was completed, it's use grew more than the need to add-on anymore to the project, so it ends a Weather Station. :)