• Outdoor solar powered weather station – part 4
    Draining and charging One of the critical points I want to test before deploying the station outside is how it behaves if it runs out of power. Think of dark December days with snow on the solar panel. So, I implemented a “drain the battery” routine, which turns on the LED to full brightness and keeps it on while the CPU goes into deep sleep. And (after some failure using a forced reboot) an “hibernation mode” which is activated once the battery voltage drops below 2.6V. In hibernation mode, the external power Vext stays off, the controller only reports its […]
  • Outdoor solar powered weather station – part 3
    I have a bug! Four days ago the microcontroller got stuck. The LED was on, but it was no longer transmitting. So I hit reset and continued testing. One of the things I added was a watchdog trigger. The CubeCell board has a build in watchdog – and the only thing you need to do is switch it on – how cool is that? I did not think back to the problem until today suddenly the board rebooted. I noticed because the LED I configured to drain the battery was off – the default after reboot. Looking at the number […]
  • Outdoor solar powered weather station – part 2
    Not too much progress but I said I rather blog more often this time instead of just reporting the result at the end. I am usually working about between 30 minutes to an hour in the evening on this project, a bit more during the weekend. So it is slow steps. Software When I built my first station I thought about sending it commands as well. LoRaWan is a two-way protocol. To conserve power, so-called Class-A devices (like the one I am building) only receive data in a fixed interval after they have sent something. But as my station is […]
  • Outdoor solar powered weather station – part 1
    I built this type of weather station before. But unlike the last times, when I blogged only after I completed it, this time I will blog during building it. I do not spend too much time on this. Still working from home I often lack the energy going back to my desk in the evening and writing code or designing stuff. So I spend about 30 minutes each day, making this a slow build. But hey, even when working slowly I will complete this. This is the fourth version of my outdoor weather station. The following hardware concecpts I tried […]
  • Building an Anemometer – Part 2
    In this part I write about the microcontroller I am using and the code. Recently the Raspberry Pi Foundation released a completely new designed microcontroller which can be programmed with MicroPython. Named the RP2040, it is somewhat limited as it does not have Wifi or any other means of wireless communication on board, but it has plenty of ports and is actually even a dual-core controller! So I needed to find a project where I can use it and the Anemometer is a perfect fit. In fact, the Microcontroller does not have much to do here, its tasks are: Count […]
  • Building an Anemometer – Part 1
    This is my most complex 3D printed project so far. The idea: I have now quite a number of weather sensors. I measure temperature with solar-powered sensors which transmit their data using LoRaWan at two locations now. I measure if it rains (qualitative measurement only). But I do not measure wind yet. So to keep things simple, I decided on the following parameters: Quantitative, but uncalibrated measurement. This gives me “more windy” and “less windy” but not exact values. The direction of wind is irrelevant. Powered and connected via USB port, wireless might come in another project I decided on […]
  • Working from home – 12 months in
    It was in March 2020 when Corona got serious and all employees where I work were ordered to work from home when ever possible. I was just coming back from a vacation (vacation, travelling, …, remember?) and had to adjust quickly to the new situation. Even when the situation was a bit better during the summer months, I continued working from home, because it’s not over yet. But after 12 months it’s perhaps time for a short summary. Things I got right immediately When I started working from home I immediately knew that I cannot do that from the living room […]
  • Making stuff: CO2 monitor
    If you have read my blog and my postings on Facebook for a while you know that one of my hobbies is to play around with microcontrollers. I built environmental sensors for my house and also two solar powered weather stations for outside. One of my inhouse sensors is already monitoring fine dust levels and also “air quality” (what the BME680 sensor reports, to be honest, I have no real clue what it actually monitors). With the current discussions about increasing air quality for the purpose of lowering infection risk by monitoring inhouse CO2 levels, I decided to test one […]
  • Environmental Sensors: Remote
    Last week my garden sensors gave up – the wooden birds house I used to contain them was simply rotten so I needed a new one. For outside housing of sensors these cheap wooden birds houses are great – no plastic but wood, cheap, and easy to work with. The local home supply store only had expensive ones, so I ordered the cheapest one I could find on Amazon. Important feature is a “door” for easy access to the inside, and it must be possible to mount a solar panel. Goal of the project was to have a small weather […]
  • Environmental Sensors: Lightning
    You perhaps know that one of my hobbies is playing around with microcontrollers and sensors. For quite a while now I have deployed ESP8266 based sensor nodes inside and outside of my house. Currently they mainly gather temperature, moisture levels, air pressure and light levels, using BME280 and similar sensors. A while ago I discovered the AS3935 lightning sensor. It uses a hardware-based algorithm to detect radio bursts caused by lightnings. Since last weekend now I have integrated one of these sensor in one of my outside sensor nodes (see picture). My first indoor tests went quite well, although the […]
  • Remote RIPE80 is history
    The last week RIPE80 meeting happened. Online. It should have been in Berlin, with my company DE-CIX as the „local host“. Because of that, I was appointed to the program committee – as a local host representative. For my friends not familiar with what I do, how the Internet industry works or, what a RIPE meeting is let me elaborate a bit. So what is RIPE – or Réseaux IP Européens? It is a community of people working in the internet industry. We are not a legal entity, there is no formal membership, everything we do is on a voluntary […]
  • Stuff I do when working from home: Rebuilding the network
    As a lot of people, I am currently working from home. That means: I start about one hour earlier in the morning I have a looong lunch break I finish at the same time as in office I do not have to commute – that saves me 90 minutes each day! So, time to spend on some private projects. The first project I started (and completed) was to rebuild my home network. Being a network engineer, my network at home is a bit bigger and more complex than a usual domestic network: I have separate guest network I have (and […]
  • New web server
    Ok, this is now the 3rd incarnation of my web server. The first one was “plain html” – just a bunch of files I edited with a text editor. The next one was based on a content management system. Since I do some photography, its primary purpose was to publish my photographs. So, after a lot of research I decided for Koken – a CMS for photographers. It was really great and my web server – still alive at www-old.garf.de – was running fine with it. Koken had all the stuff I needed but was not overloaded with millions of […]
  • My travels to India
    I traveled to India earlier this year. Over the next few entries I will blog what I have written down while there. Date of the entries will be the date when I originally wrote it. I really liked the country – when I am sarcastic, thats simply my style.
  • India: Wednesday, nearly done
    Well, that was an “interesting” Uber ride to the office. What do you do if you miss an exit on the motorway? In Germany you know – you simply continue to the next one. Not so in India: After our driver missed the exit  by a few meters, he simply stopped (which caused a motorcycle to bump into the rear – some words were exchanged between the drivers but nothing more), went backwards (on the motorway!) and took the exit. Seems to be normal here. Uneventful (= good) Uber ride back (no, still does not work for me after iPhone […]

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