Hand tools and fabrication machines
For many connoisseurs, purchasing cigars can be a significant investment. Because quality cigars are made from organic plant matter, maintaining a safe, controlled storage environment is essential to their quality. Temperature, humidity, and light can alter the cigars significantly. In many cases, unconditioned environments can destroy cigars, ruin quality and taste, and in some cases breed mold, making them unsafe to consume. Humidors are often used to protect this investment by controlling the environment in which cigars are stored. Unfortunately, keeping humidors conditioned can be difficult. Most humidors use analog humidity gauges that are cheap and inaccurate. Temperature and light are rarely monitored. Utilizing the instrumentation methods developed in this course, a cost effective and accurate way to monitor humidor conditions has been developed.
- Photon Particle
- ½” Drill Bit
- DHT11 Sensor
- 4.7K Ohm Resistor
- 10K Ohm Resistor
- 22 Gauge wire
- Wire Cutters
First, the hardware must be configured. The sensors, resistors, and Particle are mounted on the breadboard. Once the particle breadboard is constructed, the code can be written in the particle menu. Once the code is completed, the data can be published on the dashboard. The dashboard will update temperature, humidity and light percentage every two seconds.
Finally, the breadboard can be mounted inside the humidor. The particle breadboard includes an adhesive backing to allow easy placement inside the box.
A ½” hole was drilled in the back of the humidor to accommodate the wire. It is important to seal this hole with caulking. If air can enter the humidor, proper conditions will be difficult to maintain.
When applying sensors, there is a level of uncertainty that must be considered. The DHT11 sensor used for this application has an error around +/- 5% for humidity and +/- 2 degree Celsius for temperature. The sensor can only update every two seconds. For this project, updates every two seconds will not be a problem.
The photocell may encounter a significant error. The error may exceed 15%. There are advantages for using the photocell and DHT11. Both sensors are highly durable and long lasting. With standard humidor conditions, the system should last the lifetime of the box. Both sensors are relatively low cost (less than $3 combined). To improve this system in the future, a higher quality photocell can be purchased at a higher cost.
A condition monitoring system similar to this one could be used in countless commercial applications. There are many products that require specific storage conditions (Food, cigars, wine, furniture, musical instruments, etc.). Being able to remotely monitor these conditions allows a business owner or individual to ensure their goods are in a safe environment. For less than $40, expensive goods can be maintained without concern. For cigar connoisseurs, there are few products that monitor multiple conditions, and no product on the market that can monitor these conditions remotely.
After completion of this system, I have found that developing remotely monitored sensors is simple and cost effective. By making minor adjustments, a similar setup could be useful for many applications outside of humidors. To improve the current system, I would refine the breadboard and wires to use less space. I would also purchase a more accurate photocell.
Schwartz, Marco. "Make a Cloud Data Logger With the Particle Photon - Open Home Automation." Open Home Automation. 2015. Web. 20 Apr. 2016.