Marco Romboli's Arduino Nano ESP32-Powered Environmental Monitor Celebrates Earth Day in Style

Designed with a recycled battery charged by solar and a power-sipping ePaper display, this environmental monitor offers minimal impact.

Italian YouTuber Marco Romboli has built an Arduino-powered environmental monitor and weather station designed to be powered by the sun's rays — and using an energy-efficient ePaper display to keep the internal battery running for as long as possible between sunny days.

"This idea was born together with Arduino, because they are a very green company and they really care about Earth Day," Romboli explains, in translation from the original Italian, of the project's origin. "[This is a] weather station that will give us on the front display and via the internet all the air [quality] data. All very green: we're going to use a solar panel so we never have to recharge it or, even worse, change the batteries."

This environmental monitor aims to make as little of its own impact as possible, using a recycled battery and solar charging. (📹: overVolt)

The heart of the build, brought to our attention by the Arduino blog, is an Arduino Nano ESP32 — launched back in July last year as a partnership between Arduino and Espressif, offering a breadboard-friendly layout with an Espressif ESP32-S3 at its heart. This interfaces with two local sensors: a DHT11 for temperature and humidity and an MQ-135 gas sensor for air quality. The local data is bolstered by information downloaded from the internet using the Arduino Nano ESP32's on-board Wi-Fi radio — and updates are automatically sent to a Telegram channel using the same.

An ePaper display to the front of the build's 3D-printed housing displays these readings locally while drawing a minimum of power — only requiring energy when updating, not for constant display. This power comes from a solar panel fitted to the lid of the housing, which feeds into an off-the-shelf charging board to top up a battery recycled from an old phone.

More information on the project is available in the video above and on the overVolt YouTube channel, with 3D print files for the housing available on Maker World and source code on Pastebin.

Gareth Halfacree
Freelance journalist, technical author, hacker, tinkerer, erstwhile sysadmin. For hire:
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