SwitchDoc Labs is back on Kickstarter with another do-it-yourself weather station kit, the WeatherSense, this time offering support for Arduinos, ESP32 boards, and the Raspberry Pi family of single-board computers.
SwitchDoc Labs debuted its first educational weather station kit, the OurWeather Kit, back in 2016, and following feedback released a redesigned variant built around an ESP32 microcontroller and with a 3D-printed base bundled as standard in 2019. Now, it's launching a third variant — and it's the company's most flexible design yet.
"We are now proud to announce our first custom built set of WeatherSense 433MHz Wireless Weather Sensors for you to build your own weather station using Raspberry Pis, Arduino, or ESP32-based computers," the company writes. "Your pick! We are using some really advanced technology and software such as using a software-defined radio (SDR) in the Raspberry Pi kits to get really good quality data from the wireless sensors."
"The magic in these kits is the combination of the choice of hardware and our open source supplied software! This is a great simple project to understand how weather instruments measure the weather and how sending signals by radio can be received. It's all open source software so you can see how things work."
The basic bundle offers a 433MHz radio receiver and compatible indoor temperature and humidity sensor plus an Arduino development board and all required accessories; those looking to use the kit with a Raspberry Pi can opt to receive the same sensor but with an SDR module compatible with the single-board computer.
Those looking for more detailed weather data can opt for a kit which includes the indoor temperature and humidity sensor, the radio receiver, and a WeatherRack2 outdoor weather station which captures outdoor temperatures, humidity, average and gust wind speeds, wind direction, rainfall, sunlight intensity, and UV index. The outdoor unit is powered by an internal battery with a year's run-time, with a solar charger add-on planned for the new year.
"The engineering on this project was great fun for the whole engineering team," says SwitchDoc chief technology officer Dr. John Shovic. "Others handled the sensors and our manufacturers, but I was tasked with figuring out how to receive (demodulate) all the incoming 433MHz signals from the WeatherSense sensors. It was a heck of a challenge!"
The campaign is now live on Kickstarter, with rewards starting from $19 for the basic Arduino bundle up to $126 for the WeatherRack 2 for Raspberry Pi bundle.