Indoor air pollution reduction

Reduce particulate air pollution indoors without wasting energy

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Here in Asia particulate air pollution, especially PM2.5, is a very serious problem. This project is to develop a method of reducing particulate pollution while using less energy than a constantly running air cleaner and having advantages over other methods of particulate control.

Although the problem of particulate air pollution, especially PM2.5, is most devastating in China, it is often at hazardous levels throughout Asia including my own home here in Japan. It causes countless heath issues, some fatal. The most common solution to this is to wear a mask that filters the particulate. But although they are effective, most people would rather not wear them all the time, especially at home.

There are methods for reducing particulate indoors such as air cleaners, which are essentially a fan with a filter, but I would like to develop a slightly more sophisticated solution.

The idea: a set of filtered fans that respond to air particulate levels and temperature to provide efficient operation and aid in temperature control as well as monitoring and logging air quality.

Here is a diagram of the initial idea. (This is version 3)

Why this is an improvement? It should consume less energy than typical air cleaners and provide some temperature control. Also, it displays and logs air quality information.

Thanks to HackADay's awesome tendency to give stuff away I now have a LightBlue Bean, which is pretty much an arduino with bluetooth and some sensors in a tiny package. I could use this as the central controller.

Wait! I also just won a Teensy LC and some 3D printing too. I'll be incorporating them into the project as well, but haven't found the time to work out the details yet.

Oh! and this project also won not one, but two stickvices. That's awesome. This contest is awesome.

There will be more details to come. Please be patient and post your feedback below. Thanks.

  • 1 × Sharp GP2Y1010U0F dust sensor
  • 1 × Teensy LC + cheap RF communicator For main controller
  • 2 × ATtiny (10, 13, or 85 depending on what I have on hand) Microprocessors, Microcontrollers, DSPs / ARM, RISC-Based Microcontrollers
  • 1 × SD card
  • 3 × 10k thermistor

View all 6 components

  • Video and recent progress

    shlonkin08/16/2015 at 12:51 0 comments

    I uploaded the first video here:

    There have not been any updates for the last month or so because life has been getting in the way of my projectin. Sorry about that. But I have tried out the electronics and written some code. And in doing that I found that my sensor is not really all that sensitive to the stuff I'm trying to measure, PM2.5 at reasonable levels. I tend to get readings around the lower limit of its resolution unless I do something like blow the dust off the top of my computer at which point the readings jump up to more substantial values. At least that shows that the sensor works for for something. I've read up on better sensors for this application, but they tend to be very expensive, complex devices.

    Fear not. Supposedly this sensor is good for things like pollen, smoke and house dust which are also a problem for many people, so I'm going to keep trying with this sensor.

    By the way, if you want a very simple bit of code for using this sensor with arduino, this works:

  • Finally picking up the soldering iron

    shlonkin06/02/2015 at 12:30 0 comments

    Somewhere amidst the flood of stuff that needs to be done I found a few minutes to sit down with a few parts, a soldering iron, and a rough idea of what I wanted to end up with(see the schematic in the last log). The results are shown below. Note the high quality holding apparatus(alligator clips attached to stiff wire that is screwed to a wood block). I like to think of soldering small components to a bit or pcb wobbling loosely in the air as a game. I like to think that because the alternative is frustration.

    This right here is why I really hope I win this week's stickvice contest. I've thought of building something a little nicer to aid with soldering, but that project is far down the list. I'll just keep my fingers crossed and hope my next project log can include one of them fancy tools.

    And here is the main board which was borrowed from a previous project, but with a few small modifications. I'm using it because it is set up for using an SD card. The whole thing runs at 3.3V via that LM317 regulator. It even has an audio output in case I wanted to verbally announce the dust level and play BGM inside the test apparatus like a miniature supermarket. I just need to set up some tiny aisles and registers and play James Taylor... I can tell that it's too late for me to be awake now. I'll finish it up when I find a few more minutes this weekend.

  • Very rough schematic for test setup

    shlonkin05/26/2015 at 11:48 0 comments

    Before I start anything large I'm going to test the idea with a big cardboard box and simplified electronics. It won't have any fancy features like wireless communication and a display. It will just measure dust concentration and temperature, control a filtered fan, and log the data for later analysis.

    Here is a very rough schematic. I haven't started writing code, so I don't have any pin assignments or SD card details.

  • Parts arrived and more prizes were won

    shlonkin05/22/2015 at 13:02 0 comments

    The Lightblue bean and dust sensor arrived this week, both very small items. I also dug up some thermistors and cheap wireless comm modules from projects of yore. I don't know exactly what I'll be using yet, but it's time to start piecing bits together and testing the idea.

    I have some concerns about the temperature sensors on the outside. Since they are so far away I don't know if something as simple as a thermistor or simple voltage-based sensor would be a good idea. Perhaps it would be better to have a simple ADC near the sensors sending a digital signal to the main unit. I'm thinking an ATtiny10 would be great for that, and I happen to have some on hand.

    As for communication, that fancy bluetooth unit would be fantastic if I owned anything else capable of bluetooth communication. But I don't. Until I get my hands on something, I'll use that pair of NRF24L01+ things, or maybe just some wires.

    Also, I need to thank HaD again. This project won more of the weekly contests getting me a Teensy LC and some 3D printing. This weekend I'll be refining the design a bit more, so I'll see how I can incorporate those into the project.

    But before I set to work on any full scale building I want to make a little test setup. A cardboard box with a PC fan, a vent, and everything hot glued together. That means it's time for building hardware and writing code. If only there were a contest with 50 hours of free time as a prize.

  • LightBlue Bean and dust sensor on the way

    shlonkin05/09/2015 at 13:13 0 comments

    Thank you HackADay

    I was browsing HackADay as usual when I noticed this project on a list of winners for the weekly giveaways. Yay! I really wasn't expecting to win anything, but now that I have I am motivated to get to work on this project. And the LightBlue Bean I won seems to fit right in as the main controller as you can see in the system diagram.

    Also, I purchased a dust sensor off ebay: Sharp GP2Y1010AU0F . I can't seem to find any specs about particle size, so it might turn out to be worthless as a PM2.5 sensor, but I'm crossing my fingers. There were other sensors with more complete specs, but they were more expensive. I did see this interesting page about using this sensor with an arduino and the results look kind of promising.

View all 5 project logs

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K.C. Lee wrote 06/10/2015 at 13:11 point

FYI: Microchip make fan speed controller (TC652/TC653) that works with thermistors probably similar to what the ATTiny10 is doing.  The chip initially turn on the fan at 100% duty cycle to provide start up torque.  It also monitor the fan motor commutation pulses in case of fan failures and assert a fault signal.

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shlonkin wrote 06/10/2015 at 13:52 point

That sounds like a pretty handy chip. Thanks for the tip. I need to communicate with the main controller rather than control the fan independently, but I'll take a look at the datasheet anyway.

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hickss wrote 05/28/2015 at 23:11 point

I really like your project. This is a problem in most places I have lived in.

Though not "pollution" dust and pollen is a huge problem here in Australia.

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shlonkin wrote 05/30/2015 at 04:02 point

Thank you. I wonder if you get any of the Asian pollution over there in Australia. Dust that is small enough can be a health hazard too.

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