Remote monitoring hardware for cheese maturation, with real time plotting and logging.

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An outwardly simple wireless environment monitoring project, specifically for monitoring cheese maturation rooms. Each monitoring unit is very low power, and may be powered from two AA batteries for months with backup logging to an SD card.. Monitors temperature, humidity and light levels directly, and also barometric pressure. Wireless XRF serial link to a server running a web page that updates, and shows current conditions, daily/weekly trends. Communication is many-to-one type, with each module having a unique serial number, allowing multiple locations to be monitored. While this was intended as a room monitor, it can obviously be used in any situation needing low powered, remote sensing . There is an I2C header available, for other parts to be attached as required.

This is the first entry, and development of the first batch is nearly done. The monitoring board fits into a Hammond 1591XXL box, with the sensing parts on the rear side of the PCB facing the top of the enclosure. There are holes drilled above to allow them to sample the exterior conditions.

Power is provided by a series pair of AA batteries, which are then boosted to 5V with a Texas Instruments TPS60151 inductorless boost regulator. All parts spend most of their time in standby to reduce power consumption, and the boost regulator ensures that the maximum possible energy can be drawn from the batteries.

The current microcontroller development board is a Teensy LC, based on a Freescale MKL26Z64VFT4 ARM M0+ processor. This has an onboard 3V3 regulator, which powers the external ICs. While this is very over powered for this project, the Teensy is a great form factor and allows easy debugging over serial. I intend to move over to a smaller, non-dev board microcontroller for the next batch of boards.

There are pads on board for a Sensirion SHT21 temperature and humidity sensor, an ST Microelectronics LPS331 pressure and temperature tensor, and an AMS TSL2561T light sensor. All are run over a standard I2C bus. There is and additional I2C header, with its own 5V power supply, for additional sensors to be attached if wanted.

Wireless serial is provided by a Ciseco XRF module, which is compatible with XBee pinout. Again, for the next round of boards I will change this so it's just the module, not on the XBee form factor. This is paired with a Slice of Pi on my small RasPi server, which handles the data. Ciseco offer USB sticks, so the Pi is used simply because its there already - any computer will do.

  • 2 × Texas Intruments TPS60151 Inductorless charge-pump
  • 1 × Teensy LC (Freescale MKL26Z64VFT4) Teensy LC ARM development board
  • 1 × Ciseco XRF XRF wireless serial adaptor
  • 1 × Sensirion SHT21 Temperature and humidity sensor
  • 1 × ST Microelectronics LPS331 Pressure and temperature sensor

  • Version 2 boards on the way

    A Logan11/02/2015 at 18:06 0 comments

    A totally reworked revision!

    In order to make it fully battery powered, I've changed out to a 2032 coin cell and removed the switching supplies - even under no load, these can get through an awful lot of current (relatively!). Also changed to a discrete ATmega chip, rather than having the full overhead of a *duino onboard. Boards have been ordered, and should be here pretty soon - once I know they're working, I'll upload the files to GitHub.

  • RF now working and logging!

    A Logan10/11/2015 at 13:44 0 comments

    It is finally working! In hindsight, for a device intended for battery power, the Teensy wasn't a good choice, as it's very difficult to work out exactly what it's doing. This version will send back data (Temp + humidity) to a RasPi server, which logs to a .csv file. I don't intend to pursue this version of the board further, and will be looking at a lower powered implementation using MSP430 or an 8-bit AVR. Also, the form factor can be made smaller using those chips. The pressure sensor does not appear to be working either (tried two boards), which I think may be a problem with the reflowing as I've used these chips before successfully. Working code and boards up on GitHub now, feel free to ask any questions :)

  • Slow going at work..

    A Logan07/27/2015 at 00:20 0 comments

    ...hence not so much time to work on Cheesy Chips. The software is looking good, but there are some hardware issues, possibly due to the reflow soldering. Hopefully this week, there will be some progress!

  • Remaining soldering all done - code to go!

    A Logan07/01/2015 at 02:27 0 comments

    Soldered on the remaining components - resistors, capacitors, button, LED, sockets. Soldering in the heat of a North Carolina summer isn't so lovely. Next up is code for both the monitor and the server. Definitely my weakest area, so maybe a few days to get it working nicely? Fingers crossed!

    (yes, that is the bathroom sink - best place for light at this time!)

  • GitHub

    A Logan06/29/2015 at 01:37 0 comments

    Added board and schematic to GitHub - see link. There's some code for the server side as well, but nothing that really works as intended yet!

  • First post

    A Logan06/28/2015 at 23:42 0 comments

    First set of boards has been delivered, and the QFN packages reflowed. Soldering for the other parts to commence tomorrow! Processing scripts on the way as well, and all boards and code to be released soon. Thanks for looking :)

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Julian Blanco wrote 05/06/2016 at 06:49 point

What SD card module is that?

  Are you sure? yes | no

A Logan wrote 05/08/2016 at 19:57 point

Hi Julian - specifically, it's a Global Connector Technology MEM2051 (Newark code 05W3557). I think it's a pretty standardised footprint if you can't get that exact component. Hope that helps!

  Are you sure? yes | no

Julian Blanco wrote 05/09/2016 at 03:57 point

Thanks! been looking for a module and wasnt really sure which one to go with. Was it pretty easy to solder on?

  Are you sure? yes | no

A Logan wrote 05/09/2016 at 13:08 point

Yep, no problem at all! Just anchored one pad (as usual with SMD parts), and then filled in the remainders.

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Drew Fustini wrote 04/21/2016 at 06:10 point

The Github link doesn't seem to work.  I believe the correct link is:

  Are you sure? yes | no

A Logan wrote 04/26/2016 at 00:54 point

Indeed it is Drew, thank you!

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