Let's Make Robots!

Weather station project: Up and running once again

After a long time being silent here in LMR I finally got some time to post an update to my weather station project.

So, the weather station has been out there on the backyard for about a year now. Last couple of months it's been dead because I have been lazy and haven't changed batteries. The original plan was to run it with sealed lead-acid (SLA) battery and have a solar panel to charge the battery. I did try the SLA battery earlier without solar panels and it worked just fine, of course, until the battery died (http://letsmakerobots.com/node/26126).

Couple of days ago I decided that it's time to try those solar panels that have been lying around more than a year. So I took the weather station back inside and checked how it was. I was quite surprised to notice that it was almost like it was a year ago. Only noticeable change was corrosion on battery box screws. Not even a slightest trace of oxidation anywhere inside.

Weather station is back inside

Battery box screws got a little bit rusty.

Screw close-up

The insides, they look just as they were one year ago.


Then it was time to add solar panels. I've had two 4.8V/100mA solar panels lying around for some time just for this. They are "raw" panels meaning that they don't have any casing or protection and they must be protected at least from moisture somehow. My plan for the protection was lamination. I'm a bit unsure how lamination will affect panels' efficiency. I did the lamination by simply putting those panels to laminating pouch, adding a plenty hot glue around panels to make it air tight and then sealed the whole thing with (clothes) iron. The result didn't look very good but least it still seemed to work. At least I got around 17 milliamps out of it with 300W halogen light. I haven't tried it outside in sunlight yet.

First a little bit of hot glue to keep wires in place

Hot glue all around. Panels are lying on the one side of laminating pouch which is lying on a local newspaper

Sealed with iron and ugly it looks. Yes, very ugly.


Then it was just putting the whole thing back together again.

Pin header art with solar panel connection.

Ready to go outside.


Now the weather station is up and running again. You can check the latest from its twitter feed: https://twitter.com/saamies

Here's a list of my previous weather station posts if you're interested:
http://letsmakerobots.com/node/23423 (Weather station project, the beginning)
http://letsmakerobots.com/node/23654 (Weather station project, The weather is out there)
http://letsmakerobots.com/node/23923 (Weather station project, Radio silence!)
http://letsmakerobots.com/node/23498 (Weather station project, it's getting windy)
http://letsmakerobots.com/node/26126 (Weather station project: death, autopsy and resurrection)