Discussion:
Environmental sensor recommendations
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Mark Sims
2018-04-05 00:58:50 UTC
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I recently (mostly) finished adding external environmental sensor support to Lady Heather. You can use the sensor as the primary "receiver" device or in conjunction with any of the "receivers" that Lady Heather supports (except currently the HP-5071A which uses the same plot queue entries as the environmental sensors). Heather supports humidity, pressure, and two temperature values.

I am currently using a dogratian.com USB-PA sensor with temperature, humidity, and pressure. I am also designing a Heather specific board (BME280, two thernistors, temperature controller interface, maybe a couple of ADC channels, etc). Are there any recommendations for other off-the-shelf sensors worth looking at?

The main requirement is that the sensor should send data over a serial port or virtual serial port or maybe ethernet. Ideally it would stream readings at 1 Hz, but a polled device (like the dogratian.com devices) can be accomodated. Also, it would be very nice if the temperature sensors are small, responsive, and on leads that could be attached to whatever is being monitored.

Attached is a screen dump of the USB-PA running. Can you spot the furnace cycling and sunrise?
Gary E. Miller
2018-04-05 02:03:34 UTC
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Yo Mark!

On Thu, 5 Apr 2018 00:58:50 +0000
Post by Mark Sims
Are there any recommendations for
other off-the-shelf sensors worth looking at?
I use several of the TEMPer series.

http://pcsensor.com/usb-thermometer/temper1f.html

The TEMPer1F has a local and a remote temperature sensor.
The TEMPer1F_H1 has a remote etmperature/humidity sensor.
The basic TEMPerGold has one temp sensor, is the size of a thumbdrive
and costs under $10.

All easy to use. Gotta be careful, a ton of slightly different
versions on the market.

RGDS
GARY
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Vlad
2018-04-05 12:53:37 UTC
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Mark,

Thanks for doing this ! Aside of the "commercial" sensors, will you open
the API or data format for the community ?
In such way, we could tailor our existed "telemetry devices" to be
connected to LH ! I see lot of perspectives here. Seismic, radiation,
lighting, main, air, light, gravity, you-name-it...

Regards,
Vlad
Post by Mark Sims
I recently (mostly) finished adding external environmental sensor
support to Lady Heather. You can use the sensor as the primary
"receiver" device or in conjunction with any of the "receivers" that
Lady Heather supports (except currently the HP-5071A which uses the
same plot queue entries as the environmental sensors). Heather
supports humidity, pressure, and two temperature values.
I am currently using a dogratian.com USB-PA sensor with temperature,
humidity, and pressure. I am also designing a Heather specific board
(BME280, two thernistors, temperature controller interface, maybe a
couple of ADC channels, etc). Are there any recommendations for
other off-the-shelf sensors worth looking at?
The main requirement is that the sensor should send data over a serial
port or virtual serial port or maybe ethernet. Ideally it would
stream readings at 1 Hz, but a polled device (like the dogratian.com
devices) can be accomodated. Also, it would be very nice if the
temperature sensors are small, responsive, and on leads that could be
attached to whatever is being monitored.
Attached is a screen dump of the USB-PA running. Can you spot the
furnace cycling and sunrise?
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Bob kb8tq
2018-04-05 13:20:56 UTC
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Hi

By far the highest resolution sensor you will come across is a thermistor. It also has a pretty
narrow range in terms of maintaining high resolution. That’s fine for something with a target
temperature ( OCXO oven) and not so fine for monitoring outdoor temperature year round.

If you want something that is pre-calibrated, then the IC based parts are the way to go. They
are a much better answer to the “general purpose sensor?” question. Mounting them and hooking
up to them … errr …. not quite so easy.

One basic answer is to buy a bag of cheap thermistors and calibrate them yourself. They may
have odd curves, but so far the entire bag looks about the same. That’s been true for a couple
of bags bought randomly here and there. For a lot of things, a simple three point calibration will
do pretty well. You still need to do a rational curve fit, but even that isn’t to crazy over limited
ranges.

Bob
Post by Mark Sims
I recently (mostly) finished adding external environmental sensor support to Lady Heather. You can use the sensor as the primary "receiver" device or in conjunction with any of the "receivers" that Lady Heather supports (except currently the HP-5071A which uses the same plot queue entries as the environmental sensors). Heather supports humidity, pressure, and two temperature values.
I am currently using a dogratian.com USB-PA sensor with temperature, humidity, and pressure. I am also designing a Heather specific board (BME280, two thernistors, temperature controller interface, maybe a couple of ADC channels, etc). Are there any recommendations for other off-the-shelf sensors worth looking at?
The main requirement is that the sensor should send data over a serial port or virtual serial port or maybe ethernet. Ideally it would stream readings at 1 Hz, but a polled device (like the dogratian.com devices) can be accomodated. Also, it would be very nice if the temperature sensors are small, responsive, and on leads that could be attached to whatever is being monitored.
Attached is a screen dump of the USB-PA running. Can you spot the furnace cycling and sunrise?
<enviro.gif>_______________________________________________
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Bob kb8tq
2018-04-05 16:13:57 UTC
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HI

Quite true.

The down side is that I can buy a bag of 100 parts that are +/- 0.25 C at 25C for a lower delivered
price as one piece of the calibrated parts. It’s a lot easier to glue down and throw away the cheap ones ….

Bob
If you use an "interchangeable" NTC like
https://br.mouser.com/ProductDetail/US-Sensor/PS103J2 you can skip the
calibration part.
Edésio
Post by Bob kb8tq
Hi
By far the highest resolution sensor you will come across is a thermistor. It also has a pretty
narrow range in terms of maintaining high resolution. That???s fine for something with a target
temperature ( OCXO oven) and not so fine for monitoring outdoor temperature year round.
If you want something that is pre-calibrated, then the IC based parts are the way to go. They
are a much better answer to the ???general purpose sensor???? question. Mounting them and hooking
up to them ??? errr ???. not quite so easy.
One basic answer is to buy a bag of cheap thermistors and calibrate them yourself. They may
have odd curves, but so far the entire bag looks about the same. That???s been true for a couple
of bags bought randomly here and there. For a lot of things, a simple three point calibration will
do pretty well. You still need to do a rational curve fit, but even that isn???t to crazy over limited
ranges.
Bob
Post by Mark Sims
I recently (mostly) finished adding external environmental sensor support to Lady Heather. You can use the sensor as the primary "receiver" device or in conjunction with any of the "receivers" that Lady Heather supports (except currently the HP-5071A which uses the same plot queue entries as the environmental sensors). Heather supports humidity, pressure, and two temperature values.
I am currently using a dogratian.com USB-PA sensor with temperature, humidity, and pressure. I am also designing a Heather specific board (BME280, two thernistors, temperature controller interface, maybe a couple of ADC channels, etc). Are there any recommendations for other off-the-shelf sensors worth looking at?
The main requirement is that the sensor should send data over a serial port or virtual serial port or maybe ethernet. Ideally it would stream readings at 1 Hz, but a polled device (like the dogratian.com devices) can be accomodated. Also, it would be very nice if the temperature sensors are small, responsive, and on leads that could be attached to whatever is being monitored.
Attached is a screen dump of the USB-PA running. Can you spot the furnace cycling and sunrise?
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Peter Vince
2018-04-05 13:24:10 UTC
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Hi Mark,

SparkFun have some boards that have multiple sensors. They *used* to
do one with a USB connection that had temperature, pressure, humidity, and
light! But I see that is now "retired" (
https://www.sparkfun.com/products/retired/8311 ) and has been replaced by
an Arduino shield:

https://www.sparkfun.com/products/13956

The previous USB model was very easy to use, and sensitive enough for
pressure that it easily showed when I walked up a couple of flights of
stairs! They have a large selection of boards, including several with I2C
connections, so maybe one of those would be suitable?

TTFN,

Peter
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Tom Van Baak
2018-04-05 14:04:36 UTC
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Peter,

Yes, that's my current favorite turn-key environmental sensor as well. Sure, you can home-brew a slightly cheaper solution. And the Arduino world is full of random sensor examples, which you are free to deploy and debug. But the Sparkfun unit just works; out of the box. From the first second after power-up, and once every second after that, it does the one thing it is designed for: sense and report.

Their model is serial (USB) ascii output once a second. This works: without API, without command / response, without tie-in to a particular operating system, or driver, or downloads, or app, or API, or language du jour, or login, or encryption, or cloud. It's how digital sensors should be designed. KISS.

This is also why so many of us like the hp 53131A / 53132A talk-only mode. It just measures and reports. The picPET and TAPR TICC were designed the same way.

/tvb

----- Original Message -----
From: "Peter Vince" <***@gmail.com>
To: "Discussion of precise time and frequency measurement" <time-***@febo.com>
Sent: Thursday, April 05, 2018 6:24 AM
Subject: Re: [time-nuts] Environmental sensor recommendations
Post by Peter Vince
Hi Mark,
SparkFun have some boards that have multiple sensors. They *used* to
do one with a USB connection that had temperature, pressure, humidity, and
light! But I see that is now "retired" (
https://www.sparkfun.com/products/retired/8311 ) and has been replaced by
https://www.sparkfun.com/products/13956
The previous USB model was very easy to use, and sensitive enough for
pressure that it easily showed when I walked up a couple of flights of
stairs! They have a large selection of boards, including several with I2C
connections, so maybe one of those would be suitable?
TTFN,
Peter
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Tom Van Baak
2018-04-05 21:21:47 UTC
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Post by Mark Sims
Are there any recommendations for other off-the-shelf sensors worth looking at?
Mark,

Check out ADT7420:
http://www.analog.com/media/en/technical-documentation/data-sheets/ADT7420.pdf

A useful white paper, including comparison of NTC RTD and IC sensors:
http://www.analog.com/media/en/technical-documentation/frequently-asked-questions/ADT7320_ADT7420_FAQs.pdf

It's also available in a variety of small eval boards, including PMOD compatible PCB and flex boards:
https://store.digilentinc.com/pmod-tmp2-temperature-sensor/
http://www.analog.com/en/design-center/evaluation-hardware-and-software/evaluation-boards-kits/eval-adt7420.html

/tvb

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Mark Sims
2018-04-05 23:19:08 UTC
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Digital temperature sensors have some advantages (like nice factory calibration), but also so issues. The IIC/SPI ones need to be mounted to a PCB and also have quite a bit of thermal mass. They also need 4-6 wire cables. They are hard to attach directly to a point that you want to monitor.

The advantage of thermistors is that they are small, cheap, readily available with leads attached, and only require a two wire cable. You can easily tape them to whatever point you want to monitor.

The ADT7420 is $8 a pop + PCB + assembly + cable. Decent thermistors can be had for less than a buck.

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Jim Harman
2018-04-06 01:09:54 UTC
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I would like to put in a good word for the DS18B20 temperature sensor. It
consumes very little power, uses the "1-Wire" protocol, and is available
pre-wired in a variety of configurations, for example this
https://www.adafruit.com/product/381
and this
https://www.adafruit.com/product/642

resolution is 12 bits, .0625 C, range -55 to +125 C.

You can connect a bunch of them in parallel on the same data pin if you
want to measure temperature at different locations

There is a pretty good 1-wire library for the Arduino.
Post by Mark Sims
Digital temperature sensors have some advantages (like nice factory
calibration), but also so issues. The IIC/SPI ones need to be mounted to
a PCB and also have quite a bit of thermal mass. They also need 4-6 wire
cables. They are hard to attach directly to a point that you want to
monitor.
The advantage of thermistors is that they are small, cheap, readily
available with leads attached, and only require a two wire cable. You can
easily tape them to whatever point you want to monitor.
The ADT7420 is $8 a pop + PCB + assembly + cable. Decent thermistors can
be had for less than a buck.
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