Building a Weather Station with Raspberry Pi

Meet Kamau, Raspberry Heights Workshop’s first Advanced level student.  His assignment was to come up with an idea of how we can could use the Raspberry Pi to learn about our environment. His first idea was build something to see through walls. After a little discussion of some privacy issues, we agreed to build a weather station that would fly in the air to see if the temperature would be warmer or cooler as it went higher in the sky.

We spent some time planning his project and decided to use Adafruit’s BMP180 Barometric Pressure/Temperature/Altitude Sensor. The sensor would be perfect for our needs as is works with the Raspberry Pi and is very lightweight.

It required a bit of soldering, but, Kamau was up for the task. He learned basic soldering in the Raspberry Heights Workshop intermediate level.

He draw out some sketches and made lists of materials.

  • Raspberry Pi model A (removed analog video out)
  • Adafruit BMP180
  • Adafruit Pi Cobbler
  • Adafruit Proto Plate
  • GPIO cable
  • small breadboard
  • logitech bluetooth keyboard
  • balloons
  • portable cellphone charger (for mobile power)

Once we gathered up the materials, he began building.

Finished Prototype for Raspberry Pi Weather Station

We modified Adafruit’s code a bit so it would continually run and give us a running list of the temperature and altitude. Unfortunately, the battery was too heavy and we never got to see it fly. Instead, Kamau simply moved it around to see if the temperature would change. He put it in the freezer, outside in the sun and in the shade to capture different readings.

For further iterations of the project, we would need to find a lighter power source and investigate ways to cut the total weight. In the end, Kamau learned a lot building the weather station but more importantly he had fun while doing it.

Loud and proud