In my original version of my weather station, the enclosure sat inside my greenhouse and was protected from the elements as well as being powered by electricity coming from the house. I’ve since gotten rid of the greenhouse and attempted to use a rubbermaid enclosure and purchased some solar power equipment to make it wireless. I had issues with the battery not lasting long in the winter time due to the reduced sunlight as well as the rubbermaid could not handle the elements. This has led to me not having my weather station for several years now. With a renewed interest, I am attempting a new enclosure and adding battery monitoring. I’ll be listing the parts that I’m using as well as linking to where you can purchase them.
- 8″x8″x4″ Junction box from Lowe’s as main enclosure.
- Clear acrylic sheet
- Nylon M2 standoffs
- RJ45 cable gland– use 7/8″ hole saw to mount to junction box
- Half size perma-proto board
- 9W solar panel – mounted to top of junction box with velcro
- 6 Ah lithium ion battery – upgrading to 12 Ah liPO to solve some of the battery issues from before
- USB/DC/Solar Li/LiPO charger
- Powerboost 1000 Basic
Electronics & Sensors
- Raspberry Pi Zero W
- MCP 3008 ADC – could use something smaller, I just had this so I used it
- BMP180 Pressure Sensor – this has been discontinued, but linking to a newer version that should work
- MOD-1016 Lightning Sensor – I really want this sensor to work correctly, but I’m still ironing out the details
As you can see above, the cable gland is placed on one side of the junction box, the solar panel requires a hole in the top to run the wire, but I use velcro to attach. (Have not placed the velcro on the lid of the junction box yet) The electronics are mounted to a piece of the clear acrylic sheet using the nylon standoffs arranged in a way that everything fits nicely. The battery sits underneath the acrylic sheet.
There are some wires that come from the different hardware pieces that I wanted to call out now and will discuss more in the next post regarding the perma-proto board and the sensor communication with the Raspberry Pi. As you can see there is a cat 5 cable that runs from the cable gland to the perma-proto board. This is the communication from the mast. There are also two wires that come from the power boost to the perma-proto board. One is from the low battery indicator pin, and the other is the ground pin.
Solar Charging circuit:
Just a quick explanation of how this is wired.
- Solar panel plugs into the USB/DC/Solar Li/LiPO charger as well as the battery into the “BATT” terminal
- Using a 2 female JST cable from “LOAD” on the Li/LIPO charger to the black JST connector on the Powerboost 1000 Basic
- USB A to USB micro from the Powerboost 1000 to the raspberry pi. I used a small 6″ cable.