Picture of Arduino Seismic Activity Monitor - Ethernet Shield
Have you ever wanted to impress your friends by saying something crazy like, "I think there's going to be an earthquake soon" moments before an earthquake hits?

Or do you just want some warning, a few seconds that could save your life.

This project will allow you to hook up a seismic sensor to a router through the Ethernet shield and host a webpage off of the SD card on the shield. This webpage will then display information about the seismic sensor and the history of its activity.
All the data for the seismic sensor is stored in a Pachube feed and then displayed on the webpage as several graphs.

You will need:

  -  Arduino
        - Preferably an Arduino with large memory, I used the Arduino Mega 2560
        - You can use one with less memory, you just might have to remove some stuff from the sketch
  - Ethernet Shield
  - Micro SD Card
  - Pachube account: 

  - Piezoelectric Sensor
  - Breadboard
  - Resistors, Capacitors, Diode
        - Check the section on building the circuit for more details on values
  - 5 x Op-Amps - Single-supply compatible
        - or you can build it with dual supplies, whatever floats your boat :p
        - You can get away with using only 3 - 4 op amps, the rest I use is for amplification
  - Solid Wire of course!

I assume you already have:
  - Router
  - Computer
        - Would be pretty magical to surf the net without these
  - Extra Ethernet cable
  - USB cable for the arduino
  - Un-destroyed analog pin on your arduino
mora1232 months ago

how can i write acode of this sensor on the Arduino c

AndreBerghuis5 months ago

Cool. Why did you not use the SW-180 vibration sensor? Or the ADXL335 Accelerometer? Thanks.

devbj7 months ago

I saw this article too late. very cool & smart system.

also, you're a good web designer. ;) very easy access to get info via HTTP Server.

Would you mind if I introduce this article to our collegue & our online collection site?

Sovereignty3 years ago
I'm not very familiar with the analog stuff, but would it be difficult to adjust the sensor to detect when someone, say, walks on a deck?

The walkway to my front door is a wood deck of 2x4s and I've been trying to think of a way to illuninate it as people walk across it.
veedo (author)  Sovereignty3 years ago
not difficult at all
All you would have to do is remove some weight from the sensor and change the caps in the charge amp section to lower values to amplify higher frequencies
amustakim veedo12 months ago

can this project use to detect vibration on turbine enjine?

Thanks. And good job!
sharon.nkc1 year ago


I would like to know how sensitive is your sensor and if it will be able to detect vibrations as low as 2 on the richter scale?

bonatius1 year ago
I would like to ask you where did you buy the Piezoelectric Sensor?
Thank you.
veedo (author)  bonatius1 year ago
Any online electronics retailer will carry them, Digikey is popular in north america but I'm sure you can find something similar in every country
taufique_2 years ago
I bought the piezo-film sensor and now I am about to build the charging circuit you designed (Thanks!) which I will later connect to a PIC rather than an arduino. I tried simulating the exact diagram on Proteus first, but the output voltage from the final op-amp was at a constant 8.7V "always", it didn't change ( :s inconsistent!) (in both AC and DC voltmeter) when biasing was done at 9V.

I may need to connect the film and build the circuit to test it practically and check for consistent result. However, could you co-operate in answering a few queries?

1. As my piezo will vibrate/bend, I am supposed to get a voltage output as seen in the datasheet (frequency vs open circuit voltage graph). When the signal is passed through the charging amp as you designed, I am supposed to get a stable, amplified voltage level variation right? (e.g. in arduino, sample value would be between 0 and 1023 for a range of vibration producing 0~5V). I am asking this because I am supposed to get no voltage when piezo doesn't vibrate, and say get a 2.5V when desired frequency oscillation occurs, right? Would I get such output from the circuit you have shown Sir?
veedo (author)  taufique_2 years ago
The piezo-electric material changes in capacitance as it bends. The op amp circuit is there to take the capacitance change and turn it into a voltage. So for the simulation you would need to vary the capacitance while it simulates somehow. 

If you get your own op-amp chip, look up the data sheet and hook up the inverting/non-inverting up like it is in the schematic and ignore the pin numbers on the schematic

taufique_ veedo2 years ago
simulation successful!
Taufique_, could you please send to my email (cabral.emill@gmail.com) the simulation that you did? It's for educational purposes. Thanks!!
pastoramadi2 years ago
Cool stuff, can you provide a step by step instruction on building the circuit sensor and charge amp for a novice high school student with basic electronics knowledge? The link to the Texas group has been deactivated.
veedo (author)  pastoramadi2 years ago
weird that they removed such a widely used document...
All you have to do is google "single supply op amp design" and you will find a lot of information on them and many examples you can work off of
Hi man.
where do you bought the sensos?
veedo (author)  JulianIsrael2 years ago
You can try Digikey if you don't mind the shipping cost. Some electronics parts stores may carry piezo sensors, but the chances are slim, as they aren't a commonly bought sensor.
vzhang2 years ago
hi veedo,
I am making my own film sensor and want to use your circuit to check the output signal. and First i want to simulate in the Altium designer to determine the components' value. may i use a sinusoidal source to replace the LDT piezo film in the circuit
veedo (author)  vzhang2 years ago
The circuit simply senses a change in capacitance of the sensor. You would have to make some sort of variable capacitor in the circuit simulator to test it.

If you can't make a variable capacitor, you can use timed switches to put capacitors in parallel at different times during the simulation.
qendra2 years ago
you are soo funny, what ever 'floats' your boat, haha brilliant. Im connecting my seismomiter to tweet everytime thers a quake.
Monty^3 years ago
The frequency of earthquake ground vibration is typically <6Hz.

A 30-80Hz detector might sense trucks rumbling by or heavy footsteps, but not earthquake ground vibration unless it's from furniture falling over. 

A great resource is http://psn.quake.net/ with many DIY seismometer designs.
veedo (author)  Monty^3 years ago
well, it's all low pass at 50/60 Hz, so it will amplify any frequency above 1 Hz
Thanks for the resource though!

If you wanted to lower the resonant frequency of the sensor, it's as simple as adding more weight on the sensor.
gyro_john3 years ago
Didn't you neglect to ground the bottom end of R2 / C3?
veedo (author)  gyro_john3 years ago
fixed! thanks for the catch
veedo (author)  gyro_john3 years ago
oh wow, sorry, there is supposed to be a ground symbol at the bottom

If I didn't want to shorten the sketch nor by an Arduino Mega, could I use an external EEPROM?
veedo (author)  blinkyblinky3 years ago
most definitely
There are also some efficiency improvements that can be made to save more space.
I was just not concerned with that since the MEGA has so much space on it

A good example:
I use a float to compare a previous measurement with the next measurement
A more efficient way would be to just use the A/D converter's integer value for both, and then convert it to voltage/float right before sending it to pachube.
Ahhh...I have been enlightened.