Introduction: Getting Started With La COOL Board
"When we came up with the idea for La COOL Board, I imagined a mix between an Arduino with WiFi and a modular agronomic weather station. It had to consume very little energy for autonomous operation and I wanted to be able to control different variables like Pumps, Fans .. accelerating the process of monitoring and building controlled environments."
Simon, CTO La Cool Co
This Instructable shows you how to use La COOL Board.
La COOL Board is an Arduino board that features a ESP8266 micro-controller with on-board WiFi, a real time clock (RTC), a solar charger plug for LiPo Battery, and a sensor array that measures temperature, soil moisture, air humidity, atmospheric pressure, light (visible and IR radiation, UV index)
Step 1 through 5 are optional as your COOL Board comes already programmed. Steps 1 through 5 are applicable only if you wan't to go further.
Step 1 to 5 are useful if you want to re-program the board. It shows you how to
install Arduino and all dependencies on Windows, Linux or OS X.
If you are more interested in what you are growing, go to Step 7 and learn how to get an account on Le COOL Menu ;)
This was created to help our first fellows get started. We are working heavily on a custom installer which will be released soon and completely erases the need of installing Arduino and so on, meanwhile it's the best way to go.
Please refer to the installation guidelines behind the links for platform specific support.
This usually takes about an hour to download and install.
Step 1: Install Arduino
Step 2: Install ESP8266 With Board Manager
Here we install the ESP8266 platform support
- Open Arduino, go to Menu / File / Preferences
- Add http://arduino.esp8266.com/stable/package_esp8266com_index.json (right click and copy the link) to Additional Boards Manager URLs (photo 1) *
- Close Arduino and re-open it.
- Go to Tools / Boards / Boards Manager
- Wait until Arduino downloaded all available Platforms and search for ESP8266 (photo 2)
- Install the version 2.3.0 of the plugin
- Restart Arduino and check if you see Generic ESP8266 under Tools / Boards (photo 3)
*If you have problems installing the esp8266 environment ensure that you copied the right link. If the problem persists please take a look at the project github : https://github.com/esp8266/Arduino
Step 3: Installation File System Storage
- Go to : http://esp8266.github.io/Arduino/versions/2.0.0/doc/filesystem.html#uploading-files-to-file-system
- The installation instructions are described there and are operating-system independent
- Find your Arduino Folder (typ. on MacOS: ~/Documents/Arduino/) and create a “tools” folder inside it, as described on the website
- Follow this direct link to the RAR file
- Double check that the file is in the following location (typ. on MacOS: ~/Documents/Arduino/tools/ESP8266FS/tool/esp8266fs.jar)
- Restart Arduino Check under Tools if the “ESP8266 Sketch Data Upload” menu item is present (photo 1)
The Arduino environment is now ready but we still need to install the librairies.
Step 4: Installing Arduino Libraries
- Open your Arduino Folder (typ. on MacOS: ~/Documents/Arduino/)
- Download and Uncompress the LaCOOLBoard-master.zip file (or use git clone) and place its contents in the “libraries” folder inside your Arduino folder
- Download and install the TimeLib from this github in your libraries folder
- Do the same with this Library : DS1337RTC
- In Arduino: Go to Sketch / Include Library / Manage Libraries and wait until Arduino downloaded all updates
Search and install the following libraries: ArduinoJson, NeoPixelBus, DallasTemperature, OneWire and Sparkfun BME280
Your Arduino Folder structure now should at least have this:
Open a example project and click on compile, see if it compiles. If not please check for missing files or wrong parameters. In photo 3 I selected a code made for another board as an example.
ALWAYS READ THE ERRORS FROM TOP TO BOTTOM AND UNDERSTAND THEM!
THE SOLUTION IS ALWAYS IN THESE COMMENTS!
Step 5: Programming the COOLBoard
If you didn't plug in the Sensor Board on your COOLBoard take a look at Step 6 and plug it before programming!
- Connect the COOLBoard to your computer with a USB Cable
- Copy the /Arduino/libraries/LaCOOLBoard/examples/WeatherStation folder to /Arduino/
- Restart Arduino and open the “WeatherStation” Sketch
- Take a look in the data Folder
- Open mqttConfig.json with a text editor and put in the MQTT Server IP. If you want to use the CoolMenu please contact us by sending a mail to support [at] lacool.co
- In Arduino go to Tools / Flash Size and select 4M (3M SPIFFS)
- Also select the right Serial Port (COM4 in my case)
- Put the sliding switch on the right side of the COOLBoard in LOAD position and push the RESET button once (see photo2.
- Go to Tools / ESP8266 Sketch Data Upload and click on it. After some seconds you should see running dots in the debug section of Arduino (photo 3). This takes about 10 minutes
- Once finished re-push the reset Button Click on the Arrow in the top left corner of arduino to upload the Sketch Once again you should see the (red) running Dots in the debug section of Arduino
- Once finished put the sliding switch on the right of the COOLBoard back in the RUN position!!
- Open the Serial Monitor chose 115200 on the bottom right, be shure you chose the right port! You should see the COOLBoard saying what it's doing (photo 4 on the left). If you see nothing press the RESET Button, maybe it's waiting for your input...
At this moment the programmation of the Coolboard is finished and you should see a bright blue Light on the top of the COOLBoard.
Check the avaliable WiFi Networks in your area, you should see a WiFi named COOLBoard-XXXXXXXXXXXX (photo 4 on the right)
Step 6: Plug Your COOLBoard
- Take your Coolboard and break away the SensorBoard on the top. Don’t use violence, just firmly break the head off… (photo 2)
- Also brake the little bits of printed circuit board visible on the head (photo 3)
- Plug the SensorBoard like in photo 4
- Put a CR1220 Coin Cell for the clock (optional, but highly recommended)
- Be sure that the sliding switch is in the RUN position!
- Now just plug in a micro USB Cable between your computer and the COOLBoard.
Congrats, you're ready to start using your COOL Board !
Step 7: Configuring the WiFi Connection
Plug a usb cable in the Coolboard and wait some seconds, you should see a bright blue Light on the top of the COOLBoard. If nothing happens verify that the sliding switch on the right is in RUN position and press the reset button (see images in last Step).
Check the avaliable WiFi Networks in your area, you should see a WiFi named COOLBoard-XXXXXXXXXXXX (photo 1 on the right) and connect to it
Now open your preferred Internet Browser and type : 192.168.4.1 in the Adresse bar.
- Wait until you see the "homepage" of your COOLBoard (photo 2)
- Click on Configure WiFi.
- In the next page you can see a list of available Networks (photo 3).
- Chose yours and type in the Password, these informations stay on the board and will never be transmitted.
- Don't forget to reconnect to your usual wifi network.
The COOLBoard will restart and is fully configured to monitor your plants !
If you feel like being on the go with your COOL Board, you can reconfigure the WiFi in the same manner, the COOLBoard can log up to 50 different networks and has in total 3 different communication models. But more on that in another Instructable..
Now go to preview.lacool.co and check out your data !
Step 8: Create an Account on the COOLMenu
Go to prod.lacool.co and click on “Create Account” or directly Create an Account here
- Type in your email and password
- Check your mail and type the confirmation code from it
- Log in to your Account
- Now claim your board (something like 1a:2b:3c:4d:5e:6f ) and give it a name
- Congratulations you can successfully get live data form your garden!
Now you just have to wait until some data arrives from your location to get a real idea on how it is going in the enviornment you have chosen for your plant.
Maybe one of the first things you want to do is build a nice case for Outdoors, take a look here: Outdoor Weather Station for La COOL Board
Thank you and till next time!