Instructables
Picture of Voltaic Solar Powered Pollution Monitor

Who wouldn't want to know more about the quality of the air in the area they live in? Sure, you could look up the statistics on many websites, but where’s the fun in that? Living here in Florida there are many areas that lend themselves to doing these kinds of tests and being that the Tampa Hackerspace is located near a high traffic area by the I-4 / I-275 interchange, well, we used the opportunity that the space's location provided.

The thought of pollution and plenty of sunlight is how the idea bore of a Solar powered pollution monitor. The goal we set out with was to measure CO in real time using a remote sensor, then after taking the sampling, publish it publicly to an interactive map. All of this, of course, while being powered by solar energy using the 6 Watt Solar Charger Kit from Voltaic Systems. A self-contained solution.

 
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Step 1: Parts and Pre-requisites

Picture of Parts and Pre-requisites
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Let’s start by pulling all of our tools and parts together as well as downloading the code / drivers to be used.

Tools
- A Soldering iron
- Solder
- PC or Laptop that can program your Arduino (or clone), with a USB port

Prerequisite
Go get and install drivers for the DigiX from: http://digistump.com/wiki/digix/tutorials/software

Project Code
Github Repo: https://github.com/TampaHackerspace/pollution-sensor-network


Parts
- 6 Watt Solar Charger Kit by Voltaic Systems (http://www.voltaicsystems.com/6wattkit.php)
- Arduino or Arduino Clone with Wi-Fi built in (we used the DigiX by Digistump Version 1.0)
- USB to Micro Connector to Power the Arduino, this comes with the  Solar Charger Kit
- USB to Micro Connector to Program the Arduino (unfortunately you can’t use the one that comes with the Solar Charger Kit)
- MQ-7 Carbon Monoxide sensor from SparkFun
- Gas Sensor Adapter Board from SparkFun
- BUK553-100 Mosfet (N-channel Logic level Mosfet, any N-channel level Mosfet handling 1 Amp)
- 2 x 10K Ohm Resistors
- Spare PC Board (Solderable Prototype board)
- Male Header Pins (enough to handle at least 8, the final number will depend on the number of sensors you want to attach should you choose to expand from this Instructable!)
- 1 x 2 inch by ¼ inch Carriage Bolt  (we chose this bolt as there is a square piece just under the mushroom head that wedges nicely against the PVC to prevent rotation)
- 3 x ¼ inch nuts for the Carriage Bolt
- 1 x 1 inch PVC pipe that is roughly 4 inches long
- 4 x 1 inch pieces of heat shrink tubing of 3/16 inch size
- 1 Orange 24 AWG wire 1.5 meters long
- 1 Black 24 AWG wire 1.5 meters long
- 1 Red 24 AWG wire 1.5 meters long
- 1 Yellow 24 AWG wire 1.5 meters long

Note: While it’s not necessary, we recommend the 4 colors of hookup wire.  It can really be all the same color, but using different colors helps to avoid making improper connections.
mwm29297 months ago

I'm sorry, what is the point of monitoring carbon dioxide? If it were a problem, couldn't you do a better job by playing an active role and plant a tree?

mkchronos (author)  mwm29297 months ago

Typo! Yikes. Thanks for the catch. Not CO2 but CO.