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Every morning when I get ready to walk the dog, I want to know what the weather is like outside. Is it raining? Cold enough for the dog's sweater? From my current NYC apartment, it's even hard to tell if I'll need sunglasses when I step outside. I usually use my phone for checking the weather, but wouldn't it be nice to have some wall decor that provides this info at a glance?

I built this IoT weather display using a small shadow box, some RGBW NeoPixel LEDs, and an Adafruit Feather Huzzah ESP8266 with seven-segment display FeatherWing. Weather data is tracked using IFTTT, an incredibly rich (and free ) API gateway, which sends data to the cloud service Adafruit IO, which is then accessed by the Arduino program running on the microcontroller.

Before attempting this project, you should be familiar with Arduino, and you can take my free Arduino Class, or Randy's LEDs & Lighting Class or Electronics Class if you need to brush up on any of the basic skills.

For this project, you will need:

As an alternative to the Feather Huzzah, you can also use the Huzzah ESP8266 breakout, for which an FTDI cable is required to upload new programs (use the standard 7-segment backpack rather than the FeatherWing version). Either power it with an AC adapter (cut off the connector or attach a female plug) or a lipoly charging circuit/battery.

Step 1: Software & Hardware Setup

Before you dive into the code for this project, you should first make sure you've got your Arduino software set up properly to program the board you are using, which involves installing the SiLabs USB driver and installing ESP8266 board support (explained in more detail in the Feather Huzzah tutorial):

  • Go to Arduino-> Preferences...
  • Look for a text field labeled "Additional Boards Manager URLs:" and paste the following URL into the field (separate multiple URLs with commas if applicable):
    http://arduino.esp8266.com/stable/package_esp8266c...
  • Click OK
  • Go to Tools->Board-> Boards Manager...
  • Search for ESP8266 and click the Install button in the box "esp8266 by ESP8266 Community" when it shows up

Huzzah ESP8266 boards have an LED connected to pin 0, and you can find a sample blink sketch by navigating to File->Examples->ESP8266->Blink, or copy it from here:

void setup() {
  pinMode(0, OUTPUT);
}
void loop() {
  digitalWrite(0, HIGH);
  delay(500);
  digitalWrite(0, LOW);
  delay(500);
}

Plug in your USB cable to the board and configure your settings under the Tools menu as follows:

  • Board: Adafruit Huzzah ESP8266
  • CPU Frequency: 80MHz
  • Flash Size: 4M (3M SPIFFS)
  • Upload Speed: 115200
  • Port: whichever one ends in SLAB_USBtoUART (Mac) or COMx (Windows)

Click the Upload button to send the program to your board. This will take several seconds (longer than you are used to with Arduino Uno). After complete, the onboard LED should start blinking.

While the Feather Huzzah auto-detects when it's being sent a new program, other ESP8266 boards may require a sequence of button presses to get into bootloader mode.

Do not proceed until you've successfully uploaded a blink test program to your board.

Follow the assembly instructions to solder up and test your FeatherWing seven-segment display.

<p>Would it be possible to have it display the forecasted high temp of the day instead of the current temp? </p>
<p>Very nice, and well explained.</p><p>How do you get the seven segment display to shine so brightly through black paper?</p><p>Is it special paper?</p><p>Does the color of paper/color of led matter?</p>
<p>Hey,</p><p>The color of the led may not matter if you know which color does what. I didn't read the whole tutorial yet, but I believe that the colors are coded as follow:</p><p>- upper left yellow: sunny</p><p>- upper right white: clouds</p><p>- bottom left blue: rain</p><p>With these you can have pretty much everything a meteo station can send you, except maybe snow.</p>
<p>I coded it to mix in some white with the blue when it's snowing. =D</p>
<p>It's not black paper, it's plain white printer paper. It looks darker in the photos than its neighbor segment because those segments are illuminated and the corner with the numerical display is not.</p>
<p>I love the elegant simplicity of this. Your use of the shadow boxes for displays in this and other projects is not something I would have thought of, and has given me some ideas.</p><p>Have you thought of maybe incorporating a temp sensor like the DS18B20 into this to get your actual outside temperature? I have one outside my study window on a thin wire that fits through the closed window without obstructing the rubber seal.</p><p>Excellent work, you write some of the clearest Instructables I have seen so far.</p>
<p>Hi. I usually look out the window to check out the weather (   ), JOKE.. but true.<br>Your Weather-forecaster is in both design and simplycity the most style&rsquo;ish.<br>Don&rsquo;t change anything in it, it&rsquo;s &ldquo;just&rdquo; as stream-lined and functional as it can be.<br>Nice job</p>
<p>Because I live on a low floor in a tall building (facing an interior courtyard), I actually can't easily see the sky from the windows and there aren't any windows near the door/coathooks. So, good for you that you can see the current weather condition by looking out the window, I can't so I built this. =\</p>
<p>Oh.. it was just a joke with the comment of just looking out. </p><p>Your 'Ible is Fantastic in it's both design &amp; function</p>
<p>Awesome project!</p>
<p>Super cool project, love it!</p>
<p>Thank you!</p>
I've been wanting to make something like this for the exact same reason! My dog hates the rain, so this will be great to help determine whether or not to bring an umbrella as well. Thanks!
<p>Awesome!</p>
<p>Whoops, I truly apologise, I put in SIR into my comment, and even while I was typing, I was thinking, &quot;I really should check if this is a woman, FIRST&quot;.</p><p>Well...as per usual, I made that mistake, and I am truly sorry that I made it.</p>
<p>Thanks for acknowledging your unconscious bias! =D</p>
<p>I am not familiar with this weather software, so my question is can the display be programmed to &quot;go to sleep&quot;? Also, does it have the capability to alert you if there is an emergency weather alert transmitted for your area--flood, tornado, hurricane in my area. If not, can it be programmed to link into the National Weather Alert system? Please advise. I really like your weather display. You get my vote.</p>
<p>The software that runs the device is built in Arduino, and you can certainly modify the code to turn the display off, even add a button to activate it or similar. I'm not sure about tying in the National Weather Alert system (since that's not info that's readily available on IFTTT), for that I guess I'd recommend relying on your phone which does a nice job. If you want to get started programming in Arduino, try my free class: <a href="https://www.instructables.com/class/Arduino-Class/">https://www.instructables.com/class/Arduino-Class/</a></p>

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Bio: Becky Stern is a content creator at Instructables. She has authored hundreds of tutorials about everything from wearable electronics to knitting. Before joining Instructables, Becky ... More »
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