Introduction: Autonomo Rainstation Kit

In this instructable we will show you how to build a complete rain observation station, just like the ones we have built for the Kilimanjaro Climate Research Group. It measures rainfall, temperature, humidity and barometric pressure.

The basic sensor elements are a Rain-O-Matic Small rain gauge from the world leader Pronamic and a professional grade Temperature Pressure Humidity sensor from SODAQ.

These sensors are connected to the brand new Autonomo board which records the data and sends hourly updates to a ThingSpeak channel. The Autonomo has a range of available communications modules. In this tutorial we will be demonstrating the WiFi and 2G (GPRS) options.

An example of the output data can be seen on this ThingSpeak channel:

Note: In this test we were uploading the data at fifteen minute intervals.

Step 1: Weatherproof Casing

We start with a weatherproof case. For this tutorial we have chosen the WD2 from Attema. It is the right size (to fit the required components), water proof (IP56) and UV stabilized, making it ideal for outdoor use.

Step 2: Attaching the Solar Panel

Next we drill a hole in the top cover in order to attach a 1W solar panel. We feed the cable through the hole and glue the solar panel to the top cover using hot glue. The glue will act as seal around the hole if applied in circular pattern.

Step 3: Drilling Holes in the Case

We then drill two of the pre-made holes on the sides of the WD2. Use the imagesto reference which holes to drill.

Step 4: TPH Cable Fitting

We use the cap from a bottle of laundry detergent to create a rain shield for the TPH sensor board. This is attached to the casing using a diaphragm cable lead-in (supplied with the WD2).

Step 5: Fitting the TPH

Next, we feed the TPH wires through the cable lead-in. Make sure you treat the TPH sensor board with conformal coating to protect against corrosion. If you don't have any conformal coating, nail polish will do too.

Step 6: Rain Gauge Cable Fitting

We now fit a second diaphragm cable lead-in to the other hole we drilled. This will be used for feeding the rain gauge wiring into the case.

Step 7: Fitting the Autonomo

We use the Autonomo with an attached Grove shield. First install the communications module in to the Bee socket, attaching an antenna if required. Then connect the TPH board to the I2C socket on the Grove shield.

Step 8: Fitting the Rain-O-Matic

We use an industrial grade rain gauge made by Pronamic: The Rain-O-Matic Small (with the pole bracket accessory). The wires from the rain gauge are connected to a Grove screw terminal. Connect the blue wire to the 1st (signal) position and the brown wire to the 4th (ground) position of the screw terminal.

Step 9: Connecting Everything Up

Connect the Grove cable from the screw terminal to the Grove shield D4 socket. Connect the solar panel and battery and then close the box.

Step 10: Fixing the Station to a Pole

We start by attaching the WD2 case to an angled bracket. The we mount the case and the rain gauge to a pole using a jubilee clamp. You can optimise the amount of power generated by the solar by adjusting the mounting angle. You can find a useful guide for this here: Optimum Tilt of Solar Panels.

Step 11: ThingSpeak Setup

Here are the steps required in order to get this instructable working with the ThingSpeak website:

  1. Create an account with ThingSpeak (Sign-up).
  2. Create a new channel.Copy the WRITE API KEY for your new channel (see the API KEYS tab).
  3. Configure your new channel (see the Channel Settings tab).
    • You must to add all eight fields to your channel.
    • You should name the channel and each of the fields.
    • You can optionally add the geographic coordinates of your station.
    • Make sure to save the new channel settings.

After completing these steps, your CHANNEL SETTINGS tab should look similar to what is shown in the above image.

Note: The channel and field names are used for labeling the data in the charts shown on the private and public view tabs (see the image above). The names have no affect on the API and can be changed at any time.Here are the settings of the channel used to test this example:

Step 12: The Rain Station Sketch

To be added soon.

Step 13: Libraries and Other Dependencies

To be added soon.

Step 14: Configuring and Uploading the Rain Station Sketch

To be added soon.