Today I will show you how to make a low-cost casing for La COOL Board which can withstand extreme weather conditions, it includes a Solar panel that can power the station without the hassle of recharging (if you live in an area with sufficient sunlight ;)
What you will need:
- COOL Board
- Empty Coffee Can with clear plastic top (we use Malongo)
- 6V Solar Panel
- some cables and adapters for the solar panel
- Lipo Battery (~2200mAh or bigger)
- Cutter with a new knife
- Some hot glue
- Some Tape
Step 1: Print the Support for La COOL Board and Prepare the Can
Print out the support for La COOL Board on your 3D printer. I also joined the sketchup file if you want to modify the print. Make sure the COOL Board fits the support, I usually have to cut a little off the bottom due to a thicker first layer from my 3D printer.
Draw a square of ~13mm x 55mm on a piece of tape and stick it on the bottom of the can. Verify that it as centered as possible..
Step 2: Cut and Shape the Can
Now cut out a hole with the knife (or a dremel if you have one). Don't make large cuts and DON'T CUT YOURSELF WITH THE KNIFE OR THE CAN!!!
Now try to even out the bottom of the can and snap in the support. If you encounter any problems, cut two edges on the long side of the can and bend it inwards ( see second photo ;). Then glue it in place (photo 3).
Once the support is engaged cut out some ventilation holes where the air sensor is. Make a large enough hole for the connector of the solar panel. I cut 2-3 long holes with the knife (photo 4) and I use some old screwdrivers to bend them into fancy air intakes (photo 5)...
You can "close" these holes and still allow air to come through. Just simply push in the holes or try using some lycra or nylon covering. This step is efficient in preventing insects who are not in swarms from getting in.
If some African red ants attack your weather station go for an industrial grade solution.
Please consider drilling 1-2 little holes in the bottom. This permits eventual water to flow out of the can.
Step 3: Plug Everything!
Leave the COOL Board and LiPo battery plugged in over night to maintain a favorable initial charge.
For example, if it happens to rain for a period of two weeks, there shouldn't be a problem.
Be sure that the connector from the solar panel has a 2.5mm hole (We did this to prevent plugging in a 12V power supply...). It's often quite impossible to connect it inside the can or you will have to cheat a little by removing the protection of the plug and bend it gently.
Since the board is only awake when it measures it consumes much less than what the solar panel can deliver. This weather Station will have energy until the LiPo battery dies. With a fresh 2200mAh LiPo Battery I got up to 4 weeks of autonomy without resorting to a solar panel ;)
I hope you enjoyed and till next time,