Introduction: LittleBits Real-Time Weather Dashboard
Visit the littleBits project page for more DIY project ideas.
Monitor current and forecasted weather data with littleBits and a little coding. These customizable
and modular weather boxes display current temperature, the forecasted high and low temperatures for the day, and the forecasted conditions for the day (i.e. sunny, cloudy, precipitation).
Make this project with littleBits
littleBits is the easiest and most extensive way to learn and prototype with electronics. We are making hardware limitless with our award-winning, ever-growing library of electronic modules, ranging from the very simple (power, sensors, LED) to the very complex (wireless, programmable). This project uses the littleBits cloudBit (TM). The cloudBit lets you connect any device to the internet, turning any object into an internet connected device in a snap – no soldering, wiring or programming required. Instructions for setting up the cloudBit can be found here.
How they work:
We wrote a short program that gets information from Weather Underground and sends that data through the littleBits cloud to a cloudBit. Every 30 minutes the program asks Weather Underground for the current temperature and the forecasted high, low, and conditions for New York, NY. Then it converts this information into a voltage* which is sent to each cloudBit, adjusting the angle of the servos (the servos must be set to turn mode for this to work). We've posted the code for our program here.
*The program does not specify the volts, rather it sends a value from 0 to 100 which tells the cloudBit what percentage of the total power (5v) to output.
Bits You Will Need:
littleBits cloudBit™ x 4
littleBits Servo x 4
littleBits Split x 1
littleBits Wire x 3
Other Materials Used:
1/4" wood (we used cherry) x 1
11/8" black acrylic x 1
11/8" Masonite (aka hardboard) x 1
11/8" white acrylic x 1
double sided tape x 1
M2 x 8mm Machine screws x 4
White acrylic paint x 1
Wood finish of your choice (we used Danish Oil) x 1
Wood glue x 1
Files You Will Need:
Step 1: Set Up Your CloudBits
Set up your cloudBits if you haven’t done so already. Instructions for setting up the cloudBit can be found here.
Step 2: Assemble the Case
Add a little glue to the edges of each plate (A1 through A6) and press fit them together. You’ll want to use some masking tape or clamps to hold the plates together while the glue dries.
Be sure to wipe away any excess glue that squeezes out when you press the plates together.
Step 3: Glue on the Wooden Panels
Glue the wooden side panels onto the edges of the case and clamp until the glue dries
Step 4: Finish the Wooden Panels
If you would like to add a finish to your wooden panels, sand them once the glue has dried, then apply the finish. We sanded them first with 150 grit sandpaper, then 220 grit. After wiping off the dust, we applied Danish Oil according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
Step 5: Add Graphics to the Display Panels
To get the white graphics painted on the black acrylic, we first etched the images onto the acrylic sheet using a laser cutter. Before we peeled the protective paper of the sheets, we gave the etched portions a couple of coats of white acrylic paint. Once the paint was dry, we peeled of the paper to reveal our graphics.
Step 6: Mount the Servo
Mount the servo motor on acrylic plate C3 using the two #4 machine screws. Glue C2 to the top of C3. Glue the mounted servo to the back of C1, the display panel.
Step 7: Attach Arrows
Using the xxx screw, attach the arrow to the servo. If you plug the servo into a power module, the servo will go to its 0% power position and hold there. Align the arrow to 0 degrees and tighten the screw.
Step 8: Add Faceplates to the Case
Place some double sided tape or glue dots to the back of the acrylic plate (C1) and the label plates (A7). Press each into place on the case.
Step 9: Add the Circuit
Create the circuits shown in the image and add them to each case. We used the adhesive shoes to hold the circuits in place.
Step 10: Create Your Code
Write the program that will read the data from the Weather Underground API and pass that information on through the littleBits cloud to each of your cloudBits. You can check out our example on gitHub.
*Note: You will need your own API key for Weather Underground. To get your cloudBit's access token and bit ID, look under the bit's settings in Cloud Control.