Weather is very important in our lives. We check the temperature and weather forecast, before going to work or while planning a vacation. Our smartphones contain apps that show us the current temperature and a forecast of what’s to come. What if you could make your very own weather station, that would take temperature and humidity readings then display them on your smartphone or a website? It would involve some technical tinkering, but in the end, it is worth it.
Sure, you could go to the nearest shop and buy a gadget that does something similar, but where is the fun in that? Instead, you could buy the necessary parts and build a weather station yourself and learn loads of new things on the way. Such a project would probably cost quite some money years ago, but that is not the case anymore. With a budget of only a 100$, you can build your own weather station! All the required parts are available for cheap on eBay or similar sites. The only drawback is that you have to wait a bit for the items to arrive from China. You can buy from official vendors too, but the items are exactly the same but more pricey. If you are in a hurry, this is probably the best way to get the needed parts.
The site Raspberry Weather guides you through the whole process of purchasing the required tools and sensors. The project runs on a tiny but affordable computer – Raspberry Pi. The cheapest version costs only around 5$! It runs Linux, so there are no any license fees and the whole project is open sourced and free! This gives you the right to modify everything according to your needs. Want to take only temperature readings and ignore humidity? Simply comment out a single line and you are good to go. Want to display the readings on your phone – there’s an app for that too!
As you follow the guide on Raspberry Weather site, you will see how to install Linux on an SD card which is then inserted into the Raspberry Pi. You will then learn how to connect to this tiny computer and install needed packages that enable you to take readings from sensors. Finally, you will prepare Apache to host your own website, which can be publicly available if you want. Never used a breadboard before? No worries, it is easy to learn by following the guide, that tells you how to wire the sensors and resistors onto a breadboard and connect it to the Raspberry Pi. You do not need an electrical engineering degree, simply follow the instructions and with a bit of tinkering, you will succeed. Should you run into a snag, there is a contact page, where you can get request some additional help. The website author will be happy to help you out. Everything is possible with a bit of help and perseverance.
The whole guide is well written and is meant for beginners and advanced users alike. Even if you do not have any prior knowledge of Linux or breadboard wiring, you will be able to finish the whole project. You will learn about Python programming, web servers, running your own site on WordPress and breadboard wiring. A lot of knowledge to gain if you are into this kind of tech stuff. Read more about how to start with this fun project on Raspberry Weather! If you already have a Raspberry Pi hidden somewhere in your desk drawer, now is the right time to take it out and put it to good use.
When you are done with the project, you get a weather station and a web server that you have built yourself! It is extremely cheap to keep running 24/7 as it requires very little power. If you are using an Android smartphone, you can even install an app that connects to your weather station, so you can see its readings on the go (or brag to your friends about your awesome project). You will not have to pay any money for expensive website hosting – you can run it on your Weather station. The site can be publicly available for the whole world to see. So far there are loads of such weather stations being used all around the globe. There was even one instance where a group of school children decided to make a weather station for their own school project. With a bit of help from their teacher, they succeeded and are running it in their school.
Website owner was even featured in the official MagPi magazine, that publishes interesting projects. An interview can be read in issue 59 which is free to download from the official webpage. All in all a very fun, informative and satisfying project to do. Give it a shot, you will not be disappointed!