Seeking help with Arduinos

  • Hello All,

    My name is Miles. I’m seeking help creating a custom sensor array run off an arduino and Amanda Chan suggested I register and post here.

    I’m in the design phase of a low cost net-zero fourplex on the corner of Larch and Schubert. This will be a very unique building. One of the tools we use to bring down costs and passively harvest heat is a solar collector of my own design. The prototype (below) is built and working but I need data on how it performs.
    Trombe wall prototype.jpg

    My friend Tyler, based in Pennsylvania, is an Arduino hobbyist and has been building and programming a sensor array to collect light, temperature, humidity and airflow data so that we know what it produces under a given set of conditions. He’s run into a wall and out of time and now were running out of cool weather.

    I’m hoping to work something out with someone local who can finish this project. It’s not an exceptionally complicated device and hopefully could be finished up fairly quickly.

    Let me know if you are interested.

  • @miles it was great talking to you about this project tonight. I think it has a lot of potential and you seem to be on the right track to evaluate it’s effectiveness. I look forward to see more details about it, I think there are several others here that may also be interested in how this project unfolds.

  • Linux

    It does sound like an interesting project.

    What exactly do you need to get working @Miles?

  • @arasbm Thanks Aras. This looks like an awesome little group you guys have.

    @Chris As far as I understand Tyler’s been unable to get proper readings from humidity or temp sensors. He suspects he has too much or too little current going to the sensors. I’m not sure if there are any other issues.

    I’ve emailed Tyler to see if he’s interested in joining this forum. Hopefully he does as he’ll be better able to explain what’s going on. The sensor array has been his baby. I just said what sensors I need where and bought what materials he needed.

    This is how we have the sensors laid out:
    Trombe wall prototype sensors.jpg

    We have a weather station to compare to exterior conditions. We have a temperature sensor on the intake and a temperature and airflow sensor on the outlet. Temperature difference times airflow times volume tells us how much energy we produced. We have a grid of light sensors outside the glazing to associate a given set of lighting conditions with a given production. We also have a grid temperature sensors inside the space between the glazing and the wall to so that we know how hot it’s getting in there to move the air, how that temperature difference relative to outside air effects energy loss due to conduction, how good our airflow is, and if we have any hot spots that might risk damaging or warping materials.

    Once we collect this data we can relate our production values to given whether conditions (including the angle of sun) and project them over historical Kamloops weather data. That should give us a good idea how much heat it will produce and when.

  • Linux

    That is an impressive number of sensors you are monitoring.
    I’d be curious to see how that is implemented … what Arduino are you using?

  • @Chris I’m not sure. Tyler supplied those. I’m still waiting to hear back from him and get him online. He’s been really busy lately.

    I know for sensors we used:
    3 x DHT-22: 3 in cavity
    10 x DS18B20: 6 in cavity, 1 exterior, 1 interior, 1 inlet, 1 outlet
    9 X PDV-P9001: exterior
    2x Airflow sensor: interior and exterior unless exterior is too much trouble

    This is our interior airflow sensor. This is our exterior airflow sensor.

  • Well I finally received a box of sensors! I’ve been laid off so I have abundant time to work on this but I don’t really know what I’m doing here. If anyone is interested in collaborating on this, let me know. The resulting data we will collect should be very interesting and useful for people interested in passive solar heating.

  • Hello Miles,

    My name is Jim Akeson based out of Calgary. I work at and we do a lot with sensors in our robotics kits. Once of the most common issues is when trying to run sensors to far from the micro controller (Arduino) and also too fine if a wire gauge is used and voltage loss becomes a problem. Lets start there. How far from the arduino is the sensor?

  • @trunner The most distant sensor from the controller is about 5 feet away. Depending on how the wiring is set up it could be further though. I think Tyler had three sensors on each line. If I’ve got that right the furthest sensors would probably be about 8 feet from the controller. I’ll keep this in mind moving forward. Thanks.

  • Are the sensors 5v logic? Or 3.3v? or something totally different. I understand you may not know, but to give you an idea. A 5v Ir optical sensor on 24awg wire will only work 2 or 3 feet away from the arduino. So some extent you can get extra length out of heavy wire. could try upping your sensor to 16awg or 18awg wire. Just to see if it will help.

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