Introduction: Yet Another Weather Station (Y.A.W.S.)
This project is my take on the ever popular Weather Station. Mine is based on an ESP8266, a .96” OLED display and a BME280 environmental sensor array. Weather Stations seem to be a very popular project. Mine differentiates itself from the others by using a BME280 sensor array instead of the popular DHT22 temperature and humidity sensor. The BME280 has a temperature, humidity and air pressure sensor. It also uses the I2C interface. The .96” OLED display used is also I2C. It can be purchased as either I2C or SPI or both. I went with the I2C version to simplify the wiring. With both the OLED display and the BME280 using I2C and 3.3V it was very easy to make a ‘Y’ cable to connect both devices to the ESP8266. While developing this project I came across multiple weather station projects on the Internet that use the ESP8266, the same OLED display and the BME280. So this is not an original idea, but it is an original implementation.
The BME280 provides inside environment data. Outside weather information is obtained from OpenWeatherMap.org. You will need to signup with OpenWeatherMap.org to get a key to access the weather data. They offer a free service, which is what I used. See the step How to get an OpenWeatherMap Key for instructions on how to obtain a key.
An NTP time server is used to get the time of day and day-of-the-week.
The weather, time and environment data are displayed on the OLED display. Each piece of information has it’s own formatted screen. The screens are displayed for five seconds before switching to another. OpenWeatherMap.org is accessed every fifteen minutes to refresh the weather information. The BME280 is read about every fifty-five seconds. The font used on each screen is automatically adjusted to show all the information in the largest possible font.
The ESP8266 is also setup to be a web server. All of the weather information can be accessed using a browser from your phone, tablet of computer. One of the screens that is displayed shows the IP address of the web server.
The ESP8266 comes in a variety of shapes and sizes. I choose a GEEKCREIT DoIt ESP12E Dev Kit V2. This one is fully compatible with the NodeMCU ‘standard’ for ESP8266 standalone modules. It has an integrated 3.3V regulator, a CH340 as the USB-to-Serial bridge and the NodeMCU auto-reset circuit. You are free to use any ESP8266-12 module that you have. Just be aware that you may have to add a 3.3V regulator or other circuits to program it. I also built one using a Witty Cloud ESP8266. It allowed me to pack everything into a 1.5 inch cube. The lower USB bridge board is disconnected after programming. I added a right angle header pin to the 3.3V hole on the Witty board. The harness was made with two four pin shells, one two pin shell and two one pin shells.
In the photo above, the board that the ESP8266 module is plugged into is a circuit board that I developed as a breakout board for the ESP8266 and ESP32. It will accept the NodeMCU compatible, narrow body ESP8266 boards, The Witty Cloud ESP8266 board or an ESP32 board from GEEKCREIT. All of the available GPIO pins are broken out to headers for easy access. I have found that most development boards never have enough power and ground pins. Every time you want to attach something you need at least a ground pin and most times a pin to power the device. Each row of GPIO pins is accompanied by 3.3V power pin and a ground pin. I use the same layout that First Robotics uses, power in the middle. I like this layout because if you plug something in backwards you do not release the magic smoke. The board has a couple of extras, an IR sensor, a pushbutton switch and a tri-color LED. Jumpers can be used to connect to any of these features. If you are interested in one of these ESPxx breakout boards then contact me.
Step 1: What You Will Need:
1 – BME280 I2C Temperature, Humidity and Pressure sensor board
I bought mine on Ebay from China for around $1.25 with free shipping. Also available from Adafruit or Sparkfun
1 - .96”, 128x64, I2C OLED display using SSD1306 driver
I bought mine on Ebay from China for around $4.00. Mine is white. You can find blue and white with an area of yellow on top. Some are sold as SPI and I2C. You may have to move some resistors to select I2C operation. The important part is that it uses the SD1306 driver chip. Also available from Adafruit.
1 – NodeMCU ESP8266-12 with CH340
You can use any ESP8266-12 module that you want. I prefer the ones with the CH340 USB-to-Serial bridge. There was a rash of fake FTDI and SI bridge chips a few years ago so I no longer trust anything other than the CH340.
2 – DuPont 4 pin, 0.1inch (2.54mm) pitch shells
2 – DuPont 2 pin, 0.1inch (2.54mm) pitch shells
12 – DuPont female crimps for 22-28 awg wire
I get mine on Ebay. You can also use Molex or any brand that you prefer. Crimped pins or IDC The choice is yours. Be careful that you buy the correct pins for your shells. They are not mix and match. You can also just solder the wires to the boards and eliminate the connectors. If you use the crimped pins, you will need a crimper. Do not try to crimp with a pair of pliers. It does not work.
1 – 5V, 1A minimum wall power pack.
These are cheap and available on Ebay. Get one with a micro USB connector or whatever mates with your ESP8266 board.
You will also need eight pieces of 22-28 awg wire to connect everything together. Or you can just wire it all to a piece of perf board. It is up to you.
I have included a picture of what was used to build the Weather Station using a Witty Cloud ESP8266. One picture details where to add a right angle header pin to pickup 3.3V. One of the two pin shells is replaced by two one pin shells. Ground and 3.3V wires are stuffed into the one pin shells.
Follow this link to get the source code files from the GitHub repository; ESP8266-Weather-Station. The zip folder or cloned folder will have a WeatherStation folder that contains WeatherStation.ino and BME280.h. These are the source code files. There are several pdf files as well. The pdf files have much the same information as this instructable.
Step 2: Tools:
After trying many brands of crimpers, I found that the Japanese Engineer PA-21 or PA-09 works best for the DuPont male and female crimps. It is available on Ebay or Amazon. Either will work for the DuPont pins. The PA-09 will also do the pins for the JST connectors commonly used on LiPo batteries. Here is a link to a video on how to use the Engineer crimpers with DuPont crimps; How to use PA-21 Crimpers
Instructables recently had a great tutorial on using the Weierli Tools SN-28B crimpers with DuPont pins and shells. You can view it here; Make a Good Dupont Pin-Crimp EVERY TIME!
Step 3: Make the Harness:
The wiring harness is the key to this project. It is a basic four wire ‘Y’ cable. Above is a picture of the harness I made. The OLED display and the BME280 sensor array have the same pinout. This means that the two four pin shells are identical after inserting the crimped wires. I made my harness with the double crimped wires going into the two two pin shells that attach to the ESP8266 board. You could instead, chose to stuff the double crimped wires into one of the four pin shells, making it like a daisy chain connection. Either will work.
- Cut all your wires to length. I like to use different colors for each wire; red for 3.3V, black for ground, yellow for SCL and green for SDA.
- Strip one end of each wire about 0.1 inch.
- Twist the strands together and add a female crimp.
- Once all the wires have a crimp on one end, strip all the wires about 0.2 inch.
- Twist the strands of two wires of the same color together.
- Once twisted, trim to about 0.1 inch and add a female crimp.
- When all the wire pairs are crimped it is time to insert the crimped ends into the shells.
- The two four pin shells are stuffed, from left to right, with red, black, yellow, green or 3.3V, Gnd, SCL, SDA.
- One of the two pin shells get the red and black wires.
- The other two pin shell gets the yellow and green wires.
Step 4: Tip:
I found that when I use 28 awg wire with the crimp pins that they tend to fall off. What I do to prevent this is to strip the end of the wire twice as long as normal. Twist the exposed wires together. Then fold the twisted wire over to double the thickness. Now when I crimp it the wire is thick enough to hold tightly.
Step 5: Connect It All Together:
- Plug the four pin shells into the OLED display and the BME280 boards.
- Align the red wire with the Vcc and 3V3 pins.
- Plug the two pin red/black shell on to a pair of 3V3 (3.3V) and GND pins on the ESP8266 board. There are three places on the board where 3V3 and GND pins are adjecent. Avoid the Vin (5V) and GND pins as these will release the magic smoke from your OLED and BME280 boards. Ensure that the red wire is connected to the 3V3 pin.
- Plug the yellow/green two pin shell on to D1 and D2 on the ESP8266 board. The yellow wire (SCL) should be on D1.
Double check your connections. If everything looks good then you are ready to power up the ESP8266 board.
Step 6: How to Get an OpenWeatherMap Key
You will need an API key to access the OpenWeatherMap.org website to obtain current weather information. The next few steps detail how to signup with OpenWeatherMap.org and get an API key.
Follow this link to OpenWeatherMap.org.
Click on API near the middle of the top of the web page.
Step 7: How to Get an OpenWeatherMap Key, Subscribe
On the left side, under Current weather data, click the Subscribe button.
Step 8: How to Get an OpenWeatherMap Key, Get API Key
Click on Get APIkey and Start in the Free column.
Step 9: How to Get an OpenWeatherMap Key, Signup
Click on the Signup button under How to get API key (APPID).
Step 10: How to Get an OpenWeatherMap Key, Create Account
Check your email for a message from OpenWeatherMap.org. The email will have your API key. You will need to copy the API key into the source code for the Weather Station in order to obtain the current weather.
The OpenWeatherMap.org free service has some limitations. Foremost is that you cannot access it more often than once every ten minutes. This should not be a problem because the weather does not change that rapidly. The other limitations have to do with what information is available. Any of the paid subscriptions will provide more detailed weather information.
Step 11: Setup the Arduino IDE:
Program development was done using the Arduino IDE Version 1.8.0. You can download the latest Arduino IDE here; Arduino IDE. The Arduino web site has excellent directions on how to install and use the IDE. Support for the ESP8266 can be installed in the Arduino IDE by following the instructions given by this link: ESP8266 Addon to Arduino. On the web page, click the “Clone or Download” button and select “Download Zip”. The ReadMe.md file has directions on how to add the ESP8266 support to the Arduino IDE. It is a plain text file that you can open with any text editor.
ESP8266 boards come in all sizes, shapes and use different USB-to-Serial bridge chips. I prefer the boards that use the CH340 bridge chip. A few years ago FTDI, SI and others got tired of cheap clones claiming to be their parts. The chip makers changed thier driver code to only work with their own genuine parts. This resulted in a lot of frustration as people discovered that the USB-to-Serial bridges no longer worked. Now a days I just stick to the CH340 based USB-to-Serial bridges to avoid buying boards that may or may not work. In any case you will need to find and install the correct driver for the bridge chip used on your board. This is a link to the official site for the CH340 drivers; CH341SER_EXE.
The ESP8266 does not have dedicated I2C hardware. All I2C drivers for the ESP8266 are based on bit-banging. One of the better ESP8266 I2C libraries is the brzo_I2C library. It was written in assembly language for the ESP8266 to make it as fast as possible. The OLED display library I am using uses the brzo_I2C library. I added code to access the BME280 sensor array using the brzo_I2C library.
You can get the OLED library here: ESP8288-OLED-SSD1306 Library.
You can get the brzo_I2C library here: Brzo_I2C Library.
Both libraries will need to be installed in your Arduino IDE. The Arduino website has directions on how to install zip libraries into the IDE here: How to Install Zip Libraries.
Tip: After installing the ESP8266 boards package and the libraries, close the Arduino IDE and re-open it. This will ensure that the ESP8266 boards and libraries will show up in the IDE.
Step 12: Select Your Board:
Open the Arduino IDE. If you have not done so yet, install the ESP8266 addon, brzo_i2c library and the OLED driver library.
Click on "Tools" on the top menu bar. Scroll down the drop down menu to where it says "Board:". Slide over to the "Board Manager" drop down menu and scroll down to; "NodeMCU 1.0 (ESP-12E Module)". Click on it to select it. Leave all of the other setting at their default value.
Step 13: Select the Serial Port:
Click on "Tools" on the top menu bar. Scroll down the drop down menu to where it says "Port". Select the port that is appropriate for your computer. If your port does not show up, either your board is not plugged in or you have not loaded the driver for your bridge chip or your board was not plugged in when you opened the Arduino IDE. Simple fix is to close the Arduino IDE, plug in your board, load any missing drivers then re-open the Arduino IDE.
Step 14: WeatherStation.ino
You can either use the Download buttons above or follow this link to GitHub to obtain the source code; ESP8266-Weather-Station.
The files WeatherStation.ino and BME280.h need to be in the same folder. The folder name has to match the name of the .ino file (without the .ino extension). This is an Arduino requirement.
Step 15: Edit WeatherStation.ino
Click on "File" on the top menu bar. Click on "Open". In the File Open dialog box find the WeatherStation folder and select it. You should see two tabs, one for WeatherStation and one for BME280.h. If you do not have both tabs then you opened the wrong folder or you did not download both files or you did not save them in the correct folder. Try again.
You will need to edit the WeatherStation.ino file to add the SSID and password for your WiFi network. look around line 62 for the following;
// put the SSID and password for your WiFi network here const char* ssid = "yourssid"; const char* password = "password";
Replace "yourssid" with the SSID of your WiFi network.
Replace "password" with the passkey for your WiFi network.
You will also need to add your OpenWeatherMap key and the zip code where you live. Look around line 66 for the following;
// put your OpenWeatherMap.com Key and the zip code here const char* owmkey = "yourkey"; const char* owmzip = "yourzip,country";
Replace "yourkey" with the key obtained from OpenWeatherMap.org.
Replace "yourzip,country" with your zip code and country. Your zip code should be followed by a comma and your country ("10001, us").
Next you have to set your timezone and enable/disable daylight savings time (DST). Look around line 85 for the following;
// Raw time returned is in seconds since 1970. To adjust for timezones subtract // the number of seconds difference for your timezone. Negative value will // subtract time, positive value will add time #define TZ_EASTERN -18000 // number of seconds in five hours #define TZ_CENTRAL -14400 // number of seconds in four hours #define TZ_MOUTAIN -10800 // number of seconds in three hours #define TZ_PACIFIC -7200 // number of seconds in two hours
// Adjust time for your timezone by changing TZ_EASTERN to one of the other values. #define TIMEZONE TZ_EASTERN // change this to your timezone
There is a group of #define statements that define the time offset for various time zones. If your time zone is there then replace "TZ_EASTERN" in the "TIMEZONE" definition. If your time zone is not listed then you will need to create one. The NTP server gives time as Greenwich Mean Time. You have to either add or subtract some number of hours (in seconds) to arrive at your local time. Just copy one of the "#define TZ_XXX" statements then change the name and the number of seconds. Then change "TZ_EASTERN" to your new timezone.
You also have to decide to use Daylight Savings time or not. To disable DST, replace the "1" with a "0" in the following line;
#define DST 1 // set to 0 to disable daylight savings time
When enabled, DST will automatically advance or retard the time by one hour when appropriate.
Step 16: Upload the Code to Your ESP8266
Click on the circular right facing arrow icon that is just below "Edit"in the top menu bar. This will compile the code and upload it to your board. If everything compiles and uploads properly, after a few seconds, the OLED display should light up and the the connecting message should appear.
Step 17: How to View the Weather Data Website
The picture above shows the web page served by the Weather Station. You can access it using your PC, phone or tablet. Simply open a browser and type in the IP address of the Weather Station as the URL. The IP address of the Weather Station is displayed on one of the screens of the Weather Station. Click Refresh Page to update the information.
Step 18: Congratulations, You Are Done
That is it. You should now have a working Weather Station. Your next step might be to design and make a case to house your Weather Station. Or maybe you want to add a few more screens to show wind chill, dew point, sunrise or sunset times or a graph of barometric pressure changes or predict the weather using barometric pressure. Have fun and enjoy.