A friend asked me if it would be possible to use a raspberry pi as a remote weather monitor. Here’s my answer, considering his specification!
Accurate weather reporting and conditions are hard to come by in Central Asia, I’m considering the installation of some micro-weather stations in some of the key valleys. Is this possible with my specs for $100-200?
|Raspberry Pi||Probably Model A+ is the best option here, because you don't need the wifi / bluetooth capabilities and thus power drain of the other models.||£20||https://thepihut.com/products/raspberry-pi-model-a-a-plus|
|solar powered||Best option here is to use PiJuice, this has been extensively tested, and is a professional level product for this kind of application. It has battery for uninterruptible power, charging, real time clock, and battery monitoring circuitry and solar panel.||£87.99 for PiJuice addon circuitry, battery and smallest solar panel (6W)||https://uk.pi-supply.com/products/pijuice-solar|
|SIM card to upload data a couple of times a day||Pi anywhere do a HAT that will sit on top of PiJuice, and has mobile data. It also has GPS and bluetooth, so is a bit over the top.|
You could just get a 3/4G USB modem dongle but this will require some setup to connect to the internet. Although Pianywhere would too.
|or (for areas that are out of signal) has an SD card that stores data||Probably writing data to a USB stick would be easier than SD card. The Pi SD card is needed for operating system so you don't want to be taking it in and out||£5|
|a webcam that takes a couple of images a day to give live-time updates||Official Raspberry Pi Camera Module. Fully documented, easy to control||£25||https://thepihut.com/collections/raspberry-pi-camera/products/raspberry-pi-camera-module|
|sensors for wind and precipitation levels||You can buy these off the shelf, for various prices. You'll need to work out how to get the data from them. This was an example I found . You could make it yourself a bit cheaper||£145|
|temperature & humidity||Needs to be weather proof, don't use DHT22 which is on many starter projects those are indoor only!||£10||https://www.modmypi.com/raspberry-pi/sensors-1061/temperaturepressurehumidity-1066/waterproof-ds18b20-digital-temperature-sensor--plus-extras|
|case||You'll need to think carefully about this. You need the Pi and battery to be in an IP67 watertight case, but the sensors need to be placed outside of it, with proper grommets for the cabling||£30?|
|software||Probably write it in Python.|
You'll need to
a) get the data from the sensors, and then
b) either write it to USB, or upload to a server. I've been using thingspeak for my weather monitor which is fine, but I don't think it does images. Again not to difficult to upload to Amazon or something.
How other people have done it:
It’s definitely possible, but it would cost at least $200 for one, if you wanted to fulfill all the specification, and you’d likely need to write some of the code and do some soldering / building yourself. You’re not going to be able to make it with snap together components and complete downloadable software!