Renewable Energy Innovation

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This is where we post about the day-to-day life in the re-innovation workshop. We aim to highlight interesting ideas and projects, show the way we develop products and explain anything that we think might be useful to other people.
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Following on from my previous post on measuring humidity, I decided to test another couple of humidity sensors I had lying around. These were the DHT11 and the DYPTH01B. These are both low-cost capacitive sensors and both had been obtained when I put in an order with a Chinese supply website (Sun Tek Store).

Neither of these devices came with any support or information.

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For a new project I am looking at measuring weather data in remote locations. This is for a low-cost, low-power wind data logging unit.
The main parameter to record is, of course, the wind speed and I am doing this with ten minute averages from a pulse-output anemometer.
While this data is useful, it would be even more useful with wind direction, temperature and humidity as all of these factors affect the wind potential.
While I was planning this project, I was contacted by the folk at Embedded Adventures who asked me to check out some of their kits. (I had blogged about their sound module which I had used in another project).
So to record additional data along with the wind speed, I decided to try out Embedded Adventures Humidity and Temperature sensor (MOD-1017).

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For PCB design I use the open-source schematic and PCB design software KiCAD. Its a great program and has gotten a lot better recently. It is unlimited in size, components and number of layers and has lots of the features of very expensive professional PCB layout software.

There are times when having just one schematic sheet is not enough space. Also it is useful to break apart the schematic to keep a nice structure and order to the design. This is a post on having multiple sheets within the schematic using KiCAD, which is called "hierarchical sheets". These are my notes on doing this and any problems encountered.

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A couple of years ago I had accidentally purchased a batch of 'low temperature' 16 x 2 LCD displays. These do not work with the standard 5V supply as the contrast pin requires a negative voltage for the display to appear (around minus 1.6V seems to work well).

This is a post on getting them working with the Serial LCD display kit.

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Following on from the surface mount reflow oven I built, I thought I would report on its performance and my experiences with surface mount devices.

I had designed a relatively complex board which had a number of devices which were only available in a surface mount package. So I decided to produce this board with a majority of surface mount components.

I've got to admit I'm very impressed with the results - in terms of speed and ease of construction, final quality or junctions, size of board and cost of components.

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