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Final Blog

After a semester of working on this project, we were finally able to mount our monitoring system at a charter school so that they can monitor the temperature of the stream. The monitoring system only collects temperature data, but this is the first time that we are mounting or testing one of our systems outside of school. The testing went well when we went over to the school. We learned that the LoRa was a good choice because cell connection in the area was really bad and we would have had trouble sending with the Electron. We also learned that the WiFi from the school can reach certain parts of the stream. So for the future, the Particle Photon or NodeMCU could be replaced with the whole LoRa setup to save space and energy.

The mounting of the system went well. We mounted our system near the top of the campus. The receiving end was mounted under one of the portables there and the sending end was mounted into the ground near the stream. Although the mounting near the stream was a last…
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Update for the past two weeks

For the past two weeks, we have been working at getting the second version of the monitoring system up and running. This second version consists of the LoRa Radio module so that when we mount it at the second location, we do not have to worry about cell signal being a problem. For this version, there are two ends to the monitoring system. One end is at the stream collecting data (sending it to the second end) and the second end is receiving the data so that it may be pushed to google sheets.

We are pushing our code to google sheets but first sending the data to Ubidots. Then google sheets grabs the latest data from Ubidots and puts it into the chart. Google sheets grabs data once every minute. If deemed necessary, we can always lower the time period at which it grabs data.

On the Sending end of the monitoring system, we are using an Arduino Pro Mini to power and control the LoRa radio and also to collect data from the temperature sensor. the data collected from the temperature sensor …

Wiring and programming

This week, I've drawn some wiring schematics to make sure that everything could not only be powered but if I had the right pins to connect the LoRa radio to the NodeMCU. Once that was done, I started writing code for NodeMCU to transfer the data that would be collected from the Arduino pro mini to send it to Ubidots. Ubidots will later be replaced with Google sheets, but since it's less time to consume and easier to write, Ubidots will be used for testing to make sure we can grab reliable temperature data from the ala wai and put it up on the internet.

LoRa update and next steps

This week I did a range test on the LoRa radio and also got the temperature sensor to send reliable data (in double/float form) between the two radios. For the radio range, I took the transmitting end of the radio and walked it down to the Ala Wai canal where it will be mounted. I put the receiving side ontop a power box that is in the rooftop garden. It was interesting to see that even though the signals were very poor, the data was still sending to each other at a frequent pace without many delays. The delays came when both the Weinberg building and the storage unit interfered with the lining up of the radios. I also learned that orientation of the antenna played a big role as when it was on its side or not in an upright position, the singal got weaker. The next tests would be to maybe find different antennas to use and a possibility would be to put the receiving side in or on top of the Weinberg building that way there is more of a straight line of sight. 
The next steps for this p…

LoRa and Temperature

This week, I've been working on getting the LoRa Radio's sending data to one another. Both are hooked up to an Arduino and I am currently switching the receiving end over to a NodeMCU to send data to Ubidots. This is sending to Ubidots is for testing range and the sustainability of the signal and code. For the past couple days, I learned how to send data in between both transceivers. The data that sends are in char or character format so sending integers, floats, and doubles are placed into a converter. I've been looking into converting doubles to char but I've only gotten so far as sending whole integers. The next step is to start sending reliable temperature data from across campus to test range and other things that might need to be fixed such as battery and antennas. I've done some research and people that used GPS tracking as a way to test range and signal strength have said that the range with a strong enough signal strength to send data ranges between 8 kilo…

An update for the past week

After coming back from spring break, we decided to use a LoRa radio module to use less battery life and save us money on sending data. How this will work is that the radios will be sending the temperature sensor at the ala wai to a esp8266 or a particle photon that will receive and upload that temperature sensor to google sheets. The first day of prepping was research on how to use the radios and soldering all the connectors and antenna connectors. Once that was done, I ran a simple “hello world” program that allowed me to briefly understand the code behind the radios and how to have the two modules communicate with one another. The RFM96 is a the radio module that is connected to an arduino since it’s an add on instead of being its own micro controller. After the hello world program was done, I tried programming the transmitter side to send integer values instead of characters. What I learned is that I need to convert the integer to character and grab it (front e receiver side) and c…

Changes were made

After testing our array code, we figured that for now we will go with the original code that worked but it will send data only once per 5 minutes to save data. We think that its the conversion of the array to a string since google sheets can only grab strings from the Electron. It would be ideal if google sheets can grab arrays however, we currently don't have a solution to this problem.

Another change that was made is we will be using radio frequency (RF) to send our data to a ESP8266 or a Photon that will send the data to google sheets. This will save us money from the cellular portion of the project and it will save us battery life since it doesn't take a lot of energy to send the data. We will be testing code and getting this working once the ordered parts come in. We are using the LoRa breakout board as a transceiver.