ESP8266 Weather, The Shim is In! – Step 2

Welcome back, it's now time to move on to the hardware which is step 2 of this 4 step plan I laid out previously. As I mentioned before, the new Avatar main board came in so fast I ended up showing it back in the step 1.2 article. I doubled down in that article and talked about the new interface that I designed for Avatar modules going forward and that too should have been a step 2 series article. That said, if you recall my third bullet item under step 2, it was to spin a shim board that would interface the new Avatar interface to the Particle.io Photon interface. I've actually completed that task and have been using the Avatar to Photon shim interface board for a while but I'm just getting around to writing an article now. First I want to give Kudos to OSH Park, they exceeded my expectations once again as I was holding the board in my hands in only 10 days from pressing the purchase button, you gotta love it! OK, back to the shim design, here is a closeup shot of the shim board.

Close-up of Avatar to Photon Shim Board

Close-up of Avatar to Photon Shim Board

As you can see the shim plugs into the top of each board so they are basically laid end to end with the shim bridging them together. The Sparkfun Weather board did not have a light sensor on it so I decided to add my standard light intensity circuit on the top side of the shim (Hey, why waste space). Also I had room to put the footprints for my standard sensors, a 4030 Analog Voltage Humidity sensor and an AD22103 Analog Voltage Temperature sensor. I haven't soldered those components on yet but I want to add them at some point to compare the accuracy to the I2C sensors on the Sparkfun board. The AD22103 temperature sensor doesn't have the low end range for outdoor measurements so I want to be able to test a drop in replacement with more bottom end range.

Here is a zoomed out photo of the Avatar Module connected to the Photon Weather Shield via the new Shim board.

Esp8266AvatarWithShimToSparkfunWeatherShield

I know it looks a little like a Star Wars ship than a Weather Sensor Module, but it will get the job done besides for looking kinda cool. The boards are held firmly in place with all those pins, so I don't need to worry about vibrations from windy days loosening the connections. I'm going to follow Nate from Sparkfun's lead and use the same weather instrument cover he did on his project, it makes it look official. I'll write up an article with photos once I get to that stage. Its getting closer to the stage where this thing goes outside, but I need to work through modifications to the Avatar Framework embedded code and PC/tablet/phone libraries first. Once I have the updated messaging it will be time to move it outside and then finalize the decoding and work on some GUI displays for the incoming data. Just to recap quickly on the Avatar Framework, we have 3 main pieces, Remote Modules (Sensor/Actuator), Framework services, and finally Applications. This will obviously be a Sensor type Avatar Remote Module, so I'll need to have both sides between the remote module and the framework services updated before I can put this outside and just work on the pure software processing and display of data. Remember the Avatar Control System is private and able to run even when the internet goes out at your location, we don't have a cloud and another company between you and your data, nor hackers trying to take control. Sure we'll publish selected data to the cloud, but we won't need it to operate. I want to keep driving that fact home, as I think its a very important one, and hopefully you will understand why it is important also. So please follow along, drop me comments on any thing you would like to discuss. This project is taking the Scaleable Avatar Control System closer to the point at which I can share it with the maker masses to allow anyone to make small to really large control systems and share all or some of it with other makers. I hope you'll continue to join me on this quest. Until next time Happy Making!