November 18, 2005

454 words 3 mins read

MVAC? Temp? Weather Station?

I was wandering around the web thinking about how cool it would be to have temp graphs on my MRTG read outs. Now I have our two production servers doing exactly this (thanks to dell open manages support for SNMP) but its only internal temperatures. I’m really more intrested in external temperatures. Whats the temp in my house? What about outside?

I’ve seen this done a LITTLE bit, very little, but I think its cool — and I want it. So I stumbled about some more for Ethernet based temp sensor (which most do multi roll, like temp, humidity, lumens, power, etc) which were all very cool. Most support SNMP, and even come with MIB’s and setup instructions for how to configure MRTG (or Nagios). One one problem, the most crappy unit I could find — cost over 250$ USD. Most of them were in the range of 300-400$ USD. With the Xbox 360 coming out soon (and I wanting it) I dont have the money to buy a single 400$ sensor.

As it turns out there is a project called DigiTemp which supports senors called 1-wire devices. I’ve never really heard of 1-wire devices but they seem simple enough and work off what boils down to a serial (RS232) bus network, at least so I figure. So far it all seems like a very neat idea with some cool stuff being done (like a 1-wire weather station). The sensors dont seem to be very expensive (25$ per for temp only), so if I can figure out what I need for a very very basic system — I may buy some parts and see what I can rig up.

The cool part about this is the potential uses. Take that weather station which I figure couldnt be terrible expensive to make. Add a dash of ITX Motherboard. A splash of stripped down debian on a small laptop harddrive. What you come out with is a weather station for probably 300$ (probably a low estimate — but if you went ultra cheap & recycled stuff you had laying around you could do it). Add a net connection and a USB webcam and you have an awesome weather station that could be deployed almost anywhere.

In the mean time I’d just like to be able to tell the temperature of my home & maybe the difference between individual rooms. I think it would be cool to see the temp in each of the bedrooms, bathroom, plus the living room — also the humidity in the bathroom and the living room. Yes its a novelty that would serve no real purpose — but I love silly novelties. Besides I need something to keep me busy this winter.