Here in the UK many people are being asked to work from home for an altogether different reason than we’ve been used to in recent times: the weather. Roads are melting, schools are being closed, and public services are getting cancelled, all as record-breaking heatwave temperatures hit this green and pleasant land.
Now us Brits absolutely love to talk about the weather, and as I write this, in my makeshift Covid home office/garage, I find myself asking: just how hot is it, exactly? Thanks to Pimoroni’s Pico Enviro+ maker board paired with a Raspberry Pi Pico, I can tell you exactly how hot it is.
The answer, as you can see, is 38.63°C or 101.5°F, which for good old Blighty is hot, very hot.
This is the perfect little project for a day like today and, it turns out, a simple one thanks to the folks over at Pimoroni. Here’s how it’s done:
How it works
The Pico Enviro+ incorporates a whole host of sensors and a colour LCD display all built in, ready to plug into the back of a Raspberry Pi Pico. If you want to have a go at this project yourself, follow the instructions for getting started with Pico by Pimoroni, and download the latest version of their purpose-built custom firmware. Using these instructions you will use the incredibly useful drag-and-drop method for transferring files to the Pico — it’s just like transferring files to a USB memory stick.
Once you’ve flashed the firmware, next up is to download and run Thonny, a Python IDE (an Integrated Development Environment). It’s the software you’ll install on your computer to program your Pico.
With your Pico connected to your computer running Thonny, you need to copy one of the many Pimoroni Pico Libraries and Examples to your Pico:
For instance, this example MicroPython script will make use of the onboard BME688 sensor to display the current temperature, pressure, and humidity. Copying and pasting this file into Thonny and saving the file as main.py onto your Pico will start the program and make your display come to life.
Pico Enviro+ has many other features to explore, including a light and proximity sensor, a gas sensor, and programmable tactile buttons. It also comes with a connector for a PMS5003 Particulate Matter Sensor — think pollution detector. Add a Pico W for wireless connectivity and you’ve got yourself a state-of-the-art environmental monitoring station.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m off for an ice-cream. Anyone else for a strawberry Cornetto?