Raspberry Pi powers weather station in Nepal

This Raspberry Pi-powered weather station is a vital tool for Nepalese farmers, who work in remote, changeable conditions, and rely heavily on monitoring the environment.

nepal weather station being built
All the parts had to be low-cost and easy to maintain

It’s hard to forecast the weather in Nepal. Conditions can vary a lot within a small area because the country is so mountainous. Plus, there is no national weather service. This makes life even harder for farmers working in remote villages. There were a few essentials elements that any solution had to have:

  • Low-cost
  • Reliable and easy to maintain
  • Solar-powered
  • Able to run off readily available motorcycle batteries when the solar panels don’t get enough sun
nepal weather station on the roof
A simple plastic food container keeps the hardware safe and dry

How was it made?

Prabesh Sapkota and Binod Kandel from the Robotics Association of Nepal led the team that built the solar-powered weather station with battery back-up. They were able to complete the project affordably using Raspberry Pi. Prabesh and his team wrote the software and created a display dashboard in Raspberry Pi OS Jessie.

nepal weather station hardware insides
The core components put together as a prototype with a breadboard to check everything worked

One of the challenges they faced was being able to power the Raspberry Pi and Arduino reliably, and that’s where the BitScope Blade Uno came in to play (more on that later).

The weather station sensors measure temperature, barometric pressure, humidity, wind direction and wind speed, and all of the sensors are connected to the Arduino, which records the data and sends it to the Raspberry Pi to display on the dashboard.

Full kit list

  • Raspberry Pi 3 Model B
  • Raspberry Pi 7″ Touch Display
  • Arduino Uno
  • BitScope Blade Uno (directly powers Raspberry Pi and Arduino)
  • GPS module (NEO-6M-0-001)
  • Pressure sensor (BMP180)
  • Humidity sensor (DHT11)
  • 12V Lead-acid battery
  • 20 Watt solar panel
  • Hall effect sensor (used together with magnets in an anemometer to measure wind speed)
  • 8 reed switches (used with a wind vane that has an attached magnet to sense wind direction)
nepal weather station in action
Testing out the weather station on the roof

The team is working with an Australian sponsor to run workshops on basic electronics, with the intention of helping people build more of these affordable weather stations for rural schools and remote areas.

What is Bitscope Blade?

This weather station is an inspiring application of BitScope Blade, available to buy from element14. BitScope developed these power and mounting solutions for people working in challenging conditions, making them perfect for remote areas of Nepal without access to reliable power. They’re designed for industrial deployment as well as being suitable for off-grid hobbyist and educational applications.

You can choose from three variants, according to how many Raspberry Pi computers you need to support: BitScope Blade Uno for one Raspberry Pi and optional HAT, useful for makers and students; Duo for a pair of Raspberry Pis, ideal for building a standalone desktop and server system; and Quattro for four Raspberry Pis in applications such as compute clusters, private clouds or build farms.

Read more on the BitScope blog.

No comments

Comments are closed