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Author Topic: multiple environmental sensors - pre-startup  (Read 1651 times)
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Hello there,

I am not sure if this should be posted here -

I have recent been reading many online resources sites and forums on Arduino, having in mind the project to build a multi-sensor datalogger based on an Arduino (let's say, moisture, temperature). I will use my setup in my lab and eventually on the field to monitor my study site. I am not that experienced in programming boards, but I know the C language - so I should be OK with adapting some available program for my specific context. But I am poor in electronic, like I have some (simple) basics from experience, but I never made an extended project yet.

I do not have yet an Arduino board nor a StarterKit as I am not sure what would be right for me. So I am asking you kind folks:


I am asking because I am somewhat limited within my budget and I would like to make the best possible choice early to prevent wastage of resources.

tl;dr : is the starter kit worth it for a newbie ? What other books would be good for a general reference? Or for environmental monitoring. Thanks
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STarterkit has a good number of experiments to learn a bit about electonics and programming.

I learned quite a lot just by going through the tutorial site to learn the ins and outs of the language (still visits it for code snippets).

for learning electronics you can read through these - http://openbookproject.net/electricCircuits/ - "warning, lot of info"
and last but not least - http://www.earthshineelectronics.com/files/ASKManualRev5.pdf -
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Rob Tillaart

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having in mind the project to build a multi-sensor datalogger based on an Arduino (let's say, moisture, temperature). I will use my setup in my lab and eventually on the field to monitor my study site.

I am asking because I am somewhat limited within my budget and I would like to make the best possible choice early to prevent wastage of resources.


being somewhat limited in the budget myself, I submit the answer is probably no to everything.

Computer books have been notorious for decades.  They always cost $50 and get opened once. I suspect this is because they are written for people who should not be buying them, but do have the $50.

The best source of information would be this forum and it's free. Using the Arduino for datalogging is very popular and not very difficult. You will be well-supported here. There is also a raft of other information from manufacturers and resellers, not to mention a great swag of internet tutorials, also free. 

An electronic kit usually comes at a price premium and inevitably contains stuff you don't want. You will be better off getting an Arduino board and then acquiring the peripherals off eBay as you need them. Needless to say, you can get stuff you don't need without buying a kit, but a mistake is probably less likely, and cheaper if it is.

Having said that, the big mistake I made was the Arduino Uno itself as it eventually turned out to have insufficient memory for my datalogging project for remote operation, and I was obliged to buy a Mega 2560. I don't regret getting the Uno, it was excellent for learning and will probably be used at home.

You are already at a huge advantage as you are talking first and buying later. Most people, including me, buy first and talk later, which is a good way to get it wrong.
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As you pretty much have picked out your application, datalogging of sensor data I would suspect that you wouldn't be getting the most bang for your buck with a 'starter pack' but if your electronics knowledge is at zero that is the a good way to start out with very simple circuits and build up skills and confidence.

 As far as starting out I think the Uno is the best entry board until proven you need more I/O pins or your sketch has grown too larger to run on a Uno, which should not be that likely for a sensor datalogging application.

Uno boards are available just about anywhere, but I can recommend a very cost effective shield board that any datalogging application would require and that is a SD memory card and real time clock shield. The one made by Adafruit is particularly cost effective, well designed, and they have free software libraries for downloading to help using these functions in your sketch.

https://www.adafruit.com/products/1141

Lefty
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I wish to thank you three, retrolefty, Nick and Rob for bringing quality material for me to think !

I will resume my thought about this following the read of your comments and what I am most likely to do :

While the starter kit may be a good walk through for a beginner with electronics and board programming, I am sure it is possible to buy a Mega board with more memory and find online step by step methods for a single project instead (as suggested).  Also ASKManualRev5.pdf seems to contain enough material to get started up I think. So if I want to get start with a walkthrough I will make my own from a guide such as Earth Shine Electronics. The SD card module is a great idea too - either practical - as in more memory & because at a remote location, I could provide an assistant with a new memory and ask him to switch, without more manipulation.

I also agree that I have many books on my shelves that I have not even opened - ever. Also, considering the Arduino forum and resources, and vendors like Adafruit make me realize that there is a lot on the net as possible interaction with fellow enthusiasts about information sharing and discussions and projects.

I will probably start with a Mega board and the SD Card; and also possibly some kind of networking (wireless something). For the documentation, I must admit that I still enjoy printed document, as I can read this while I am AFK.

Thank you again,

flax
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