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Author Topic: Moderating leaf blower air flow so that it reflects Met weather reports.  (Read 1754 times)
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I am wanting to do a project where I connect an electric leaf blower up to a computer which moderates the airflow to represent Met weather reports from the web. So, allowing more or less air through depending on say, changes in temperature or something. I am a complete beginner and was wondering how possible/easy this would be and what the best way to go about it would be. Would be grateful for any help/advice!

Thanks!
Beth
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What power source does your leaf blower use?
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I haven't brought on yet as wanted advice first on what kinda power source ect would be best.
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What is the total goal of the blowing wind?
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Its going to blow some fabric, it's part of an art project.
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If its a small dc fan, maybe you can pwm a transistor to drive it
the hardest part will probably be telling it the wind speed from the web
once you have it you can set a range( say 0-25 mph) and map it to the anlog value(0-255)
maybe an easier idea would be to make your own wind speed sensor on the outside and convey the data?
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I haven't brought on yet as wanted advice first on what kinda power source ect would be best.

Electric leaf blowers would probably be mains driven which means that electronic speed control is going to need a fair bit of technology. If you can lower your sights a bit to a low voltage DC fan then things get much easier. (All the leaf blowers I've seen have been hideously loud as well, and I imagine it'd take the shine off an arts project if the thing was so loud you couldn't hear yourself think.
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okay yeah thats good advice, i could use a dc fan instead. but with regards to getting the windspeed it kinda has to be from the web because its part of the idea,
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You might be able to use a light dimmer (600w) or tool speed controller to control the blower, which is turned via a servo. Use an arduino with ethernet shield to read RSS weather feeds to get wind speed.
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Or you could put some kind of airflow diverter at the end of the blower and use a motor to move that causing more or less air to blow on the fabric. While you're at it, perhaps changing where the blower aims or using more than one blower would give you more options as to the dynamics your fabric will be affected by.

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You could make a DIY air flow damper operated by a servo. Probably could be simply made from cardboard and hot glue.
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if yoiu want to go the simple but loud route, get some brush-less motors that are used in rc planes
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You could use more than one DC fan, say 1 fan for every 10 knots of wind? Powering 3 computer fans in series,  shows how that could be done.

Or you could use fans that has a speed sensor on it and then turn them on and off to get to desired speed. Reading Fan Speed

Looking forward to seeing how you do this.
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...which moderates the airflow to represent Met weather reports from the web.
Hi Beth

The Yahoo API for weather (http://developer.yahoo.com/weather/) can give you the info you need.  Your request includes a code for your location (or at least the one you're interested in) and there are two tags in the response relevant to wind
Code:
<yweather:units temperature="F" distance="mi" pressure="in" speed="mph"/>
  <yweather:wind chill="50"   direction="0"   speed="0" />
For your project everything else in the response can be discarded.

With some kind of network shield your Arduino could take care of this request as well as the control of the fan without the need for a computer in the mix at all.

Interesting concept you've come up with!
Geoff
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Leaf blowers tend to be loud. A $15 box fan from walmart is quiet and has three speeds.
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