Temperature, Humidity, and Distance meter: Cave Ice Measuring

Greetings

We are working on a project for the park service to measure cave ice conditions over an extended period of time.

Reading available literature, others have used ultrasound distance meters to determine ice melt (the further the ice is from the meter, the more ice has melted). Additionally temperature, humidity, etc. are useful data.

Unfortunately, scientific grade equipment costs thousands of dollars and is far out of our budget. So, we want to build and design a prototype surveying instrument using the Arduino as a base.

We have ordered an SD Shield, Uno R3, DH11 humidity/temp sensor, ultrasound distance sensor, IR distance sensor, and a AA power supply.

We are new to this with rudimentary soldering skill and limited programming skills.

Essentially looking for pointers and to see if anyone has done anything similar before.

Ideally we would like a sensor that can measure the ice distance, temperature, and humidity approximately twice a day, for at least 2 weeks or so without needing us to check on it-Ideally we would like to be able to power it for 4-6 months through the winter without needing to replace batteries. Because it is in a cave solar power is impossible.

Thanks for any help...

Sounds to me like an ideal project for a Seeeduino Stalker:

http://www.seeedstudio.com/wiki/Seeeduino_Stalker_v2.2

It’s running at 8MHz (saving power), includes a RTC with alarm output (so you can put your Arduino to sleep for half a day, the real time clock will wake it up) and includes an SD card slot (for the logging of the data). You also have the electronic circuits on the board needed to use a LiPo battery (incl. recharging).

With this setup a battery lifetime of a few month sounds feasible to me, given you stay at 2 measures a day. They have a waterproof case for it too. The only drawback: you need a USB2Serial adapter to program it.

I’d start with your ordered UNO and deploy the Stalker in the wild.

Code for how to put it to sleep is available on the Wiki.