straight away Raspberry Pi Pico W Announced by the UK-based official raspberry pi Reseller Pimoroni has announced a range of Pico W-based products.we have already reviewed Inventor 2040 W, won the coveted Editors’ Choice Award. This board introduced the “Pico W Aboard”. This is a series of boards from Pimoroni featuring surface mount with a Pico W soldered to the core.
Pimoroni, the latest Pico W add-on kit, offers Enviro Indoor, a miniature sensor platform that can detect temperature, pressure, humidity, air quality and light levels. Smaller than a Pokémon trading card and with an easy-to-use setup wizard, Enviro Indoor could become a sensor platform for citizen science projects.
It’s easy to use and what can it do? To do that, you need to put it on the bench and test it.
Enviro Interior Specifications
|SoCs||Raspberry Pi Pico W|
|RP2040 Arm Cortex M0+ Dual Core, 133MHz|
|sheep||264KB of SRAM|
|connectivity||Infineon CYW43439 2.4 GHz Wi-Fi with onboard antenna|
|Connect via SPI|
|sensor||BME688 4-in-1 temperature, pressure, humidity and gas sensor|
|BH1745 light (brightness and color) sensor|
|GPIOs||1 x QwST (Qwicc / Stemma QT compatible) port|
|User (poke) button|
|Real time clock (RTC)|
|power/data||Micro USB for data and power|
|JST-PH (2-pin) battery connector (input voltage 2.5V to 5.5V)|
Using Enviro Indoor
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There are two ways to use Enviro Indoor. If you just want to start logging data, you can use the provisioning wizard to quickly set up your device. Power on Enviro Indoor and press the Poke button to set up a temporary Wi-Fi access point. Once connected to the access point, a wizard guides him through the process of naming the device, setting up Wi-Fi, and pointing his Enviro Indoor to online services like MQTT, Adafruit.IO, and more.
This is smooth. This process is straightforward and ends with the appliance sending the data to the service of your choice. We love this process, and when it’s ready, we can see many manufacturers opting for this low-friction approach.
I set up my board to send data to a public MQTT broker, and after a short pause, I saw the data appear in my MQTT client. Data is sent as a JSON object. This is very similar to Python’s dictionary data type, providing clear and easy-to-use data.
What if I want to create my own project? Enviro Indoor can also be used as a generic Raspberry Pi Pico W device with your own code.for our recent How to use Raspberry Pi Pico W with Node-RED The tutorial used Enviro Indoor as the sensor device. With a tiny bit of MicroPython code, a little bit of MQTT magic, and a Raspberry Pi 4 running Node-RED, I quickly created a web-based application that provided up-to-date environmental data for my home. Pimoroni has created an excellent MicroPython module that abstracts the complexity of sensors and provides a clean and easy way to retrieve data for our project.
The core sensors of Enviro Indoor are the BME688, four temperature, pressure, humidity and volatile organic compound (VOC) sensors, the BME688, and the BH1745 brightness and color sensor. BME688 is a solid choice. Covering temperature, pressure and humidity is comparable to the temperature sensor course, but given the pandemic, VOCs are a hot topic.
VOCs are indicators of air quality and gases in the air. BME688 has several Basic AI This can be trained to fine-tune gas detection. The BH1745 can detect basic light levels and determine colors made up of RGB values. If your Enviro Indoor needs to react to darkness, the BH1745 is your best bet.
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You are not limited to just two sensors. His QW/ST port onboard provides access to numerous devices. Stema QT / Qwiic / Breakout Garden sensor. Normally he would test with a BME688, but this board already had a BME688 on it, so digging deeper into the box, I found the MSA301 3-axis accelerometer. It’s not a natural fit given the board’s use case, but it only took me a few minutes to get live accelerometer data from the sensor. This data can also be sent to online services.
The Qw/ST connector is the only means of accessing the GPIO, other pins are not split out for use. This is a shame as I wanted to connect other devices to the board. However, this can be overlooked as it adds bulk and lots of wires to the kit. Enviro Indoor is an appliance. Code it, hang it and use it. If you need extra GPIO, you can easily buy your own BME688 and BH1745 with Raspberry Pi Pico W.
The power supply to the unit is Inventor 2040 WEither a AAA battery pack or single cell LiPo can be used via the JST-PH connector. This is also where things get a little smarter than your average board: Enviro boards can be set to go into deep sleep mode. A mode in which only the RTC is active.
You can keep your project running longer by putting the device into deep sleep, reading it every hour, and waking it up just to send the data to the service. Pimoroni makes a bold statement. “Enviro spends most of its time in a deep sleep state while taking and uploading readings. It consumes very little power. Two AA batteries can keep it in this state for years!” Please note that the battery/LiPo should be charged using a suitable external charger as there is no onboard charging capability.
The $35 price tag suggests that this is an appliance. This is suitable for those looking for the ease of use of an Internet-connected data collection device, or willing to pay a premium for minimal fuss. The build is great, and the built-in hanger is a smart move that you can hang this board on and forget about it.
Enviro Indoor is perfect for science labs, home offices and workplaces. Wizards provide a frictionless path to data science and the hardware looks great.
If you want to participate in electronic-based scientific projects, Enviro Indoor should be your first choice.
Great build quality and great software are the foundations of a great experience. Enviro Indoor offers all that and more. The Wizard is a smart move and opens the board to those unfamiliar with the subject. Admittedly the price is a bit higher than buying the Pico W and sensor yourself, but it’s worth the time and ease of use for cash outlays. You can get
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