[oshug] Open hardware anemometer

christopher west chris.pn.west at gmail.com
Sat Jun 25 13:17:31 UTC 2011


All,

I'm been mulling over the idea of making a no moving parts anemometer
and releasing everything to the public. 
I thought that this would be the best place to start discussing the
idea.

My plans thus far;

The main part of this project are the micro-controller and the
ultrasonic sensors.

For the micro-controller I'm going to use a Microchip PIC as I've have
experience with these.
I have thought about using an Arduino but this project will be as much
about discovering if I can use open-source tools from start to finish as
having a working system at the end. To that end I've decided to design
my own  PCB from scratch. I'm a electronic engineer by trade so this
shouldn't cause to many headaches but if this is too difficult I will
consider using an Arduino.

The ultrasonic sensors can be used to calculate wind speed and
direction. 
The basic idea is to use a set of sensors perpendicular to each and
calculate the time delay or Doppler shift to find out where the wind is
coming from. I haven't decided which is the best way to do yet so I'm
going to incorporate both.

The rest of it will use RS232 for communication. 
For power I'm hoping to incorporate a battery/solar power unit. 
The anemometer will have the following basic sensors; Pressure,
Humidity, Temperature in shade and direct sun light.

As for the open-source tools;

Since I'm going to be using Microchips PICs there are in beta trials of
there new open-source embedded IDE which is called MPlab X[1], which is
based off netbeans so it aligns nicely with my needs.

For the embedded C compiler my initial thinking will be to use SDCC[2]
but that depends on what PIC I select or I might be able to use GCC but
I'm not sure.

For the electronic design I'm think KiCAD[3] as it I've played around
with it in the past and I've quite liked it. 

Finally for the physical design I plan to use Freecad[4] it may not be
very full featured but I'm hopeful it will be useful. 

I'm also trying to think of a project name at the moment and I'm very
open to any ideas?

Please let me know what you think and if you have any pointers I would
be very great full.

Regards, 
Chris West

[1] MPlab X: http://microchip.wikidot.com/
[2] SDCC: http://sdcc.sourceforge.net/
[3] KiCAD: http://www.lis.inpg.fr/realise_au_lis/kicad/
[4] FreeCAD: http://free-cad.sourceforge.net/ 




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