Server Room Environmental Monitoring -Light and Temperature

April 27, 2011 by
 

Did I leave the light on in the server room again? Kind of like “did I leave the oven on”… its going to bug me all night!
At least I am well on my way to answering that, and several other questions I might be wondering.

My goal with this project is to set up a remote monitoring device I can place in my server room that will display basic information such as temperature, ambient light values, decibels, current draw, etc.

Right now I have a 16×2 character LCD from JKdevices. Its compatible with the Hitachi HD44780, so it works great with the Arduino LiquidCrystal library. I have it connected in 4bit mode.

Arduino with potentiometer, temperature and light sensors

 

I have the arduino reading the 3 sensors and storing them to variables. the light and potentiometer values are stored to an integer, and the temperature is stored in a float. Those variables are then “printed” to the LCD screen, every 500 milliseconds.

Here is the temperature sensor  (based around Ti’s TMP421), which I purchased from Liquidware. the breakout board is manufactured  by Modern Devices.  It’s accurate to within +/- 1 degree Celsius, or for us Americans, +/- 1.8 degrees Fahrenheit. It’s based off the I2C protocol, and includes a library to  make things (somewhat) easier to use.

Modern Devices I2C Temp Sensor

 

The light sensor is the same sensor I used in my 555 contest submission. It is manufactured by Vishay. The TEMT6000 [datasheet] from Sparkfun Electronics . Right now I have no idea what units i am reading, just that the value changes proportionally to the amount of light.

The final item on the display is displaying the value from a potentiometer. Not much use for that unless I need a position sensor for something that rotates or opens.

I’m ordering a few more sensors – more to come as parts come in!

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LCD Pinout

Blue Backlit LCD
Standard HD44780 Interface
Runs on 5 volts
16×2 Character Display
4 Mounting Holes
pin    symbol    description
1    GND    Ground
2    Vcc    Vcc (+5V) also powers backlight
3    V0    Contrast adjustment
4    RS    Register select: low = instruction, high = data
5    R/W    low = write, high = read
6    E    Enable (active high)
7    DB0    Data-bus bit 0 (not used in 4-bit mode)
8    DB1    Data-bus bit 1 (not used in 4-bit mode)
9    DB2    Data-bus bit 2 (not used in 4-bit mode)
10    DB3    Data-bus bit 3 (not used in 4-bit mode)
11    DB4    Data-bus bit 4
12    DB5    Data-bus bit 5
13    DB6    Data-bus bit 6
14    DB7    Data-bus bit 7
15    LED+    Positive backlight supply (if used)
16    LED-    Negative backlight supply (if used)

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Update 5/13/2011

PIR sensor and Audio level sensor have arrived, along with ethernet shield. Trying to get something solid together over the weekend, before next week’s Maker Faire in SF.

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Update 6/14/2011

Received new parts - sparkfun i2C  backpack for LCD.
Ran into a snag with my Arduino duemilanove -i think i blew up burned out the FTDI chip! Not to worry, I hooked up the Xbee for easy “wireless” programming! Got the backpack soldered to the LCD and got it displaying temperatures. Biggest issue was finding the right code to talk to an i2c display, then pushing over the temperature data. The temperature from the sensor is stored as a Float. Floats will not transfer over the serLCD from Sparkfun, so I needed to change it to an integer first. Who knew?

 

 

Comments

6 Comments on Server Room Environmental Monitoring -Light and Temperature

    [...] knowing if the lights have been left on drives him nuts until he returns to work the next morning, so he decided he had to do something. He figured it would be easy enough to build a small sensor that would allow him to monitor the [...]

  1. Steve on Wed, 27th Apr 2011 7:41 pm
  2. Hi,

    Looks good! I’m thinking of doing something similar although house/garden orientated myself.

    One thing though, how does this notify you if you’re not in the room?

    S

    [...] knowing if the lights have been left on drives him nuts until he returns to work the next morning, so he decided he had to do something. He figured it would be easy enough to build a small sensor that would allow him to monitor the [...]

  3. admin on Wed, 27th Apr 2011 9:29 pm
  4. Mmm, its half baked! Check back next week for some possible Ethernet connectivity!

  5. Tom on Thu, 28th Apr 2011 4:15 am
  6. Go to sproutboard.com for a totally working kick ass open source system for this. Anything else is a breadboards hack. And yes there stuff is network enabled!

  7. Laura on Thu, 5th May 2011 4:55 pm
  8. This is a cool project. Looking forward to seeing how it develops.





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