To build a Bar-o-meter device or not?

Hi all

TLDR; A guy wants to know building a hardware device is alot easier or building an app for iOS/Andriod devices with Bar-o-Meter feature

I am thinking to build a Rain forecast station using Particle’s Electron(3G), SparkFun Weather Shield and Bread Circuit.

I am not sure is it easy or possible to do it? I am new in building hardware product from scratch and I don’t know how to even solder stuff together (if needed). Another issue is creating the program or logic for it.

So I hope you guys can give some advice through this post.

The rural area (Indonesia) I am testing in does not have a local weather station so the locals cannot predict when the rain is coming.

So I bought an AcuRite weather station and bar-o-meter(AcuRite 02007 Digital Weather Center) from Amazon which is designed for America so it is not working well in Asia countries like Indonesia.

I hope to build a device that can at least send a text message to 1 or more mobile phones about the weather forecast. It will be a great bonus to upload the data to the Cloud and then send emails out.

About me:
I am Information Systems guy who deals with databases, html and some Java/C# programming experience. I am based in Singapore and I like eCommerce stuff.

I am looking at this possible project as community work to help the locals to get the basic information such as when is it going to rain at their area and etc.

Information I found:

@jonkho, not sure what you are asking for exactly. The Electron is a great platform for building a weather station as long as you consider how it will be powered. This should include solar/battery if “regular” power is not available. The frequency of transmissions will play a large part in the power management of the Electron so this will need to be considered.

You will need to ensure that cellular coverage is available in the area and that the Particle SIM works in your region or you can provide one with a suitable data plan. If this is available then connecting to the cloud is possible and anything goes from there.

As for the weather station part, the Sparkfun weather shield is socketed for a Core or Photon and not ideal for an Electron. You could pull together the different sensors on separate breakouts but that is a matter for discussion IMO. The Sparkfun shields are Open Source and could be adapted to use an Electron. :smile:

Ping @wgbartley, @kennethlimcp, @bko, @ScruffR, since they are much smarter than me!

If you build a mobile phone app, you are limited by the sensors on board the device you purchase. Don’t think sleep/low power mode can be easily controlled via the app to save power as well.

You can decide based on:

  • sensors you require
  • how the device will send data out from itself to where you need the data
  • power consumption and charging method
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hi @peekay123

Thanks for the reply. I was thinking of doing direct power source then work on solar/battery once the functions are done. Can I assume there is no coding involve? It seems like ‘plug&play’ kinda of device (Shield).

You raised a good point on network coverage. The signal is bad at that rural area but it is able to have 1 to 2 bars signals. I will be going for pre-paid plans.

I saw one of the threads that there are extra pins for Electron but they did not test if it works or not.

If i need to buy Sparkfun weather shield… so I need to buy bar-o-meter built it?

I am thinking to use other project such as raspberry pi 2 weather station but it still neds wifi to work.


@jonkho, there is always programming to be done! If you mean there is not special code to write to interface with the weather shield then yes, that is correct. There is a set of libraries for that shield. However, you still need to write code for the operation of the Electron and how you will send data, etc.

As for the pay-as-you-go plan, I am not sure if that will work or not. @will is the guy to answer that one.

The SparkFun weather shield includes barometer, temperature and humidity sensors. There are also connectors to add their weather meters to measure rain, wind direction and speed.

Your selection of a suitable platform is ultimately your choice. There are GSM shields for the RPi. Your choice may come down to what you are comfortable using and developing with. :slight_smile:

Hey! Our default option for cellular data is a pay-as-you-go plan. There are no contracts, just a monthly fee for data that you can cancel or pause at any time. Our goal is flexibility, not to lock anyone into long-term contracts like are so common with subsidized handsets :slight_smile:

Hi @peekay123

Thank for your info on what is the expectation for programming.

I am looking at getting my own pre-paid card first since it is just a trial project and I understand that Particle’s Electron(3G) works in Indonesia/Singapore which is great.

I just found out that Particle’s Electron can’t send text messages directly and I have to use Twilio’a API I think.

It is good to know that SparkFun weather shield’s has a built-in barometer, temperature and humidity sensors.

But the next question is Particle’s Electron is able to connect and work with SparkFun weather shield?

Probably I will wait and find out more about it.

hi @kennethlimcp

Thanks for your view on this.

Currently, I am looking at weather forecast only since it can affect their harvesting times.

It seems a lot easier to develop an Android App since the mobile phone is ready for use. Again, there is a question if the companies which own the API supports Asia? I see major companies supports North America only.

This is kinda of challenging. lol

hi @will

Thanks for the info. I might sign that up if I am able to manage to get one of the projects up and running. It is good for people who do not need to top up their re-paid card all the time. It is like set and forget kind of thing.

Now I am trying to build another project of outdoor intruder alarm using the Sensor Kit. But I am just waiting for it to available in your stores or the shipping charges fees are ready.

Can I just buy sound and motion sensors? I do not need other sensors as of now. Edit: I just found the motion sensor project here. :smile:

Thanks alot guys!


The sensor kit won’t be ready to ship until January, along with the rest of our pre-orders and Kickstarter rewards. If you’re just interested in the motion and sound alarms, you can buy them separately from SparkFun or Seeed–here are some equivalent parts in their stores:


Seeed Studio


Thanks for the reply. Anyway, I just ordered one Photon from you guys and will be getting the rest of the basic items in Singapore since it is available here (Except for battery and weather shields).

I will just start off with something simple like ‘motion detector’ project and see how it goes from here.

I will be doing my testing with it while waiting for Electron to be available next year.

Thank guys for the help.

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