Ever wondered how much energy you could capture right on the street? Or on the roof of your house? Or–you devious creature–on the roof of someone ELSE’S house? Get ready to explore with me the process of making a wind power diagnostic tool, which can tell you anywhere in the world whether or not an environment can support a vertical-axis turbine.
At 10 meters/second, most vertical-axis turbines generate energy, so this device uses an anemometer to measure wind speed, a GPS to log its location data, and Bluetooth technology to push data to adafruit.io.
Let’s get started:
- [a nice layout image of the parts] Gather the materials: Arduino Uno, breadboard, Bluetooth shield, li-ion battery pack, anemometer, wires, soldering iron and co., materials for housing the finished model
- Also, since you’ll be using a SIM card and adafruit.io for this model, register your card [here] and sign up for adafruit.io [here].
- If you haven’t already, download the Arduino program [at this hyperlink]. Then, use [this online tutorial] to download the code libraries for [these parts, separated by commas, linking back to the Adafruit website].
- Before we test the code, we need to assemble the parts in a “working” order, so get out your breadboard and wires. If you’re using multi-stranded wire, solder the ends if you need to [picture of before and after soldering wire].
- [step-by-step images of assembling the breadboard] [a simplified wiring diagram] Following the diagram, wire the Arduino to the [parts] as shown.
- Now, hook up the Arduino to your computer and fire up the program. Delete the default text and enter [this code]. If you’re code-averse, this is where you can stop paying attention, but for those of you who want to know how I did it, read the comments and check out [these tutorials] for some of the original inspiration for the code.
- Hit the “Upload” button. The LED on your Arduino board should flicker, and the prototype should be in action!
- To test this prototype, uncomment the Serial.output section of the code [screenshot here] and blow on the anemometer. A window should display the wind-speed values you are producing with your breath. If it does, success!
- Follow a similar testing procedure to make sure the device hooks up to your adafruit.io account and produces the same values.
- Before you take your device into the wild, you want to protect it. This is the step where you make the housing!
- [follow the illustrated directions to make the housing, probably out of cut acrylic, or cardboard for the truly DIY] [in either case templates will be available for download]
- Secure the device in its new housing and shut it securely. You are now ready to see where the wind takes you!