My science teacher, Mrs. England, asked if I wanted to help build a salinity and temperature monitor for the marsh. I thought that it would be fun and I like to build things. Mr. Meinersmann and I talked over the plan and what we wanted to have it do. After Mr. Meinersmann gave me an overview of where he got the inspiration from he shared the article Development of a Low-Cost Arduino-Based Sonde. We started to build it, but about a third of the way though the build we hit a road block. Soon after that I emailed Brian Dzwonkowski, an author from the article, and asked if he could point me to some help. He led me to Grant Lockridge, also an author from the article, and he gave us tips on how to build the monitor and write the code.
Arduino is an open-source electronics platform based on easy-to-use hardware and software. It's intended for anyone making interactive projects.
Arduino shields are modular circuit boards that piggyback onto your Arduino to instill it with extra functionality. Many Arduino shields are stackable. You can connect many shields together to create a “Big Mac” of Arduino modules.
The conductivity circuit communicates with the conductivity probe to tell the Arduino to tell us the conductivity.
I had to solder the conductivity and the temperature sensor to the right spot on the chip. When I was soldering it was tricky to get the wire, the solder, and the soldering iron in the same place at the same time. Luckily, the magnetic arms were there.
After soldering the first shield I noticed something that I can do better. The first thing was to use headers that go all the way though the shield to plug in to the Arduino.
My soldering experience
When I first started soldering I was ok. As I soldered more and more I got better. Some of the things I got better at was were to to put the soldering iron, how to use a solder sucker. The solder sucker was very useful when I messed up. To help me get better a soldering my teacher sent me a video to watch https://learn.adafruit.com/collins-lab-soldering. That helped a lot with my solder joints.
After soldering it all together we plugged it in to my laptop and we got this error message. I don't know how to solve this problem. But I think that that it is short circuiting and asking the laptop for too much power. My teacher had an idea of adding one thing at a time. We could use my Mr. Meinersmann idea to test what I thought was going wrong. I am going to E mail Grant Lockridge and ask him about it.
The temperature sensor does not tell you the temperature, it tells you a change in voltage and with the code we have to convert that it to a temperature. We finally got the temperature sensor to work after a hundred something tries.
Putting it all together
We need to power the everything so we need 12 D-cell batteries Wired in parallel packs of six
Sensor getting though
The two sensors have to be in the water but all of the electric components need to be completely waterproof.
Tuesday, May 7th we deployed the probe. When we deployed the probe in our marsh, I thought about when I was just learning how to solder. I have learned so much over the course of the year, from soldering to coding to breadboarding. Before we deployed it we wrapped the probe in saran wrap and duct tape, in hope that it will keep most of the living things off of the PVC pipe. It felt so good to get it deployed. I would like to give a huge thanks to Grant Lockridge for helping us really get started.