Arduino, meet Juno.
By now, you’ve heard about the forecast plaguing the northeastern United States. Tens of millions of people are hunkered down and bracing for what will surely be a historic blizzard that will bring Boston and New York City to a standstill. Typically speaking, snowfall is often measured by its depth in inches (or centimeters).
However, Jason Poel Smith has noted that there are a number of other factors to be considered, such as weight, density, temperature and shape. Each of these elements can greatly affect how its behaves when trying to sculpt snowmen, snowballs, or most likely, shoveling. Therefore, the Maker decided to devise a simple scale that can accurately measure these properties without having to leave your warm house — something that will come in handy as winter storm Juno approaches.
Smith’s build consisted of tearing down a small digital scale, separating its load cell and monitoring circuit, and mounting the parts in two different enclosures. The Maker connected the wires from the load cell to the pins on the circuit board using extension wires. Once completed, Smith sealed the casings and mounted a bowl to the scale’s plate to catch the snow. The display can then be placed somewhere inside, such as the kitchen window, while the scale itself outside in the snowy yard.
Those who wish not to use the device’s original monitoring circuit also have option of using an Arduino Uno (ATmega328) instead. In fact, Smith notes that Makers will find that an Arduino provides several more options in tracking and processing the snowfall. This can be accomplished by wiring a simple strain gauge in series with a fixed resistor and utilizing the Arduino’s AnalogRead function to measure the voltage of the center pin. In the event that the load cell outputs series data, that can be read directly with the serial read function.
Looking for a project to work on while snowed in? Head over to the Maker’s official log here to get started.