Mar 092017

Phase One of the Volthaus Labs 433MHz remote weather station project is completed. The data currently being sent to the RX (receiver) is Temperature and Humidity. The 1602 LCD display is showing the temperature data in both Fahrenheit and Celsius. While you’re reading this I have moved on to Phase Two which includes adding the BMP180 to the TX (transmitter) and displaying the data inside the lab on the receiver’s 1602 LCD display.

The receiver’s display rotates three screens in a loop.

– Screen One –

– Screen Two –

– Screen Three –

The first screen displays the project name. The second screen show the temperature in Celsius with the humidity and the third screen show the temperature in Fahrenheit and the humidity again. I have it working but there are bugs somewhere preventing the correct data being displayed. All that will be covered in the Phase two tutorial. Building this system has been a learning experience. The goal is to have a solar powered remote sensor array that transmits data including temperature, humidity, wind speed and direction, barometric pressure, altitude, and rain indicator. Instead of using an Arduino I am using an ATMEL ATMEGA328P-PU on both my transmitter and my receiver. Using the Rocket Scream Low Power Library is part of the plan. The loop gathers data from the sensors, transmits them using the radio, then goes back to sleep.  But the unused pins on the Atmega 328 need to be sent to ground using a resistor. I did not do that on the current TX so the Solar panel is not keeping the 18650 charged for more than a few days. In other words it’s working well but I am having power issues. So I will share my progress to this point with you.

The only receiver changes planned for the future will be code updates.








In developing this project I have found these online articles to be very helpful.

Mini weather station by indigod0g




The best one of all is by a young man named Vlad who lives in Canada. It would be much simpler to just use his system but I really want to develop my own and learn as much as possible in the process. Here is a link to Vlad’s well documented system.

First test of the 433MHz solar powered transmitter layout. Using Arduino Uno.

The start of the Atmega 328 based receiver. The 10K potentiometer has not been added yet. Once it is it will allow for contrast control of the LCD 1602 display.









Facing to the south the panel receives plenty of sunlight

This case is temporary. Mounted in the shady dry location.

433MHz receiver uncovered.

 If you are interested in building a version of this project for yourself you will need:

  • Two Arduino Unos (buy) or Two ATMEL ATMEGA328P-PU (buy) barebones setups.
  • 433MHz RF Transmitter-Receiver pair (buy)
  • One DHT11 (buy) or DHT22 (buy) temp/humidity sensor
  • One 0.9V-5V to 5V dc Boost Step-up Power Supply Module (buy)
  • Li-Ion battery charging module (buy)
  • 1602 LCD display (buy)
  • Solar Panel – 1.6w 5.5v 266ma  (Amazon)

The Arduino code for the project’s transmitter and receiver can be downloaded HERE


Weather Station Assembly:



Transmitter Side:

Connecting DHT11
When using the DHT11 module there is no need to add a resistor between the Data and Voltage pins on the DHT11 as called for when using the bare sensor.

– The VCC pin on Arduino’s 5V output or if you are using the barebones Atmega328 just connect to your 5VDC source.

– The Negative/Ground pin to Arduino’s GND or your projects ground point.

– The DATA pin to Arduino/Atmega328 digital pin 4

Connecting RF433 transmitter


– VCC pin on Arduino’s 5V output or if you are using the barebones Atmega328 just connect to your 5VDC source.

– The GND pin to Arduino’s GND  or your projects ground point.

– The DATA pin to Arduino/Atmega328 digital pin 12

Receiver Side:

Connecting RF433 receiver


– VCC pin on Arduino’s 5V output or if you are using the barebones Atmega328 just connect to your 5VDC source.

– The GND pin to Arduino’s GND  or your projects ground point.

– The DATA pin to Arduino’s digital pin 11 – If you have two data pins you only need to connect one of them.

Connecting the LCD display

To properly connect the LCD display, you will need to connect the following:

– LCD VCC pin to 5V pin

– LCD GND pin to GND pin

– LCD RS pin to digital pin 7

– LCD Enable pin to digital pin 6

– LCD D4 pin to digital pin 5

– LCD D5 pin to digital pin 4

– LCD D6 pin to digital pin 3

– LCD D7 pin to digital pin 2

– LCD backlight: Pin A to 5VDC and pin K to GND/Ground

Connecting the potentiometer


– one of the outer pins to Arduino’s 5V output

– the opposite outer pin to Arduino’s GND and

– the middle pin to LCD’s VO

The potentiometer is used to control the LCD’s contrast

This completes phase one of the Volthaus Electronics Laboratory 433MHz Weather Station. Questions, comments, etc. are welcome. 

Oct 262016


This is the first installment of what I hope will be a complete and easy to understand series of tutorials on remote control using Arduino, Bluetooth, and free software that allows you to control just about any electrical device from an LED all the way to 110 volt AC lamps, fans, etc.

Check it out at:Instructables

And the video:

Sep 272015

DC Electric MotorDC Electric DIY Motor Project

Let’s build an electric motor. “An electric motor is an electrical machine that converts electrical energy into mechanical energy.”  We won’t go into exactly how the electricity makes this motor work because that would be a book all on its own, so let’s build this motor and have fun! To learn more about the technical knowledge of electric motors I suggest you start by reading the Wikipedia page.

Bill of Materials (BOM):

2 – Paper Clips
1 – Battery or power supply:  D cell, 9 volt, AA, 2 AA, benchtop power supply
1 – Bread Board, card board, piece of wood to mount the motor or rubber bands to hold paper clips to end of D cell battery
1 – Magnet – Can be a bar, circular, or just about any shape. I used 2 – 13mm diameter Neodymium magnets, and 1 5mm diameter magnet stacked one on top of the other. I drilled a hole in the board to prevent the magnets from snapping to the paperclip axles. These rare earth magnets are extremely powerful. Our motor with these magnets turns at 180 RPM and seems to have much more power than you would get using plain ceramic magnets.
1 – Magnet Wire 22 AWG. It is a lacquer coated copper wire. You can try using insulated wire but your results will probably not be as good as you would get using the proper wire.

Project parts







Building Instructions:

1. Wind the 20 AWG magnet wire into a 20mm circle, making about 12-15 loops. It helps to wrap the wire around a cylinder of some sort to get better results. The coil you have just made is called a rotor.  You want to have a lead coming from each side of the coil about 20mm in length.
Rotor coil





2. Holding the coil upright put one of the leads on a flat surface.  Using a razor knife or a small piece of 220 sandpaper, remove the lacquer coating from only the very top surface of the wire.  Leave the coating intact on the sides and bottom. Remove the lacquer from the wire from the very end to right up to where the lead meets the rotor.
3. Remove the lacquer from the other lead completely, 360 degrees around. Again from the tip of the lead all the way to where it meets the rotor.
Base with axel supports







4. Straighten your paperclips and make an axle rest at one end. Needle nosed pliers are very handy for this part of the build. You should make them about 25mm long. Place your axles 60mm apart.

Axel support





5. Place your magnet in the center between your axles. Hot glue is good to prevent the magnets from snapping to your metal axles. I drilled a deep hole that could hold all three of my magnets. Using the rare earth magnets which have a very powerful attraction, drilling a hole in your base is a good way to prevent your magnets from snapping over onto your paperclip rotor supports.
6. You can also drill a very small hole in the base to place your axles into for a strong motor. You can also thumbtack them down, or use any other method you can think of, you just want them solid enough to stand upright.







7. Now set the rotor onto the paperclip axles.  You want your rotor directly over the magnets and close to them as well.  You can place cotton from a cotton ball into the hole to raise the magnets, or any thing that will shim them to just below the path of the rotor as it spins.


8. Connect your power to your rotor supports by whatever means you have available. If you’re using a benchtop power supply you can connect your alligator clips to the axles. That is a great way to adjust the height of your axles also, letting the alligator clips hold the paperclips at the right height. If you’re using a D cell battery you can stand an axle at each end of the battery and wrap the rubber band around the entire setup. I don’t suggest doing it that way but it does work.
9. Turn on your power supply at 3.3 volts to begin with and increase if needed. Or connect your battery. The neodymium magnet motor sometimes started spinning on its own as soon as the power was turned on. This happened when sending 5v to the motor. You probably will have to bump the rotor slightly to get it started. You should see which direction it has a tendency to spin and that is the direction you want to push the rotor to start it spinning.


In this video the motor is powered by two AA rechargeable batteries that supply 1.2v and 2700mA each. Watch it go!

Desktop computer power supply modified to work as work bench power supply.

Desktop computer power supply modified to work as work bench power supply.


10. If all is well you should have it running now. Usually some fine tuning is needed to get things working perfectly. Cutting a small disc from a business card and placing on the rotor leads can prevent the rotor from moving laterally and falling off the axle supports.

If your motor still does not run, double check your work! Make sure the lacquer coating was removed exactly as instructed.
When you’re finished turn off the power and put away your tools, any scraps of wire that may have fallen on the floor, etc. A clean and orderly workshop is a safe workshop. Also you don’t want to leave a mess for someone else to clean up. The electronic hobby is a great way to learn, have fun, and make wonderful things that will improve your quality of life. It also is a great way to share your time with your children. This is a fantastic hobby so treat it with respect and be safe. We hope you have enjoyed creating this motor, and reading this tutorial as much as we have had making it. Putting this together for you and spreading the  knowledge of the hobby of electronics has been a privilege.
Thank you.
Volthaus Electronics Laboratory
Sept. 27, 2015