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6A. Assemble Single Board Solar-Powered Weather Station

Hardware Assembly

  1. Start by placing screws and spacers in all four corners of the board. The spacers should be on the underside (non-component) side of the board. This makes the pcb into its own work station.
  1. Assemble the board starting with the lowest components and work up. Solder each one-by-one. Carefully inspect your solder joints before moving to the next component. It is good practice to solder just one pin, then inspect the placement of the component to make sure it is flat and square on the PCB. Adjust the component if needed, then solder the other pins:
    • Resistor
    • Slide switches (2)
    • Small white socket for the PANEL. The notched side faces away from the pcb.
    • Solder the leads for the LiPo cell into the CELL pads. OBSERVE POLARITY: RED to (+)
    • Cut and solder headers for I2C (4-pins) and LOCAL (2-pins) with the short ends of the pins through the pcb. Place the 2-pin shunt on the LOCAL pins.
    • Cut four individual header pins for the TP4056. Place the short ends of the pins through the PCB. Losely place the TP4056 on the pins. Solder the TP4056 to the pins. Keep some finger pressure on the TP4056 while you do this so that the module stays flat on the main pcb.
    • Solder the TP4056 pins on the backside of the pcb.
    • Solder the 5-pin socket for the BH-1750, and the 4-pin socket for the BME280. Do not install the two 8-pin female sockets for the D1 Mini. They will be installed in Step 5.
  1. Plug the 4-pin header included in the package with the BME280 into the 4-pin socket previously installed. The long pins of the header should be engaged with the socket. This will help stabilize the sensor module while soldering. Place the module on the header pins with the sensor (a small silver can) facing up. Solder the headers to the BME280 module. See picture after Step 4.
  1. Plug the 5-pin header included in the package with the BH1750 into the 5-pin socket previously installed. The long pins of the header should be engaged with the socket. This will help stabilize the sensor module while soldering. IMPORTANT: The sensor should be facing up. Solder the BH1750 to the header.
  1. Follow this procedure to stabilize and align the parts while soldering the D1 Mini. Plug the long pins of both 8-pin headers into the 8-pin sockets included in the package with the D1 Mini. Loosely place the socket assemblies into the PCB. Place the D1 Mini on top of the short header pins. IMPORTANT: The small rectangular silver object (the actual ESP8266) should be facing up. Solder the D1 Mini to the header pins. While holding the D1 Mini in place, turn the board over and solder the socket pins to the pcb.
  2. Carefully inspect all the solder joints.
  3. Set switch SW1 to OFF, SW2 to RUN.
  4. Remove any protective film from the solar panel if applied. NOTE: The solar panel can be damaged if you apply too much heat. Using a minimum of heat, tin the (+) and (-) pads on the back of the panel by putting a drop of solder on them. Solder the leads from the XH-2P connector to the back of the solar panel. NOTE WELL!!! OBSERVE THE POLARITY: RED to (+), BLACK to (—). Cover the solder connections with a dab of hot melt glue for protection from the weather. Glue the leads to the back of the panel to provide strain relief for the connections.
  1. Verify that SW1 is OFF. Insert the LiPo cell connector onto the socket on the end of the two-wire lead..
  2. Connect a Micro USB cable from your computer to the TP4056 socket. The LiPo cell can be charged ONLY through the TP4056 connector. The orange LED should light to indicate the cell is being charged. The blue LED will light when charged. Turn switch SW1 to ON only after the blue LED is lit.
  3. Remove the Micro USB cable after the cell is charged.
  4. Congratulations! You have assembled your kit. The next step is software configuration.

Software Configuration

Weather station kits purchased after July 2022 are preprogrammed. They are configured using a cell phone or W-Fi connected computer. See the detailed instructions at 7A. Weather Station Software Configuration – Preprogrammed

Instructions for overriding the supplied programming (not recommended) are provided in Section 7. Configure Firmware.

15:09:39.498 -> Mounting File System
15:09:39.498 -> No Double Reset Detected
15:09:39.498 -> Attempt WiFi connection
15:09:39.498 -> *wm:[1] AutoConnect 
15:09:39.498 -> *wm:[2] Connecting as wifi client... 
15:09:39.498 -> *wm:[2] setSTAConfig static ip not set, skipping 
15:09:39.498 -> *wm:[1] Connecting to SAVED AP: [your wifi ssid]
15:09:40.015 -> *wm:[1] connectTimeout not set, ESP waitForConnectResult... 
15:09:40.156 -> *wm:[2] Connection result: WL_CONNECTED
15:09:40.156 -> *wm:[1] AutoConnect: SUCCESS 
15:09:40.203 -> *wm:[2] Connected in 677 ms
15:09:40.203 -> *wm:[1] STA IP Address:
15:09:40.344 -> Combined APRS-ThingSpeak version
15:09:40.344 -> -------------------------------------------------
15:09:40.344 -> Sequence: 156
15:09:40.344 ->    °C    (°F)   RH%  SLP mb    (in)     Lux  Volt
15:09:40.344 ->  23.8 ( 74.8)  49.5  1015.6 (29.99)     108  5.00
15:09:40.344 -> -------------------------------------------------
15:09:40.533 -> APRS connected.
15:09:40.580 -> Rcvd: # aprsc 2.1.10-gd72a17c

15:09:40.580 -> Send: user W4KRL-13 pass [your passcode] vers IoT-Kits 1000
15:09:40.627 -> Rcvd: # logresp W4KRL-13 verified, server T2USANE

15:09:40.627 -> APRS Login ok.
15:09:40.627 -> Send: W4KRL-13>APRS,TCPIP*:!3850.20N/07728.79W_.../...t075h49b10155 1000
15:09:40.627 -> Send: W4KRL-13>APRS,TCPIP*:T#156,834,046,029,051,,11110000,Solar Power WX Station
15:09:40.720 -> APRS done.
15:09:40.720 -> ThingSpeak Server connected to channel: 88666
15:09:40.768 -> [your api write key]&field1=23.75&field2=49.47&field3=1.28&field4=1015.55&field5=108.33&field6=5.00&field7=-46&field8=74.75&status=
15:09:40.768 -> ThingSpeak data sent.
15:09:40.768 -> Sleep 600 seconds.

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