Home Climate Monitoring

Sometime last year my friend Andrew made me aware of the sensors and software he was using to monitor temperature and humidity in his home. I thought that was cool and it introduced me to several hardware and software tools that I had not known about. I wanted to set this up at my home so I filed a project for a later date.

Well, that day arrived a few weeks ago and here’s what it looks like today:

Screenshot showing charts of temperature and humidity time series.

To get started exploring this I purchased an AcuRite bundle of three sensor towers and one display. I set up the towers around my home and put the display in my home office. It was neat to see the display showing the measurements at any given time. Soon I wanted to go to the next level and record and see the data over time.

These sensors broadcast the data over 433 MHz and there are consumer level antennas and software available to read this data. I bought a NooElec bundle which gave me all the hardware I needed to receive this data on my computer. Setting it up was straightforward. I used rtl_433 and was able to start seeing the wireless data immediately in the terminal on my Mac.

The next step was storing all this data. That’s where influxdb came in. And the glue to get it from rtl_433 to influxdb involved MQTT and telegraf.

There was a lot of trial and error but I finally got it all set up and was able to get the data into influxdb. I even made a dashboard in there to visualize it. The options on that dashboard were limited so I got grafana set up and built a dashboard in that which can be seen at the top of this post as seen on my desktop browser. It also looks great on mobile devices.

Except for rtl_433, the rest of the tools all run on docker on my desktop Mac. At some point I may migrate that off to a Raspberry Pi but for now it’s all working and I’m going to take a break from any further optimizing/tweaking for now.

Update (6th March, 2023): Follow up post about expanding on this effort.