For my master thesis, I designed and realized an electric device for collecting meteorological data. The device is capable of collecting basic meteorological information, such as air pressure, relative humidity, and temperature. It is also equipped with a real-time clock that has the ability to display different values on a small LCD screen as well as a built up connection with a PC via an FTDI chip. It can easily be used indoors, on balconies, or in a greenhouse.
In order to widen my knowledge base, I consciously chose both the electric circuit parts and the developmental environment. I had only limited knowledge about the Altium Designer and the Atollic True Studio electric circuit designer programs beforehand. Additionally, I did not have a solid understanding of the ARM microcontrollers and the operation of the used parts required a particular level of comprehension on different peripherals (e.g. SPI, ADC, I2C, UART). Consequently, this process worked to extend my knowledge and will be of use in the future.
My first step was to create an initial block diagram based upon the interpretation of the task. In order to create the electric circuit plan, I chose the parts carefully to further understand them. While planning the circuit, I had to pay attention to the fundamental designing guidelines, to create the optimal placement of the parts. My board is connected to the developer card through two spike rows. I soldered the purchased parts onto the card along with small corrections to create a successful system startup. After learning to program the card, I created the controller software in C programming language and tested the operation.
I successfully met the requirements for my task and my device works according to the specifications. The software and hardware side, as well as the integration, contain many improvement options for increased functionality in the future.