Monday, 17 June 2019

Latest Arduino Project

It has been quite a long time since I last had a tinker with an Arduino project. The last one was a weather station with digital readout. That never reached its final stage. All was going well until the day I updated the Arduino IDE (the program used to program an Arduino). The update went badly wrong. It kept reporting errors and wouldn't recognise the instruction I had written previously.

Recently I decided to delete all the old IDE files and install the latest version from scratch. Then a new weather station project on the Instructables site caught my interest. It uses a 3.5 inch full colour TFT display to show the readings in graphical form. The display used is designed to fit on and use with an Arduino Mega. It has a resolution of 480 x 320 pixels.

I found one for sale on eBay direct from China for less than £8 which included postage. After 10 days it arrived. I also had to purchase the tiny unit which actually measures temperature, air pressure and works out the relative humidity. I already had an Arduino Mega.

The sensor module, sensor is the tiny metal box top right

As always there were other 'libraries' of instructions to install which enable access to the sensor and TFT display. It took a while to find the TFT library files but I discovered a set on the Rinky-Dink Electronics site. They installed and worked perfectly.

Once the program was installed and tested I made some alterations to the original. As well as the graph the most recent readings are now shown numerically just above the X axis. Also I had to alter the range of values on the Y axis to suit the possible range of local readings. At first I thought the pressure readings seemed to be far too high but checking on the Met Office site showed it to be within 1mbar. More accurate than my commercial weather station!


The display shows up to 36 hours of data (one new reading every 6 minutes) which makes it possible to see weather trends. The above was taken after a 26 hr test run with the unit in the conservatory. When the screen is full the graphs are scrolled from right to left by one pixel with each new reading. Maybe I will change the timing to every 8 minutes so as to display the trend over 48hrs.

Obviously to be of any use the detector needs to be outdoors in a suitable container. Ideally, once I've finished tinkering, I  will have a go at designing and 3D printing a suitable box to hold the Mega and TFT display.

I am so delighted with the possibilities of this colour display I have ordered another one  to experiment with. Screen refresh is slowish so not suitable for displaying video for example.

Thursday, 13 June 2019


Recent flooding in my back garden had gone down nicely - until more rain arrived late yesterday.
Over an inch of rain in eight hours and still steadily precipitating this morning.
I've seen it far worse than this in the past.
Fortunately the lawn is lower than the building so not a danger to property.


Not all bad though.
Blackbirds love it as it forces the worms to the surface

Just the sort of morning to have a bit of a change to my usual breakfast.
Instead of my daily Weetabix I cracked open a tin of country vegetable soup.
Sliced a burgerless burger bun and covered the slices with Pro Active spread.
Dunked in the hot soup - lovely jubbly.

Wednesday, 12 June 2019

Hot Lips Revisited

Last April I wrote about the Salvia Hot Lips I had bought.
I was disappointed at the time that the flowers were completely red in colour.
It was pointed out to me it takes a while for the plants to mature and show their true colour.
Now they are looking as I expected:



Quite a startling combination of pure white and brilliant red.
All being well they will probably continue flowering right through the Summer.

Tuesday, 11 June 2019

Wet, Wet, Wet

Today Lincolnshire seems to have taken the brunt of the wet weather.
Possibility of a month's rainfall to be dumped on us in a couple of days.
Quite a few trees down, blocking roads.
A great long list of roads closed by flooding.
Fire and rescue inundated with calls to pump out flood water.

These about sum it up locally:


Overflowing drain

At least one more day, maybe two, of rain to come this week.
To think a few of days ago there were calls for farmers to take less water from our local rivers as levels were so low. Now many have burst their banks.

Thursday, 6 June 2019

A Few Wildflowers

... from our visit to South Thoresby Warren.

Hope the IDs are correct.


Clover DSCN9635

Birdsfoot Trefoil

Birdsfoot Trefoil DSCN9637

Scarlet Pimpernel

Scarlet Pimpernel DSCN9672

Doves-foot Cranebill

Doves-foot Cranebill DSCN9683

Tuesday, 4 June 2019

South Thoresby Warren

How time flies. It has been ten years since I first visited and wrote about South Thoresby Warren, Lincolnshire. This piece of land was once a sand quarry, then used for land fill and finally made in to a small nature reserve open to the public. Yesterday it was a toss up as to whether I cut my grass or we had a trip out. As it looks as though the weather is going to become changeable with showers forecast the trip out won.

 South Thoresby Warren

We both enjoyed a stroll round the shorter route, just having to double back at one stage as we were heading out instead of round. I sampled the sights and sounds and Penny sampled a whole lot of new odours.

South Thoresby Warren

The reserve consists of a mixture of open grassland and a small wooded area. New native trees are being added.

For a change I made the photos I took into a slide show with a soundtrack of sounds recorded while we had a short rest on one of the benches provided.

As there was a stiff breeze at times there is some wind noise and a few flowers moved too much for sharp photos. Disappointing in that I saw not one mammal, a few birds rushing about, and just one bee.


The only insect which stayed still was this beetle I found resting on the car door on our return.

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