Public Lab Research note

Fresh air collector

by imvec | November 15, 2016 14:09 15 Nov 14:09 | #13706 | #13706

What we want to do

We'll try to develop a DIY system to collect a relatively standard “fresh air” during the initial autocalibration of an air quality or gas sensor.

Our attempt and results

During the next four days in the city of A Coruña (Spain) and on the framework of the Ateneo Atlántico de Prototipado (Atlantic Prototyping Popular Laboratory) a group of makers, coders and artists will gather at the Domus Science Museum to develop some tecno-social prototypes including this first approach to a standarized/low cost fresh air collector.

Why we're interested

The vast majority of air quality sensors depend on the asumption of a first autocalibration using “fresh air” and working with that reference as the “zero” of the sensor. That first calibration depends on the air conditions of the place where the calibration is carried on. We have to assume that this first “autocalibration” would never be possible in cities like Beijing or Madrid where the presence of high proportions of different gases is already known. We are not talking about the calibration of the sensors in relation to professional gas detectors but the initial autocalibration of the sensors in relation to their own technical specifications.


This is so neat!

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First approach. Now we're powering it up using a potentiometer to control the fan revolutions and begin testing. Even though the sensor in the picture is an MQ2 (buthane, methane....) we willl be testing the MQ3 for alcohol. We're in an open area of a museum and using buthane seems a little bit dangerous ;) Stay tunned


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neat. maybe put the fan on the charcoal side and blow into the tube so you don't get infiltration from the flap in the middle?

The other way I've seen this done is with activated charcoal from a pet store (used for aquariums). You can also buy cheap air pumps and the cotton like filter fabric at pet store cheaply as well. Blow air into container with charcoal and then through filter and into chamber (cheap plastic fish bowl) with sensor.

For a container, I've used 1 ft sections of 1" tubing or pvc pipe. fill with charcoal, put fabric on the ends then thread in some tube connectors--just jam them inside the tube and screw in.

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