Simple Air Sensor
activity:simple-air-sensor

**The Simple Air Sensor is an arduino-based prototyping kit for studying air quality.** The SAS is a bare-bones air sensor, roughly modeled off of the [Purple Air](https://www2.purpleair.com/) system. This sensor circuit uses the same type of particle detector as the #PurpleAir sensor, but only one as compared to #PurpleAir's two. It does not include a temperature, humidity and pressure sensor while the Purple Air does. Instead of logging results to the cloud or to the device itself, the Simple Air Sensor displays a red/yellow/green light that illustrates the PM2.5 levels it detects, but it does not convert these results into an Air Quality Index (AQI). This is a version that is easy to assemble (no soldering, just push wires into a breadboard), and it comes pre-programmed. We also offer this kit [assembled and ready to go, straight out of the box](https://store.publiclab.org/products/simple-air-sensor "https://store.publiclab.org/products/simple-air-sensor"). **Parts List** 1. 1 [Arduino](https://www.amazon.com/KeeYees-Module-Soldered-ATmega328P-Arduino/dp/B07H57TLRW/ref=sr_1_3?keywords=arduino%20nano%20soldered%20usb%20cable&qid=1551459803&s=gateway&sr=8-3) 2. 1 [RBG LED Light](https://www.amazon.com/EDGELEC-Tri-Color-Multicolor-Diffused-Resistors/dp/B077XD5T8P/ "https://www.amazon.com/EDGELEC-Tri-Color-Multicolor-Diffused-Resistors/dp/B077XD5T8P/") 3. 1 [Sensor](https://www.ebay.com/itm/PlanTower-High-Precision-Laser-Dust-Sensor-Module-PM1-0-PM2-5-PM10-PMS5003-G5/183583507609?hash=item2abe6e0499:g:i6IAAOSw~D5cEjKZ:rk:5:pf:1&frcectupt=true "https://www.ebay.com/itm/PlanTower-High-Precision-Laser-Dust-Sensor-Module-PM1-0-PM2-5-PM10-PMS5003-G5/183583507609?hash=item2abe6e0499:g:i6IAAOSw~D5cEjKZ:rk:5:pf:1&frcectupt=true") with cable[](https://www.ebay.com/itm/PlanTower-High-Precision-Laser-Dust-Sensor-Module-PM1-0-PM2-5-PM10-PMS5003-G5/183583507609?hash=item2abe6e0499:g:i6IAAOSw~D5cEjKZ:rk:5:pf:1&frcectupt=true) 4. 1 [Breadboard](https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01KKE602W/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_asin_title_o00__o00_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1) ## Air Quality Monitoring The Simple Air Sensor can be used: * to see immediate qualitative differences in air quality by displaying a realtime colored light readout. * to examine how the particulate sensor used in the closed source #PurpleAir responds to varying air conditions * to build familiarity with the electronic components used in air sensors without having to program * to use in groups (with 3+ sensors) to plan out placement of a PurpleAir or other more expensive sensor, with consideration for wind direction and spacing, for example. [![55894473-266f0280-5b88-11e9-9714-f945378af5fc.gif](/i/35143)](/i/35143?s=o) **NOTE: The colored light displayed by this sensor is not related to the [Air Quality Index (AQI) colors](https://airnow.gov/index.cfm?action=aqibasics.aqi) in any way.** #Design Goals Public Lab’s Simple Air Sensor is part of an effort to develop an open source project and community monitoring network that functions similarly to #PurpleAir . Our goal is to create an open-source repository of Purple Air user’s knowledge and expertise regarding installation and troubleshooting, while creating a space for Purple Air users to communicate their findings and organize with others within the air quality monitoring network. In this way, this kit offers an "offramp" from a corporately controlled, closed source project that lacks public forums for asking and answering questions, or for organizing and advocating around the data collected. This project emerged from observations that while many people share an understanding of the importance of "right to know" laws and of the purpose that transparency serves in a society, here is much less awareness of the fragility of technology, and the (inadvertent) gate-keeping role of expertise that leaves people without a pathway to "knowing how they know." This project is part of a long term effort to encourage a culture of empiricism. Quite a few people have built simple open source, Arduino-based devices around the cheap #plantower particulate air sensor [datasheet](http://www.aqmd.gov/docs/default-source/aq-spec/resources-page/plantower-pms5003-manual_v2-3.pdf), see: * @julieta's work on https://github.com/rlyehlab/eter (and [blog post](https://medium.com/read-write-participate/a-green-approach-to-open-source-in-buenos-aires-3331861a1bc1)) * @guolivar's work: https://github.com/guolivar and blog https://cona-nz.blogspot.com * https://www.rigacci.org/wiki/doku.php/doc/appunti/hardware/raspberrypi_air ## Activities [notes:grid:activity:simple-air-sensor] Add an activity or request an activity guide you don't see listed ## Questions [questions:simple-air-sensor] **** [![IMG_20190304_170244_490.jpg](/i/30002)](/i/30002?size=original) ...


Author Comment Last activity Moderation
warren "Looks great, Pat! Thanks for posting!! " | Read more » 7 months ago
patcoyle "Instructions worked fine. Thanks to @warren and @bhamster. See results, in these screenshots: " | Read more » 7 months ago
cfastie "The Plantower sensors require 4.5 to 5.5 volts. They work well with 5 volt Arduinos. They might not work properly with ESP8266 or ESP32 boards beca..." | Read more » over 1 year ago
bhamster "Hi @lilymccraith, nice to see you here! Great question about alternative parts for the Simple Air Sensor. I'm not sure of the answer myself, but w..." | Read more » over 1 year ago
lilymccraith "Can you use an ESP32 board instead of an Arduino nano? " | Read more » over 1 year ago
warren "OMG this is the best, Scott :-) Hey i'll be in NOLA next friday for a week!  -- ig: @unterbahn | he/him/his On Thu, Jan 30, 2020 at 5:10 PM \&l..." | Read more » over 2 years ago
eustatic "I did this with a Lighter and a Public Lab card, thanks to Stevie. Set the Public Lab card on a tiny fire, put it out, let it smoke up the sensor,..." | Read more » over 2 years ago
566303 "We are having some issues with our sensor. It does turn green around clean air, but it only turns blue around unclean air (smoke, etc.), not red or..." | Read more » over 2 years ago
justcare "Thank you for sharing useful information. " | Read more » almost 3 years ago
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imvec "Thanks Jeff. The question was not correct. The wiki page exists but has not cover o the methods page.If going to methods you need to click on purpl..." | Read more » almost 3 years ago
warren "yay! Awesome! https://publiclab.org/wiki/simple-air-sensor " | Read more » almost 3 years ago
imvec "Here some variations to the original code incorporating Openlog data logger, an arrangement of the CSV format of the values and a third one with rt..." | Read more » almost 3 years ago
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natevw "Nice kit! Main constructive feedback I would offer is that the cable that came ahead of the "Make" livestream event would have been hard to breadb..." | Read more » almost 3 years ago
warren "Hi @mimiss, in case this is helpful! Hoping to add more docs here as time goes on, like photos with different types of plugs, etc! " | Read more » about 3 years ago
crispinpierce " Hi Stevie, Thanks so much for carrying out these tests. The results seem logical given the particle sizes of the solids you tested (e.g., sugar cr..." | Read more » over 3 years ago
warren " I'd love to combine this with a microscope activity to look at each of the powders for scale! " | Read more » over 3 years ago
stevie " Not too long. Maybe 3-5 seconds " | Read more » over 3 years ago
warren "@warren awards a barnstar to stevie for their awesome contribution! " | Read more » over 3 years ago
warren "Wow, this is a really great activity! And great video!!! Did the cocoa take a while to clear out and return to green? " | Read more » over 3 years ago
SadiePrego "Definitely! " | Read more » over 3 years ago
warren "@wmacfarl also did you do your workshop with these yet? " | Read more » over 3 years ago
warren " Hi @sadieprego - would you like us to send you one of these? " | Read more » over 3 years ago