Simple Air Sensor
question: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 "Also want to point at "telling a data story" by @renee and @bhamster: https://publiclab.org/notes/bhamster/12-02-2021/create-a-data-story-to-commu..." | Read more » 2 months ago
sarasage "Thank you so much for this detailed response! " | Read more » about 2 years ago
mimiss "We could have more than one of those larger LED's that we're currently using, but it might be bulky. One bulb on could be green, two bulbs on could..." | Read more » over 2 years ago
warren "true! might it be harder to read a bunch of sensors near each other? depends how theyre positioned i guess... " | Read more » over 2 years ago
mimiss "Moving to something that isn't color based might also help to clear up AQI confusion " | Read more » over 2 years ago
mimiss "The cost would be a bit more, but what about a small strip of LED lights and the number of lights that turn on correlate to the concentration? Simi..." | Read more » over 2 years ago
warren "During a quick chat with @mimiss, we discussed how a clicking sound speeding up or slowing down is used by Geiger counters. Using a blinking light ..." | Read more » over 2 years ago
warren "Ran some additional quick calculations on this: ~320 total 3-byte recordings 10s interval = ~30 minutes 1m intervals = ~3 hours 5m intervals = ~1..." | Read more » over 2 years ago
warren "We didn't do any calibration at all, and are just reporting out the values produced by the sensor. Purple Air does a conversion to AQI, but do you ..." | Read more » almost 3 years ago
crispinpierce "Thanks @stevie and @warren. So green is 140 degrees and represents 0 ug/m3 and red is zero degrees and >= 20 ug/m3? I'm curious about how the ca..." | Read more » almost 3 years ago
warren "This wheel shows the range of values from 0-140 that correspond to the 0-20 values from the sensor: " | Read more » almost 3 years ago
warren "Just that a really in-depth discussion on how this works can be found here: https://publiclab.org/questions/warren/04-18-2019/brainstorm-on-ways-to..." | Read more » almost 3 years ago
stevie "These particular sensors, the way they are programmed, is to test a range between 0 and 20 micrograms per cubic meter, where 0 is green, and red is..." | Read more » almost 3 years ago
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jeffalk "Hi @Warren, For suggestions on where to go it might be helpful if you were to explain more fully by an example the question: "once something is w..." | Read more » almost 3 years ago
kommentariyi "Wow.Nice " | Read more » almost 3 years ago
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warren "Re: "As you know, we're moving in the opposite direction" For sure, and I think we're on the same page on the need for lower cost monitoring. One ..." | Read more » almost 3 years ago
warren "I'm going to order a couple of these fans to test this out: $11 https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07RT95Z1Y/ " | Read more » almost 3 years ago
warren "Yes, and the aromatic baby powder is nice because you can smell it. Great idea. We're going to try prototyping this activity soon. With 3+ sensors,..." | Read more » almost 3 years ago
mimiss "I love the idea of using cocoa powder or powdered sugar to model this (out doors of course!). " | Read more » almost 3 years ago
crispinpierce "@Warren I think this is an interesting way to show movement of fog droplets (10-20 um diameter, https://images.slideplayer.com/13/4090314/slides/sl..." | Read more » almost 3 years ago
warren "This is a cool idea esp. the site-planning with "buildings" or air barriers. I heard a good comment about this on Instagram too, where i'd posted -..." | Read more » almost 3 years ago