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Simple Air Sensor

222 views | Last edited by warren 27 days ago | #18517

This barebones onboarding kit can help you explore how the particulate sensor used in the closed source #PurpleAir responds to air conditions by displaying a colored light readout. NOTE: The colored light is not related to the Air Quality Index (AQI) colors in any way.

For context, this onboarding kit is part of an effort to develop an open source project (and community) that functions similarly to #PurpleAir so that, over time, people can transfer the expertise they've developed as #PurpleAir users regarding installation, organizing, communication, etc. Conceptually, it's an offramp from a corporately controlled, closed source project that lacks public forums for asking and answering questions, or for organizing around data.

This sensor circuit uses the same type of particle detector as the #PurpleAir sensor, but only one as compared to #PurpleAir's two; does not include a temperature, humidity and pressure sensor as the Purple Air does; and instead of logging either to the cloud or to the device itself, it displays a red/yellow/green light that illustrates the PM2.5 levels it detects without converting into an Air Quality Index (AQI).

Quite a few people have built simple open source, Arduino-based devices around the cheap #plantower particulate air sensor datasheet, see:

This is a version that is easy to assemble (no soldering, just push wires into a breadboard), and comes pre-programmed. We also offer it assembled and ready to plug in in the Public Lab Store.

Parts List

  1. 1 Arduino
  2. 1 RBG LED Light
  3. 1 Sensor with cable
  4. 1 Breadboard


  • build familiarity with the electronic components used in air sensors without having to program
  • to see immediate qualitative differences in air quality at low cost
  • to use in groups (with 3+ sensors) to plan out placement of a #purple-air or other more expensive sensor, for example with consideration for wind direction



Assembling the Simple Air Sensor

by warren 4 months ago | 3 | 193 views | 3 |


Exploring with the Simple Air Sensor

by stevie 2 months ago | 5 | 104 views | 2 |

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Title Author Updated Likes
How could we design a group activity around siting air sensors? @warren 26 days ago
What do I do next, after using a low-cost or DIY air sensor? @warren 27 days ago
What happens to the simple air sensor when the battery pack runs low? @stevie 2 months ago
Can someone clarify the colors on the simple air sensor? (turning white when plugged in) @stevie 3 months ago
Brainstorm on ways to use colored light to show sensor readings @warren 3 months ago
What are the advantages to using 2 particle sensors at the same time? @warren 3 months ago
What are some activities for using the Simple Air Sensor as part of a broader air quality project? @warren 3 months ago
Is there a predictive relationship between the number of PM 2.5 and smaller airborne particulates compared to the mass of the same ug per cubic meter? @Tomp 4 months ago
Can we log data on an Arduino without an SD card? @warren 4 months ago
Questions about Plantower sensors from the University of Wisconsin - Eau Claire @OrionAllgaier 4 months ago

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