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Drone-Based Greenhouse Gas DAQ System

Figure 1 Prototype DAQ unit made of two perfboards sandwiched with pin headers. Gas sensors are on the top layer, and main electronics including the microcontroller and regulators are on the bottom layer.
Using Teensy 4.1 Module Often, the mobility of a system can completely change the scope of a technology’s functionality. That’s why drones provide such a powerful solution. Learn how this University of Calgary student built a compact data acquisition system mounted on a drone. Using a variety of sensors, the system is able to measure greenhouse gas emissions from oil refineries and farms. Topics Discussed How to build a compact data acquisition system mounted on a drone.How to build a DAQ system to measure greenhouse gas emissionsHow do do the hardware designHow to calibrate the sensorsHow to develop the circuitry and the prototype boardHow to develop the software codeHow to do the data collecting/processing Tech Used Teensy 4.1 Module from PJRCMathwork's MATLABSparkFun MPL115A barometric pressure breakout boardPololu 5V 2.5A Step-Down regulator (D24V22F5)Winsen MQ sensors Sensirion SCD sensor The idea for this project began as a research proposal to create a modular and compact data acquisition (DAQ) system that could be mounted on a drone. The purpose was to measure greenhouse gas (GHG) concentrations above oil refineries and farmlands, to provide valuable data that could help improve chemical and agricultural processes. The prototype DAQ system described here can measure concentrations of carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, methane, ammonia and ozone, as well as various environmental conditions, such as pressure, humidity and temperature. The primary constraints for this project were to make it low cost and low power so that it could be manufactured easily and last for long-duration measurement tests. As shown in Figure 1, the current prototype uses two perfboards sandwiched together using pin-headers to reduce wire clutter. A future iteration, however, would most likely be manufactured on a PCB and use JST or Molex connectors to make the sensors more modular. This would be much more practical for a drone, since the main DAQ pro
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Drone-Based Greenhouse Gas DAQ System

by Peter Shmerko and Dr. Chris Morton time to read: 13 min