Using NCD Air Quality Sensor with Node-Red

With the world starting to head back towards normalcy, safety in the workplace is being looked at more than ever before. Thanks to developments in technology, this is a lot easier than before. An important safety factor to look at is air quality. NCD (National Control Devices) has a great setup for monitoring air quality. It’s a robust logging and control automation solution that’s quick and simple to set up.

NCD’s IoT Edge Computer. (Image source: National Control Devices)

This solution was originally designed because our safety consultants wanted to monitor the air quality in the production facility. We have multiple soldering machines going at one time, so the air quality can be low. We do require respirators in the room but wanted a way to see if they were actually needed. The three products we needed to get up and running were the IoT Edge Computer, an Air Quality Sensor, and a 4 Channel Relay Controller. The IoT Edge Computer is the brains and storage of the system. It is a small Linux controller that comes with Node-RED preinstalled. The Air Quality Sensor is a small battery-powered device. It runs on a 900 MHz wireless protocol that has a range of 1000 feet indoors and 2 miles outdoors. The vent holes on the side are powered by a fan and also the exhaust ports ensure a continual flow of the current air sample. The sensor can monitor a variety of air particulates, but the most commonly measured is 2.5 microns. It also monitors humidity, temperature, and CO2. The 4 Channel Relay Controller has 4 relays and also operates at 900 MHz.

Once you have these three parts, setup is easy with the NCD interface. The interface allows the user to set parameters, view the IoT edge computer, program, and view the data history of the sensor. Because Node-RED is preinstalled, all the user needs to do to program is click on the tab and start programming. Once fully programmed and installed, the user can see all sensor readings in the interface. Included in these readings is a battery level monitor.

This fully self-contained system, with no cloud needed, works well for air quality monitoring and has a simple setup. For more information on what NCD and Digi-Key are doing with Smart Cities, view our three-part video series.

About this author

Image of Travis Elliot

Travis Elliot is development/support engineer at National Control Devices (NCD), an electronics development company located in Osceola Mo. Travis started at National Control Devices in high school when he worked mainly in PCB manufacturing/assembly.  In 2010 he transitioned into a sales/support position. Travis started working in product and software development in 2012 where he developed Android and iPhone applications for NCD’s products. Currently, Travis works mainly in firmware development, however he also develops in many languages including NodeJS, Python, C++, etc. Some of his development projects include the Enterprise Gateways for AWS, Azure, and MQTT, the IoT Edge Computer, several Mirror series products, and many software resources for users. Travis has been on a great journey while growing up with NCD. He’s always excited to see what will be created next and to look forward to the adventure.

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