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vThings Portable CO2 Gas Monitor with Dual-Beam NDIR CO2 Sensor

Thursday, December 22, 2016

The easiest way to monitor carbon dioxide (CO2) levels in a room is via a CO2 monitor and what better way to monitor CO2 levels than using a customizable CO2 solution such as vThings CO2 monitor.
3D printed enclosure
vThings CO2 monitor features the 400-5000ppm (CM1106) dual beam NDIR CO2 sensor version that includes a temperature sensor and pressure sensor built-in to a 3D printed enclosure, which also features an ESP8266 WiFi module that allows the vThings CO2 Monitor to connect to your home's WiFi network to send data readings online.
micro USB port for charging as well as data transfer
If you're into the hardware side of Internet Of Things (IoT), you'll love the vThings CO2 monitor as you can upgrade and add more sensors. The CO2 monitor works with Windows operating systems as well as MACs and Linux. You can hook it up to a computer or laptop to log data continuously.
vThings CO2 monitor is bus powered which means the micro USB cable that you use to connect the VThings monitor to the Internet powers the vThings unit too simultaneously; hence no added power consumption.
The CM1106 sensor self calibrates automatically every time the sensor is exposed to fresh air every other day. aside from exposing the unit to fresh air every three days or so, the vThings CO2 sensor is virtually maintenance free for its entire lifespan which is over 10 years.

vThings can operate in cold and hot environments (from zero degrees to 50 degrees celsius)
The CM1106 is sensitive enough to measure the indoor air CO2 level of a house, which should be less than 1,000ppm. vThings CO2 sensor uses the diffusion sampling method to measure CO2 and detect CO2 leaks.

To configure the vThings Carbon Dioxide monitor, follow the following steps:

Step 1. Connect vThings to your computer and visit http://vair-monitor.com/drivers/ to download the driver and install it.



Step 2. You need to set up an online dashboard in order to monitor the VThings unit online. You can choose from Beebotte or UbiDots. I went with UbiDots so Visit https://ubidots.com/, create an account, select Sources and set up your first device by Creating a Data Source, Adding a Variable and Creating a Token to configure the vThings Carbon Dioxide monitor.
Add Data Source
Add variable
I named my Data Source and Variable Gadget Explained and CO2 respectively

To Create a Token, go to My Profile and select API Keys. Then, click on Create Token.



Step 3.  Install the vThings app from the Chrome Web Store to link the VThings CO2 monitor to UbiDots as well as your home's WiFi network

To set your WiFi connection, you need the name and password of your router, as well as the static IP address and gateway (default gateway) address. 
To find your static IP and Gateway. Run command Prompt from your computer and enter ipconfig

Then, click Set WiFi


Step 4. Now, select Public Services-->UbiDots and enter the following:
  • Token ID (the one you created earlier)
  • Data Source label in lower capitals
  • co2 (if you create a temperature and pressure label then also enter it here)

Then, click Save

Step 5. In order for UbiDots to display data from vThings monitor on the variable(s) you created earlier, you will need to send an HTTP request from UbiDots. To find the Variable ID, click on the i symbol.
To send the HTTP request, go to https://ubidots.com/docs/#send-one-value-to-ubidots and scroll to the bottom of the page and enter the Variable ID and Token ID you created earlier
For each variable you create, you need to repeat Step 5. I create three variables (CO2, temperature and pressure) so repeated Step 5 for all three variables and grabbed the Variable IDs. The Token ID is the same for all three variables.


That's it! Now, you just have to keep the vThings CO2 monitor plugged in for continuous monitoring. As far as firmware updates, the unit runs a firmware update automatically on power on. You can tell a firmware update is running when the LED turns bright Red for 30 seconds. 

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