Home Monitoring With Wireless Sensor Nodes

About the project

Monitor your home using this powerful tutorial. Only two components needed: a Raspberry Pi and a Sparrow Sensor Node Kit.

Project info

Difficulty: Moderate

Platforms: DeviceHub.netRaspberry Pi

Estimated time: 1 hour

License: GNU General Public License, version 3 or later (GPL3+)

Items used in this project

Hardware components

Raspberry Pi 3 Model B Raspberry Pi 3 Model B x 1
Sparrow Sensor Node Kit Sparrow Sensor Node Kit Get it at www.clkdiv8.com x 1

Software apps and online services

DeviceHub.net DeviceHub Cloud Service - Free package DeviceHub.net DeviceHub Cloud Service - Free package


Do you want to build an IoT-enabled home monitoring system that can measure environmental parameters and also detect intrusion but don't know where to start? This easy tutorial will deliver everything you need with only two major components: a Raspberry Pi and a Sparrow Wireless Sensor Node kit. No soldering, and minimal wiring needed!

With this system, you will be able to remotely monitor and log temperature, humidity, pressure, luminosity, IR and UV indexes and also detect intrusion. The system is also extensible, you will be able to add multiple wireless sensors to your home, monitoring every room in your house or outdoor parameters.

For this project you will need a Raspberry Pi, two Sparrow Wireless Sensor Nodes and two Sparrow Nest programming boards. Also, if you want intrusion detection to work, you will need a PIR sensor.

Hardware modules you'll need for this build. The PIR sensor is optional.

Sparrow Nodes

First, you will need to install the Arduino IDE and also the patch to make it work with the Sparrow nodes. You will find everything you need in this tutorial.

Each Sparrow node has integrated sensors for temperature, pressure, humidity and light levels, so we will need to write a small program that periodically reads these values and sends them through the serial port. While it's not mandatory, it would be a good idea to check out the basic tutorials here in order to get accustomed to the sensor node.

For this project, you will need to install the following libraries for the Arduino IDE: SHT2x for the temperature/humidity sensor, Adafruit's Si1145 for the light sensor and MS5637 for the barometer/altimeter.

We will also be using the SparrowTransfer library for the wireless transmission of >here.

The project configuration will be the following:

  • A remote sensor node with the PIR attached to it, sending presence data.
  • A receiver node, measuring also environmental parameters (temperature, humidity, light etc.) connected to the Raspberry Pi.
  • Raspberry Pi connected to the Internet and sending all sensor data to DeviceHub.

Project Diagram

The Remote Sparrow Node

Connect your Sparrow node to your computer through its Sparrow Nest adapter. Also, if you have the PIR sensor, connect it to the board like this:

PIR sensor connection diagram

Now, let's write a simple program on the Sparrow node that will read the PIR state, the temperature and then send them through the radio transceiver:

#include "SparrowTransfer.h" 
#include <Wire.h> 
#include <SHT2x.h> 
#define DEBUG 1 
//create object 
SparrowTransfer ST;  
 //put your variable definitions here for the data you want to send 
 uint8_t presence; 
 float temperature; 
//give a name to the group of data 
int redLedPin = 8;              // red LED 
int greenLedPin = 11;           // green LED 
int inputPin = 18;              // choose the input pin (for PIR sensor) 
int pirState = LOW;             // we start, assuming no motion detected 
int controlPin = 7;             // sensor on/off control 
uint8_t detect(){ 
 int val = digitalRead(inputPin);  // read PIR input value 
 if (val == HIGH) {            // check if the input is HIGH 
     digitalWrite(redLedPin, LOW);  // turn LED ON 
     return 1; 
 else { 
     digitalWrite(redLedPin, HIGH); // turn LED OFF 
     return 0; 
void blinkLED() //blinks the green LED 
void setup(){ 
 pinMode(greenLedPin, OUTPUT);      // declare green LED as output 
 pinMode(redLedPin, OUTPUT);        // declare red LED as output 
 pinMode(inputPin, INPUT);          // declare sensor as input 
 pinMode(controlPin, OUTPUT);       // declare sensor control pin as output 
 digitalWrite(controlPin, LOW);     // turn on sensors 
 //start the library, pass in the data details 
 mydata.presence = 0; 
 mydata.temperature = -1.23; //default value to test if something is wrong 
 digitalWrite(greenLedPin, HIGH); //start with all LEDs off 
 digitalWrite(redLedPin, HIGH);  
 #ifdef DEBUG //only for local debugging purposes 
void loop(){ 
 mydata.presence = detect(); 
 mydata.temperature = SHT2x.GetTemperature(); 
 #ifdef DEBUG 

When opening the Serial Monitor from the Arduino IDE, you should see data coming in from the PIR and temperature sensors. Check if the data is correct, and then reprogram the node with #define DEBUG 0.

The Local Sparrow Node

Connect your second Sparrow node to your computer through its Sparrow Nest adapter. We will write a program that reads sensor values about every ten seconds and outputs them on the serial port in CSV format:

#include <Wire.h> 
#include "SI1145.h" 
#include <SHT2x.h> 
#include <BaroSensor.h> 
#include "SparrowTransfer.h" 
//create object 
SparrowTransfer ST;  
 //put your variable definitions here for the data you want to receive 
 uint8_t presence; 
 float temperature; 
//give a name to the group of data 
struct SENSOR_DATA{ 
 //we store here sensor readings 
 float temperature; 
 float humidity; 
 float pressure; 
 float light; 
 float IR; 
 float UV;  
 uint8_t remote_presence;  
 float remote_temp; 
int controlPin = 7; // control pin for all sensors on the node 
int greenLedPin = 11; // green LED 
Adafruit_SI1145 uv = Adafruit_SI1145(); 
int getSensorData(){ //reads all sensors 
 node.temperature = SHT2x.GetTemperature(); //temperature in degrees C 
 node.humidity = SHT2x.GetHumidity(); //humidity in RH 
 node.pressure = BaroSensor.getPressure(); //pressure in mbar 
 node.light = uv.readVisible(); //visible light  
 node.IR = uv.readIR(); //infrared light level 
 node.UV = uv.readUV() / 100.0; //UV index 
 return 1; 
void blinkLED() //blinks the green LED 
void sendSensorData(){ //sends sensor data over the serial interface as CSV 
 Serial.print(node.temperature); //temperature in degrees C 
 Serial.print(node.humidity); //humidity in RH 
 Serial.print(node.pressure); //pressure in mbar 
 Serial.print(node.light); //visible light  
 Serial.print(node.IR); //infrared light level 
 Serial.print(node.UV); //UV index 
 Serial.print(node.remote_presence); // presence from the remote sensor 
 Serial.println(node.remote_temp); // temperature from the remote sensor 
void uvInit(){ // initializes the Si1145 light sensor 
 if (! uv.begin()) { //no luck first time, try to initialize again 
   Serial.println("Didn't find Si1145"); 
   digitalWrite(controlPin, HIGH); 
   digitalWrite(controlPin, LOW); 
   if (! uv.begin()) while(1); //the light sensor could not be initialized 
void setup() { 
 //start the library, pass in the data details   
 pinMode(controlPin, OUTPUT);  //sensor on/off control 
 pinMode(greenLedPin, OUTPUT);      // this is where the red LED on the node is connected 
 digitalWrite(controlPin, LOW); // enable all sensors 
 delay(1000); //wait for things to settle 
 uvInit(); // init light sensor 
 BaroSensor.begin(); // init barometric sensor 
void loop() { 
 if(ST.receiveData()){ //check remote sensor readings 
   node.remote_presence = mydata.presence; 
   node.remote_temp = mydata.temperature; 

Open the Serial Monitor window to check sensor output is available and consistent.

First three values should be light levels, in the visible, infrared and UV spectrum, followed by temperature, humidity and barometric pressure. We also the presence and temperature values from the remote sensor.

Check if they are consistent and that they have no errors. If they don't update, the remote sensor node is not in range, and you will need to bring it closer. Usually, inside a house this means a radius of about 15m from the receiving node.

Connecting the Raspberry Pi

The next step after programming the Sparrow node is to connect your Raspberry Pi to your local network and write a small Python script to parse the CSV stream from the sensor node.

Connect your Sparrow node to one of the USB ports of your Raspberry Pi and check if it mounted properly. It should appear as a ttyUSBx port in /dev.

pi@raspberrypi:~ $ lsusb 
Bus 001 Device 004: ID 0403:6001 Future Technology Devices International, Ltd FT232 USB-Serial (UART) IC 
pi@raspberrypi:~ $ ls /dev/ttyUSB* 

First, let's write a small Python program to read what the sensor node outputs on the serial line:

from time import sleep 
import serial 
# Make sure you have the correct port and baud rate selected 
ser=serial.Serial('/dev/ttyUSB0', 9600) 
while True: 
       line = ser.readline() 
       print line 

Next, we run it and, if everything is in order, we should be getting something like this as an output:

pi@raspberrypi:~ $ python myserial.py 


To access sensor >DeviceHub for this task, as it provides an easy way to send data, view sensor logs and also send commands back to the RaspberryPi.

To gain access, you will first need to create an account. After registering, select Project>New Project and give your project a name. After creation, your project will gain a Project ID and an API Key, which will identify it on the platform.

Now, you must add a new device to your project, so select Add Device and name it as you wish. Select RaspberryPi as Device Type, Python for Programming Language and Ethernet or WiFi as Connection Type. The device will also be assigned an unique Device UUID.

Each device can have multiple sensors and actuator which can be easily added through the web interface, so let's create six sensors to correspond to our device sensors. Name them Temperature, Humidity, Pressure, Light, IR, and UV. Let's also add the two sensors from the remote Sparrow node. Name them Remote_Presence an Remote_Temperature. Each time you add a sensor, you must select its data type and (optionally) measurement unit. All sensors output analog data, so select Analog for each.

At the end, your dashboard should look similar to this:

DeviceHub dashboard after adding all sensors

Sending Data to DeviceHub

We can easily send and receive data to DeviceHub through its API. Back on the Raspberry Pi, we will need to install DeviceHub libraries for Python:

 pi@raspberrypi:~ $ pip install devicehub 

Now, let's modify the first Python code to parse the CSV stream and send data to DeviceHub. You will need to fill in the Project ID, Device UUID and API Key data from your own project in the code below:

from devicehub import Sensor, Device, Project 
from time import sleep 
from random import randint 
import serial 
PROJECT_ID      = 'your Project ID' 
DEVICE_UUID     = 'your Device UUID' 
API_KEY         = 'your API Key' 
SENSOR_NAMES    = ['Temperature', 'Humidity', 'Pressure', 'Light', 'IR', 'UV', 'Remote_Presence', 'Remote_Temperature'] 
SENSORS         = [] 
def add_sensor(type, name, dev): 
       AN = Sensor(type, name) 
       return AN 
def analog_input(dev, sensor, value): 
ser=serial.Serial('/dev/ttyUSB0', 9600) 
line = ser.readline() 
line = ser.readline() 
print 'first', line 
project = Project(PROJECT_ID, ssl_verify=False) 
device = Device(project, DEVICE_UUID, API_KEY) 
for s in SENSOR_NAMES: 
       num = add_sensor(Sensor.ANALOG, s, device) 
while True: 
               SENSOR_VALUES = [] 
               line = ser.readline() 
               print line 
               print len(line) 
               fields = line[:-1].split(',') 
               #if( len(line) > 35 and fields != None): 
               if(fields != None): 
                       for f in fields: 
                       for i in range(0, 8): 
                               print SENSOR_NAMES[i], SENSOR_VALUES[i] 
                               analog_input(device, SENSORS[i], SENSOR_VALUES[i]) 
                       print 'Data Sent OK!' 
               print 'Something went wrong, retrying...' 

If the code runs well, you should be able to see data coming into DeviceHub and the plot for each sensor advance with every new reading.

Temperature Plot

The Completed Project

Here's some photos of my completed project. You might want to power the remote node from a separate wall USB plug, any decent smartphone charger will do. Also, you might want to enclose the node in a nice case, I haven't had the time to do that.

Remote Wireless Sensor Node

RaspberryPi and Local Node

I've uploaded the code and all files to a GitHub repo. The project can be expanded by adding even more remote sensors, monitoring the environment in as rooms and locations as you need. Happy hacking!

Schematics, diagrams and documents

Project Diagram

Remote sensor & PIR connection diagram

This diagram shows how to connect the PIR sensor to the Sparrow Nest programming board


Python Code for DeviceHub

This code runs on RaspberryPi

CSV code for the Sparrow node

This code runs on the Sparrow node attached to the RasperryPi

Remote Sensor Code

This code runs on the remote wireless sensor node.


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