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Frequently asked questions

Can the sensors be placed outdoors?

Yes. The sensor is designed for both indoors and outdoors use. But if you’re planning to use it outdoors, you will have to consider purchasing or making a rainproof enclosure.

Can I make my own rainproof enclosure?

Of course! The manufacturing files for the 3D printed enclosure will be available to download in the Enclosures repository. Throughout the history of the Smart Citizen project, we’ve seen many inventive solutions for placing the sensor outdoors.

Can I charge the sensors with a solar panel?

Sure! But note that the sensor requires a 5V solar panel to work properly. More information here

Can I add external sensors to the system?

Yes. The sensor has an independently configurable auxiliary bus at 3.3V with a SEEED Grove connector. The Bus has native support for I2C, but it can also be setup on firmware as a GPIO or UART. It can supply power up to 750mA, and it can be enabled or disabled by software. More info here

What happens if there is a loss of network connectivity?

If the sensor is working in network mode and at any time the network is not available, it will store the data on its internal memory and publish all the collected data as soon as the network is available again.

Which external sensors can be added?

Quite a few! Check here

Will I be able to access the collected data?

Of course! The data collected by your sensor is available for anyone on the Smart Citizen Platform, and you can download it at any time as a CSV file. Besides, you can also use the API to built custom applications to interact with your device. If you are familiar with python, check also scdata

How does the kit record the data?

The sensor can work in network and SD card modes. In network mode, the sensor publish data to the SC platform over Wi-Fi (every minute by default, but configurable). In SD card mode, all the collected data is stored locally in CSV format, and it can be later uploaded manually to the platform using the "Manual Data Upload" option.

What networks does it support?

The SCK supports Wi-Fi WEP, WPA/WPA2 and open networks that are common networks in domestic environments and small businesses. However, like many other embedded devices such as Apple TV® or Chromecast®, it does not support networks with captive portals such as those found in Airports and Hotels. Currently, it also does not WPA/WPA2 Enterprise networks such as EDUROAM. However, they will be supported in the future after a firmware updated.

I have a firewall. What do I need to know?

Here are the ports and protocols used by the Kit to communicate with the platform:

Service Function Protocol Port Address
MQTT Send Data TCP 80/443 mqtt.smartcitizen.me
NTP Sync Time UDP 80 ntp.smartcitizen.me

Notice we use custom ports already to avoid some firewall restrictions

Is there a mobile phone app that lets me view the data?

Currently there is an android app available, but we are working to make the website fully mobile device friendly, so that no mobile phone app is required. We would rather focus the time of our small team on the kits themselves instead of maintaining apps. So our final aim is to be app free, but fully mobile friendly.

How accurate are the measurements?

Weather, noise, light and PM sensor measurements have been calibrated and validated against reference sensors through both in-house and external validations and they provide accurate data. Make sure you check the performance section for more information.

Are there any notable case studies using similar sensors?

Yes! Check all of them here. A particularly interesting case study is the Making Sense project at Plaça del Sol in Barcelona, where a group of 15 technology enthusiasts and environmentalists joined a community of neighbours from a middle-class district that has been suffering from noise issues due to the nightlife in the square. You can find more information about this case study at: www.making-sense.eu

What happens if I want to move the device or give it to someone else?

Just by pressing the button you can fully reset your sensor and configure it again using your account or a new one. All your previous data will remain available on the platform as it was before the reset.

What about using other wireless technologies?

We are working closely with Barcelona’s The Things Network community to develop a TTN enabled sensor. A LoRA prototype has been tested, but we don’t have dates for the final version yet. BLE, Zigbee, or others are not currently supported, and except for G5, we are not planning to implement them unless there is a custom hardware integration demand.

Can I remove my data from the platform?

Of course. You are the owner of the data that you collect, and you can download and/or delete all your sensor data at any time.

How can I retrieve the MAC address from my device?

You can retrieve the MAC address with two methods: either you can use your phone (see below), or follow this guide if you want to try out the console interface in the kit.

Using your phone

  1. Set the SCK in setup mode (press the button once, the LED should turn red).
  2. With your phone, join the Wi-Fi network created by your Kit; it should be SmartCitizen[…].
  3. Once you are on your Kit configuration page, go to the Info section. You will see a page with all the information about your Kit.
  4. Your MAC address is listed as seen below:

What batteries are shipped with the kits?

The default SCK 2.1 Kits come with a 2000mAh LiPo battery model PL804050 (see datasheet and material safety data sheets).

For custom projects we also offer a bigger 6000mAh LiPo battery model DTP605068 (see datasheet and material safety data sheets).

We are working on a new dynamic battery calculator. Currently, you can find some approximate data here for the SCK 2.1.

Are the electronics waterproof?

No. They cannot be exposed to water, high humidity, corrosive environments, or moisture. Always use an enclosure when exposed outdoors. Highly humid environments can provoke corrosion in the sensors (symptom of this is blue powder near the sensors in the urban board). To help protect them, we recommend using transparent nail polish in these areas. Do not obscure the areas in red:

If you are using any enclosure from the repository, we also recommend using a filtration foam (PPI-20/10) like this one. More info here