Building

There are many projects for building low cost environmental sensors using Arduino and similar open source microcontrollers (see here).  FreeStation differs from these because to build and deploy FreeStation or FreeSensor requires no knowledge of electronics, programming or making.  FreeStation is low cost sensing for all, as the designs are simple, mature and fcoused on solder, plug and play.  However,  if you are an electronics whizz and have your own project that you wish to design and code  you may still find the FreeStation PCBs and designs of use for your work.


We have developed FreeStation designs to support our research but have also put considerable effort into providing instructions so that others can also benefit from these technologies.  These are provided as is and we do not have the resources to troubleshoot your builds beyond the documentation provided here.  We have added many more sensors to the platform than we have been able to document: see our current list of >300 environmental variables measured hereGet in touch if you wish to collaborate in making any of these designs available.


FreeStation and FreeSensor designs have been in development since January 2014.   The support provided by the open source hardware, Arduino, raspberry Pi, ESP32 and Particle open source communities and forums is gratefully acknowledged.  


The Generation 3 (Particle) builds are current, in active development and the default going forward.  The Generation 2 (Particle) builds are mature but no longer developed as Particle G2 devices are no longer supply-secure. The Generation 1 (Arduino) builds are mature and no longer being developed, since they are superseded by Generation 3FreeStation sensors are compatible between  Generation 2 and 3. See our FreeStation FAQ to submit or review answers to commonly asked questions.


As a collaboration of research organisations, we do not sell or build FreeStations for others.  Neither can we provide parts or kits.  Parts can be bought direct from suppliers as described in the build instructions.  We do have a stock of FreeStations that we use in research, contact us if you are interested in a research collaboration using FreeStations. 

A video introduction to building with FreeStation

Before you start building

Consider the following:

Building your first FreeStation will be time consuming and error prone.  After the first is working, others will be easy.

Building FreeStation Generation 3.0 (ESP32)

G3 documentation is in development.  Do not use whilst this notice is in place.  Expected completion June 2024.

To build a FreeStation you need to build the relevant sensors, a logger and - if deployed outside - the weatherproof enclosure that brings the components together as a station.  The steps are outlined fully in the links to the build docs below.  Building the FreeStation Live G3 datalogger, building the FreeStation Local G3 datalogger and Building the FreeStation Sensors.

Building FreeStation Generation 2.0 (Particle)

To build a FreeStation you need to build the relevant sensors, a logger and - if deployed outside - the weatherproof enclosure that brings the components together as a station.  The steps are outlined fully in the links to the build docs below. These links are split across three documents: Building the FreeStation Live datalogger, building the FreeStation Local datalogger and Building the FreeStation Sensors.

Building FreeStation Generation 1.0 (Arduino)

To build a FreeStation you need to build the relevant sensors, a logger and - if deployed outside - the weatherproof enclosure that brings the components together as a station.  The steps are outlined fully in the links to the build docs below.

The Kinguino - a low power high memory Arduino for environmental sensing

FreeStation uses the Arduino and Particle families of microprocessor development boards to provide cheap, flexible sensor control, datalogging and communications.  All FreeStations can be built with widely available Arduino Pro mini 3.3V clones or  Particle WiFi, cellular or mesh devices.  

With Arduino, FreeStation has worked with Andice Labs to produce an Atmel644 version of the Anduno development board which we call the Kinguino. The Kinguino is a high memory,  ultra-low power version of the Arduino, designed for environmental monitoring applications,  with the following advantages:

FreeStation Building Terms and Conditions