As a fan of the ‘latest’ gadgets I’ve been scouring Interwebs to see if there are any thermometers out there which use WiFi to report their findings. There are quite a few square/rectangle boxes out there, but I was looking for something that was aesthetically pleasing as well.
The search brought me to Lascar Electronics, a UK/US company, and their EL-WiFi-TH product. This combined temperature/humidity datalogger has, according to the Lascar site, the following features:
- WiFi capability and integrated display
- Wireless connectivity to PC via WiFi
- View and analyse multiple sensors using the PC application, including immediate graphing of historic data
- Measurement range from -20 to +60°C (-4 to +140°F)
- Rechargeable internal lithium polymer battery, said to last > 1 year on a charge with ‘typical use’.
Let’s look at these selling points with a critical mind:
- Wifi capability: Yes, but apparantly only IEEE 802.11b-1999 compliant. Since my WiFi network currently only supports 802.11g & 802.11n it would mean I have to enable some ‘legacy’ settings to re-enable 802.11b
- Wireless connectivity to PC via WiFi: It says ‘PC’, but what they really mean is: a computer running Microsoft Windows XP/Vista/Windows 7 (no mention of Windows 8 yet), so if you use OS X or Linux, you’re outta luck…
(It may work under Wine on Linux. Worth checking out)
- Measurement range: Hmm… Perhaps a good range for other parts of the world but here (in Norway) it means I can’t use the unit for outdoor measurements during the winter months, when the temperatures some times drop (quite a bit) below -20C/-4F. I think -40 to +40°C would be a more interesting range.
I have nothing critical/negative to say about the display nor the battery. Both are good! 🙂
Despite a few less-than-perfect points above I decided to order a unit anyway. It ‘arrived’ (the postal service in this country is a joke. Hardly anything larger than regular envelopes really arrives at your door. The rest you have to go and pick up at the post office…) last weekend, but I didn’t get around to the unboxing until last evening.
Since the quickguide in the box mentioned that the unit was partially charged but needs at least 24 hours of charging before actual use, all I could do was plug it into a USB-port and wait…
In the mean time I downloaded/installed the required (Windows only) software, which I obtained via the link at the bottom of the el-wifi datalogger page, on my Win7/x64 box.
The download link to the software reveals another interesting aspect: When it comes to these units Lascar Electronics apparently is a reseller/partner. The sensors are manufactuered by Corintech (Contract Electronics Manufacturing Services UK).
It’s a good idea to also drop by the page with firmware updates. In my case I found out that I can update my sensor (firmware 2.46) to firmware 2.50, and get ‘Battery Life Improvements’.
(For those who wonder, on Larasian.com I found the connection: Larasian is a holding company based at Burgate. Owned by Glynis and Brian Currie, Larasian owns 100% of Lascar Electronics and is the majority shareholder of CorinTech)
The EL-WiFi-TH (couldn’t they pick something more pronouncable?) is fully charged, and hooked up to my PC via USB. The configuration program is pretty straight-forward: You select the WiFi network the unit should connect to, give it a name, set the measuring & reporting intervals and set any alarms (optionally). Then you disconnect the USB cable and put the sensor at the measuring point, in my case a pantry.
Here are the first 12 hours or so of readings, with 10 seconds interval. As you can see a nice and stable temperature (3C. We’re talking basement pantry in the southeast of Norway here…).
Tonight I have to hook it up to the PC once more to apply that above-mentioned firmware update, but after that I plan to keep it in the pantry for the days/weeks/months to come.
For those who are interested, Gert Jan has developed a Windows app: http://www.millmine.nl/sensor