Off the Grid

The need for air quality data is not confined to only areas that provide modern utility services like electricity and internet service providers. PurpleAir sensors can be used in remote locations. Let’s discuss this topic here.

Battery Power

Battery packs can power the PurpleAir sensor. The power supply that can be included with the sensor is not necessary. We have experimented with a 20Ah battery pack, and found it was able to keep the sensor running for almost five days.

Solar Power

We’ve heard of a number of individuals who are using solar to power their sensors. At this point we have not conducted in-house testing on PurpleAir sensors using solar power. However, it seems reasonable that a solar panel providing approximately 15W may be adequate to power a battery pack to run a PurpleAir sensor. How quickly that battery pack recharges is situationally dependent, and may require some experimenting on the owner’s part to fit the seasonal sun conditions.

Internet Access

A WiFi network may be supplied to the PurpleAir sensor in various ways. In addition to underground cables, Internet Service Providers (ISP) may provide internet access via cellular towers, and even satellite. We’ve heard of a number of individuals who are using these wireless methods to provide internet access to their sensors.

Learn More

Learn more about the power consumption and data usage of PurpleAir sensors.
Learn how to replace the SD card in your sensor.
Learn more about which PurpleAir sensor would be best for your situation.
FAQ How much power does a PurpleAir sensor draw, and how much bandwidth/data does it use.

2 Likes

Thank you for providing these specifications. In the United States, the areas with the largest amounts of industrial pollution are often rural areas without regular power, and certainly not regular broadband. We also have large needs to record industrial pollution before and after hurricanes.

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I’ve done off-grid/remote readings using an PA-I-Indoor, and standard 4 AA battery case box from Amazon, and readings from phone WIFI. No problem.

Robert

Greetings RobertL We are doing reseach in Remote Locations. We would love to know more about how you are using Purple Air remotely and off grid.

We are doing research in FIVE countries. OFF GRID. We need guidance on how we do both the POWER and WiFi connections.

Hi.

I’ve been using a PA-I-Indoor, with this battery pack:

to check relative pollution in my area, including for consideration in moving. I can connect to the PA-I-Indoor directly with my cellphone, to get those readings - create local WIFI hotspot on the phone, and configure the sensor to connect to that.

Some of this was driven by some meters that were reading particularly low in PM, on the purpleair.com map, relative to others in the surrounding area. As it turns out, although they are generally lower, they appeared lower than actual, due to the sensors having the faulty PMS5003 laser counters.

Regards,
Robert

Greetings Robert
Thanks for responding.
We are doing an OUTDOOR Readings Far from our computer. DO you have any ideas of a work around?.
Thanks
Claire

Hi,

As mentioned, you can get readings right on your cell phone, but it requires you to be close to the PurpleAir sensor. Maybe you want these remote readings, even when you are far away. There could be some creative way to do that, with the right long-term battery and electronics support, but I do not know it at this time. However, if you are close to the sensor, here would be the procedure:

Power up the Purple Air sensor with a battery pack (I gave an example at Amazon, probably available in Europe as well). Turn on WIFI on your phone, and connect to the PurpleAir sensor signal, which will be something like PurpleAir-1e7 in your list of WIFI signals available at your location (if very remote, maybe it is the only WIFI signal in the list). Note: 1e7 is just an example - each sensor has its own number. As mentioned, you’d need to be close enough to the sensor to see and connect to its WIFI (for me, when doing remote sampling, the sensor is always close by). Then open a browser on your phone, and go to URL purpleair-1e7.lan. When you do that, you will get a webpage of the PurpleAir Sensor. Select either “Live” or “Average” to see the values that it is reporting (“Live” will update every 10 seconds ).

Hope that helps.

Best,
Robert