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    • CommentAuthorNoodle
    • CommentTimeJul 22nd 2013
     
    As part of planning works to our listed farmhouse (solid granite walls) in Devon we've been talking to a local company who are involved with a lot of the current SPAB research into internal insulation.

    In particular we were hoping they would help us with a "in situ Material Thermal Conductivity" test - apparently to estimate your existing u value by drilling core samples - rather than monitoring over cold periods - (quicker and can be done any time of year). And also more importantly help monitor and log Interstitial condensation or: "Interstitial Hygrothermal Gradient Monitoring" as they phrase it! To monitor the changes we make and help inform the debate.

    Anyway to cut it short this costs far more than we anticipated ( think many thousands), I know a lot of people here do various monitoring so thought there must be a way for us to do this ourselves, does anyone know of any home/diy approaches? Albeit slightly less professionally than the experts super expensive kit and monitoring devices?
    •  
      CommentAuthorSteamyTea
    • CommentTimeJul 22nd 2013
     
    Go to www.homechip.com and look at these, they are what I use.
    http://www.homechip.com/catalog/product_info.php?cPath=21_31&products_id=47
    •  
      CommentAuthordjh
    • CommentTimeJul 23rd 2013
     
    Posted By: SteamyTeaGo to www.homechip.com and look at these, they are what I use.
    http://www.homechip.com/catalog/product_info.php?cPath=21_31&products_id=47" >http://www.homechip.com/catalog/product_info.php?cPath=21_31&products_id=47

    The trouble with i-buttons is that you have to take them out to read them.

    There are various threads around in this forum and the navitron one about DIY humidity monitoring.

    The AECB has a special offer on some slightly more expensive kit, but perhaps not as expensive as that you've been shown. Look on their website for details.
    •  
      CommentAuthorSteamyTea
    • CommentTimeJul 23rd 2013
     
    You can get a holder to wire them in and read them remotely.
    I do intend to get some hygrometers to connect to my RPi sometime, but for a quick and cheap way to monitor iButtons are pretty good.
    • CommentAuthorbella
    • CommentTimeDec 31st 2013
     
    Have looked at ibuttons and such on the net but cannot find anything that would suit my purpose – just not electronics-knowledgeable enough I guess. So, can anyone recommend a robust device which could be inserted through IWI to an original wall surface, sealed in position and left in situ to be “tapped” for data at various intervals (anything from several times in 24 hours to weekly or monthly). I am imagining 3 or 4 wired probes that, when required, could be plugged into an appropriate data logger (mains or battery) to record temperature, humidity and dew point. I envisage manual data entry to a spread sheet i.e. simple stuff please, I do not want to get into sorting software/connection issues!
    • CommentAuthorDarylP
    • CommentTimeDec 31st 2013
     
    bella,

    If you have the space, I can recommend these...: http://www.conrad-electronic.co.uk/ce/en/product/105057/Voltcraft-DL-121TH-USB-Temperature-Humidity-Data-Logger

    No IT skills needed, just a laptop and 2 mins setup time.

    Cheers :smile:
    • CommentAuthorbella
    • CommentTimeDec 31st 2013
     
    Posted By: DarylPIf you have the space,


    Thank you for that - and price looks good too BUT I need something I can seal behind IWI and leave in place, then read off as and when.
    • CommentAuthorDarylP
    • CommentTimeDec 31st 2013
     
    Bella, a sort of 'fit & forget'....?
    ahhh... may be a little more complicated then.

    Good luck:smile:
    •  
      CommentAuthorSteamyTea
    • CommentTimeDec 31st 2013 edited
     
    Posted By: DarylPfit & forget
    The only one I could find is the iButton with the holder. It really is not difficult to set up.

    I did think of a slightly off the wall idea. I bought a cheap radio/clock/weather station from Lidl for about 7 quid. It has a temperature and RH sensor in it, and air pressure. You could bury that in the wall, make a window and take manual readings.
    Treat it as a wall clock and weather station.
    • CommentAuthorbxman
    • CommentTimeDec 31st 2013
     
    http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/121081376627?ssPageName=STRK:MEWNX:IT&_trksid=p3984.m1497.l2649 not sure what you do with them but they are cheap enough to fit and forget until you find out how your Rasberry Pi can read them
    •  
      CommentAuthorSteamyTea
    • CommentTimeDec 31st 2013 edited
     
    Yes, saw them, maybe I should get an AD converter, or they may be the frequency ones that JSH made a reader/logger for.

    http://www.greenbuildingforum.co.uk/forum114/comments.php?DiscussionID=8133
    • CommentAuthorEd Davies
    • CommentTimeJan 1st 2014
     
    Those DHT11 thingies that Bxman referenced are digital - not analog. Should be bit-bang readable with a RPi GPIO pin, I'd have thought.

    Bella, when you “tap” the sensors do you just want the current reading or do you envisage downloading the history since they were last read?
    • CommentAuthorborpin
    • CommentTimeJan 1st 2014
     
    Bella, I'd look at the Emoncms/OpenEnergyMonitor stuff. They sell encapsulated temp sensors and the data logging system is actually pretty simple. The trouble with manual entry is that you cannot get the same resolution. YMMV.
    •  
      CommentAuthorSteamyTea
    • CommentTimeJan 1st 2014
     
    I better get some of them as they are cheap. I like cheap and there is enough pins on a pi to connect a few up.
    • CommentAuthorEd Davies
    • CommentTimeJan 1st 2014
     
    Posted By: borpinThe trouble with manual entry is that you cannot get the same resolution.
    What causes you to say that?

    Reading some numbers and typing them into a spreadsheet or copy-and-paste of the output of a command line program would seem very low-hassle approaches to me.
    • CommentAuthorbella
    • CommentTimeJan 1st 2014
     
    OK, very helpful. Will search out Lidl, Emoncms/OpenEnergyMonitor and "DHT11 thingies" whatever they are and "bit bang readable with an RPi GP10 pin" (!!!). And I am not even sure what YMMV stands for - I take it not something electronic. Wrong generation I suppose. But I do know how to use the finer points of a spreadsheet.

    I am looking for something cheapish and simple that will allow sampling of the environment behind the insulation, so must be able to seal several in. What I get out should represent the wall/insulation interface at that point (not half and half with room atmosphere). What would be ideal would be a sensor with a lead (that could be inserted through a small hole and taped up) and a connector on the end that I can plug into a device where I can read off the temperature/humidity/dew point.
    •  
      CommentAuthorSteamyTea
    • CommentTimeJan 1st 2014
     
    What your after s pretty easy for just temperature, most good electrical multi-meters have temperature probes.
    The RH one is harder.

    If you don't go down the built in data logger route, how often are you going to sample the data? This is quite important as too little datapoints or if they are clumped together (say most mornings and evenings), then the data has a systematic error built in from the beginning and is probably meaningless.

    The real problem is that there is little inbetween the DIY kit and the professional kit. If there had been I would be using it.
    • CommentAuthorbella
    • CommentTimeJan 2nd 2014
     
    Posted By: SteamyTeatoo little datapoints or if they are clumped together (say most mornings and evenings), then the data has a systematic error built in from the beginning and is probably meaningless.

    My data design/collection/analysis skills are OK - but finding a device is proving v.awkward! Maybe one of the companies producing those nice hand held "thingies" should be persuaded to add a variant to their otherwise large array of stuff. Would sell like hot cakes.

    Or is there a structural/technical/electronic problem taking the humidity signals down a wire rather than down short prongs? That I would have no idea about.
    • CommentAuthorEd Davies
    • CommentTimeJan 2nd 2014 edited
     
    Posted By: bellaOr is there a structural/technical/electronic problem taking the humidity signals down a wire rather than down short prongs? That I would have no idea about.
    That would be an alternative: rather than burying a formal humidity sensor as such you could bang a couple of (appropriate material) nails into some part of the wall (or a bit of wood buried in the wall) and bring out wires from them to use an ordinary wood moisture meter. I think people do this with straw bale walls. Calibration would be tricky, though, if you want anything resembling reasonable accuracy.
    •  
      CommentAuthorSteamyTea
    • CommentTimeJan 2nd 2014 edited
     
    Posted By: bellaWould sell like hot cakes.
    Well they may sell half a dozen on here :wink:

    Posted By: Ed Daviesor a bit of wood buried in the wall
    Have a vague memory that you can use a bit of pine and a multimeter. Think I found out about it on the internet. I decided to just spend the 40 quid on an iButton. They are just so easy to use.

    May have been this one:

    http://woodgears.ca/lumber/moisture_meter.html
    • CommentAuthorbella
    • CommentTimeJan 4th 2014
     
    Ed Davies, good thoughts there but I cannot work out how a nail could transmit humidity data though temperature seems feasible. Perhaps something I don't know about metal and moisture. A piece of wood (say dowling of correct diameter, well sealed in place) for humidity - now that sounds something really useful for my purposes and could look perfectly Ok too. "What are those wooden discs on your wall? Oh those are my humidity monitoring points." Will take a look at the site
    • CommentAuthorEd Davies
    • CommentTimeJan 4th 2014
     
    As I understand it, all the moisture meters do is measure the resistance between the two probes through the wood. Damper wood - greater conductivity. The tricky bit is the calibration for the area of the probes in contact with the wood and so on. All the nails and wire do is extend the probes but, perhaps, mess up the calibration.
    • CommentAuthorDarylP
    • CommentTimeJan 4th 2014
     
    Ed, Yes that is the principle behind their operation.

    It always beats me why so called 'damp professionals' use a ProTim meter designed for timber sections, and expect it to work when the probes are stuck into masonry, damp or otherwise....?:confused:
    • CommentAuthorEd Davies
    • CommentTimeJan 4th 2014
     
    Daryl, thanks for the confirmation. Just read Steamy's woodgears.ca link (sorry, missed it before) - excellent stuff. Other stuff on the site looks interesting, if perhaps somewhat North American.
    •  
      CommentAuthorSteamyTea
    • CommentTimeJan 4th 2014
     
    Posted By: DarylPIt always beats me why so called 'damp professionals' use a ProTim meter designed for timber sections, and expect it to work when the probes are stuck into masonry, damp or otherwise....?
    Probably because they think they know what they are talking about and most people believe them as they have the machine.
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