Last night was probably the coldest it's been since we moved to Norwich before the summer. On the way home after a day on a stats course I'd not realised how cold it was. I started to get a bit worried since I knew that our chicken is alone in the coop and the door was open. I got in and locked the coop as usual. Since the Sun sets at around 4PM and I don't get home until after dark I knew that the coop would have lost heat, but I didn't know how much.

We only have the one chicken now so that makes me also feel a little sorry for her, so a few weeks back we added the Omlet thermal stuff to hopefully help with this kind of thing.

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I already have a Maplin weather station (WS1050) attached to the outside of the coop and a basestation which reports what the temperature is (along with other stuff), and I can pick this up using my SDR to record it (I need to write this up on my blog at some point). Anyway, I got home and realised it was 0.5degC, and it was only 6PM. We also have the Samsung smart things equipment in the house so I thought I'd nip to the shop, grab and extra sensor and put it in the coop to see what the difference was going to be overnight between the Maplin weather station and the inside of the coop.

I got back from my local PC and phone that you can put in a car store (other outlets are available) with a Samsung Multisensor.

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Since I needed to change the batteries to the outdoor sensor of the WS1050, I took the time to quickly "calibrate"* them in the house.

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So after I was confident that at least in the house they agreed, I put the Smartthings sensor in the coop and the weather station sensor back on the outside of the Omlet run. Then I waited and watched the temperature drop......and boy did it drop...

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This also agreed with what the outdoor weather station was saying (although I didn't take pictures of it and wasn't using my SDR to record it, I've not been organised with this stuff lately).

So in a nutshell, here are my thoughts;

  • The Smartthings Multisensor is great (if you already have the smarthings stuff) even though it's not designed to go below 0 degrees C.
  • Smartthings NEEDS to make an outdoor sensor, or someone else should make a Z-Wave one that isn't out of stock everywhere
  • The BBC weather forecast said -2C, it got to -5C
  • The Omlet extreme insulation doesn't keep the coop any warmer than the outside....but there is a caveat. We only have one lone chicken**. Maybe this is only useful if there are several. This did shock me when I saw the temperature plummet to the same as outside, but it shouldn't have as it makes perfect sense.
  • It'd be nice if the smartthings app could graph stuff
  • I really need to write more about the setup of our coop and weather monitoring system using rtl_433, the ws1050 and maybe even a bit on smartthings.
  • Finally, it didn't seem to phase the chicken, she even laid an egg.

*I put them in the same place and checked that after an hour they broadly looked the same, in fact they did calibrate nicely at the temperatures I saw.

**Here is not the place to discuss more chickens, getting more chickens, re-homing this chicken etc etc. Accept that we have one chicken and that's the way it is.

UPDATE 

A week or so after this, the sensor completely died and never worked again. It's clear that these sensors are completely unsuitable for below zero operation. This sucks as I plenty of cheaper 433mhz devices work at low temperatures. Come on someone, sort out a ZWave outdoor sensor!