Internet of Things: Esplora Arduino as an inexpensive sensor

It’s pretty hot here in SoCal right now, and there are clouds of flames just down the street, as you can see, no threat to my home, that is actually about 5 miles away, and that is the whole of Dana Point, Parts of San Juan Capistrano and San Clemente between my house and the flames.  But the ash fall is pretty intense right now.  This got me to thinking: What about sensors, could I measure the ash fall?  It isn’t too small though, my fire detector system isn’t going off, so I don’t need to use the Americium element from a fire detector (yes there is a radioactive component in most fire detectors).

(Note you will need to scroll down to see the juicy stuff in the blog… I just had to share this image, we really don’t get much in the way of weather around here.)


Well the Esplora Arduino is one way to get sensors set up and ready to use.  The problem I have with the esplora is that if you use the open source IDE, it isn’t easy to get it to take a program.  The UNO is easy to program, and the spark core is VERY easy to program, but the esplora not so much.  Unless I use VisualMicro, then it is easy to program, works every time.

Ok let’s get started:

  1. You will need an Esplora, I got mine at Radio Shack, Amazon is the same price, but you have to pay for postage.  If you can wait, then is a good source.  The cheap source for arduino devices does not have the esplora, sad.
  2. If you are a student get a copy of Visual Studio Pro through, then go to and install the Visual Micro add-in.  To get to the sketch project you use >>>>File New Sketch Project<<<<
    • image
  3. You can get interesting code to use from:
  4. Your code should like this:
    • image
    • The bottom button is the on the same side as the sliding potentiometer.  Somewhat science fiction kind of sounds.  Cheesy Science Fiction.

But what about a temperature sensor?  See my next blog.

Comments (0)

Skip to main content