Using my Arduino for a piece of mind

Two weeks ago, I faced a problem. I needed to travel with some temperature-sensitive materials in an airplane. They needed to remain chilled (about 42 degrees F) for about six hours. Being short on time and in a pinch, I decided to turn to my Arduino. I needed to know – would the cooler and ice packs I had on hand be enough to keep my materials cool for my trip?

I decided to stage an experiment. I would pack the cooler with all of the ice packs I was planning to use on my flight. I substituted a surrogate material for the purposes of the test. I used my Arduino Uno with the TMP102 sensor available from SparkFun.

This shows my basic setup.

photo

I threw together a quick sketch to record the temperature every 10 minutes and then write it to the console along with the time. After I verified the sensor was working, I wrapped the Arduino in a few plastic bags and tapped the seals around the USB cable. I then did something which seemed very weird to me – I put the Arduino in the cooler and zipped it up for the night.

I was delighted to wake up in the morning to have a screen full of data. I threw the CSV data into Excel and created a quick line graph.

Temperature

I added the upper and lower limits for my item on the graph. As you can see, the setup seemed to work! I was happy to see the results and ended up traveling, successfully, with the setup. Instead of worrying about it while traveling, my Arduino gave me some much-needed comfort.