BME680 Breakout


#1

Is there any way to use the BME680 without soldering things? I have a RPi 3 and a RPi Zero. If there’s any way to use it out of the packet/box, that’d be great. (I don’t know how to solder).


#2

Other than using alligator clips, no not really. Not and have a reliable connection.
Have a look at this, https://learn.pimoroni.com/tutorial/sandyj/the-ultimate-guide-to-soldering


#3

While I don’t recommend it, you can sometimes get away with using a strip header pushed into a breadboard, drop the sensor over that, lift it up as far as it’ll go without breaking and jam bluetack underneath.

I did this when I first started electronics tinkering so I could use a breakout without soldering it- eventually though it stopped working so I bought an iron, soldered it, still didn’t work, bought a replacement, that didn’t work either, discovered it was the USB cable. Long story short: learn to solder :D it’s way easier than debugging unreliable connections and there are sooo many guides to it now.


#4

Something like this, https://shop.pimoroni.com/?q=perma is a good for practising on. Get some LED’s and resistors and a maybe a couple of headers. If you have a solderless bread board do your test circuit up on it first. Then once its working transfer it to the solder version. If you mess up you can learn how to unsolder stuff. ;) Its an inexpensive way to learn without damaging something expensive, or something you currently only have one of and need for a project.
And don’t be embarrassed to post pics and ask for critiques. Learning to solder can be a valuable skill when tinkering with this type of stuff. It opens up all kinds of avenues to explore and have some real fun with.


#5

I have ordered some soldering things! I will report back. I have a breadboard etc in one of those ‘electronics starter packs’ but I guess I just need to bite the bullet! I will report back. Thanks for the advice!


#6

All of the breakout boards I’ve ever ordered came with the header not soldered on. One reason I assume is it makes packaging easier. No pins sticking up to get bent. It also lets you use wires instead of headers. Or a female header, etc.


#7

I don’t actually know what a header is :) Lots to learn :)


#8

https://shop.pimoroni.com/?q=header ;)


#9

I have my BME680 setup as a weather clock. I show day, date, time, temp, humidity, pressure as a scrolling message on a Sense Hat LCD matrix. It just endlessly repeats the messages, updating in real time. Each element of the message changes color based on the conditions. Blue text for temp if its below 0c for example.
I hope to eventually replace the Sense Hat with a Unicorn Hat HD. I started out using the sensors on the Sense Hat but ran into issues with heat build up inside my case making the temp readings read artificially high. Then I had issues with the Humidity sensor being light sensitive and added the BME680. Its mounted externally to the bottom of my case.
Anyway, this stuff can be a lot of fun. You may run into struggles, but that what forums are for.=)


#10

Whilst on the subject of the BME680, I’ve noticed this is a slightly different shape to the one I bought when it was released a few months ago. Is that the only difference? Just wondered why it was showing as “new” on the shop…


#11

The new one also has a selectable i2c address. You can change it with a solder jumper. That means you can use two at the same time. Indoor outdoor etc. I don’t think the old one had that? Not 100% sure though.

EDITED: to remove miss information.


#12

Hmm, that’s strange. I’m hoping my version isn’t lacking any features as a result…


#13

They both do all the same measurements, from what I can tell from the description. I just had a look at mine, its one of the original earlier models. It’s not the Adafruit one, I guess I got that wrong. It has the same pinout as the new black Pimoroni one. And mine is green not blue like the Adafruit version. I can’t see the bottom side so I have no idea if it has the i2c address select? Mines all bolted down with a cover over it. .


#14

Oops again, mine is black, not green. Was looking at the edge of the board not the top.


#15

Yeah, mine is the same as this - not the Adafruit one. It would be good to understand from Pimoroni if there are any differences, other than cosmetic.


#16

The differences are purely cosmetic- perfecting the form-factor for breakouts before we start adding more to the range. There’s a slight change to how Ground is wired in an effort to curb thermal conductivity and thermal inertia of the sensor, but I’ve no idea if it has an effect (at this scale, probably not, but it’s better to try than not).


#17

Ah, ok. So there may be some slight increase in the accuracy of the new sensor due to the changes in the way the ground is wired, but this could be minor / insignificant. Thanks.


#18

By “ground” I think he’s referring to the copper on the board. Back fill or what ever its called. They reduced the copper plating (ground plane) on the backside. The proper term for this totally escapes me at the moment.
Anyway, an issue with stuff like this is thermal transfer of heat from one device to another. Like from your Pi’s CPU to the BME680 ground plan. The copper soaks up the heat and your temp reads higher than it should. It’s a big issue with the Sense Hat, especially if its in a case. It’s why my BME680 is mounted on the outside of my case. No heat soak from the electronics inside the case.
Normally you want as much ground plan as possible for noise shielding to reduce electrical interference. It’s a lot easier to leave it there than to etch it off.;)


#19

I believe the reduction in copper will reduce thermal inertia- IE a smaller volume of copper responds more quickly to changes in temperature than a larger one. But it will probably not help with the issue of thermally coupling the heat of the Pi with the sensor. I’m not a physicist though so I could be spouting utter nonsense!

We basically switched from a ground fill to a single copper trace to connect the ICs ground pin are my suggestion- but it was based more upon “it can’t hurt to try” than “this will be a huge inprovement.”

These sensors are usually paired with a micro controller (less heat) or compensated in code to produce a more accurate reading. Application/environment calibration is just par for the course with any sensor like this.


#20

Placement makes a big difference. Getting some distance between them and any artificial heat source like the Pi helps a lot with accurate readings. Even then, heat soak is an issue. If I have my portable weather clock in the house @ 22c. And then take it outside in the winter, it can take 10 or 15 minutes for it to acclimatize and get an accurate reading. That’s not a complaint, just an observation. ;) Its still great value for the money spent. =)