Step 4: Programming the Hardware

In this chapter we describe how to program the senseBox using Arduino IDE and how to test the sensors and components of the senseBox.

The software we code for senseBox is also called "sketch" in the following.

Programming with Arduino IDE

Using the Arduino IDE you can write code, compile the code and upload it on the senseBox microcontroller unit (MCU). Therefore you first have to connect the senseBox with the computer using hte USB-cable. Then follow the following steps.

Configuration of the Arduino IDE

Before you can start programming the senseBox, you have to change some settings in the Arduino IDE.

First, you choose Tools in the menu bar and search the senseBox MCU in the option Boards.


Second, you choose again Tools and Port and search for the USB Port of your computer which is aligned to the senseBox MCU. Usually the computer gives you only one option. Depending on your operation system you have to choose the port repeadetly when putting code on the board.

Please consider that you can only choose a port when the senseBox is connected to the computer via USB.

Hello World Example

Now you can start putting your first code on the senseBox. Therefore copy the following example into your Arduino IDE and click the arrow to upload the code on your senseBox.

In the down part of your Arduino interface you receive feedback about your uploading process (in the black colored box). If everything worked out sucessfully, you will receive the note Done upload.

int ledPin = LED_BUILTIN; 

void setup()
  pinMode(ledPin, OUTPUT);

void loop()
  digitalWrite(ledPin, HIGH); // turn the LED on (HIGH is the voltage level)
  delay(1000);                // wait for a second
  digitalWrite(ledPin, LOW);  // turn the LED off by making the voltage LOW
  delay(1000);                // wait for a second

Now you have seen your first Arduino code. The text which you can see behind the // is not code, but a comment of the person who write the code. In programming this helps other persons to understand the code and also yourself to remember your ideas when building it. However, this comments will not be read by the compiler.

In contrast to your laptop or smartphone the senseBox does not use any operating system such as Windows, Linox, Android or MacOS. Always the last program which you put on the microcontroller will be accomplished.This means that if you plug out the senseBox of your computer and put it to another power source it will still remain to run the same code again and again.

Test sensors and internet connection

Before you connect and register your senseBox to the openSenseMap, you should check if all sensors and the network modul is working to see if you build your hardware in the right way. Therefoe, a testing programm exists which you can run on your Arduino.
Please remember that you have to install the newest version of the Board-Support-Package as described in Step 2. There is also a information how to update the package at the end of Step 2.

Open the Test-Sketch

The Board-Support-Package comes wiht some test sketches for your senseBox. This file is named mcu_component_test and you can access it via File -> Examples -> senseBox-Tests). Now you can upload the code on your MCU by following the same instructions than you did for the Hello World Example.

After uploading the sketch on the MCU, you can start the Serial Monitor by clicking on the loupe icon on the right side. This should open a new window.

If the monitor is not opening, you should check if the senseBox MCU is in "Program Mode". To do this press the reset button on the senseBox Board (the red button on your senseBox) and then make sure that the right port ist connected. Afterwards you click the loupe icon again.

Option Menu in the Serial Monitor

After opening the Serial Monitor you find a menu with different functions which you can access using the search field:

Options menu
Options menu

Just type the number of the option you want to test into the search field and click Send. Below you will find a list of options and a short description:

  1. Find connected sensors

Here you can check if all sensors are installed in a correct way and if they are initialized and recognized by the senseBox. For each connected sensor you should receive a feedback and a test measurement. In the example below, a HDC1080 Temperature and Humidity sensor was connceted correctly to a I2C/Wire port.

Test of sensors

If you are missing the data of a sensor which you connected with the senseBox, check all cable connections and try it again. You can also try different ports on your senseBox as well as exchange cables between the sensors.
  1. Test connection to openSenseMap

    With this option you check your internet connectivity. If your senseBox successfully reaches the server you will get a response of the server in form of a HTTP-Status 200.

    Test of sensors
    Test of sensors
    If you use a Wifi-Bee, the test also checks if your firmware is updated to the newest version. If the version of your Wifi-bee is not the newest, you should update the firmware as described in the FAQ of this book.
  2. Get security key

    Each senseBox board has a own and unique security key which you can receive here. This key is used to encrypt the connection between the senseBox and the openSenseMap.

    We are currently working on a system to register your senseBox on the openSenseMap by using this key. For the first you can proceed without remembering the key.

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