I've been getting involved with arduino recently as a means of improving a heating device which is quite small, a box about 15x10x5cm which I would like to rig with an MLX90614 infrared sensor.

The box is already "wired" with many small flexible tubes, so I would like to set up the sensor so that I can read from it wirelessly, to keep it from getting anymore complicated than it needs to be.

What would be the most compact way to set up a transceiver capable of I2C (ideally with arduino uno coding compatibility) and to then communicate with another arduino? (I already have an Uno to act as the base station)

The reason I mention that the device should be codable with Arduino is that the MLX90614 uses a communication protocol that is beyond my skill level and which I can only operate with open source code libraries for arduino.

I've been doing some research and the best thing I've found so far is the PanStamp, but I have never soldered before, and they are not in business at the moment.

Another limitation is size. I would prefer not to use another entire arduino Uno, with shield.

And of course low cost is a plus :)

So if any of you have worked on something like this before and you have a recommendation, it would be greatly appreciated.


  • I should also add that distance is not an issue. My datalogger/control unit will be only a few feet away – Ryan Aug 15 '15 at 19:09
  • Why I2C in particular? The NRF24L01 gadgets which you can get for a dollar or so on eBay work well over short range, and there is a good library for it. It uses SPI, so you just need your SPI pins spare (basically pins 9 to 13 as it needs one more pin for chip enable). – Nick Gammon Aug 15 '15 at 22:38
  • I2C is needed to read temperature from the sensor, which would then be transmitted to another microcontroller which controls the heater at the AC mains. I was hoping there was a simple MCU with integrated RF that could handle I2C, but it does not look like this is the case, based on the severe lack of responses in here... I also think the nRF24l01 might be the best solution, but it just seems like a waste to buy an entire arduino uno or similar to act as the intermediary between the sensor and the RF module. Have you implemented these before? If so, did you have any problems with it? – Ryan Aug 16 '15 at 0:14

So if any of you have worked on something like this before and you have a recommendation, it would be greatly appreciated.

See Solar powered Arduino - I used a standalone Atmega328P on a prototyping board for that. That used the NRF24L01 to send information (the current voltage in this case) to another Arduino.

For small and simple you could get an Arduino Nano or Arduino Pro Mini. The Pro Mini is around $US10, and is quite small.

They have the same processor (Atmega328P) so you can connect your I2C sensor to it, and the NRF24L01 as well.

I have never soldered before ...

I think you will have to do a little soldering, to connect up the sensor, and the transmitter, but soldering on connecting wires isn't too onerous.

  • That is a nicely implemented project. I see that the setup for the nRF24l01 is fairly simple. I may take up soldering for this project, but I am reluctant because I fear I am deviating from what I am paid to do, which is biology, and I have no workspace to solder. Perhaps I can find someone willing to help me. I recently found out about the ESP8266 has GPIO capabilities and could potentially handle the IR sensor, but again, this involves investing a lot more time, so i'll probably get a Pro Mini. – Ryan Aug 16 '15 at 2:45
  • You can always take it home to do a bit of soldering. You can get a cheap soldering iron for $25 or so, and a small packet of solder. Spread newspapers over a table and hop to it. :) – Nick Gammon Aug 16 '15 at 3:37
  • haha ok sounds good. thanks for your help. I would give you some points but i can't yet. – Ryan Aug 16 '15 at 7:00

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