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I'm new to electrical engineering, but have a software development background so I apologize if I'm missing something obvious. I want to tinker with sensors that interface with an Arduino, however, the use cases that I have in mind would require the sensors to be able to interface wirelessly with the Arduino. In my research so far, I've found that it seems common to use a sensor that is hard-wired to an Arduino, with the Arduino being wireless itself, so, you would need one Arduino for each wireless node. This wouldn't be practical for me in terms of cost.

I'm wondering if there are practical sensor nodes that have wireless capability, as I don't want a 1:1 sensor node to CPU ratio, rather, I'd like to have basic sensor input wirelessly to a single, centralized Arduino, which I would then connect to a full-fledged web server. Any info on this is much appreciated.

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The cheapest option would be to use a very simple transmitter like the one found here.

The problem is you'd still need to read the sensor somehow to be able to send the data through the transmitter but that could be accomplished with a microcontroller that is much cheaper than a full-fledged Arduino. Each sensor would use a wireless transmitter to talk to a base (Arduino-based) with a receiver that would then act as the web server. That might be a bit of a daunting task if you're just starting out.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Thanks for the info, this is very helpful. I agree, it's a lot to take on just starting out, do you know if there are kits or something similar that could help me get up and running faster? I'd ideally like to get up and running quickly as I can focus on the software side while gradually learning the electrical side. \$\endgroup\$ – Rick Nov 16 '13 at 6:29
  • \$\begingroup\$ The easiest way to start would probably be to use an Arduino kit for the first sensor as that will let you focus on the code side of things and communicating with the sensor and transmitter. After that I'd recommend getting a dev board for a microcontroller of your choice (PIC, Atmel, TI) and try to interface that to the sensor and transmitter. That will help you learn the dev environment for the micro you've chosen. After that you can buy the bare microcontroller and supporting components and start breadboarding your own implementation. It's a big learning curve but totally worth it. \$\endgroup\$ – K-Sid Nov 16 '13 at 7:06

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