This Tiny Arcade Cabinet Is a Weather Station in Disguise

Cabe Atwell

The one-man ace engineering wrecking crew - If you have a problem, if no one else can help, and if you can find me, maybe you can hire... the Cabe-team

148 Articles

By Cabe Atwell

The one-man ace engineering wrecking crew - If you have a problem, if no one else can help, and if you can find me, maybe you can hire... the Cabe-team

148 Articles

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Sorry, you can't play this arcade cabinet.

Sorry, you can’t play this arcade cabinet.

With so many channels, apps, and meteorologists dedicated to the weather it’s easier than ever to know what to expect before you even step out the door. But these are all just highly educated guesses at best. To get the most accurate forecast you’d need a weather station. One engineer went beyond this and made his own unique weather station. Rui Cabral builds electronic circuits as a hobby and he’s turned his skill into a gamer’s dream station.

The cabinet in the building process.

The cabinet in the building process.

Though the weather machine looks exactly like a classic arcade cabinet, complete with old school buttons, it only stands 16cm tall. But it’s the attention to detail that makes it so creative. Cabral used his own CNC machine to help make the device.

Cabral then mapped out the design in CAD based off a real model. Each piece of the cabinet is made out of particle board, similar to the material used in the actual arcade machines. The screen is actually an 84×48 monochrome Nokia display, the same one in the iconic Nokia 5110/330 phone.

The cabinet is made out of particle board similar to actual arcade machines.

The cabinet is made out of particle board similar to actual arcade machines.

He then glues together the pieces, installed the tactile buttons, and stuffed the interior with temperature and humidity sensors, an RTC, and a Bluetooth module to upload data to a phone. Once the switch at the bottom of the device is flipped, a splash screen of classic video game Pong pops up.

A few seconds later the display changes to a “Game Over” machine followed by a screen that shows the temperature, time, and humidity. Cabral even installed sensors to let him know if something has gone wrong. The firmware will detect any problems with the humidity sensor and will display a warning on screen.

Take a look at the guts of the weather station.

Take a look at the guts of the weather station.

According to Cabral, the weather station is still a work in progress. Though the initial run seems to be good, he’s looking to add some more features. He wants to add animation to the menus to make them look better along with an option to have an external temperature sensor.

There's even a start up screen replicating the classic Pong game.

There’s even a start up screen replicating the classic Pong game.

“This was one of those ideas that was born only by the desire to build a small replica of a gaming machine without any electronics inside,” says Cabral. “However, I would not pass up the opportunity to invent and build something to install inside. I wanted to have something different and unique for that cabinet and not have a mini game machine. I chose to create a small and simple weather station to show not only temperature and humidity values, but also hours and if possible something else.”

The screen is the same found on the classic Nokia cellphone.

The screen is the same found on the classic Nokia cellphone.