Air Pollution Monitoring and Alert System Using Arduino and MQ135

Air Pollution Monitoring and Alert System Using Arduino and MQ135

In this tutorial, I will provide the essential details about the air quality index, the pinout of the MQ-135 sensor, and how to measure air pollution using the MQ-135 sensor.

After this tutorial, you will be able to develop the air pollution monitoring and alert system using the Arduino Uno board with an MQ-135 sensor.

Hardware components

Arduino Uno Rev3x1Amazon
Arduino Mega (Optional)x1Amazon
MQ-135 Air Quality Sensorx1Amazon
16 x 2 LCD Displayx1Amazon
LEDx3Amazon
Buzzerx1Amazon
Breadboardx1Amazon
Jumper wiresx15Amazon
10K Potentiometerx1Amazon
USB cable type A/Bx1Amazon

Software

Arduino IDEArduino IDE

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What is air pollution?

Air pollution is the presence of excessive amounts of undesirable and unsafe solid or gaseous substances such as Carbon Monoxide, Lead, Nitrogen Oxide, Ozone, Particulate Matter, Sulfur Dioxide, etc., atmosphere.

Air pollution cause and effect

Air pollution has become an increasingly hazardous problem over the past few years. This factor is directly related to human health.

Global warming has become a severe concern for many countries; one widely faced issue is air pollution.

Other effects of air pollution also include various diseases like lung cancer, ischemic heart disease, asthma attacks, etc.

What is an air pollution monitoring system?

The Air pollution monitoring system is a facility to measure air pollutants using sensors, processing using microcontrollers, and showing results using various displays.

How can air pollution be monitored?

Air quality is a measure of how clean or polluted the air is. Air pollution is usually measured as Air Quality Index (AQI) in the PPM unit.

The sensors are most suitable for identifying hotspots at roadsides and near point sources. This sensor gets data that can be continuously monitored via different displays.

These are portable monitoring tools that can continuously monitor a range of pollutants.

Data can be downloaded to your computer and analyzed.

United StatesEurope
Air Quality Index (AQI) ValuesLevels of Health ConcernAir Quality Index (AQI) ValuesQualitative name
0 to 50Good0 to 25Very low
51 to 100Moderate25 to 50Low
101 to 150Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups50 to 75Medium
151 to 200Unhealthy75 to 100High
201 to 300Very Unhealthy>100Very high
301 to 500Hazardous

Air Quality Index: Source

What sensor can detect air pollution?

Nowadays, progress in electronics parts and availability of various sensors like MQ-135, MQ-2, MQ-3, MQ-4, MQ-5, MQ-6, etc., to measure the air pollutant, different systems are developed to monitor the number of air pollutants in the air.

MQ135 is one of the most popular sensors for measuring AQI in PPM.

What is the MQ-135 sensor?

What is the MQ-135 sensor

MQ-135 is a gas sensor that has lower conductivity in clean air. It is low cost and suitable for different applications.

This module operates at 5V, has 33Ω±5% resistance, and consumes around 150mA.

This sensor has four pins from four pins, Digital and Analog output pins, which are used to approximate these gasses levels in the atmosphere. 

When these gasses go beyond a threshold limit in the air, the digital pin rises.

This threshold value can be set by using the onboard potentiometer.

Features of MQ-135 Sensor

  1. Wide detecting scope, Fast response, and High sensitivity
  2. Long lifespan
  3. Heater Voltage: 5.0V
  4. It contains analog output and high/low digital output
  5. The TTL output signal is a low level
  6. The operating Voltage is +5V
  7. Detected/Measure NH3, NOx, alcohol, Benzene, smoke, CO2, etc.
  8. Detection Range: 10 – 300 ppm NH3, 10 – 1000 ppm Benzene, 10 – 300 Alcohol

If you want more details about the MQ-135 sensor, refer to the MQ-135 datasheet and MQ-135 Schematic pdf.

Working Mechanism

Working Mechanism

Now, let’s understand the working mechanism of the MQ-135 gas sensor. 

The MQ-135 Gas sensor consists of Tin Dioxide (SnO2). When target pollution gas exists, the sensor’s conductivity increases along with the gas concentration.

Users can convert the change of conductivity to correspond to the output signal of gas concentration through a simple circuit.

The MQ-135 gas sensor has a high sensitivity to NH3, S2, C6H6 series steam and can monitor smoke and other toxic gasses. It can detect kinds of toxic gasses.

Pinout of MQ135

The MQ-135 sensor module has four pins, with the most important part being an adjustable potentiometer.

Pinout of MQ135
Pin numberPin nameDetails
1VCC PinThe Pin requires 5V to power the module.
2Ground PinTo connect the module to the system’s common Ground
3Digital Output PinThis pin sets the threshold value by using a potentiometer.
4Analog Output PinThe analog voltage pin is based on the concentration of the gas.

Can air quality be measured with an Arduino device?

Arduino Uno consists of 14 digital input/output (I/O) pins and 6 analog input pins, which fulfill the requirement of the AQI monitoring system. 

This system could be extended by various modules compatible with Arduino, such as Ethernet shield, GSM/GPRS shield, GPS logger shield, RTC shield, and built-in board with VCC, Ground, etc.

Now you know quite a bit about the MQ-135 sensor, let’s move ahead and learn how to interface the MQ-135 with Arduino.

-> Read our guide about What You Can Build with Adruino.

Wiring MQ-135 sensor with Arduino UNO

This circuit diagram is self-explanatory. The best way to interface this circuit is to start with an Arduino Uno board and LCD with the breadboard.

Step 1: First, place a 16×2 LCD on the breadboard, as shown in the figure.

Now, connect A to +5V with a 220-ohm resistor and K to Ground. 

To vary the contrast of a 16×2 LCD, connect the VO to the middle pin of the potentiometer and VDD to +5V, VSS & RW to Ground. 

Also, provide +5V and Ground to the potentiometer as depicted in the figure.

The summary of connections is mentioned in the below table.

Arduino Uno PIN16×2 LCD Pin
Digital Pin 2 RS
Digital Pin 3EN
Digital Pin 4D4
Digital Pin 5D5
Digital Pin 6D6
Digital Pin 7D7
LCD on the breadboard

Step 2: The MQ-135 module connects to the A0 pin of an Arduino Uno and connects GND to Ground, providing +5V to VCC.

MQ-135 module connects to the A0 pin of an Arduino Uno

Step 3: Connect Anode (+) of Green LED to digital pin 8 of Arduino; Blue LED to digital 9 pin of Arduino and Red LED to digital pin 10 of Arduino and all LEDs Cathode (-) Ground with 220-ohm resistor.

Step 4: Connect the buzzer’s positive terminal to digital pin 11 of Arduino and the negative terminal to the ground.

digital pin 11 of Arduino

-> Learn more about How Easy Is It To Learn Arduino here.

Arduino Code For Air Pollution Monitoring

The following code allows you to measure the air pollutant in the air in a PPM unit using the MQ-135 sensor.

You can see the results on a serial monitor and a 16×2 LCD.

// Include library for LCD and define pins
#include <LiquidCrystal.h>
const int rs = 2, en = 3, d4 = 4, d5 = 5, d6 = 6, d7 = 7;
LiquidCrystal lcd(rs, en, d4, d5, d6, d7);

// Define pins and variable for input sensor and output led and buzzer
const int mq135_aqi_sensor = A0;
const int green_led = 8;
const int blue_led = 9;
const int red_led = 10;
const int buzzer = 11;

// Set threshold for AQI
int aqi_ppm = 0;

void setup() {
  // Set direction of input-output pins
  pinMode (mq135_aqi_sensor, INPUT);
  pinMode (green_led, OUTPUT);
  pinMode (blue_led, OUTPUT);
  pinMode (red_led, OUTPUT);
  pinMode (buzzer, OUTPUT);

  digitalWrite(green_led, LOW);
  digitalWrite(blue_led, LOW);
  digitalWrite(red_led, LOW);
  digitalWrite(buzzer, LOW);

  // Initiate serial and lcd communication
  Serial.begin (9600);
  lcd.clear();
  lcd.begin (16, 2);

  Serial.println("AQI Alert System");
  lcd.setCursor(0, 0);
  lcd.print("AQI Alert System");
  delay(1000);
}

void loop() {
  aqi_ppm = analogRead(mq135_aqi_sensor);

  Serial.print("Air Quality: ");
  Serial.println(aqi_ppm);

  lcd.setCursor(0, 0);
  lcd.print("Air Quality: ");
  lcd.print(aqi_ppm);

  if ((aqi_ppm >= 0) && (aqi_ppm <= 50))
  {
    lcd.setCursor(0, 1);
    lcd.print("AQI Good");
    Serial.println("AQI Good");
    digitalWrite(green_led, HIGH);
    digitalWrite(blue_led, LOW);
    digitalWrite(red_led, LOW);
    digitalWrite(buzzer, LOW);
  }
  else if ((aqi_ppm >= 51) && (aqi_ppm <= 100))
  {
    lcd.setCursor(0, 1);
    lcd.print("AQI Moderate");
    Serial.println("AQI Moderate");
    tone(green_led, 1000, 200);
    digitalWrite(blue_led, HIGH);
    digitalWrite(red_led, LOW);
    digitalWrite(buzzer, LOW);
  }

  else if ((aqi_ppm >= 101) && (aqi_ppm <= 200))
  {
    lcd.setCursor(0, 1);
    lcd.print("AQI Unhealthy");
    Serial.println("AQI Unhealthy");
    digitalWrite(green_led, LOW);
    digitalWrite(blue_led, HIGH);
    digitalWrite(red_led, LOW);
    digitalWrite(buzzer, LOW);
  }
  else if ((aqi_ppm >= 201) && (aqi_ppm <= 300))
  {
    lcd.setCursor(0, 1);
    lcd.print("AQI V. Unhealthy");
    Serial.println("AQI V. Unhealthy");
    digitalWrite(green_led, LOW);
    tone(blue_led, 1000, 200);
    digitalWrite(red_led, HIGH);
    digitalWrite(buzzer, LOW);
  }
  else if (aqi_ppm >= 301)
  {
    lcd.setCursor(0, 1);
    lcd.print("AQI Hazardous");
    Serial.println("AQI Hazardous");
    digitalWrite(green_led, LOW);
    digitalWrite(blue_led, LOW);
    digitalWrite(red_led, HIGH);
    digitalWrite(buzzer, HIGH);
  }
  delay (700);
}

How The Code Works

I have used an Arduino IDE to program an Arduino Uno board.

Step 1: First, I have included the necessary header file for 16×2 LCD,

#include <LiquidCrystal.h>                 // Header file for LCD

Step 2: Define the variables for different pins used in the Arduino board for LCD, Buzzer, LED, and MQ-135. Also, define the variable for analog value.

const int rs = 2, en = 3, d4 = 4, d5 = 5, d6 = 6, d7 = 7;   // LCD to Arduino pins
LiquidCrystal lcd(rs, en, d4, d5, d6, d7);   // LiquidCrystal function

const int mq135_aqi_sensor = A0;      // Connect MQ-135 sensor to A0 pin of Arduino
const int green_led = 8;                       // Connect green LED to digital 8 pin of Arduino
const int blue_led = 9;                         // Connect blue LED to digital 9 pin of Arduino
const int red_led = 10;                        // Connect red LED to digital 10 pin of Arduino
const int buzzer = 11;                         // Connect buzzer to digital 11 pin of Arduino

int aqi_ppm = 0;                       	     // Initialize the variable for catch up analog value

Step 3: In the void setup() function, I have initialized the Buzzer, LED as an output device, and MQ-135 as an input device to Arduino Uno. 

lcd.begin(); function initialize 16×2 LCD, before initializing the 16×2 LCD you must clear.

Using lcd.clear(); function. Also, set the baud rate at 9600-speed rate using Serial.begin(); function.

Step 4: After Initialize,16×2 LCD in set the cursor home position.

 lcd.setCursor(0, 0);

The below message will print on the serial terminal and 16×2 LCD.

Serial.println(“AQI Alert System”);

lcd.print(“AQI Alert System”);

Step 5: In void loop() function, initializing the variable to catch up analog value, using analogRead(); function. And print on message serial terminal and 16×2 LCD.

aqi_ppm = analogRead(mq135_aqi_sensor);
Serial.print("Air Quality: ");
Serial.println(aqi_ppm);

lcd.setCursor(0, 0);
lcd.print("Air Quality: ");
lcd.print(aqi_ppm);

Step 6: If the Suppose Analog value is between 0 to 50, the green LED will blink. Print on message serial terminal. And on LCD will print a message in the second row and first position.

    lcd.setCursor(0, 1);
    lcd.print("AQI Good");
    Serial.println("AQI Good");
    digitalWrite(green_led, HIGH);

Step 7: Same as, depending on AQI value, LED will blink and print on the message serial terminal and the 16×2 LCD following the table.

AQI valueGreen LEDBlue LEDRed LEDBuzzerSerial Terminal and16×2 LCD Message
0 – 50ONOFFOFFOFFAQI Good
51 – 100BLINKONOFFOFFAQI Moderate
101 – 200OFFONOFFOFFAQI Unhealthy
201 – 300OFFBLINKONOFFAQI Very Unhealthy
> 301OFFOFFONONAQI Hazardous

LCD Output:

LCD Output

Serial Monitor Output:

Serial Monitor Output

Video Preview & Explanation

If you need a guide from the video, follow this link  Video Preview.

> Check out our guide to the Top 12 Best Arduino Online Courses

Conclusion

After this tutorial, you can develop your own Air Monitoring and Alert System using the MQ-135 sensor and Arduino Uno board.

I hope you found this tutorial informative. If you did, please share it with a friend who likes electronics and making things!

I would love to know what project you plan on building or have already made with the Arduino.

If you have any questions or suggestions or think things are missing in this tutorial, please leave a comment below.

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