I’ve been working on an air quality monitoring project using the Plantower PMS5003 particle detector. It’s a cool little device that uses a laser to count particles of various sizes (1.0µm, 2.5µm and 10µm). It won’t tell you what kind of chemicals are in the air but it will give you a good idea of what size and how many particles the sensor is seeing.
The Plantower PMS3003/PMS5003 particle sensors usually come with an 8 wire cable with male plugs on each end. The cable needs a Molex 053261-0871 female connector, which has a 1.25mm pitch “PicoBlade” header. You can find it at Digikey, Mouser, eBay (but don’t, the prices on eBay were ridiculous last time I looked) and even Amazon.
The toughest thing about using it isn’t the software or hardware, it’s mechanical – I had a very difficult time finding a compatible connector. The sensor ships with a short 8 wire cable with two male ends. I ended up just cutting the wires in two and soldering them to a perfboard, but this is a less flexible and more permanent solution than I was happy with.