Home weather stations


#61

There are tons of backyard weather stations out there. Still it pays to take a trip through your local home-improvement or agriculture-supply warehouse to note exact model numbers on display for further research. Sadly, most of these don’t speak “computer,” and you’ll probably wind up ordering online.

The one I bought was just the cheapest thing. My impression is that the AccuRite SmartHUB was the heart of a componentized system that polled multiple devices, which could be purchased separately to appeal to commercial users, but the Ambient device I bought is for homeowners and has only two parts: outdoor and indoor. Both are battery-operated and communicate wirelessly through some kind of proprietary handshaking. The indoor unit is connected to my PC through a USB port, and the PC does the polling with the weeWX software. My PC is not always on, so the indoor unit caches observations and the PC fetches them, massages them and updates its database whenever I do turn it on. Mostly it works. Occasionally, there is a reading or two missing from the cache, but that’s frustrating only for the developers who wrote the weeWX Fine Offset drivers, not for me.

Is weeWX easy to work with? (Are you a programmer/IT person by trade?) … I can always get through about 75% of the software setup … and I can’t get it to work and then I’ve spent 50 bucks down the drain.

You mean you’d spend $50 for the “pi.” Yeah, too bad, but you could dual boot your Windows machine with Linux on the second partition, and it wouldn’t cost you anything. :grinning:

I’m a geek. I’ll cop to that.

Is weeWX easy? It’s free. What can I say? If you install Debian Linux or one of its clones like Ubuntu, then weeWX is just another app in the standard distribution and installs like cake. During the installation, a number of probing questions come up such as make and model of your weather station, your lat/lon/elevation, etc, so configuration is at least partially automated and you should see results. Then, there’s always the weeWX Users’ group on Google.


#62

The AcuRite smartHUB was designed to receive data from something like 10 or so sensors and put it on Acurite’s cloud server. It could also report the data to Weather Underground, which made it more useful because WU retained your data indefinitely, whereas AcuRite’s cloud service would only save data for a month. I had my smartHUB working for 2+ years until I packed it up last April for a move, and never put it back into service because I figured it was bricked. The device wasn’t perfect, but it worked well enough without too much hassle. So I’m bummed to have it go away and to have invest time or money to replace it.

That’s good to know. I might try it then. I forgot until now that I’ve had decent luck with Linux in the recent past. I few years back I made some bootable flash disks to run some old, but essential research software in WINE. It was a clunky solution that took some time to figure out, but it worked until we could convince IT to set up a Win 7 32 bit machine for us with remote desktop.


#63

Installed my Ambient WS-2902A earlier this week. pretty easy set up, unit is located in my back yard well away from any unnatural heat sources…Set up was relatively easy and I was able to get it linked up to weather underground and ambient weather so I can see data in real time.

right now it’s mounted to a fence post in my back yard on a piece of steel conduit. I feel like it’s high enough for my purposes and this will make it easier to service the unit if necessary.


#64

still getting familiar with some of the nuances of this PWS. Something I noticed when looking at the data from the last couple of days is the humidity reading. You can see how after about 9 in the morning levels start to drop, then it builds again late evening to 99% all through the night…Taking into account this is Florida and our humidity is pretty much high all the time, I guess it’s possible but still would have expected some fluctuation…I know the array isn’t professional-grade so I’m sure there is some margin for error…the ambient site says it’s only a problem if it stays at 99% the entire time…that would indicate a bad battery…anyone else in a humid location notice this as well?


#65

I’m updating my post with the fact that I was able to setup a Raspberry Pi Zero W running WeeWX connected by USB to my AcuRite 01036 display unit.

The Pi is reporting the data to a personal weather station website served from the Pi Zero at: http://173.29.136.66/weewx/

And to Weather Underground: https://www.wunderground.com/dashboard/pws/KIACEDAR196

The setup wasn’t too bad. I was able to do it in 3 nights. One to setup the Pi, one to setup WeeWX, and the last night to setup Weather Underground and play with some report settings. All-in-all not so bad.

I used a Pi Zero W because my weather station display sits on the kitchen counter, and I didn’t what to take up too much space. But I think if I had more space, I would have done it on on Pi 3 B+, just to make the process quicker. The Pi Zero W is not very fast to work with from Raspbian desktop. Though truth be told, it isn’t necessary to have the desktop for any of this, except maybe to find files.


#66

What’s up with your signal quality, man?


#67

I do not know. I just noticed that dropout. It has been a while since I replaced the Li batteries in the 5-in-1 station so it could be that. Strange coincidence though for it to completely drop out after 36 hours of being online.

I have some diagnosing to do when I get home from work tonight.


#68

I replace the outdoor set and the indoor set once a year whether they need it or not because … dang … maintaining a continuous temperature log by trying to do that in -10°F wind chill could not possibly be worth it.


#69

I replaced the Li batteries with alkaline batteries because I only had one Li AA battery around. It seems to be doing fine today.

I still don’t have a good explanation as to why the signal drop-out coincided with daylight so strongly. The AcuRite stations have a fan in them, but it was my understanding that the fan was completely separate electronically from the rest of the system and was powered solely by solar cells on the unit.

Perhaps there is an IC switch, MOSFET, or relay switch on the circuit board that turns the fan on when the solar panels have power? And the current draw from the IC/MOSFET/relay caused the signal dropout? I don’t know…

On the other hand I would have figured the batteries could provide Less power during the night so would have expected signal dropout during the night.


#70

Went with an Ambient Weather Station and running on Wunderground with a webcam. Take a look…

https://www.wunderground.com/dashboard/pws/KOHNEWCO12


#71

Had a storm blow through a week ago and I realized that my weather station wasn’t getting very accurate wind reading…Basically, it was too low for as close to the house as I have it mounted…Kept it in the same location but increased the height of the pole…this is 1 1/4 inch electrical conduit mounted to a 4x4 fence post…Painted it camo tan so it blends better with the surroundings…

I’ve already noticed a vast improvement in wind readings…looking forward to the next big storm so I can put it to the test…


#72

Ambient works well.


#73

what kind of webcam are you using?


#74

Dahua variable focus bullet cam.