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Beyond the expected

A call to the hive mind. Weatherstations?

By johnboy - 8 March 2012 16

We just know that somewhere in our vast, attractive, and highly remunerated audience there’s an expert on weatherstations.

We’re toying with the idea of setting one up in Civic to give weather readings that will display on our pages.

But which offers the best bang for the buck?

Over to you guys.

What’s Your opinion?


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16 Responses to
A call to the hive mind. Weatherstations?
Rawhide Kid Part3 11:52 am 11 Mar 12

Are you going to include a weather cam? ACTEW use to have one in civic, but since the moved to their new location I haven’t seen one from them other than the Dam Cam.

Padoof 10:38 am 11 Mar 12

Mr Padoof says:

For cheap, cheerful and functional unit, I have a digitech branded fineoffset weather station purchased on special at Jaycar for under $100.

It has rain, temp, wind speed and direction.

The reciever unit sits behind the always on mthytv backend ( myhtbuntu – linux ) and is connect via USB. I installed “wview” straight up from the repository and with a few settings, it gathers all the data.

It does record the measurements to a local database, and will render images etc to a web server, I haven’t got it setup right to show you a link on the internet, another of the “to do’s”. The information displayed in a functional if utilitarian view. Again, it’s on the to do list to write some code or spend time modifying the CSS to make it look a little nicer.

The nice thing about wview though is it hooks into weather underground, so I’m also outputting the data to their site.

This is my weather station there:

http://www.wunderground.com/weatherstation/WXDailyHistory.asp?ID=IAUSTRAL9

It also provides a map of other weather stations registered on the site, which is a handy way to compare your system with other local ones.

One word of warning though. With the temperature sensor, it’s best to keep it out of direct sunlight. Even though it does have a plastic outer covering, a radiation shield is best to prevent the problem I have where when the sun hits a certain point, the temperature rockets up out of line with the true ambient temp.

It’s also on list of things to fix up.

Overall, for the price, I can’t fault the system, it was fun watching the weather station with all the rain we recently had.

Disinformation 9:04 am 09 Mar 12

Ceej1973 said :

Hey Andy. Love UR site. Specially the camera. Lightening tracker shits me though, I need to learn rocket science. Great to compare my rainfall in Banks to yours and Tuggers Station. Hope you dont mind, but I have put Mark Carmody onto UR site too. Will be good to see another station set up in the City. The ACTEW one is a bit too light on, cameras never work, and too slow updating rainfall and temp figures.

This discussion has been most interesting.

But first, how is it that you can bother to type out everything else, but feel the need to use “UR” instead of “your”? I mean, you’ve already gone that extra shift key stroke anyway, so you’re just one key press of doing the right thing. Or is this your attempt at displaying your youthful hippness for fitting in with the 13 year old AOL crowd?

I did communicate with one of the locals here who was phonetically spelling every second word. When I realised that her typing speed was close to 100 words per minute, I queried her why she was deliberately misspelling things.
Her reply was “I thought this was what you did on the Internet!” and then switched to the correct spelling with no decrease in typing speed.

Other than that, this weather station data logging appears to be available at very reasonable cost and will serve to prevent my father from inquiring about the weather each time he’s on the phone.

Ceej1973 10:34 pm 08 Mar 12

andym said :

Ceej1973 said :

If you like the look of this website http://www.conder-act.com/weather/Conder.htm, then the specifications and email contact address of the owner is at the bottom of the page.

Yay – That’s my site. I am using Oregon Scientfic WMR928NX, which is wireless and the Weather Display software to drive the website and derive other measurements.

Hey Andy. Love UR site. Specially the camera. Lightening tracker shits me though, I need to learn rocket science. Great to compare my rainfall in Banks to yours and Tuggers Station. Hope you dont mind, but I have put Mark Carmody onto UR site too. Will be good to see another station set up in the City. The ACTEW one is a bit too light on, cameras never work, and too slow updating rainfall and temp figures.

Russ 10:11 pm 08 Mar 12

Best bang for buck is the Fine Offset units widely available on Ebay and other outlets. I set up one at a local vineyard and the data quality has been *very* good. That said, after about 3 years it started to act up, so based on how valuable the data had been (since weather events are so localised) I decided to splash out and replaced it with a Davis Vantage Pro2 Plus sourced from the US (much cheaper than Oz, but I got a cabled unit as the US wireless versions use frequencies that impinge on one of the GSM bands). I did end up having to calibrate the rain sensor as out of the box it was way out of whack, which is something I didn’t need to do for the far cheaper Fine Offset unit.

Apart from looking more impressive, the unit senses solar radiation and UV, and using the former plus other data, can calculate evapotranspiration, which is handy for irrigation planning, although not so much when it’s been raining like it has recently.

The UV sensor kind of states the obvious really: on a sunny day you’ll get sunburnt.

However, the most important thing is the presentation software, particularly when it comes to putting it on the web, and pretty much all of them suck arse, except for this one:
http://sandaysoft.com/products/cumulus

You may need the services of a nerd to getting it looking nice, this is the one at the aforementioned vineyard:
http://quarryhill.com.au/weather/

andym 9:07 pm 08 Mar 12

Ceej1973 said :

If you like the look of this website http://www.conder-act.com/weather/Conder.htm, then the specifications and email contact address of the owner is at the bottom of the page.

Yay – That’s my site. I am using Oregon Scientfic WMR928NX, which is wireless and the Weather Display software to drive the website and derive other measurements.

Ceej1973 2:33 pm 08 Mar 12

If you like the look of this website http://www.conder-act.com/weather/Conder.htm, then the specifications and email contact address of the owner is at the bottom of the page.

mirage3 2:20 pm 08 Mar 12

I second Darren. What he doesn’t know about weather is not worth knowing. A thoroughly nice guy too.

Gungahlin Al 1:46 pm 08 Mar 12

Try talking with Darren Giles who runs http://gungahlinweather.com/

pajs 1:06 pm 08 Mar 12

John, http://quarryhill.com.au/weather/ uses the Davis Vantage Pro2 Plus. 15 minute interval data collected then pushed direct to the web, across a bunch of different bits of weather data.

johnboy 12:35 pm 08 Mar 12

We’re pretty sure we can get some roof space. so solar powered with wifi would be great, rain measurement should be unobstructed

peterh 12:33 pm 08 Mar 12

Davis units seem to be the standard in the weather community – Monash weather uses one, so does Gungahlin weather. the info about them can be found at http://www.davisnet.com.au

There are a few amateur weather sites across canberra that run them, direct linking their data to the web.

More info re experiences of the stations can be found on the weatherzone forums.

arescarti42 12:28 pm 08 Mar 12

USB temperature/humidity sensor sticking out a window at RA headquarters is probably the best bang for the buck. You could have it logging data to a text or CSV or whatever file which I then assume the website could pull from.

And it’d set you back maybe $10-30 for the hardware.

johnboy 12:25 pm 08 Mar 12

We’re aware of those issues, but thanks.

Specific product recommendations are more what we’re after.

housebound 12:23 pm 08 Mar 12

You get what you pay for if you want datalogging. Otherwise there’s not a lot of difference.

The bigger deal will be siting. It is likely that all you will be measuring is the microclimate of your windowsill (or parking lot or whatever). But you will be able to get a number that tells you, yes indeed the day is hot/cold, and another few numbers telling you how wet and windy it is.

With all that, any good rain gauge sited to be away from buildings and trees is a worthwhile investment and fun to watch in a storm.

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