Solar Bugs

5 bugs in the sun…

Mostly dead means somewhat alive.

dvp2Turns out this blog, and My weather station were only mostly dead.  So here I post…

My weather station is back online.  About a week ago, a friend of our neighbor was over and he just happened to be one of the senior meteorologists for the NWS in the Bay Area.  Speaking with him was the kick in the ___ that I needed to dig into the server and software to get it back online.  The weather to the right over there is from my own weather station.  I have been an amateur weather geek for quite some time.  I am not certain why.  We only have 3 seasons in California – Green, Brown, and Fire.

I have been running my own weather station since about 1999.  I was tired of the weather reports for our area coming from one of 2 airports about 30 miles away.  Neither was accurate due to the bay and coastal influences, and micro-climatology of the area.  The weather sites would report a high of 90, and we would be roasting at 102.  Or no rain would be reported when my own backyard gauge would be half-full.

My first weather station was a Dallas 1-Wire kit.  The station was a proof of concept design to promote the capabilities of the Dallas 1-Wire data chips.  It was a very cool system, and was very reasonably priced.  There was a temperature sensor, wind speed and direction, and an optional rain gauge.  The DIY weather community took this initial offering and ran with it.  In short order there were all kinds of sensors available to order as kits, or you could etch your own boards.  Humidity, solar UV, leaf wetness, and solar luminance, and lightning detectors are some of the sensors that were available through the DIY community.  Maxim Semiconductor bought Dallas which discontinued the weather station.  AAG now sells an improved version of the original kit.

The problem with the 1-Wire system at the time was reliability.  I am not an electrical engineer, but from the common complaints it seems that maybe proper grounding or shielding may have been an issue.  Nearby lightning would often take out sensors.

After having a couple of my sensors stopped working and with the expense and time it took to replace them, I decided I wanted something a little more reliable.  Enter the Davis Vantage Pro 2 – Wireless…

The Davis VP2 has been a very solid and reliable station.  It is solar powered.  It transmits the data over a wireless connection to a very nice display panel in the kitchen.  But I also have a Davis Wireless Envoy (A data receiver without the display) in the near my server to collect data and create my weather pages and upload my weather data to Weather Underground and Citizen Weather Observer Program, or CWOP.  This data is used by the NOAA National Weather Service for research.  My station was the second personal station registered with Weather Underground for this area.

The software I use is WView which runs on a small linux server in my home.  The software used to be a nightmare to configure and get running.  But it has improved greatly.

Fri, October 2 2009 » Uncategorized