This weather station uses Vantage Vue weather monitoring hardware, a Raspberry Pi computer and Weewx weather software. The station measures the weather conditions, the computer and software work together to get the data off the console, store it, and upload it to a website and to Weather Underground.
The Vantage Vue
The Vantage Vue is an entry level weather station made by Davis. It uses an all-in-one sensor cluster that monitors wind direction, wind speed, rain fall, air temperature, and air pressure. It has a solar panel that generates all the power it needs. During the day, the solar panel charges a battery so that it has power over night and on overcast days.
The sensor cluster sends data to the console over a wireless connection. Davis claims that the range is 1000 feet. My console is mounted about 100 feet from the sensor on the far side of the house and I have always had a reliable connection. The console gives you a read out on what the weather is like right now and what the trends are. But it is a fairly basic liquid crystal display that gives you the numbers, but not much else.
Davis sells an add on that lets you interface to the console and download the data to a computer. With Davis, this is about your only option. There are some people out there who have been able to build their own interface, but for us mortals, this is it. The up side is that the data logger does have some on-board storage. So if your computer crashes, the weather data will still get stored in the data logger until you get things running again.
You can use just about any computer to monitor the weather station. It is not something that requires a lot of horse power. So if you have an older system sitting around, you can likely put it to work monitoring the weather station. The computer connects to the console through a USB port, or through a serial port. You have to know in advance which you are going to use and order the right data logger.
Today, I’m using a Raspberry Pi computer. This is a computer is designed and built in the UK with the hope that a small, inexpensive computer could be sold to schools to spark interest in computer science classes teaching programing and robotics. It remains to be seen if the computer will bring about a teaching revolution. But what it has done is create a great deal of interest in the computer hobby community. At only $35, people can afford to buy them to play around with and try out new ideas.
The computer runs a version of Linux that has been set up for the ARM processor and the hardware this tiny computer has on board.
I’ve run a number of different software packages and all of them do the basic job. They read the data from the console, store the data in a data base, create web pages, and upload them to a website and/or community websites like Weather Underground. Picking one is really a matter of choice based on what operating system you are running. Weather Underground keeps a list of what is available HERE.
I settled on weewx because I wanted to run Linux and I wanted to use the Raspberry Pi. Weewx was easy to set up and it ran on the Raspberry, so it was that simple.
After that, all you need is a website to upload the data to. Or you can just sign up with weather underground for free and they will take your data uploads.