Jump to content

Weather


ianboag
 Share

Recommended Posts

I moved on from PEMET. Thought it would be good to have a simple weather station for any old airstrip. Basically all one would want is a (reasonably) current METAR plus a webcam or two pointing in a useful direction. Here in NZ we have lots of situations where you should be able to see some hills or whatever. Something to give you a bit of a handle on the cloudbase.

 

So I strung it together - the METAR equiv needs a $200 Jaycar weather station plus a pretty-much-dedicated any-old-PC with a cellular modem. Not a lot of $$$. Then you need to add a few (VGA) webcams - I haven't quite figured it all out but they cost diddley and VGA resolution is fine if you just want to know about what the sky looks like in various directions.

 

I'm part way there (pics - vanity - are dummies of the final size) at bgy.inspire.net.nz.

 

I can think of lots of unbusy airfields in NZ where the likes of this would be cool ... Setup cost is a bit of change out of $1k (depending on the pole that things were mounted on) and running cost like $15/mo. I'm happy to share the how with anyone who might be interested.

 

Ian B

 

 

  • Like 1
  • Helpful 1
  • Winner 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

We had a fatality here not so long ago where the official ARFOR had predicted moderate to severe turbulence, and an aircraft subsequently took off and lost part of a wing.

 

How would you get this information?

 

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

If you fly to Three Hummock Island in Bass Strait you will use:Here are the links for the camera and data

 

www.threehummockislandweather.com/webcam.html

 

www.threehummockislandweather.com/ThreeHummockIsland.html

 

The camera is on from 8am till dark.

That is super-cool! I went for something minimalist on the weather report front. What system are you driving it with?

 

 

  • Agree 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I went there as a pilot and used the information. The bottom of the info page says:

 

Created by "Weather Display" software version 10.37R Build 22 at this start time/date 08:49 21/08/14

 

The weather station was set up by John O’Brien, who manages the island with his wife Beverley. For more information

 

Phone: 03 6452 1405 | Email: [email protected]

 

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Great idea ...it doesnt replace the need to check NAIPS but it sure does help a pilot build a mental picture of current conditions which lets face it are not always accurate in NAIPS... I like it... I have had plenty of times where i wished i could have just got a webcam up to confirm my mental picture was reasonably accurate... Plus im a very visual learner like most so it couldnt hurt...

 

Now all you need to do is box it up , multiply the price by 30000 and sell it to CASA

 

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Could be excellent thng

 

I find BIG variaions in ARFOR and metar on field, problem i see is few have visibility equipment where I fly

 

Getting a good indication of cloud in a few directions would be very good insurance

 

Definitely keep me informed pls

 

Would be good if it didnt need mains power and ran from low current draw from 12vdc

 

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 9 months later...

I would like to see something that indicates it is operational and not "stuck" on the last reading.

 

I know it has the time/date but that could/may be independent of the weather readings? Just looking for an indicator that lets me know all is good with the system.

 

Otherwise, looks good!

 

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I would like to see something that indicates it is operational and not "stuck" on the last reading.I know it has the time/date but that could/may be independent of the weather readings? Just looking for an indicator that lets me know all is good with the system.

Otherwise, looks good!

The way it works is that there is a computer in the station. It is a Raspberry Pi Linux board . Every 15 minutes it reads the weather, takes the pix then builds the whole web page and uploads it. There are no smarts at the server end. The date and time are when the reading was taken ...

 

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Looks greatWhat sort of weather station are you using?

It's a Fine Offset 1080 - sometimes referred to as a "Jaycar junker". Can't argue with the $NZ200-odd price - the FO 1080 (and the later 2080) are generally accepted as inferior (accuracy/durability) to the much more expensive Davis units. But I figure that if it gives me the speed to within 3-4 knots, and the direction to within +/- 20 degrees that will tell me what sort of day it is and which runway to use. Wind changes all the time anyway. And if it croaks I'll just lower the pole and replace it - all the bits in the box are off-the-shelf-items.

 

There are zillions of FO 1080s in use around the world.

 

The whole thing lives in a box up the pole - I just feed it 5V DC from a wall wart. Can have as many cameras as you want. I'm working on reduction of the power requirement so it can run off solar. Not this week though.

 

I figured that it should just give the info you need - ie the weather right now and what the sky looks like, rather than give graphs of the last week/month/year and gauges and compass roses and thermo-hygro whatnots and stuff plus it should be usable from a phone.

 

Simple is good ...

 

The software is weewx - a freebie (widely used around the world) for the Raspberry Pi - it can handle most weather stations. There's a similar one called pywws which works equally well I understand. The default report was one of those all-singing/dancing/story-of-your-life things, so I did some radical surgery on it ... There's a similar (free) PC product called Cumulus written by a guy in the Orkney Is. I tried it before I went the Raspberry Pi way - it is very good too. I had done the same radical surgery on the default report as well.

 

The computer side is pretty easy to maintain because I can log in to it remotely .... I'm happy to lead anyone through making one. I'll even send the (configured) SD card for the Pi ....

 

Sorry that the pic is not as clear as it might be. Wind stuff is at the top - other sensors and cameras are half way up. The Pi, cell modem and weather station console live in the box at the bottom. 5V comes through a hole in the wall ....

 

monstrosity.jpg.22d69ea60701efbd2a23dcd3b187838b.jpg

 

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Right now it's raining, the wind is from the west and the SW facing camera has rain on the lens. That may take a reasonable part of the day to evaporate, but (from experience) it eventually does. Proofing the cameras against this is sort of hard .....

 

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Right now it's raining, the wind is from the west and the SW facing camera has rain on the lens. That may take a reasonable part of the day to evaporate, but (from experience) it eventually does. Proofing the cameras against this is sort of hard .....

The lens has dried off. I guess with that sort of wind, even at our cold temps the water doesn't last long .....

 

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Jaycar have on special for $154 AUD !!

 

includes solar and rechargables for sensor unit

 

In AU they are branded Digitech and have different numbers I think - could be due to difficult wireless spec for AU

 

http://www.jaycar.com.au/Outdoors-%26-Auto-Products/Weather-Forecasting/Outdoor-Weather-Stations/Touch-Screen-Wireless-Weather-Station-with-USB/p/XC0348

 

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

That's the one. Before they did the solar/rechargeable thing, the sensors were powered by two AAs with a claimed battery life of something like 2 years. When I made my setup, I picked 5V from the power connector into the box, put a 5v-3v converter in the box (they cost about $5) and ran 3v up the pole to the sensors. The other benefit is that - very occasionally - the FO units get sensor lockup (not that I've ever seen it) and cycling the power is the only reliable way to fix it.

 

So you need the weather station, any model Raspberry Pi, a case for the Pi, a cellular modem USB stick, a (powered) USB hub, n of the 720P Jaycar USB webcams where n is however many you want, probably n USB extension cables for the cameras, a UV-resistant plastic or wood (not metal) box, a pole and you are in business .....

 

There's a bit more stuff involved if you want to use solar power. The Pi is a bit of a power hog, but there are workarounds that I am still playing with.

 

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Ok, Pi is totally new to me, so learning

 

re USB data modem is Ok, I have spares anyway

 

Data plan is an issue, as Telstra are simply [email protected], how much data does it use?

 

Can only buy monthly plan or prepaid, like $30-90 which expires after few months

 

What about running via existing wifi network? possible?

 

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Ok, Pi is totally new to me, so learningre USB data modem is Ok, I have spares anyway

Data plan is an issue, as Telstra are simply [email protected], how much data does it use?

 

Can only buy monthly plan or prepaid, like $30-90 which expires after few months

 

What about running via existing wifi network? possible?

I can send you a fully configured SD card (think of it as an HDD) for the Pi. Can provide support to get you going.

 

The minimum data plan here in NZ is $15 for 500 MB. That's plenty. The pix are about 40-50k each and I refresh them every 15 minutes from (dawn-30 min) to (sunset+30min). I think there's something more less equivalent in Oz - I remember getting something like that when I was visiting and got a local SIM to beat crippling charges for roaming data.

 

Yes - wifi can work - or ethernet for that matter. There's a bit more mucking about with NAT redirection on the router to enable inward remote access for maintenance, but it can be done. Before I got the cellular stick working, I used wifi and a portable cellular hotspot - which is actually a router .....

 

The nice thing about the cellular solution is that the unit is totally self-contained.

 

 

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I can send you a fully configured SD card (think of it as an HDD) for the Pi. Can provide support to get you going.The nice thing about the cellular solution is that the unit is totally self-contained.

I see Telstra can do you a 1-year pass giving 5GB for $50. That would comfortably run the system for 12 months.

https://www.telstra.com.au/broadband/mobile-broadband/prepaid

 

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
 Share

×
×
  • Create New...