Weather Computer

Talk about all things related to personal weather stations including getting help.

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Abby_wx
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Weather Computer

Postby Abby_wx » Fri May 27, 2016 10:34 am

What are you using to run your weather station?

I was using my main PC for many years, then switched to an old laptop about three years ago.

Now I got one of these:
http://www.amazon.ca/dp/B01489BG4C

I never liked running a PC or Laptop 24/7, so this was the ideal solution for me. It's nearly silent and uses very little power (roughly 10 watts), but is more than powerful enough to run the weather software and even web browsing on the side.

For convenience, you can pair this with a KVM switch and a dual input monitor so you can switch between this and your main computer at the press of a button. Make sure your monitor has VGA or HDMI ports since this doesn't support DVI.

There are several different models. I chose one with serial ports and a regular hard drive for reliability.

The only problem that I need a new web cam now, because my Logitech from 2003 isn't compatible with Windows 7.
"It's not logical... it's meteorological."

Near Hwy 1 McCallum exit; elevation 55 m (180 ft).
https://www.wunderground.com/personal-w ... =IBCABBOT1

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SardisBCwxman
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Former Username: Missionbcwx
Location: Sardis, B.C. Elevation: 0 Ft.

Re: Weather Computer

Postby SardisBCwxman » Fri Jun 03, 2016 9:28 pm

Abby_wx wrote:What are you using to run your weather station?

I was using my main PC for many years, then switched to an old laptop about three years ago.

Now I got one of these:
http://www.amazon.ca/dp/B01489BG4C

I never liked running a PC or Laptop 24/7, so this was the ideal solution for me. It's nearly silent and uses very little power (roughly 10 watts), but is more than powerful enough to run the weather software and even web browsing on the side.

For convenience, you can pair this with a KVM switch and a dual input monitor so you can switch between this and your main computer at the press of a button. Make sure your monitor has VGA or HDMI ports since this doesn't support DVI.

There are several different models. I chose one with serial ports and a regular hard drive for reliability.

The only problem that I need a new web cam now, because my Logitech from 2003 isn't compatible with Windows 7.
Kool Mr. Abby_wx I was kinda wondering what happen to your web cam feed. Looked kinda weird last time I had a peek.
Sardine Can

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Abby_wx
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Location: Abbotsford, BC
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Re: Weather Computer

Postby Abby_wx » Sat Jun 04, 2016 5:55 am

Missionbcwx wrote:Kool Mr. Abby_wx I was kinda wondering what happen to your web cam feed. Looked kinda weird last time I had a peek.

Yeah, the new one should arrive on Monday. Had to order from Amazon because I couldn't find what I was looking for locally.
"It's not logical... it's meteorological."

Near Hwy 1 McCallum exit; elevation 55 m (180 ft).
https://www.wunderground.com/personal-w ... =IBCABBOT1

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rhondle
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Location: Salmon Arm

Re: Weather Computer

Postby rhondle » Tue Oct 25, 2016 8:18 am

I may be a bit late to this conversation, but i'll toss in my experiences after running a personal weather station for years. After using all sorts of desktop and even rackmount servers to collect and store weather data, a few years ago I discovered that a Raspberry Pi is the perfect fit: extremely low power (around 3W - depending on peripherals/dongles that are attached), lots of I/O for homebrew stuff, and quite a good quality camera for the price (recently upgraded to 4K!). And for those who haven't made the jump to Linux/Unix yet, Windows 10 even runs on the newer models (although for a data collection device, Windows is a poor choice IMHO).. Best part is they are crazy cheap..

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Abby_wx
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Re: Weather Computer

Postby Abby_wx » Tue Oct 25, 2016 8:19 pm

rhondle wrote:I may be a bit late to this conversation, but i'll toss in my experiences after running a personal weather station for years. After using all sorts of desktop and even rackmount servers to collect and store weather data, a few years ago I discovered that a Raspberry Pi is the perfect fit: extremely low power (around 3W - depending on peripherals/dongles that are attached), lots of I/O for homebrew stuff, and quite a good quality camera for the price (recently upgraded to 4K!). And for those who haven't made the jump to Linux/Unix yet, Windows 10 even runs on the newer models (although for a data collection device, Windows is a poor choice IMHO).. Best part is they are crazy cheap..


Do those come with a serial port? That was one of my main considerations. Getting very hard to find these days.

I am using Windows because that's what my Weather Display license is for. I'm not sure what would be involved in switching to Linux.

But I'm very happy with my mini PC. It does exactly what I need with some power to spare. The hard drive also has lots of room for my time lapse videos.
"It's not logical... it's meteorological."

Near Hwy 1 McCallum exit; elevation 55 m (180 ft).
https://www.wunderground.com/personal-w ... =IBCABBOT1

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rhondle
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Former Username: Rhondle
Location: Salmon Arm

Re: Weather Computer

Postby rhondle » Wed Oct 26, 2016 7:59 pm

Abby_wx wrote:Do those come with a serial port? That was one of my main considerations. Getting very hard to find these days.


Yes, but it's exposed as a TTL-only interface so you need to ether use a level converter (available cheaply online), or even easier - a USB RS232 adapter (using eg a FTDI, Sil, Prolific or Keystone chip), or the USA19HS dongle.

Abby_wx wrote:I am using Windows because that's what my Weather Display license is for. I'm not sure what would be involved in switching to Linux.

But I'm very happy with my mini PC. It does exactly what I need with some power to spare. The hard drive also has lots of room for my time lapse videos.


I really wasn't suggesting (nor would it be advisable) that you switch to a RPi - you found a nice machine which is significantly more powerful than an RPi, and that matters especially when running Windows. I was mostly mentioning that option for the homebrew/experimenters out there, or if anyone is currently looking for a very low-cost solution.

I should also point out that while I have many Raspberry Pi's, they aren't necessarily the most trustworthy hardware out there. They are targeted at hobbyists and really not designed to be run 24/7 indefinitely. That being said, they work fine in that role and I should point out that I actually have one RPi that has been running non-stop for nearly three years now collecting data without an issue. But I have discovered that the hardware/software does tend to sometimes do odd things, and in general I consider it tempermental. Given, this might have been something that was resolved in a more recent Raspbian release.

More recently I have also been experimenting with some other SoC boards, my favorite is the BeagleBone Black. There's more and more options coming out all the time, I'd also like to play around with some of them if I can just find the time...

Anyhow, glad you found solid hardware that you're happy with to run your station - that and reliability are the most important things. I did take a look at those computers awhile back and they do seem quite nice - especially the model with four RS232 ports. That's unusual and a desirable feature in a data collection PC. Sure beats the giant power-hungry machines that I used to use years ago!!


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