This is a project i really don’t have an excuse for. What’s the thrill of knowing the current weather condition? I guess i can take comfort in the fact that I’m not alone. According to The Weather Underground there are 4 PWS’s (Personal Weather Stations) reporting the weather from my neighborhood at any given time. Why then, did i spend months on this project if i could look online and find the current weather from a PWS five houses down? I don’t know…
The ‘core’ of my weather station is based around the Oregon Scientific WMR100N. I picked this station for a few reasons. First, its semi inexpensive. Second, the base unit has a USB port that can be connected to a PC. Third, its sensors are accurate and can be powered by optional solar panels (My wind and temperature sensors are currently solar powered).
Finding the ideal location for each sensor is a pain. The wind, rain and UV sensors are placed on the roof of my kids play set. This makes the sensors high enough that they aren’t affected by any tree or fence. I built a custom Stevenson shield for the temperature & humidity sensor and stuck it in the back of a garden. After everything was setup i checked the readings against a MADIS station 2 blocks away and the other neighborhood PWS’s. So far I’m happy with the results.
This part of the project gets a little nerdy. I spent a few hours/days/months learning how to capture and decode the wireless signals sent from the Oregon Scientific weather sensors. I then built an Arduino ‘shield’ that has a RF 433.92Mhz Receiver and a SCP1000 pressure sensor (barometer). My weather station is now run from a tiny Arduino and the WMR100N base station is collecting dust in a drawer.
Software (putting it all together)
I wrote a Windows Service that takes the data from the Arduino and saves it to a database. I then wrote a website that pulls the data from the windows service and displays it in some type of spiffy presentation (the website changes when i get bored).
The end result of this multi-month long project is that at any time of the day i can tell you what the weather is doing in my backyard. I cant tell you what it will be like tomorrow, or 1 hour from now , or even why i did it.