Clevedon Weather

Personal Weather Station

Live Weather conditions from Clevedon, North Somerset, UK

About my Weather Station

The System - I got my first weather station in April 2007 and since then there have been many changes. In September 2008 I now upgraded to a Davis Vantage Pro 2 Wireless system model 6152 purchased from Skyview UK because the Oregon Scientific Professional Weather Station  model WMR 100 proved so unreliable. More on my original setup.  My first impressions of the Davis VP2 is that is much better piece of equipment and it should be at four times the cost. All the parameters are measured to a better resolution, rain fall in 0.2mm, wind direction in degree step. The Davis VP2 6152 consists of three main parts, the console, the anemometer and the Integrated Sensor Suite (ISS) consisting of the rain gauge, temperature, humidity and wireless transmitter. The ISS is connected to the anemometer by a cable and there are extra connections for an optional UV sensor and a solar radiation sensor. Other sensors can also be added include soil temperature and soil moisture. The Davis Vantage Pro 2 has proved to be very reliable and the only maintenance has been some periodic cleaning, battery replacements and the occasional unblocking of the rain gauge. 

Anemometer and Wind Direction - I have mounted this on a 33.7mm (1.33in) diameter steel tube.  The steel tube is clamped to the end of my garage and fitted into a socket on the ground. This positions the anemometer at a height of 5.5 metres (18 ft), ideally the anemometer should be mounted higher but would be difficult in my location. The anemometer is connected to the ISS via 12 metre (40ft) cable with a RJ11 style plug and socket connection, the surplus cable is coiled up and attached securely. The anemometer has a operating range of 2 mph to 150 mph but with the optional small cups can have a range 3 mph to 175 mph. both with a resolution of 1 mph. Wind speed can be measured in mph, knots, metres/seconds or km/hr. The wind direction operates over a full 360 deg with a 1 deg resolution. The anemometer is supplied with a stainless steel an "U" bolt to mount a mast and lag screws to mount to a wooden post.

Anemometer and Wind Direction

Integrated Sensor Suite (ISS) - This is heart of the outside equipment and contains the rain gauge, temperature, humidity sensors and provides connections for wind speed / direction and solar radiation sensor . The unit also contains the electronics that transmitters the weather data to the Console. It is powered by a solar panel which charges a super capacitor to keep the unit power overnight. There is also a small lithium battery to power the unit during days where is insufficient sunlight to fully charge the super capacitor. To make my accessible it is mounted just above the garage roof but this puts the unit in the shade of the house during the winter months. 

Integrated Sensor Suite

Solar Radiation Sensor - This is normally mounted on a bracket fitted to the ISS but my garden is north facing and in the winter is completely shaded. I thought it would be better to mount the solar higher so it was in the sun light for the longer part of the day.

Solar Radiation Sensor

Davis Vantage Pro 2 Console - This is powered by a 3 "C" cells and should last up to 9 months. It is also supplied with mains transformer. The front of the console is in two parts, a 150mm X 85mm LCD screen with backlight and series of buttons to select functions

Davis VP2 Console

 

Software -  Virtual Weather Station -  Internet Edition and in April 2009 in started using Weather Display to produce some of the web site content.

ambient weather logo

 

Weather Computer - Initially I used my main computer to run the software but this used too much electric and was too noisy for continuous use. I purchased a HP DC7900 SFF computer with a Intel E8500 CPU, 4GByte DDR2 RAM and a 500GByte HDD. The DC7900 runs nearly silently and is economical on electricity. Over the year the computer has been replaced a few time due to breakdowns.

HP DC7700
 

The computer power supply is backed up with an uninterruptible power supply (UPS) which will power the computer for up to 20 minutes of loss of supply. It will also shut the computer down safely if the power outage is longer than 20 minutes. My weather computer sits network which is connected to my home computers and a Windows Home Server 2011 which backs up the computers every night. This has been very useful as I have had a couple of computer failures which due to the Home Server I was able to recover from.

Additional Sensors -

 

Weather Cam - The camera I am using is a old Logitech Quickcam Zoom which looks out of an upstairs window. I am lucky in that there is a side road opposite so I am not overlooking anyone else's house. The camera is a USB 2.0 devices and is connected to my weather computer. After trying a number of demo software packages I ended up with Image Salsa which I found the best. I use Image Salsa to capture an image from now camera every 10 minutes (20 seconds on www.clevedonweather.co.uk site). It then saves a jpeg which VWS uploads on to my web site. Image Salsa also has a ftp program built into it and I use that to upload an image on to wunderground.

Clevedon Weather - Weather Cam

Wunderground collate all the jpegs into 24 hour video clips which can be recalled from their site. Since using Image Salsa I have had few problems with it. Wunderground provides a good archive from my weathercam but with 10 minute updates it is hard to see cloud movement. I have recently started using MovieSalsa to generate a last eight hours video from 20 second interval photos. This at times show some amazing cloud formations and on clear nights you can see the moon and stars arc across the sky. This video is only available on the www.clevedonweather.co.uk site.

Web Server - I monitor the web traffic to me web site and concluded I was getting 20-40 visitors a day, mainly to my WeatherCam.

Apache Server

Uploading web pages to my VirginMedia webspace every 5-10 minutes meant transferring large quantities data for only a few people. I felt it would be better to host my own web server. After some research tried Apache HTTP server for windows. I obtained a new domain name clevedonweather.co.uk from 1&1 internet and I was ready to start. Apache seemed easy to setup for my basic needs. I reconfigured VWS  and ImageSalsa to write files directly into the web directory. This means the WeatherCam  image is updated over 20 seconds and the weather pages over minute. I am still uploading files to the original VirginMedia site but much less frequently. Another software program I have recently tried and purchased is BMEtreme (Bandwidth Monitor Extreme) home edition from LP23.com. This software costs $24.95 and logs the daily, weekly and monthly internet traffic. ViginMedia like many internet providers only provide dynamic IP addresses and do change from time to time. To deal with this I use Zone Edit free DNS service with zeDyn : ZoneEdit's open source dynamic update client.

Search Engines - It is no good producing a web site if know body knows about it. It is important to make your web friendly to search engines. Google provides a couple of tools to help, Webmaster Tools and Analytics both require you to create a free Google account before use.

Google Logo

Helen Bradbury - BA (Hons) Graphics and Media Design degree has kindly designed a small animated GIF to promote my web site on Weather Station Finder. Helen's design is much better than the simple one that I produced and shows that she has great potential.  Helen's own web site provides more information about her achievements. Her web site requires a Flash enabled browser to view it please visit http://www.helenbradbury.co.uk/

   
   

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Page last edited - 10 May 2014 15:53:25