Phase I of the "homemade" Vantage Vue serial adapter is complete and was successful.
The goal was to duplicate DeKay's initial groundbreaking results and to assess the feasibility of a wired serial to USB interface, using the VUE expansion port on the bottom of console, i.e. eliminate the need for WeatherLink for those folks (like me) seeking only a simple serial connection to the console.
In Phase II we will assess the feasibility of an XBee-powered wireless serial interface to extend the effective distance, so that the console and the computer can be in different places in the house.
Depending on the outcome of Phase II, Phase III might include the fabrication of a DIY "wireless dongle" board/kit, to make the interface available to the everyone.
So far, I've spent less than $20 to construct a wired serial interface: mainly for the serial-to-USB ("FTDI Basic 3.3v") adapter ($15) and a 2mm header pin socket ($1) from
Yes, the socket is supposed to be used for the XBee's, but it also happens to match the 2mm pitch for the console port, which is rather inaccessible. Using a small file as a blade, I sawed the socket into two smaller 1x2 sections for plugging into the power and data pins on the expansion port.
Photos numbered left to right across:
1) Before and after shots showing the original 1x10 socket strip and smaller sections hacked apart with file.
2) Showing the finished console connector, with white heat-shrink tubing applied to keep the metal parts from touching.
3) Soldering jig for the console connector, before applying heat-shrink tubing.
4) Soldering jig for the USB connector plug, which plugs into the back of the FTDI Basic seen below
5) Completed cable, with heat-shrink tubing applied, ready to be plugged in
6) Interface cable attached to console, getting ready to plug into FTDI adapter.
7) All hooked up and running (ignore black dangling connector, which is a micro-USB for my cell-phone)
Screen shot of Vantage Vue data streaming to serial terminal (after "STRMON" command)
1. This cable is obviously not a finished 'product' but just a piece of test-gear to help me figure out the finished designs. But it is robust enough to leave in place semi-permanently, if you're not planning on moving the console box around a lot.
2. To build a cable like this requires some experience with soldering and circuit construction. Wait for the 'dongle board' if you're novice at this (but that might not be ready for a while).
3. You MUST use the shrink-wrap or the wires will definitely touch and short out everything.
4. Be careful probing around the pins with voltmeter. The 3-volt Vcc and Gnd pins are right next to each other and a slip of the probe could prove disastrous.
5. Using DeKay's pinout diagram for navigation, one of the connectors (blue and green) hooks the USB Rx/Tx to the console Tx0,Rx0 pins. The other connector (red and black) hooks up to the gnd pin (leaving the red wire available for XBee connection later). So the connectors end up at right angle to each other. (Good thing the rows are also separated by 2mm, like the individual pins).
I'm not familiar with the weather software at all. All I have is Cumulus which, as you can see below, is working fine with my $20 interface. I'm going to play around writing my own APRS handing routines (using Groovy, a JVM-compatible scripting language)
Should be getting my XBee chips and USB dongle tomorrow, so I can start on Phase II of this project.
Thanks again to DeKay, whose "pioneering" efforts, produced the interface knowledge needed to build the cable.