Author Topic: eee PC as Davis Weather Station Host  (Read 6423 times)

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Offline Bushman

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eee PC as Davis Weather Station Host
« on: November 28, 2008, 04:44:05 PM »
I expressly purchased an Asus eee PC 4G/701 to act as a PC host for my new VP2 wireless.  Surfing the net, there seems to be little in the way of info on these things, so I thought I'd start this thread in case any one else is considering this neat little device.

Iíll start with some pros and cons:

PROS:
- CHEAP!  Picked up an open box with 512 megs and 4 gig SSHD for under $200  :grin:  Even full retail is in the $300 range
- self-contained and tiny!  Not much larger than a thick DVD movie case
- low cost to operate
- silent
- integrated LCD screen
- no integrated modem that I needed for dial-up since the remote location where it is going  has no broadband  :-x
- There are three USB ports that Iíll use for modem, Davis USB logger and webcam
- Supports SD cards that can act as hard drives.  How kewl is that?

CONS:
- small screen
- came with Linux that while it worked great wonít easily support my Davis Weatherlink SW
- does not seem to have access to the RTC in BIOS so you cannot shut it down and restart; needs to be in stand-by which is really OK
- Solid state hard drive is small and may not last as well as platter style
- USB port only Ė no serial

So far Iíve managed to install XP Pro and the Davis  Weatherlink software.  Works as advertized.  As soon as I decide on my wx station USB vs. serial logger thing, Iíll hook the two up! 

If anyone else is considering. using one of these, feel free to chime in!
« Last Edit: November 28, 2008, 06:24:11 PM by Bushman »

Offline mackbig

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Re: eee PC as Davis Weather Station Host
« Reply #1 on: November 28, 2008, 06:20:01 PM »
sounds cools. but i think a lot of readers here, would put your usb only "pro", in the "con" column
Andrew

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Offline mmorris

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Re: eee PC as Davis Weather Station Host
« Reply #2 on: November 28, 2008, 07:23:06 PM »
I've got one of these and it came with XP just make sure that you turn off all of the windows updates as it will fill the flash disk quicker then you can whistle Dixie.   :roll:
>>Miles<<  By from Portage Lakes, OH.
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Offline Bushman

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Re: eee PC as Davis Weather Station Host
« Reply #3 on: November 28, 2008, 10:42:52 PM »
Very true.  Which is why I nLited the Os.  :)

Offline tinplate

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Re: eee PC as Davis Weather Station Host
« Reply #4 on: November 29, 2008, 10:54:44 AM »
You don't necessarily give up on updates. It's not the updates themselves that consume all the disk space. It's the backups that get made of everything that gets changed so you have the option of uninstalling the updates individually. There are one or two places under the Windows folder where these fallback files are located. You can periodically just delete these files, and that way you don't have to give up on getting important security updates. The way I do it is to set the update feature to just tell me what updates are available. I only download and install the security updates. Then, once or twice a year, or if I start getting short on space, I just delete the update backup files. One update in particular will consume a lot of disk space, and that is the SP3 update. That's definitely one to avoid if you have a small drive.

Offline Bushman

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Re: eee PC as Davis Weather Station Host
« Reply #5 on: November 29, 2008, 11:04:10 AM »
http://wiki.eeeuser.com/howto:nlitexp  XP Pro size reduced  to 180 meg!  Once it is up with SP3, your overall OS size is about a gig.    3 gigs of disk is good for a zillion months of Davis data.

Offline Jim18655

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Re: eee PC as Davis Weather Station Host
« Reply #6 on: November 29, 2008, 09:46:38 PM »
How about using an external USB hard drive for data storage and program space? I bought a case that accepts a standard IDE drive for about $20 and it worked great. I used to recover and move data from a dead PC.

Offline Bushman

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Re: eee PC as Davis Weather Station Host
« Reply #7 on: November 29, 2008, 10:11:05 PM »
For about 20 bucks you can get an SDHC card to act as a HD.  I will use the SSHD to record the weather and once a month DL the data to either a USB stick  of some other storage device.

Offline Bushman

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Re: eee PC as Davis Weather Station Host
« Reply #8 on: December 04, 2008, 02:06:54 AM »
A few more updates on my progress to turn this eee PC into my weather station.

To get my Logitech Quickcam Messenger installed you have to set the screen res to 800x600 from its defualt of 800x480.  After install it works fine in the lower res.  16 bit color is minimum, too.

WL 5.8.2 installs just fine TYVM.  I still have to hook it up to the console, but I'm not expecting too much hassle.

I've added  a few great utils like "Wake on Stand By" since the eee PC will not allow access to the RTC in BIOS so it will always be "on", but in standby.

More updates his weekend when I get a chance to hook up the Davis VP2!

Offline W Thomas

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Re: eee PC as Davis Weather Station Host
« Reply #9 on: December 09, 2008, 07:39:39 AM »
Very true.  Which is why I nLited the Os.  :)

Have you experimented with WINE ?
I tried getting VWS to run on Linux this way but was never able to get
the displays working right..may have just been me though...


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Offline Bushman

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Re: eee PC as Davis Weather Station Host
« Reply #10 on: December 09, 2008, 09:18:20 AM »
No, I've never tried WINE (except in the bottle!).  Besides  the issue of special drivers, I needed a number of utils that would have had me searching for a while.  I did find one way to run a Vantage Pro with Linux, but it needed yet more HW.  XP seems to work just fine this way.   Now to find some more time to keep working on this project rather than the Honey-Do list...  :roll:

Offline Bushman

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Re: eee PC as Davis Weather Station Host
« Reply #11 on: December 09, 2008, 09:41:54 AM »
Turns out that Weatherlink WILL run under WINE!  At least version 5.2  http://appdb.winehq.org/objectManager.php?sClass=application&iId=1141  Anyone ever try 5.8.n?  (Note:  I'm not going to bother with this station, but it might make a fun project next time...)

Offline Bushman

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Re: eee PC as Davis Weather Station Host
« Reply #12 on: December 24, 2008, 12:56:26 PM »
More stuff on my eee PC as Weather Host project:
- since I am on dial-up and there's no RTC, I have to keep the machine in Standby mode when it is not dialing the Internet  to upload Davis weather data.  To get the box out of Standby, I use WOSB - Woake On Stand By by Dennis Babkin.  Great freeware - http://www.dennisbabkin.com
- when the eee awakens, I use VFWGrab to take a picture from  my Logitech camera.  It will be uploaded same time as the weather data.  http://www.naughter.com/vfwgrab.htm   On the other end, I'll retrieve the files off the server using WGET and then time stamp them so I can make an AVI file, server side (avis are too huge to upload on dial up).

All that is left now is  final config and install of the Davis VP ISS.

Offline Bushman

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Re: eee PC as Davis Weather Station Host
« Reply #13 on: January 17, 2009, 01:22:15 AM »
Ah, the modem was a PITA... but it is all good now as I got a Dell USB modem for about $18 USD (no broadband where the eeePC is going) and it is just fine.

Offline Bushman

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Re: eee PC as Davis Weather Station Host
« Reply #14 on: February 01, 2009, 10:57:47 AM »
More (slow) progress.  It is all set to install on the roof!  :)  Works like a charm.  NO ISSUES whatsoever (so far?) with the USB connection.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/34944117@N05/3243734447/
« Last Edit: February 01, 2009, 11:00:30 AM by Bushman »

Offline emr

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Re: eee PC as Davis Weather Station Host
« Reply #15 on: February 01, 2009, 12:18:26 PM »
Great summary! May I ask if the laptop can be run with the lid closed? And will the wlan work then, too? Thanks.

Offline Bushman

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Re: eee PC as Davis Weather Station Host
« Reply #16 on: February 01, 2009, 12:24:32 PM »
Yup!  Runs with lid closed.  You have to go to the XP power options and  check "Do nothing when the lid is closed" and it stays on. Set the screensaver to blank after nn minutes as well.  Current draw is very, very small and I've run this thing for days and there is no overheat issue at all.

Offline emr

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Re: eee PC as Davis Weather Station Host
« Reply #17 on: February 01, 2009, 01:06:30 PM »
Thanks. Have you tried wlan also lid closed? I have a MacBook Pro that for some reason doesn't really work with the wlan lid closed (computer on using an external display and kb).

Offline Bushman

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Re: eee PC as Davis Weather Station Host
« Reply #18 on: February 01, 2009, 01:28:32 PM »
Sorry - I was not clear.  Yes it runs the wireless lan  just fine when the lid is closed as long as you check the box for "do nothing when lid is closed". 

 

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