Author Topic: Installing Bloom Sky on a Post  (Read 3039 times)

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Offline waysta

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Installing Bloom Sky on a Post
« on: January 17, 2016, 07:32:42 PM »
Part I (too many pics for one post)

I decided to mount my Bloom Sky on an aluminum mast just above my OTA TV antenna.

During preparation, the head rotated 90 degrees, came free, and rolled off the table, and fortunately onto a nearby instrument covered in bubble wrap.  So, I added the four small nylon ties so the head won't come off over time in high winds.  In hindsight, I could have drilled a hole and added a lock screw.  I wonder how many Bloom Sky have fallen off their post?

The Bloom Sky mounting post is a two part affair, also with no locking mechanism.  I drilled  hole and pinned the two sections together.  The screw was chosen to be too long so it also sticks out to keep the post somewhat pinned in the Aluminum bracket (otherwise it could fall out, especially during transport to the roof).

Annoyed at things coming apart, I want to say flimsy.  However, the Blue Sky is anything but.  For example, the aluminum bracket is almost 3/8" thick!  The plastic appears to be of high quality, and the parts fit together with precision.  My only complaint is that they need to investigate pins or locking mechanisms in at least three places, the two part post, the post to the head, and the post in the bracket.

I applied some Dow Corning 4 dielectric grease to protect the solar panel to head connection.  It is somewhat sealed, but I doubt it would last long out in the weather and wind without the grease.
« Last Edit: January 17, 2016, 08:07:48 PM by waysta »

Offline waysta

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Re: Installing Bloom Sky on a Post
« Reply #1 on: January 17, 2016, 07:36:41 PM »
Part II

After struggling to find a good set of U bolts, I went with a pair of 2.5" U bolts from McMaster Carr (industrial quality hardware).  Only minor problem was that the threads did no go back far enough for my pipe diameter.  They may actually have been okay, but because it was close, I added a washer and lock washer to each post.  That pushed down a bit more on the flat plate so I could snug things down nicely.

The threads are probably not long enough for smaller WX station type pipes down to 1 1/4 OD.

McMaster Carr U-bolts:
8896T74   304 Stainless Steel U-Bolt, with Mount Plate, 5/16"-18 Thread Size, 2 1/2" ID $6.05 each

hmm, I didn't think to seal up the openings in the back of the solar panel with something like silicon RTV III, another job for a warm day.
« Last Edit: January 17, 2016, 08:14:08 PM by waysta »

Offline waysta

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Re: Installing Bloom Sky on a Post
« Reply #2 on: January 17, 2016, 07:46:15 PM »
Part III

Here is the Bloom Sky WU page:
http://www.wunderground.com/personal-weather-station/dashboard?ID=KNYWHITE25

I registered the data page normally through the Bloom Sky Website www.bloomsky.com/wun

>>Update: The Bloom Sky wun page to register the WebCam is now working:
http://www.wunderground.com/webcams/waysta/2/show.html

The direct URL turned out to be a one time .jpg showing only the one picture (no updates).

Bloom Sky does offer two styles of nice web pages as well:
https://map.bloomsky.com/weather-stations/eaB1rJytnpS4rp6r

Watching the sun go by in the daily movie gives a good sense of direction.  There probably should be a way to add a "N" or something like that to show the picture orientation.

and a dashboard view with some nice graphs too (but it is user/password accessible only (you get there from their blog page)

« Last Edit: January 18, 2016, 12:44:00 PM by waysta »

Offline waysta

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Re: Installing Bloom Sky on a Post
« Reply #3 on: January 17, 2016, 07:51:30 PM »
Part IV

Impressions of Bloom Sky - WU displayed data

A Major problem has been discussed before, Bloom Sky does not yet give users a way to elevation adjust their barometer reading!  So, for anyone not at sea level, the barometer reading is nonsense in the context of a site such as WU.

Also, I really liked the idea of being able to supplement my RainWise AgroMet with Bloom Sky's UV sensor.  However, they do not provide any offset calibration, and the base line (dark) value is 1245.  Needless to say, the resulting WU UV graph looks terrible!

I have asked both Bloom sky and WU to provide user corrections (calibration).

Speaking of which, something like the UV signal probably only needs an offset.  Higher quality sensor calibration could be done with offset and slope (mx + b), however if we had higher order calibration, it might be possible to calibrate the darn humidity sensors which are highly non-linear at both ends of the scale.  For example, many modern humidity sensor instruments display anywhere from about 85% to 100% humidity in heavy rain!
« Last Edit: January 17, 2016, 08:11:19 PM by waysta »

Offline VaJim

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Re: Installing Bloom Sky on a Post
« Reply #4 on: January 17, 2016, 09:02:37 PM »
Very nice write up with pics.  I've got 2 Bloomskys.  The idea was to capture the sunrise and sunset.  They are both mounted on their own 4x4x8 post about 7' above the ground.  One is slightly further away from the router which is upstairs in the house.  The Bloomskys are in the backyard.  The one a bit further away is suffering from data/pic drops.  Today's video was only 5 secs while the other was 18 secs.  Yesterday was better so it might have been weather related since we had rain and snow showers.  I never could get them to connect through my range extender (which is down stairs) so they are both going through the main router (ASUS).

I agree about the pressure and have passed it along to the folks at Bloomsky.  Good tip on the electrical grease.  I believe I have some here and will try it.  I mentioned to Bloomsky that I thought they need to design some sore of casing or cover for the solar panel wire.  My quote was..."not everyone lives in So Cal."

I also suggested a wifi signal strentgh indicator on the app and perhaps a way you could send notes or messages to those that follow your station.

Here's my links:

https://map.bloomsky.com/weather-stations/eaB1rJytnpS4rJqo

https://map.bloomsky.com/weather-stations/eaB1rJytnpS5mZ6j



Take care

Jim

Offline waysta

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Re: Installing Bloom Sky on a Post
« Reply #5 on: January 17, 2016, 11:58:33 PM »
VaJim,

  Your post the other day was very helpful.  That final press of the Wifi button that you mentioned got my Bloom Sky ball going.

  I got lucky so far, almost no misses with a NetGear Nighthawk R7000 at the other side of house, but only a small ranch home. 

  The Bloom Sky is such a contradiction in engineering design.  On the one hand there are the elegantly designed solid plastic parts and the practically mil standard tough heavy aluminum bracket painted Navy grey.  Then, the ball can come off easily by accidental rotation, the whole unit, spike post, ball and all can just slide out of the bracket, and the two part mounting post just falls apart when not held together by the ball and gravity.

  Also, those long metal folding feet on the bottom of the solar panel probably need to go for pole mounting and at least those holes need to be filled.  Not sure if there were holes near the bottom and if they should stay open incase water does get into the panel.

  On the plus side, for a seemingly young startup, it is an impressive product.  It will be interesting to see if they can refine the instrument and continue to grow.  It is a clever idea and package.  Although just like the failings of the hardware, things like a UV dark offset of 1245 with no offset (calibration) correction is most annoying ...
« Last Edit: January 18, 2016, 12:57:51 PM by waysta »

Offline nincehelser

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Re: Installing Bloom Sky on a Post
« Reply #6 on: January 18, 2016, 12:10:59 AM »
]The Bloom Sky is such a contradiction in engineering design.  On the one hand there is are the elegantly designed solid plastic parts and the practically mil standard though and heavy aluminum bracket painted Navy grey.  Then, the ball can come off easily by accidental rotation, the whole unit, spike post, ball and all can just slide out of the bracket, and the two part mounting post just falls apart when not held together by the ball and gravity.

The original concept was for people to be able to remove the ball easily to bring it in for charging... every few weeks or so.  That's how I ran mine for a few months before I got tired of it and just ran it from the AC adapter.  I'm not sure how that's going to work out, though, as I sometimes still get a low-battery indicator.  Perhaps it's due to the sub-zero F temps it's in now.

Mine fits rather snugly.  I'm not worried about it falling apart.  I'm not using the bracket though... just the two-part post and the ball.

Offline waysta

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Re: Installing Bloom Sky on a Post
« Reply #7 on: January 18, 2016, 12:22:07 AM »
That makes sense, coming apart reasonably easy for quick removal / recharge and replacement.  So, it's the multi-purpose adaptation to the bracket, then to a pole mount where things start to fall apart if not locked / tied down.

Offline VaJim

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Re: Installing Bloom Sky on a Post
« Reply #8 on: January 18, 2016, 07:57:02 AM »
]The Bloom Sky is such a contradiction in engineering design.  On the one hand there is are the elegantly designed solid plastic parts and the practically mil standard though and heavy aluminum bracket painted Navy grey.  Then, the ball can come off easily by accidental rotation, the whole unit, spike post, ball and all can just slide out of the bracket, and the two part mounting post just falls apart when not held together by the ball and gravity.

The original concept was for people to be able to remove the ball easily to bring it in for charging... every few weeks or so.  That's how I ran mine for a few months before I got tired of it and just ran it from the AC adapter.  I'm not sure how that's going to work out, though, as I sometimes still get a low-battery indicator.  Perhaps it's due to the sub-zero F temps it's in now.

Mine fits rather snugly.  I'm not worried about it falling apart.  I'm not using the bracket though... just the two-part post and the ball.


How did you run it using the AC adapter?....cord reach..?   When you did bring it in (night?) did it continue to update the data side?

Thanks

Offline nincehelser

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Re: Installing Bloom Sky on a Post
« Reply #9 on: January 18, 2016, 08:20:05 AM »
How did you run it using the AC adapter?....cord reach..?   When you did bring it in (night?) did it continue to update the data side?

I just use the regular AC adapter on the end of an extension cord.  I don't bring it in at night.  It still updates non-image data through the night.

So far it has gotten down to -3F.  However, the app has been showing the battery depleted for at least a day, but it's still updating.

If I remember correctly, -4F was the limit for the original battery design, which I assume I have.  It seems like it should be a few degrees colder, but it is mounted pretty close to the house.

Offline VaJim

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Re: Installing Bloom Sky on a Post
« Reply #10 on: January 18, 2016, 09:44:42 AM »
How did you run it using the AC adapter?....cord reach..?   When you did bring it in (night?) did it continue to update the data side?

I just use the regular AC adapter on the end of an extension cord.  I don't bring it in at night.  It still updates non-image data through the night.

So far it has gotten down to -3F.  However, the app has been showing the battery depleted for at least a day, but it's still updating.

If I remember correctly, -4F was the limit for the original battery design, which I assume I have.  It seems like it should be a few degrees colder, but it is mounted pretty close to the house.

Thanks....I was wondering about those folks who actually bring the unit indoors at night for recharging....does it send indoors data...?

Offline waysta

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Re: Installing Bloom Sky on a Post
« Reply #11 on: January 18, 2016, 12:52:08 PM »
I never could get them to connect through my range extender (which is down stairs) so they are both going through the main router (ASUS).

I tried a Netgear range extender for some of my telescope gear some months back and could not it get it working properly.  Even though the same network, it required devices to connect to a different named access port, otherwise the devices ignored it and still connected back to the main unit.

With a Canon WiFi camera, turns out I get good coverage over my entire yard (just a 1/4 acre).  I think I was having other problems, or perhaps some WiFi boards / device antennas are just more sensitive than others.

One thing that helped was an Android App that makes a spectrum analyzer style graph of Wifi units in the neighborhood showing what channel everyone is on.  I moved to the least congested part of the spectrum, channel 9 for my 2.4 GHz WiFi. 

Here it is: WiFi Analyzer
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HW2b2yB69W8

Also, with the Android App (there are many, but one was particularly good showing the spectrum and signal strength), you can walk around the yard and see your WiFi signal strength and how it compares to other nearby WiFi routers at that location.  If the signal strength is close to usable at one or both Bloom Skys, it might be possible to slightly adjust the router antennas to get a small improvement.

(Apple/iPhone/iPad detailed Wifi Apps are not allowed by Apple for security reasons and/or because signal strength data / channel data is not available to Apple Apps)
« Last Edit: January 18, 2016, 01:13:49 PM by waysta »

Offline VaJim

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Re: Installing Bloom Sky on a Post
« Reply #12 on: January 18, 2016, 02:23:38 PM »
Thanks

Today is a lot better for both units.  They are updating pretty close together with no real noticeable drop outs.  I did ask the Bloomsky folks that perhaps in future updates of the app they could include a wifi signal strength indicator.  I hate to think that if you wanted to reset the wifi connection (stuff happens) or change networks you have to bring it inside. 

Offline SpringHillWeather

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Re: Installing Bloom Sky on a Post
« Reply #13 on: January 18, 2016, 08:00:52 PM »
Thanks for all the information and pics.

Its helped me make up my mind and I'm ready to take the plunge.   \:D/



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