Author Topic: My setup suggestion..does it seem OK pls?  (Read 1094 times)

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Offline TalShiar

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My setup suggestion..does it seem OK pls?
« on: April 02, 2018, 04:46:30 PM »
Hey everyone

Been looking into buying a weather station finally and I just want to make sure that my setup thoughts seem correct and will work, seeing as there are many experts here :)

Im going to get a Davis Vantage Vue and buy the USB data logger for the console. I do want to go online, at least to Wunderground to start and then maybe look at my own website...

I have considered the Raspberry pi route, or the meteobridge but ive no linux experience so pi might be tricky and the bridges seem expensive at another few hundred pounds which i cant stretch too.

My thoughts are mainly stick to PC as thats familiar so i was thinking either a cheap laptop like https://www.pcworld.co.uk/gbuk/computing/laptops/laptops/thomson-neo10-10-1-laptop-black-10175041-pdt.html or a mini PC like this https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B0772TN1ZY/ref=sspa_dk_detail_5?psc=1 which I can then just leave on all the time next to the Vue console.

Im thinking the laptop as the 20 difference gives me a screen that i can use to check in on things easily rather than messing connecting a screen to the mini pc. The laptop shouldnt use a lot of power just running with the lid closed should it?

What do you guys think? I beleive im OK going this route - plug the USB logger into the laptop and then use the laptops wifi to connect online through my router as usual?

I do want to look at Cumulus MX or another software so does the eMMC hard drive just act like a normal hard drive? Hoping the software wont have a problem installing on that kind of drive, the laptop example above is a Win 10.

Hope ive covered everything lol and thanks for reading, hopefully im OK with this setup?? Any other suggestions welcome too :)

Online Bushman

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Re: My setup suggestion..does it seem OK pls?
« Reply #1 on: April 02, 2018, 09:23:34 PM »
You can save a fair bit by buying a third party logger from the folks on this forum.  And a Raspberry Pi is about 30 USD all in.  And actually quite easy to configure.  If you go Meteobridge, the router will be about 20 pounds and the license another 60.  Works quite well.  And both the Pi and your PC option can all be headless via VNC or other remote access software.

Offline johnd

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Re: My setup suggestion..does it seem OK pls?
« Reply #2 on: April 03, 2018, 09:30:21 AM »
IMO running a Windows machine of some description together with CumulusMX is the easiest option if (i) you're used to Windows and (ii) not at all familiar with eg Raspberry Pi. The Pi is a great little computer but has 2 drawbacks:

The main one is that if you've never tried running a Linux computer before then there is undeniably a significant learning curve. Linux (eg in the form of Raspbian which runs on the Pi) is not difficult to learn but existing Linux users often underestimate how unfamiliar it feels to a Windows user at first acquaintance and why non-techy users often feel a bit out of their depth to start with.

Second, while it's true that a new Pi itself costs only 30 or so, you do also need various other bits and pieces to run the Pi, like a good mains adapter, SD card, maybe a case and then a keyboard and a mouse. None of these items is very costly and you may have some/all of them already. But if not then the cost does add up and you'll end up spending more like 50-60. And this is without a screen and HDMI lead. Again, maybe you'll have a spare one available, but if not then there's another chunk of cash. (There are ways of running a Pi remotely - what's called headless - and controlling the Pi from another PC. Again this isn't difficult and it's certainly a more elegant solution, but it's probably not the first thing that someone new to the Pi wants to learn, so let's assume you'd prefer a screen for the Pi.)

But there are also a couple of other issues that may apply to any small computer. SD cards (or USB sticks) are not reliable memory stores, long-term - given time they probably will all fail in the end. So it's really important to back up your data regularly to another storage medium.

eMMC memory is difficult to call because the detailed specs are rarely disclosed. It's likely to have somewhat better memory controllers than eg most SD cards and so probably a better life expectancy, though probably still uses cheap TLC memory. But it's not going to be as good as a modern SSD or conventional hard drive in terms of reliability.

And there may be something of a question mark over keeping a laptop plugged into the mains continuously. I have seen recommendations that it's best to remove the laptop battery to prevent damage to the battery, but how necessary this is I don't know.


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Littleport, Ely, Cambs UK

Online Bushman

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Re: My setup suggestion..does it seem OK pls?
« Reply #3 on: April 03, 2018, 11:10:08 AM »
If you run Pixel on a Pi there is precious little difference to Windoze.

Offline johnd

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Re: My setup suggestion..does it seem OK pls?
« Reply #4 on: April 03, 2018, 11:52:13 AM »
If you run Pixel on a Pi there is precious little difference to Windoze.

True (though AFAIK the Pixel name isn't used any more under Stretch), but it's getting to the point of having an open GUI on a bare new Pi that may trip up some users. Not saying it's difficult for a second, it's just the unfamiliarity and also dealing with any issues _if_ the initial set-up doesn't run smoothly.

Just to be clear, I think the Pi is an excellent SBC to use as a dedicated weather box for anyone prepared to spend a little time on familiarisation, but there's typically a little more to setting up a Pi box than just buying the bare Pi, plus you do need to plan how you're going to back up your data regularly to guard against any storage issues.
Prodata Weather Systems
Prodata's dedicated Davis EnviroMonitor website
UK Davis Premier Dealer - All Davis stations, accessories and spares
Littleport, Ely, Cambs UK

Offline TalShiar

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Re: My setup suggestion..does it seem OK pls?
« Reply #5 on: April 03, 2018, 02:52:23 PM »
Hi Bushman and johnd

Thanks both for your replies :)

I think thats where im at, the rPi kit ill need plus meteobridge router and licence will probably work out around the same price as a cheap laptop and I am not familiar with Linux whatsoever as you rightly thought. I think for now Windows laptop seems like my easiest and simplest way of getting my setup going.

I must admit to feeling a little impatient as ive got my own house now for the first time so always wanted a weather station lol so anything for an easy life right now to get me going :)

I do enjoy tinkering and i am quite techy so perhaps ill start with the laptop but then look into moving to rPi when ive got the leasure time to make a start!

Its a good point about the eMMC memory - I must remember to backup regularly, something I had not considered. Does Cumulus create logs as it goes that I can extract and save to my 'proper' PC for safe keeping every now and again? Also websites like Wunderground, is my history saved there long term or is it short timescales like per day stats only?

Also just read about the new updated stuff from Davis itself so that looks good online now and sounds like it holds some backup of data...
« Last Edit: April 03, 2018, 03:23:27 PM by TalShiar »

Online Bushman

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Re: My setup suggestion..does it seem OK pls?
« Reply #6 on: April 03, 2018, 04:43:35 PM »
Just to be clear:  the Meteobridge - Raspberry Pi is an EITHER OR.  You don't need both.  So it is about 50 USD or 80 USD, respectivley, not both.

Offline TalShiar

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Re: My setup suggestion..does it seem OK pls?
« Reply #7 on: April 04, 2018, 03:26:52 PM »
ahh yes, of course, sorry i was being a bit slow there!

 

anything