Author Topic: Cell weather stations  (Read 718 times)

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Offline METARMan

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Cell weather stations
« on: October 17, 2018, 03:45:16 PM »
I'd like to install a weather station for my village.  It will likely need to use a cell signal as it's transmission method.  It may have AC power available to it, but I'm not certain yet.

I've seen a Davis Vantage Vue and Vantage Pro on Ambient Weather with 4G cell availability.  I'm also familiar with the higher end Dyacon systems.

Any others that you can recommend?

Offline havtrail

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Re: Cell weather stations
« Reply #1 on: October 17, 2018, 04:18:51 PM »
My township has an Onset Computer HOBO station, which I have adopted and revived as a volunteer. It's a rugged system, designed for remote operation using solar power and cellular communication (3G). It's toward the higher end, but I don't know how it compares to a Dynacon. While the logging, transmitting and data integrity functions have worked flawlessly for us, I am not sure I'd recommend it, for the following reasons:

1. Requires a $150/year subscription to the Onset host site at HOBOlink.com. Someone has to budget for that bill every year.
2. There is no way to "calibrate" the sensor readings using numerical offsets to the raw data, as some less-expensive personal weather station systems can. Sensor replacement is the only option, and that's an expensive option.
3. How do you want to make your weather info available to the village and its inhabitants? With a HOBO system, there's your station's own HOBOlink webpage, and an option to feed data to the Weather Underground site. No other options, like CWOP and other websites, unless you want to try to program your own. You should think about this with any system you evaluate.
4. How current do you want the data to be, and how often do you expect it to update? With the sites mentioned above, the most recent readings are slow to show up on HOBOlink.com and therefore on wunderground.com too. A lot of time seems to pass before updates happen - up to a half-hour delay from real time is our norm, which I find unsatisfactory.

In short, great for gathering data, but not so great for public and timely presentation of the data. Weather Underground has been having its own set of issues too, over the last year or so. You can check my website link below.

Rich K.
« Last Edit: October 17, 2018, 04:26:16 PM by havtrail »
Onset HOBO RX3003 Cellular
http://weather.havtrail.com
WU KPAHAVER17

Offline johnd

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Re: Cell weather stations
« Reply #2 on: October 17, 2018, 04:29:22 PM »
Just two quick comments:

Don't forget the Davis Enviromonitor systems - these are intended more for agricultural applications with many sensors, but there's no reason not to use simply an EM gateway plus a cabled VP2 ISS. The cost is not very different to a Davis Connect + wireless ISS and there's the small advantage of not needing to worry about the ISS battery.

And, as long as it's a cell system, I wouldn't worry too much about whether it's 3G or 4G (or even 2G) - the data rate is pretty low for weather applications and so there's no practical  benefit to 4G - it's a completely different application to smartphones.
Prodata Weather Systems
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Littleport, Ely, Cambs UK

Offline METARMan

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Re: Cell weather stations
« Reply #3 on: October 17, 2018, 04:35:34 PM »
I'd like to have the data available to the public in near real time.  WUnderground is fine but another cloud service would be nice as well.

Offline johnd

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Re: Cell weather stations
« Reply #4 on: October 17, 2018, 04:47:36 PM »
I'd like to have the data available to the public in near real time.  WUnderground is fine but another cloud service would be nice as well.

Um, any Davis cell system automatically gives you a Pro account at weatherlink.com 2.0 (ie the Davis cloud platform). Do you need something more than this?
Prodata Weather Systems
Prodata's dedicated Davis EnviroMonitor website
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Littleport, Ely, Cambs UK

Offline METARMan

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Re: Cell weather stations
« Reply #5 on: October 17, 2018, 05:05:48 PM »
I'd like to have the data available to the public in near real time.  WUnderground is fine but another cloud service would be nice as well.

Um, any Davis cell system automatically gives you a Pro account at weatherlink.com 2.0 (ie the Davis cloud platform). Do you need something more than this?

Thanks for the replies. 

Can the public view the data on the WeatherLink website with graphics and graphs?  Or, can it just be viewed by the public the way I was viewing it below (a gray box with current conditions but nothing more): 

« Last Edit: October 17, 2018, 05:08:01 PM by METARMan »

Offline galfert

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Re: Cell weather stations
« Reply #6 on: October 17, 2018, 05:51:45 PM »
Here is a Fine Offset clone station complete solution. Sold by Ecowitt. Very much like the new Ambient Weather hardware. This is a relatively affordable solution. Some say you get what you pay for, but might still be worth checking out as Fine Offset clones are among the most popular. Most popular doesn't mean the best. It just means good enough for most people. I don't have personal experience with this exact model. This is not a firm recommendation. Just pointing out something to consider and for you to evaluate.

This station will report every 16 seconds to Weather Underground (and a few other networks too if you want). Weather Underground is the most popular online weather network and the one that offers the ability with the most live data. You can also upload to your own website live data. Just needs a cellular card from your cellular provider and its online.

Amazon $399
https://www.amazon.com/ECOWITT-WH6006E-Wireless-Cellular-Monitoring/dp/B07D21SFCS/

Ecowitt website:
http://www.ecowitt.com/weather_station/6.html

Product Manual:
http://www.ecowitt.com/upfile/201807/WH6006E%20Manual%20Update%20Version%2020180709.pdf
« Last Edit: October 18, 2018, 06:20:18 AM by galfert »
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WU: KFLWINTE111  |  PWSweather: KFLWINTE111
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Offline havtrail

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Re: Cell weather stations
« Reply #7 on: October 17, 2018, 11:23:10 PM »
Just two quick comments:

Don't forget the Davis Enviromonitor systems - these are intended more for agricultural applications with many sensors, but there's no reason not to use simply an EM gateway plus a cabled VP2 ISS. The cost is not very different to a Davis Connect + wireless ISS and there's the small advantage of not needing to worry about the ISS battery.

And, as long as it's a cell system, I wouldn't worry too much about whether it's 3G or 4G (or even 2G) - the data rate is pretty low for weather applications and so there's no practical  benefit to 4G - it's a completely different application to smartphones.

Our previous HOBO U30 unit went obsolete - Onset told me that the major U.S. cell carriers finished dropping 2G support at their towers at the end of 2017. Just an FYI.

Rich K.
Onset HOBO RX3003 Cellular
http://weather.havtrail.com
WU KPAHAVER17

Offline johnd

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Re: Cell weather stations
« Reply #8 on: October 18, 2018, 06:28:34 AM »
Can the public view the data on the WeatherLink website with graphics and graphs?  Or, can it just be viewed by the public the way I was viewing it below (a gray box with current conditions but nothing more):

Not a simple question to answer in brief because there are multiple answers and it depends on exactly what you want to see. But:

1. The example you've posted is one option. And, provided you know the name of the station, the data ( actually in more detail) can also be accessed via the Weatherlink 2.0 smartphone app.

2. For anyone who wants to look at one or more specific stations on a regular basis, they should register an account at weatherlink.com. This is simple, quick and free and just needs the usual username. pw and contact email address. Once logged in (which can happen automatically with saved credentials) the current data of a public station can be seen in full detail.

3. There are ways for the station owner to embed the current live data in their own website and so the weather can be viewed publicly in this way.

4. If a station owner wishes to makes the full data (ie including all historical data) available to a small set (eg up to 6) of other users and has a Pro account ($50pa) then they grant access to their complete data to others via station shares.

So it depends on what you wish to do and whether or not you're willing to go to a little trouble to achieve it.
Prodata Weather Systems
Prodata's dedicated Davis EnviroMonitor website
UK Davis Premier Dealer - All Davis stations, accessories and spares
Littleport, Ely, Cambs UK

Offline galfert

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Re: Cell weather stations
« Reply #9 on: October 18, 2018, 07:15:41 AM »
I think it was a poor decision by Davis to make guests wanting to view a Weatherlink 2.0 station to require them to create a login with password to view a station.
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Offline johnd

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Re: Cell weather stations
« Reply #10 on: October 18, 2018, 08:01:27 AM »
I think it was a poor decision by Davis to make guests wanting to view a Weatherlink 2.0 station to require them to create a login with password to view a station.

I think most people agree and it's not impossible that Davis could change this in the future. The only comment I would make is that it's really, really not a big deal to register an account and so this is an objection rooted more in the principle than in the reality.

As I mentioned above, once you've spent 2 minutes registering the account at the first time of asking and set the credentials to be remembered then after that it's as if you don't need an account at all - you just get straight through to one of your saved stations.
Prodata Weather Systems
Prodata's dedicated Davis EnviroMonitor website
UK Davis Premier Dealer - All Davis stations, accessories and spares
Littleport, Ely, Cambs UK

Offline METARMan

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Re: Cell weather stations
« Reply #11 on: October 18, 2018, 11:36:42 AM »
Just two quick comments:

Don't forget the Davis Enviromonitor systems - these are intended more for agricultural applications with many sensors, but there's no reason not to use simply an EM gateway plus a cabled VP2 ISS. The cost is not very different to a Davis Connect + wireless ISS and there's the small advantage of not needing to worry about the ISS battery.

And, as long as it's a cell system, I wouldn't worry too much about whether it's 3G or 4G (or even 2G) - the data rate is pretty low for weather applications and so there's no practical  benefit to 4G - it's a completely different application to smartphones.

So the EnviroMonitor Gateway (#6800) can be attached directly to a cabled VP2 (#6152) and transmit data via cell without having the need for a display console? 

Thanks for the information.  I had a VP2 about a decade ago.  The need of a dedicated computer, 3rd party software and a WeatherLink identical to my 1990s Weather Monitor II made me dislike their products.  I'm glad they've taken a leap of faith into the 21st century. 

Offline johnd

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Re: Cell weather stations
« Reply #12 on: October 18, 2018, 11:51:59 AM »
So the EnviroMonitor Gateway (#6800) can be attached directly to a cabled VP2 (#6152) and transmit data via cell without having the need for a display console? 

Well the cabled ISS part of the VP2 weather station is actually part 6322C and so what you'd need is 6800 (or maybe 6801 IIRC depending on your cell connectivity) + 6322C plus whatever annual data plan subscription you chose - 5 minute updates is obviously best, but 15 mins is a bit cheaper.
Prodata Weather Systems
Prodata's dedicated Davis EnviroMonitor website
UK Davis Premier Dealer - All Davis stations, accessories and spares
Littleport, Ely, Cambs UK

Offline METARMan

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Re: Cell weather stations
« Reply #13 on: October 18, 2018, 12:23:20 PM »
So the EnviroMonitor Gateway (#6800) can be attached directly to a cabled VP2 (#6152) and transmit data via cell without having the need for a display console? 

Well the cabled ISS part of the VP2 weather station is actually part 6322C and so what you'd need is 6800 (or maybe 6801 IIRC depending on your cell connectivity) + 6322C plus whatever annual data plan subscription you chose - 5 minute updates is obviously best, but 15 mins is a bit cheaper.

Ok.   Thank you.   So for cell service just the ISS is required and not the complete station with console?  This stuff gets me confused.

Also, can this setup work with a wireless VP2 ISS sensor suite (using the EnviroMonitor Gateway)?

I wish I understood the product lineup better, but learning is taking place.

Offline galfert

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Re: Cell weather stations
« Reply #14 on: October 18, 2018, 12:45:48 PM »
So the EnviroMonitor Gateway (#6800) can be attached directly to a cabled VP2 (#6152) and transmit data via cell without having the need for a display console? 

Well the cabled ISS part of the VP2 weather station is actually part 6322C and so what you'd need is 6800 (or maybe 6801 IIRC depending on your cell connectivity) + 6322C plus whatever annual data plan subscription you chose - 5 minute updates is obviously best, but 15 mins is a bit cheaper.

Also, can this setup work with a wireless VP2 ISS sensor suite (using the EnviroMonitor Gateway)?


No, needs to be cabled ISS version. See Works With section:
https://www.davisinstruments.com/product/enviromonitor-gateway/

Quote

So for cell service just the ISS is required and not the complete station with console? 

Correct

« Last Edit: October 18, 2018, 12:47:56 PM by galfert »
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CWOP: FW3708  |  AWEKAS: 14814
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Offline johnd

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Re: Cell weather stations
« Reply #15 on: October 18, 2018, 12:46:56 PM »
Ok.   Thank you.   So for cell service just the ISS is required and not the complete station with console?  This stuff gets me confused.

Also, can this setup work with a wireless VP2 ISS sensor suite (using the EnviroMonitor Gateway)?

The sensor transmitter (for example a VP2 ISS, but there are several other types) simply transmits its raw data. You then need a receiver to process the data further. That receiver can be eg a VP2 display console but it can also be a cell gateway, of which Davis makes two types - Connect, which is compatible with VP2 wireless transmitters; and Enviromonitor (EM) which uses a different and incompatible wireless protocol (but which has other important advantages).

EM has a particular feature in its design, which is that you can attach a cabled ISS direct to the gateway and this is the example I gave. So the fact that EM uses a different wireless protocol doesn't come into this example - there's no local wireless at all - all the data is uploaded via the cell network.

However, EM does not - currently at least - have a display console as part of its system, so if you need a display console then EM won't fit the bill. Instead you'd need to look at the Vantage Connect cell gateway and use this with a 6152 VP2 wireless weather station. The VP2 ISS will transmit wirelessly and simultaneously to both the cell gateway and the local display.
Prodata Weather Systems
Prodata's dedicated Davis EnviroMonitor website
UK Davis Premier Dealer - All Davis stations, accessories and spares
Littleport, Ely, Cambs UK

Offline METARMan

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Re: Cell weather stations
« Reply #16 on: October 18, 2018, 03:54:36 PM »
Using a cabled ISS VP2 and an EM like described above, does the unit need to be connected to AC power or is it totally self sufficient on battery and solar?

(Last question, I think)

Offline johnd

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Re: Cell weather stations
« Reply #17 on: October 18, 2018, 04:12:41 PM »
Using a cabled ISS VP2 and an EM like described above, does the unit need to be connected to AC power or is it totally self sufficient on battery and solar?

Yes. Both EM and Connect gateways have a larger solar panel and a 6v lead-acid battery (which provided you install at an adequately sunny latitude (ie don't go past eg 60N or S) does not need recharging, though it can be, if necessary, just like any other similar battery.

But remember that if you do want a separate local display console then you would need to choose a wireless Vantage Connect and standard wireless VP2 station, in which case you would have a battery in the ISS. But the net result of either approach in terms of data uploaded to weatherlink.com is identical.
Prodata Weather Systems
Prodata's dedicated Davis EnviroMonitor website
UK Davis Premier Dealer - All Davis stations, accessories and spares
Littleport, Ely, Cambs UK

Offline johnd

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Re: Cell weather stations
« Reply #18 on: October 18, 2018, 04:24:34 PM »
Using a cabled ISS VP2 and an EM like described above, does the unit need to be connected to AC power or is it totally self sufficient on battery and solar?

No AC connection needed at all. Both EM and Connect gateways have a larger solar panel and a 6v lead-acid battery (which provided you install at an adequately sunny latitude (ie don't go past eg 60N or S) does not need recharging, though it can be, if necessary, just like any other similar battery.)

But remember that if you do want a separate local display console then you would need to choose a wireless Vantage Connect and standard wireless VP2 station, in which case you would have a battery in the ISS. But the net result of either approach in terms of data uploaded to weatherlink.com is identical.
Prodata Weather Systems
Prodata's dedicated Davis EnviroMonitor website
UK Davis Premier Dealer - All Davis stations, accessories and spares
Littleport, Ely, Cambs UK

Offline METARMan

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Re: Cell weather stations
« Reply #19 on: October 19, 2018, 12:39:18 PM »
I noticed a similar RainWise station is about twice the cost as Davis.  Is it worth it?

Offline Bushman

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Re: Cell weather stations
« Reply #20 on: October 19, 2018, 12:53:47 PM »
If you are looking at Rainwise, you might as well price RM Young.  Most stations here in the gov't sphere are Davis or RM Young.  By all accounts Rainwise makes an excellent product.

Offline CW2274

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Re: Cell weather stations
« Reply #21 on: October 19, 2018, 03:47:21 PM »
I noticed a similar RainWise station is about twice the cost as Davis.  Is it worth it?
Waaay back when I was shopping PWS's, RW and Davis were my final two. The deal breaker for me was the VP2 is aspirated, the RW is not, although they make very nice PWS's.
There's a few of us VP2 owners that even use RW's stand alone tipper.