Weather Station Hardware > What Weather Station Should I Buy?

Suggestions for weather station set up on farm (South Africa)

(1/2) > >>

Egerton:
We have a farm in the Northern Cape (South Africa) and we are looking for a good quality weather station to achieve the following: (I've uploaded a layout of the farm for reference)

- Collect weather data at the Farm House (sensor suite will be situated at farm house)
- Display weather data from Farm House on a console at the River House
- Console at the River House should also display internal and external temps at the River House as these are colder than the Farm House and we live at the River House
- Weather data to also be available on the internet for family members not living on the farm
- Must be able to store historical data so we can analyse year to year
- Interested in Temp, Rainfall, Humidity, Barometric Pressure, Wind Direction and Wind Speed

Some notes:
- I have a LAN that covers the Farm House and River House (it is 1 network) and this is connected to the internet. (Ubiquiti AirMAX)
- Family is familiar with the Davis equipment but we are open to other brands
- Accuracy is important to us as we are busy with a regenerative farming project and would like to analyse the changes in data over the years (especially rainfall)
- I've been looking at the Davis VP2 but can't figure out an affordable way to connect the console to the ISS over the distance needed. Also not familiar with radio signals and which antennas to buy

Thanks for your time. Would love to hear suggestions.

johnd:
A few comments to start for Davis options:

This is quite a difficult ask and I suspect that you're not going to easily achieve exactly what you're after but you may be able to get something broadly comparable. But I can't see how to do it for a budget of less than eg $1200-2000, maybe more depending on configuration.

I'm not familiar with using WiFi over relatively long distances and don't know how robust this sort of set-up is, but I need to assume that it works reliably with no caveats.

You're not going to read the inside temperature on one VP2 system from a console on a different VP2 system. In fact the only 'foreign' parameter you could potentially read on a console is a second temp/hum from a second VP2 ISS.

There are wireless VP2 repeaters which if used with high gain antennas can extend VP2 wireless range considerably. However, these aren't cheap when the antennas are included and my usual advice is to avoid them if possible - while they can work very well, troubleshooting any reception issues often isn't a trivial exercise. Actually, I'm not sure how you'd cover the 1.6km span without using a pair of repeaters (maybe a standard repeater and a Long Range one).

My suggested solution would be to not to use consoles (at least not as a primary display device) but to use two pairs of VP2 ISS + Weatherlink Live, one pair at each site. These would be uploading to weatherlink.com and you would view your data via a web page or via the Weatherlink smartphone app. But there are two caveats:

1. Each WLL would be reporting to a separate station at weatherlink.com and so data for each station would be on a separate page/station. (Though you could potentially write a simple web page that placed the wl.com summary from each station alongside one another).

2. To be able to review historical data from each station you would need a Pro plan subscription for each (ca $50pa).

All that said, if you were willing to run a computer somewhere onsite then this could potentially run software to take data from both station feeds and generate eg a single webpage display. There are various options here but I'm not aware of any example that is set up out of the box to consume data from two independent stations each with its own logger/WLL and to present the results in a single integrated page. That would probably mean running two instances of the software (assuming that's possible with the particular software). Generally speaking, almost anything is possible for VP2 data with the right software , but it depends on how much software expertise you can contribute, eg it's not difficult to imagine two software instances each processing their own station's data and uploading real-time files to a server where a custom webpage reads and runs updates from both station sources. For a web programmer that's probably a simple ask, but someone without programming experience is going to struggle.

Egerton:
Hi John

Thanks for the suggestion.

My issue seems to be having the console at the River House. The reason we want this is because having a visual display in the kitchen for example has worked so well for us at our home on the east coast. Every one can see the data at any time instead of us all looking at our phones each time. But it seems this luxury is coming at a decent cost and also with complexity.

The 2nd issue is wanting the temperature at the River House. We wanted this because we rent the house out and its nice for guests to see the temperature as we have extreme heat and extreme cold (no snow).

Having 2 separate VP2's is a solution that will work but would like to spend a bit less if I can... With 2 x VP2's, I would put one with a Weatherlink Live at the Farm House and another with a console at the River House. Then the data being displayed on the console is just for viewing pleasure while the VP2 at the farm house is used to record historical data on the farm.

Tell me though, if I buy a data logger can I avoid paying the monthly subscription for a Pro plan? Haven't used a logger before... How do they work?

Would love to hear from someone who understands the antennas as well. If I can find the right antenna at a reasonable price then I would just need the 1 x VP2 with Weatherlink Live, a console and a long range repeater station. Alternatively if there is another brand out there that uses WiFi or LAN to communicate between the ISS and Console!

johnd:
@Egerton: I understand your comments and ambitions (and desire to limit the budget) but all of what I've written above still stands.

There's nothing really to understand about antennas: The antennas on both ISS and console are fixed and cannot be changed, at least not without a major and (potentially illegal for contravening wireless regulation, if that matters) amateur hack. The only antennas that can be changed officially are the ones on the Long-Range repeater units and for these you have a choice of 3 - dipole, omni or yagi, each with progressively longer range. Remember that the LR repeaters have 2 antennas - one for receive and one retransmit. This partly explains the cost of the LR repeaters, ie needing to buy 2 antennas, each with good low-loss cables.

No, a legacy logger doesn't remove the need for a Pro subscription at weatherlink.com in order to review historical data (but current data is free).

I'm not really getting a sense of your computer skills. As per my response above, there is scope to integrate the data from two stations at the level of a web page and view this one a table or phone (or indeed any display connected to a basic computer). But this may not be totally trivial to achieve.

PS If you can see the current weather from your stations (with live updates) on a phone app, is that really so much worse than looking at a console display?

Egerton:
@John yes unfortunately my computer skills aren't great. I would need to get someone to help me with that setup and living in a remote area this will not be so simple but achievable.

I hear you on the antenna story.

Instead of the 2nd VP2 at the River House, are there any other cheaper options you would recommend? Remember River House is more for ourselves and guests to enjoy seeing some weather data. I would use the VP2 at the Farm House to analyse historical data for the farm and our regeneration project...

Navigation

[0] Message Index

[#] Next page

Go to full version