Monthly Archives

June 2014

Smart Sensor Benefits, Part 1

By Blog

Simple analog sensors require the host device to perform a number of calculations to correctly scale the inputs, check for errors, and convert to usable measurement units. Similarly, sensor measurements are typically averaged over several seconds, minutes, or hours in order to present useful measurements of conditions and trends. Instantaneous measurements can be misleading or jump around too much to be useful and must be averaged and limit controlled to minimize the inherent noise.

All of these calculations put a burden on the host device and the software developer. For applications such as PLCs, embedded devices, and computer software applications, analog sensors require the programmer to have an in-depth knowledge of sensor output, measurement characteristics, and weather parameters.

With an ever-present focus to keep things simple and user-friendly, Dyacon WSD‑1 and TPH‑1 present usable digital data to the host device. For example, wind speed can be used directly by the developer without the need to count pulses or scale the voltage and then test, average, and convert the output.

Dyacon WSD-1 and TPH-1 go a step beyond other digital sensors in that both sensors provide additional calculated values:

TPH-1 gives temperature, pressure, and humidity measurements. Output values have been sampled multiple times, checked, and averaged. As of the latest firmware version, a value for a 3 hour barometric pressure trend is also given.

WSD-1 provides wind speed and direction data. Similarly, these measurements are sampled multiple times, checked, and averaged to provide a current measurement. Extended data are now available, which give 2 minute and 10 minute averages of wind speed and wind direction. The 10 minute average is the typical period for weather reports. Other applications may find the current or 2 minute average values to be more practical.

The extended calculations of trend, 2 minute average, and 10 minute average are done along with other data processing on the Dyacon sensors. Since the sensors are specifically optimized for the target measurements, there is no significant power penalty for the extended measurement data. Low power applications, such as environmental data loggers, can reduce their overall system power budget with Dyacon sensors. The data logger can wake, store data, and return to sleep without having to collect multiple analog samples and perform the related calculations.

Creative management of limited power resources is very exciting stuff for us geeks. Oh, what fun! 😉

Eugene

Graphic Weather Data

Weather Underground

By Blog, Homepage, Weather Underground

Getting your weather data where you need it, when you need it is a priority for many private weather station users. Several Dyacon banner images feature a text message weather report, the advantages of which I will write about in another post. However, when you have a large number of users, a web interface is preferred.

Dyacon MS-130, MS-140, and MS-150 weather stations have an integrated cell phone. Using a low-cost data plan, these units are capable of not only sending SMS text message reports to your phone, but they can also upload data to your own Weather Underground account. Data from the Newton South Dyacon weather station is available at http://www.wunderground.com/personal-weather-station/dashboard?ID=KUTNEWTO2#history. Below is a sample of the Weather Underground history page.

Weather Underground Graphic Weather Data

Newton South – Dyacon.com Weather Underground Weather Data

The Dyacon Newton South weather station represents the MS-150 configuration. It includes the following:

  • Wind speed
  • Wind direction
  • Air temperature
  • Barometric pressure
  • Relative humidity
  • Solar sensor
  • Soil temperature
  • Rain gauge
  • Solar power
  • Cell phone
  • Data logger
  • Lightning detection
  • GPS receiver (future option)
Weather Underground Compatible Dyacon Newton South Weather Station

Weather Underground Compatible    Newton South Weather Station

Several of our stations are visible on the Dyacon Weather Stations page.
Eugene

Special Event Weather Stations

By Blog

Special events, such as athletic and motor races, large group camps, or outdoor meetings, can pose challenges for organizers as they try to manage resources and prepare for hazardous weather. High winds, cold temperatures, and lightning are common in our area and can increase the risk of injury. Similarly, high temperatures or high humidity can lead to deadly heat injuries.

Here in northern Utah, races such as Lotoja and Ragnar Relay pass through sparsely populated areas and high altitudes. Rapidly changing weather conditions can jeopardize the safety of participants, support crew, and staff, especially when the route may not be easily accessible to evacuation resources.

Dyacon weather stations can be temporarily deployed to key locations to provide quantitative information regarding changing weather conditions in advance of and during special events. Support crews may call in “cold” conditions, but actual weather data can help remove ambiguities and provide a concrete basis for management decisions.

Weather station on Willard peak.

Last week, I had an opportunity to help conduct a large group outdoor activity. Several climbing instructors and I provided an opportunity for 60 youth to take on a 150 ft (50 m) rappel. The venue was at 9200 ft (2800 m) altitude. While this altitude is not extreme, it did provide an opportunity to deploy a Dyacon MS-130 to monitor conditions at the peak while we conducted the group activity 300 feet below.

Event operators can receive weather reports via SMS text message or through Weather Underground. SMS is universally compatible with mobile phones and can be accessed in areas of marginal cell phone coverage.

If you are conducting an event and would like to utilize a Dyacon weather station, please give us a call. We would be happy to support your event.

Eugene