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Eugene

Hurricane Test #1 – The Dorian Job

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Wind tunnel testing has its place, but the real-world can be a bit rougher, like hurricane Dorian rougher. Well, maybe that sound a little hyperbolic, but 84 mph wind is still quite a bit.

Our customer reported: “The two Dyacon met stations we currently have running made it unscathed through Hurricane Dorian that just hit us. Max recorded gust from the Dyacon stations was 37.4 m/s (84 mph). . . . Not sure if this is the first CAT 1 hurricane the sensors have been through, but thought you may be interested to know.”

Dyacon sensors have been tested beyond 84 mph on a mobile platform, but this was the first time we have seen this speed in the wild as part of a full weather station.

The map shows the location of the weather station in North Carolina.

USACE Station Map

The charts below are from DyaconLive. The peak gust measured was 37.4 m/s (83.7 mph). The maximum 10 min average at the same point was 26.9 m/s (60.2 mph).

USACE Huricane Dorian Wind Chart

The user has enabled the public page. So, you’re welcome to take a look at the weather station page.

USACE #2

The weather station configuration deployed at this site is Dyacon MS-130.

Eugene

Telematics-M2M-IoT

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Back Up (beep, beep, beep …)

For those of us that have been around the block a few times, it seems like the same (or slightly evolved) technology picks up new names every few years. An observer might think that there must be a Global Market Stimulation bureau somewhere dedicated to reinvigorating technology that they think should be adopted. (Or, maybe marketing people think we won’t noticed that they just changed the name on the same stuff.)

Dyacon began when the rugged, on-board computer products division was separated from the parent company. At the time (2007), the concept of automated data communications from a fixed or mobile asset was called telematics. This was intended to be a little more board than “telemetry,” which would typically just mean the transmission of measurement data.

Later, this evolved into machine-to-machine communication. That name was too long, so it was shortened to M2M, which sounds more trendy.

That still didn’t seem to capture the imagination of society, so Internet of Things was invented. Again, the name was too long, so it was initialized to IoT. Yet, my toaster is still dumb (which I prefer) and my car still has a cassette player (which I don’t prefer since it ate my Simon and Garfunkel Greatest Hits tape–now all it plays is silence). (If you didn’t get the “silence” reference, you probably haven’t heard “telematics” either.)

On-Board Vehicle Computers

Like general telemetry technology, mobile asset telematics has included a similar range of names and applications over the years including: AVL (automatic vehicle location), EOBR (electronic onboard recorder), and ELD (electronic log device).

Dyacon continues to design and manufacture open-programmable computer products for the vehicle telematics market. These products are now branded under ControlTrac.

CT650 is our latest on-board computer. Unlike off-the-shelf industrial computers, CT650 is purpose-built for the vehicle market. It utilizes automotive connectors, is sealed, and compact. The I/O is dedicated to in-vehicle telematics/M2M/IoT applications. So, you won’t find “desktop” on our box; these don’t hold up to the vibration, dust, and abuse of a vehicle environment.

CT650 uses our own custom build of Linux, leveraging the ease-of-use and versatility of an open system, while still providing for unique features. The embedded cell phone, embedded uninterruptible power supply, digital I/O, CANbus (SAE J1939), and multiple communication ports provide an all-in-one computer solution; no external converters or power supplies are required.

ControlTrac computers tie to the vehicle data bus (engine control module) and peripheral devices in order to monitor vehicle activity, operating parameters, and auxiliary sensors. Data may be communicated to the vehicle operator or transmitted by cell phone network or satellite.

Integrators

If the above makes sense, you probably recognize that CT650 is only one part of a larger system and integration project.

Dyacon onboard computers are sold to fleet service providers, which usually employ a team of software developers to provide a complete solution to the end users.

So, if you are providing asset management, road-weather information systems, mobile vehicle diagnostics, messaging, or routing information to fleet managers, Dyacon CT650 may be the right tool for your solution. ”

Eugene

 

GDD Chart w-Freeze

DyaconLive v1.19

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DyaconLive is an ongoing project. We want your weather station to provide usable, actionable information. The Grower’s Report is a case in point.

v1.19 Summary

DyaconLive release version 1.19 on 15 July 2019 included the following improvements.

  • Grower’s Report now includes an upper temperature threshold and last freeze marker.
  • Charts added for new IRT-201 infrared temperature sensor.
  • Sunrise/sunset added to Weather page.
  • Improved screen size responsiveness for mobile devices.
  • And, some back-end work, which is always going on.

By the way, Chris Cox, our staff scientist and DyaconLive developer deserves a big pat on the back for his work.

Improved Responsiveness

The navigation menu at the top of the screen should collapse into an icon on smaller screens.

Personally, I’m not a fan of the three-line, hamburger icon, it’s a bit ambiguous. But, when your computer has to fit in the palm of your hand, there isn’t much choice.

This may work better on some devices than others. Let us know what you find.

Grower Report Improvements

When setting the Grower’s Report, the upper threshold is added in a new field. For some crops, such as corn, hotter does necessarily mean more growth. The upper threshold is capped at this value. (Upper threshold is not required to generate GDD.)

Grower Report Settings

This upper threshold is shown on the temperature history chart.

The Last Freeze value is shown on the GDD chart.

GDD Chart w-Freeze

If you have other reports you would like to see, please let us know.

 

Eugene

Light Theme, Weather Station Display

In The Dark

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I’ve worked in cubicle environments where windows were scarce. In fact, in one job as a product design engineer, my desk was in the server closet; no windows, constant fan noise, and plenty of heat. Fortunately, I could get up a few times a day and walk outside. However, the owner’s desk was by the only entrance. So, to go outside for some light, you were advertising that you were not at your desk. And, if that wasn’t enough, he had cameras covering the whole work area so he could keep an eye on you even at your desk.

Of course, it could be worse, some people work in underground buildings; no windows and no outdoor strolls to keep one in touch with reality.

A Dyacon weather station was sold to just such a place. Not only is it underground, but there is no internet connection and no wireless was allowed. Dyacon Weather Station display software was included with the weather station purchase.

Weather Station Display is displayed on a computer monitor in break room areas, along with closed circuit camera images. The intent is to provide employees with some contact with the surface conditions.

Weather Station Display software not only meets the needs for a simple weather station interface, but also connects directly to the weather station. For security and practical reasons, wireless was not an option.

So, if you are in the dark regarding weather, Dyacon has an answer.

Eugene

Infrared Temperature Sensor

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We are always working on one development or another, whether DyaconLive, new sensors, new [secret stuff], or expanding the capabilities of existing weather station capabilities.

Recently, we were contacted by an organization that needed a reasonable cost solution for a heat-island study. The goal was to collect baseline pavement surface temperature this year, apply new surface treatment, and then measure the difference next summer. The system had to provide real-time data to a web portal as well as local data logging.

So, we went to work; leveraging our CM-1 weather station controller and DyaconLive in order to deliver the functionality required in the short time frame.

First Test Of Infrared Thermometer

It’s always fun cobbling together the first system and giving it a spin. Often we are enamored by its inelegance. As the images attest, this is definitely not elegant. But, that comes with time. At this stage, the data is most important; and, Chris, our staff scientist, is whiz at collecting data and building scripts for analysis.

Infrared Thermometer Applications

In addition to the heat-island study at hand, there are a number of applications that we can see for this new device.

Sub-surface temperature modeling

Foliage and crop canopy temperature

Ground temperature

Road surface temperature

Race track temperature

Roof temperature

Storage tank surface temperature

Outdoor sport court temperature

I’ll leave you to come up with more applications for an infrared temperature sensor for your business. Give us a call if you want to explore anything in particular.

The measurement temperature range of this device is -20 °C to 1000°C (-4° to 1830°F), which is quite a spread. While the maximum temperature is inadequate for plasma furnaces, it is high enough to monitor your local lava flow.

Please check back later. I’ll add more to this post as we make progress toward product release in August.

Eugene

WiFi Weather Station on HughesNet

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Unlike large companies, Dyacon “market research” comes through customer feedback and requests. We have received several requests over the last couple of years to develop a WiFi weather station. Well, we’ve finally done it. (Yes, sometimes we are slow.)

While WiFi seems like a logical step, the implications of a short-range radio connection bring installation, data distribution, and support complications we were not ready to address at the time. Now, with DyaconLive in place, we can provide the data accessibility that users expect.

Remote WiFi

We typically think of WiFi as a short-range, local data communication mode, but with the right equipment, WiFi can cover a relatively long distance and operate in remote locations.

A property development in western Wyoming contacted us for a weather station for their private runway. While they didn’t have cell phone service in their remote mountain location, they did have HughesNet satellite Internet service. Using a 2.5 GHz outdoor access point, we achieved one mile range. This meant that the weather station could be located at mid-field by the runway.

The low data rate requirements of the Dyacon weather station means that there is no significant impact to their HughesNet account. Dyacon equipment also does not need a static IP, allowing a lower cost Hughes service plan.

Normally, our users do the equipment installation. In this case, we were contracted to do the installation (and I’m always happy to get out of the office and work in the field). Since we hadn’t previously done a connection over HughesNet, I was glad to participate in the installation.

The following are a few images from the adventure.

The flight in – 15 min by plane or 1.5 hrs by land. In this case, we flew in and drove back.

 

Weather station and access point offloaded and ready to go.

 

View of runway, weather station, and utility shed in the distance where the access point is installed.

 

Dyacon weather station installed and transmitting to DyaconLive.

If you have similar needs for a WiFi weather station, please give us a call. We would love to see what we can do for you.

Eugene

DyaconLive

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DyaconLiveScreen2

Dyacon weather stations have always been compatible with Weather Underground. This has been a low-cost web portal option for our users, serving both their internal company needs and as a publicity tool. It has been used by our researcher customers as well as for aviation, industrial, and safety users. While useful, Weather Underground has a few drawbacks:

1) the advertisements are annoying,
2) only a few of the available Dyacon sensors are charted, and
3) there no user access controls, everything is public.

DyaconLive is a weather station web portal designed and programmed by Dyacon staff for Dyacon weather stations. It is the most exciting product we have introduced (at least to us) and we have some great plans for it. The first version was released in February 2018 and there are many enhancements that will be available in the coming months. Read More

Particulate Matter Matters

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Dust in the wind” may be a great poetic analogy for a melancholy 80’s rock song, but in reality we generally don’t like dust.

Large particles are filtered in the upper respiratory system, but the smaller the particle, the farther into the airways they penetrate.

Dust particles are measured in micrometers (μm or um), also know as microns. Particles that are 10 microns and larger are typically not detrimental to health. These would include dust, pollen, and mold spores. Of course, some materials can be dangerous regardless of size, but other particulates are dangerous because of their size. Read More

Weather Station Wildlife Damage

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Elk: 1   Weather Station: 0

A repeat customer placed a research weather station in the field last fall. By February, anomalous readings from the weather data were observed, including a low battery alarm text message. Everything indicated that something fishy was going on – but it turned out not be be fish at all.

Since it was a relatively short 3 hr drive, I offered to make a service call to better understand the situation. Conditions couldn’t have been better for a service trip; mud, snow, rain, and cold are always a refreshing break from the comfort of the office.

After mucking through a 1/2 mile of … muck, I found the weather station torn to pieces. Read More

Weather Station Battery Test

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Design Principle

Most Dyacon weather stations ship with a battery and solar panel. The 12 VDC 7 Amp-hour battery sustains the weather station over night and can even run the weather station for about one week without recharging.

All Dyacon weather station controllers have an embedded solar charge controller. The internal battery recharges each day using power from the solar panel.

The daily charge-discharge cycle gradually reduces the battery capacity. Batteries that operate in cold temperature environments or are deeply discharged will suffer more capacity loss than those that operate in room temperature conditions.

Weather station batteries take a lot of abuse and should be replaced routinely for reliable operation.

Battery Testing

So, how do you know if your battery needs to be replaced? Read More

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