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Choosing the Best Anemometer Type

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3-Cup vs. Propeller vs. Ultrasonic – Which Wind Sensor is Right for You?

By: Hailey and Eugene

Date: 5/27/22

There is a wide variety of methods and instruments available for measuring wind, so it can be overwhelming when deciding which one is right for your application. For meteorological applications, there are three basic types: 3-cup, helical, and ultrasonic.

3-Cup Anemometer

A cup anemometer is the most common anemometer on the market. The iconic design usually consists of 3 small cups that are connected to a central axis. 3-cup anemometers measure wind speed by the speed of the rotating cups. They are typically less responsive to rapid changes in wind speed when compared to ultrasonic devices; this can be good or bad, depending on the application and the characteristics of the instruments. For general meteorological use, 3-cup wind sensors mechanically provide accurate wind speed measurements.

The design is inherently omni-directional. This means they respond well to rapid changes in wind direction.

Due to their mechanical simplicity, these 3-cup designs can be very rugged. They are also simple to use and easy to troubleshoot.

3-cup anemometers are typically electrically passive, using a reed switch to indicate anemometer rotation. The speed calculation burden falls to the attached digital device. If properly designed, 3-cup anemometers can contribute to a very low-power system.

Freezing can be a problem for any anemometer. When evaluating 3-cup anemometers and vanes, look for wide drip skirts to shed precipitation. These reduce the potential for freezing. Anemometer and wind vane designs should avoid horizontal surfaces that can accumulate snow and allow water to puddle and freeze.

Wind Vanes

A wind vane for reading wind direction may be integrated with the 3-cup anemometer.

The vane orientation is typically indicated with a potentiometer, a device that changes electrical resistance when the shaft rotates a wiper on a resistance band. High-end devices will use a wire-wound resistor and metalic contact surfaces. Low-cost solutions will use a simple carbon-film potentiometer, which will have a lower operating life. Both potentiometers will have a 2 to 5 degree dead-spot where the wiper transitions from the maximum resistance to the minimum. This dead spot requires that the whole sensor be mechanically oriented for the dead spot to serve as “north.”

Propeller (or Helical) Anemometer

Propeller (or helical) anemometers look like wingless airplanes, with a propeller on the front and a rudder in back. The structure combines both wind speed and wind direction in one device. Electrically, these can be very similar to the 3-cup anemometers; wind direction is detected with a potentiometer and wind speed by a reed switch pulse. Some anemometers will use an inductive coil, resulting in a sine wave frequency that corresponds to wind speed. The circuitry to read the frequency output is more complex and more costly that a reed switch system.

Helical designs are unidirectional, which means the anemometer must rotate into the direction of the wind in order to measure the wind speed. Typically, this is not detrimental to wind measurements, but may be something to take into consideration for some cases.

Ultrasonic Anemometer

Ultrasonic anemometers are unique in that they measure wind speed and direction with ultrasonic pulses. Because they don’t have any moving components, ultrasonic wind sensors can be more durable, and may take less effort to maintain compared to standard 3-cup sensors. They can be deployed in harsh environments or extreme weather conditions, where anemometers with moving mechanical components are more likely to be at risk for breakage, degradation, or corrosion. However, the lack of moving parts also presents a vulnerability to insect and bird contamination. Some ultrasonic anemometers can also be affected by rain, which may temporarily contaminate the reflective surfaces. Ultrasonic anemometers are also affected by both low and high wind speeds, which may give erratic readings.

Temperature changes affect the speed of sound through air. Consequently, an ultrasonic anemometer needs to actively compensate for ambient temperature. This may complicate or reduce the environmental operating window of the instrument.

Depending on the sample rate, ultrasonic anemometers can be more receptive to quick changes in wind speed and direction. At high sample rates, the ultrasonic technology can be reliably responsive to wind turbulence.

All of the above issues are technical hurdles, but they combine to increase the electrical complexity and power budget of ultrasonic wind sensors.

Unlike the previous two anemometer technologies, ultrasonic wind sensors require power to operate. Higher sample rates will require more power. While 30 to 60 mA may not seem like much, over time it can significantly add to the system cost, especially for autonomous systems. Higher power budget adds to battery cost, solar power cost, shipping cost, and ongoing maintenance costs.

Dyacon Wind Sensors

Dyacon WSD-1 wind speed and direction sensor

Dyacon WSD-1 (and WSD-2) are 3-cup anemometers with integrated wind vanes. These are smart devices, incorporating digital circuitry in the anemometer itself. This allows for a high-degree of power optimization and multi-value output.

WSD-1 uses a Modbus RTU slave interface, and WSD-2 is an SDI-12 sensor.

WSD-1 is ideally suited for industrial applications and is used for Dyacon’s MS-100 series weather stations. The integrated electronics provide not only current wind speed, but also 2 minute average, 10 minute average, and real-time gust capture. This reduces the burden in the host device, which would typically require significantly more power to calculate the same values. When WSD-1 is used with automation systems, such as PLCs, the digital output and calculated values can reduce programming on the host device.

WSD-1 and -2 have proven track records with successful multi-year use in mountainous and desert environments with minimal maintenance. The service interval is 3 to 5 years, at which point Dyacon will change the bearings, update the firmware, and perform any other service for a 1 year warranty.

WSD-1 power draw is only about 2 mA, substantially less than ultrasonic sensors and other anemometers with on-board measurement processing.

Another differentiator for Dyacon WSD-1 and -2 is the wind vane uses a contactless vane sensor. As such, there is no dead spot. This allows the wind sensor to be electronically zeroed and eliminates a wear component.

We are also working on some new and exciting stuff that will serve the needs of our commercial and industrial clients. So, keep your eyes on our announcements.

If you have any questions or need further assistance deciding which wind sensor is right for your application, we are happy to help.

Fire Weather Station

Fire Weather Report

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Fire weather is one application where real-time, local weather can be critical. Dyacon offers a weather station that is a practical solution for users that need a reasonable solution that they can install and maintain.

Read More

DyaconLive White Label

DyaconLive White Label Network Page

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Users that sign into DyaconLive as an Admin, Manager, or Basic user will have a list of stations presented which have been assigned to them.

Standard Weather Station User List

But, most DyaconLive users are public, meaning that the station admin has enabled the public link.

Weather Station Public Link Enable Checkbox

While functional, we now have a much better option: a white label network page.

The top-right logo area can be changed for your organization logo.

Each of the weather stations in your networks shows up on the map. Or, we can set a custom zoom so that only part of you network is visible when it first opens.

DyaconLive White Label Map

Each weather station in your network is listed to the right, with the time of the last observation. Clicking on the map location or station button will immediately take you to the weather station page.

Click here for Dyacon Test Station Network.

This is the first release of the network page. Improvements are coming.

If you are one of the current DyaconLive users with multiple weather stations, give us a call and we can explain the options.


Rural Airport Weather Station

AWOS, ASOS, and Advisory Weather Stations

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Often a representative of an airstrip will call us asking for an AWOS. This often leads to a discussion of their expectations, needs, and budget.


Generic terms often become associated with specific applications, AWOS is one such term. (It is typically pronounced as ay-woss, as in “Hey, toss me that wrench.” Or, “Hey, boss, how about giving me the day off?”)

The full AWOS name (automated weather observation system) sounds generic, but typically implies a class of weather station designated for aviation weather. To confuse things, ASOS (automated surface observing system) is also thrown around in a similar aviation context.

The functional differences are often of minimal importance to the aviation community, but AWOS is typically an FAA-certified weather station under the control of state, local, or private entities. The system is specifically installed and intended for aviation activities.

ASOS equipment is a cooperative effort involving the National Weather Service, FAA, and Department of Defense in the US. Like AWOS, the systems are designed specifically to serve the needs of aviation operations.

Both AWOS and ASOS systems imply a particular set of instruments. AWOS systems can be classified from AWOS I (one) to AWOS IV (four) Z/R. Each system incrementally adds more instruments. AWOS I starts with wind, pressure, temperature, and humidity instruments. Visibility, cloud ceiling, precipitation type, lightning, freezing rain, and runway condition sensors are added with each variant.

Not only is the initial cost of AWOS systems quite high, they must also be maintained by specially trained technicians in order to retain the certification. Due to their complexity and liability, maintenance requires special training anyway. Nevertheless, the total cost is often prohibitive to small airports, fly-in communities, and private operators, even when offset with government grant money.

Small Airports

So, what are small aviation users to do?

Most pilots are familiar with a plethora of aviation tools that run on Apple iPads (which seems to be the brand of choice). These planning and mapping tools often include weather data from AWOS or ASOS sources. Consequently, pilots have an expectation of the range of instrument data these certified systems provide.

However, these iPad tools are often issued under the “Advisory” umbrella, as well as many other instruments that private pilots add to their panel.

The advisory classification allows community airports, fly-in communities, and clubs to employ weather stations for their users. These could be $50 department store instruments or more expensive equipment like Dyacon MS-130.

The challenge is getting the information that you need, when you need it, and within the budget available.


Dyacon’s weather stations provide a range of capabilities that have the potential to improve aviation safety. First, Dyacon weather stations can be installed, configured, and maintained by local pilots or technicians, no special skills are required. This reduces the total cost of ownership.

Unlike the disposable consumer-grade weather stations, Dyacon stations are modular and repairable.

Aviation weather station SMS text message.

METAR and Plain Language Text Messages

Weather data can be accessed in several ways:

  • SMS text message (METAR and plain-language formats)

  • Web portal (over cell phone or Wi-Fi)

  • Cable connection to PC (which can also upload to the web portal)

    Aviation Console for Preston, ID (U10) Weather Station

    Aviation Weather Console for Preston, ID (U10)

Both the DyaconLive web portal and SMS text messages provide density altitude, altimeter, and estimated cloud base.

DyaconLive includes both current and historic information as well as NWS forecast information. The charted data helps pilots evaluate on-site weather trends. The web pages are accessible as a simplified public view or can be kept private for specific users.

The DyaconLive aviation console consolidates the critical aviation weather parameters on a single page, which is useful in flight planning rooms for pilots or in waiting areas for guests.

I could going into more features of DyaconLive for system monitoring and maintenance.

If you’d like to know more, give us a call.


Big-Weather Company Tries to Make Small Station

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Afternoon (UTC) Presentation 

I came into the office one morning at 0730 hrs (1430 UTC) to sit through a presentation by a big-business weather equipment company. They invited me to a sales pitch for a new product that has not yet been released. (I always find it frustrating when a company tries to sell something that isn’t available.)

Nevertheless, the presentation was interesting and their marketing department created a highly-produced video that employed all of the popular buzz words like “micro-climate,” “future-proof,” “cyberattack,” “cloud computing,” and “IoT.”

Big-Weather’s Small Features

This new cost-optimized, professional weather station from Big-Weather is targeted to commercial users that only need one or two weather stations, want something easy to use, and don’t want to spend $10,000 USD. The basic weather data is automatically sent to their cloud service over a cell phone connection. The end solution is as plug-n-play as you can get in something that doesn’t come from a big-box store.

The system includes an integrated weather sensor suite that provides basic measurements of wind, temp, hum, precip, and pressure. This is accompanied by a solar panel, electronic control box, and separate cell phone box. The system does not have any configurable settings, no sensor options, no measurement interval option, no data cable connection, and no wireless communication options.

One interesting design choice was the system has only one day of autonomous power from the internal lead-acid battery. And, like the other features, there is no battery expansion option. But, should you need to run the weather station longer than one day without solar input, you can supply it with external power from an AC mains source.

How Much?

By the end of such a fancy presentation you might be asking: “What’s the price for this easy-to-use, no options system?”

And: “Do all of the sales reps have European accents?”

To get answers to those questions, you have to call your Big-Weather representative (because the price is a secret). You will also be informed that the system is not available until March 2021.

A Better Alternative from Dyacon

I apologize if I am being a little pithy and sarcastic, but us little guys have to make the best of what we are given and Big-Weather’s new product is an interesting benchmark. I am guessing that this new product was in development before the demise of Campbell Scientific’s WeatherHawk product line. Maybe now there’s a market gap.

Whether from Campbell Scientific or a European company, these easy-to-use systems made by big weather companies often bear the cost burden of their legacy products. These simplified products are also intentionally limited in features so as not to compete with the high-end systems from the same organizations. Fortunately, this leaves ample opportunity for Dyacon … and our customers.

So, if you want

  • Basic weather station and the ability to add other sensors,

  • Real-time wind gust capture,

  • Calculated values, such as dew point, 2 and 10 min wind averages, heat index, and so forth,

  • Autonomous operation of one week and the option to expand the battery and solar capacity,

  • DyaconLive web portal with user access control, optional public visibility, report generation, alerts, and maintenance management features,

  • Configurable local logging intervals from 1 to 60 min and DyaconLive upload intervals of 1 to 60 min,

  • Cell phone that allows users to install their own SIM,

  • Wi-Fi alternative to cell phone,

  • Modbus RTU port for cable connections to an external computer, PLC, BAS, SCADA, or other automation equipment,

  • Windows PC software for local weather display,

  • Aviation-specific features such as density altitude, estimated cloud base, two aviation web portal options, and redundant cable connection,

  • Sales and support direct from the manufacturer,

  • .. and more,

      you should probably chose a Dyacon weather station.

Dyacon Invitation

We like to be open with our customers, providing the information that professional users need to make an decision efficiently. To this end, our prices, manuals, videos, and configuration software are all on our website. You can also give us a call to discuss your needs. There is no screening, not tiered support plans, no exclusive dealer territories, and no European accent.

Dyacon may not be the oldest or biggest weather instrument company and we rarely wear white lab coats, but we do make one of the best professional weather stations for commercial, industrial, agricultural, and aviation users. And, yes, we also sell equipment to “research” users.

If you need a network of weather stations or just one, please check out our products. I think you will find Dyacon to be a compelling alternative that is available now.


Weather Hawk Station

WeatherHawk Alternative

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A Little History

Many readers will be familiar with the work and anxiety that goes into starting and operating a small business, especially a bootstrap operation funded through the skills, blood, sweat, and tears of the founders. When I hear of a business failure, I have some idea of the turmoil, heartache, and disappointment of the owners. I’ve been there. It is emotionally wrenching to walk away from a business. (Don’t worry. Thanks to some hard lessons from previous ventures, Dyacon is on a good course.)

While well-funded businesses may not leave the same wake of personal wreckage of a small business, there is still a toll to the employees when they are “restructured.”

Campbell Scientific, “world renowned” for their environmental data loggers, is located just down the street from Dyacon. In an effort to attack a broader market, Campbell Scientific (CSI) created a division called WeatherHawk. Their 900 series weather stations enjoyed good representation as a component of high-end home automation systems and similar applications. And then, Control4 realized that they could pull weather adequate data from “the internet” for free (<sarcasm>Because everyone knows that the internet is where good local weather data is found. Just ask Google.</sarcasm>).

In addition to integrated weather platforms, WeatherHawk also contracted with offshore manufacturers to create a line of handheld weather instruments, which is a very competitive market.

In spite of the challenges, CSI is a patient company and does not pull the plug on ventures until they’ve done everything they can to see them through. While I don’t know all of the reasons for the business decision, WeatherHawk has been effectively closed. Quoting from their website: “WeatherHawk has been absorbed into the regular operations of Campbell Scientific Inc.” And, as of 31 May 2020, “All other operations [have ceased].”

I was sorry to hear the news.

Early on when we were just developing our weather instruments, a salesman from Met One said the weather business was very incestuous. Indeed, there is a lot of overlap in the weather station business with one company selling a competitors products in order to meet the unique needs the end user.

While WeatherHawk 900 weather stations had slight overlap with Dyacon, our business strategies were significantly different. Dyacon has been very focused on developing our own instruments and web portal for aviation, commercial, and industrial users. Whereas, WeatherHawk was mostly focused on prosumers.

Note: If any of my friends at CSI wish to correct the above, please drop me a note.

Where Should WeatherHawk Users Go?

While exhibiting at the Great Alaska Aviation Gathering in 2019, we encountered an aviation company that was using a WeatherHawk 900 system for critical flight operations. They had contracted with another company to develop some customized charts to augment the WeatherHawk, but the system was aging and a new one was needed.

WeatherHawk Charts

Of course, I wouldn’t be writing this article if they had selected Davis Instruments or some other system.

Dyacon now provides this flight services company with an internet-connected weather station accessible through DyaconLive. The end solution is far simpler than the multi-tiered system that was previously required to connect the WeatherHawk to Ethernet, send the data to a server, convert the data to a jpg image, and display it on a computer. In spite of the hurdles, these charts were critical to providing an intuitive indication of the flight conditions for the pilots operating in a dangerous, turbulent location.

Based on user feedback, DyaconLive Aviation Console provides pilots with real-time, advisory surface weather data. The DyaconLive web portal allows pilots, flight managers, and staff to check conditions remotely, whether in Anchorage or Nanwalek. While an AWOS may be ideal, they are far too expensive and complex to serve the needs of most air ports and back-country landing strips.

If you are looking for an alternative, upgrade, or replacement for a WeatherHawk station, please keep Dyacon in mind. We design and manufacture most of our own equipment and web portal; giving us the capability to offer a level of service that most companies can’t, including a ground-up design for your network needs (which is a story for another time).


Maintenance Management System

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Maintenance Management SystemJust like any other piece of equipment exposed to the elements, weather stations need occasional service. For a hobbyist, weather station maintenance is not a problem: one station, one user. However, for professional users, maintenance tasks compete for time and resources. Staff changes can also cause a loss of continuity of knowledge.

The Book

Weather Station Service Log Notebook

A weather station site maintenance log is often used by weather station technicians. A notebook may be used to manually record equipment deployed, site visits, sensor service, and configuration changes. This information helps with data quality control. Disruptions or step-changes to senor readings can be correlated to service activities.

(Of course, the notebook is only as usable if others can decipher the handwriting.)

Maintenance Management System

As of 13 May 2020, DyaconLive now includes a maintenance log system. We have retroactively recorded the weather station equipment at current customer sites. Those customers with multiple sites, may need to adjust their equipment records.

The maintenance management system allows technicians to enter their own service schedule for the various sensors. Notifications are visible at the top of the Status page. Activities can be recorded on a data entry form. Site equipment is tracked in a table at the bottom.

Of course, any record is only as good as what you feed it. Information can be entered from your computer or handheld device. We have tried to make MMS as usable as possible and will continue to build on this feature.

In the end, a little routine attention will ensure a reliable meteorological station and a long service life.


Gold and Black Wind Sensors

Ultrasonic and 3-cup Anemometers

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Tech Fascination

When a new technology comes out, it tends to get over-used. Often it is used where it makes a splash, but is impractical.

Blue LEDs for example. The light is a high-energy wavelength. When used on visual displays, such as in your car instrument panel, they can appear brighter than a red or yellow. Consequently, it may be difficult to tell whether the button your are pressing is defrost or A/C. And, speaking of cars, who likes the bright, blue HID head lights??

UAVs are another case in point. As a single-function toy, the shine often wears off before they crash. But, for an industrial user, UAVs can play a valuable role. The practical applications are still unfolding.

Ultrasonic Anemometers

The allure of new technology can be practical as well as trendy. Ultrasonic anemometers offer the potential to resolve vulnerabilities of mechanical anemometers; marketing information often promotes the lack of moving parts.

The notion of a static instrument determining wind speed and direction is rather intriguing. But in a professional environment, fascination for the latest tech must also be tempered with practicality.

Ultrasonic wind sensors are now available across the price spectrum, from a few hundred dollars to several thousand. Like most things, you get what you pay for. Measuring the time-to-travel of a sound pulse is really rather rudimentary; electronics do timing very well. Most products work well on the bench or in “typical” conditions. It is reliability over the board range of conditions that exposes the weak from the strong, the good from the bad, and (generally) the cheap from the expensive.

In addition to the advantage of no moving parts, ultrasonic anemometers can be very compact. The small size can also make them easy to heat.

Since there is no mechanical inertia, ultrasonic anemometers can measure very low wind speeds. But, this does not mean that wind measurements are instantaneous, nor accurate. Conventional ultrasonics can experience spurious measurements at low wind speeds.

Due to the turbulent nature of air, sonic anemometers must take multiple measurements in order to provide a wind speed value. Multiple measurements are also necessary to eliminating noise, spurious measurements, and effects of transducer contamination. The number of sound pulses and numerical processing of these measurements will affect the final value produced.

In some sensors, the number of samples used for measurements is configurable. A 1 Hz rate (once per second) sample frequency is typical. Depending on the sampling and filtering, the resulting value may act similar to mechanical momentum.

Snow, rime, and rain are vulnerabilities of all wind measurement devices. For unheated sensors, the vulnerability isn’t much different and will be affected more by the mechanical design than the measurement technology.

Ultrasonic transducers are affected by rain. That is why most designs have the transducers mounted on a top “hat,” facing downward. Nevertheless, splashing of wind-blown rain inside of the measurement cavity may cause some disruption of the transducer and measurements.

Insects often like dark, protected spaces. Spiders like to suspend their webs between structural gaps. Depending on the insect environment, ultrasonic sensors can create inviting compartments. Bird contamination can also disrupt ultrasonics. The meteorological department of my state department of transportation abandoned ultrasonic anemometers for their highway monitoring due to these vulnerabilities.

While the technology itself may be “maintenance-free,” it does not mean that the equipment does not need to be serviced.

Finally, ultrasonic anemometers are typically expensive.

3-Cup Anemometer

In selecting the right tool for the job, “old” technology shouldn’t be eliminated from consideration.

While many ultrasonic anemometers claim to be “low-power,” they are no where close to mechanical anemometers. For example Dyacon WSD-1 with digital output only draws about 2 mA.  As a comparison, I am not aware of a sonic that is lower than 17 mA. Most that I have seen are in the 30 mA to 60 mA range.

In the power budget, one also has to consider the device that is reading the sensor. So, the anemometer is only part of the equation.

A fully operational Dyacon weather station with cell phone draws less than 30 mA average.

Why is power usage important? Because it impacts the cost of the full system and ongoing maintenance. More power means, larger battery, larger enclosure, larger solar panel, larger brackets, larger shipping boxes, higher shipping cost, and higher maintenance cost.

Birds and bugs typically have no effect on Dyacon wind sensors. A bird may perch on the top for a while, but, due to its slender design, it typically can’t be fouled by what they leave behind. The moving components and small gaps are not susceptible to insect fouling.

Ah, but, what about the wear components?

Unlike most wind vanes, Dyacon uses a magnetic sensor. The anemometer itself uses a reed switch. Both are non-contact elements. Yes, the bearings can become contaminated. A service interval of 3 to 5 years is recommended, depending on the environment. Until that time, all you have to do is visually ensure that the components are moving. This makes for intuitive troubleshooting.

Dyacon wind sensors are mechanically robust. Our sensors have survived a number of falls and bird impact. The cups are replaceable in the field. The aluminum mechanism ensures reparability, protecting the user’s investment.


Two main points:

  1. Select the right tool for the job. Both of the above technologies have their place.
  2. The wind sensor is only one piece of the system.

We strive to provide professional equipment for the commercial and industrial environment. Not only is our equipment robust, with good connectivity options, it is generally easy to use. This allows users to install, configure, and maintain the equipment, minimizing both down time and total cost of ownership.

Please drop us a note.


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.


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



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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.


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. ”