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Eugene

Have You Cleaned Your Rain Gauge

By | Blog | No Comments

We make most of our instruments at Dyacon but we do not make the rain gauge that we sell with Dyacon weather stations. We tested and evaluated a number of different rain gauges before selecting the Hyrdological Services (now Hyquest) rain gauges. You can see a wonderfully entertaining video here.

One of the critical, yet often overlooked, features of a rain gauge is it’s susceptibility to insect intrusion. The first rain gauge we tested turned out to be a wonderful place for insects. Below is a picture of this gauge after one year in the field.

Dirty Rain Gauge

Dirty Rain Gauge

As you can see from this image, the base plate of the gauge has several large holes (at least from the perspective of insects. While there is a stainless steel screen, a large gap remains when the top cylinder of the gauge is mounted. The cylinder also leaves a significant gap between the base plate and the cylinder.

Interestingly, this gauge uses a funnel design that is prone to clogging with dust. While it has two screens, as many gauges do, dust would filter through the screens and become impacted in the funnel nozzle.

We have used Hyquest TB-4 and TB-6 rain gauges in the field for several years. These are mid-range instruments are based on higher-end versions and quite suitable for most commercial applications.

The base has a molded vent in the base and each drain port has a molded-in screen (had to see in this image). The cylinder also overlaps the base, minimizing any gaps. (One other thing to notice on this rain gauge is the option to connect tubes to collect the rain fall and validate automatically recorded measurements.)

Rain Gauge with Insect Screens

Rain Gauge with Insect Screens


Rain Gauge Tipping Bucket Rain Gauge with Bubble Level

Rain Gauge Tipping Bucket Rain Gauge with Bubble Level

 

So, the moral of the story…

Clean your rain gauges at least twice per year (video here).

And, if you have one that collects bugs, consider replacing it.

Enjoy the weather,

Eugene

Ski Resorts, Web-bulb, and Snow-making

By | Blog

Weather stations can often be cost-prohibitive, even in applications where they may truly add value, such as for snow-making at ski resorts. Even if the initial purchase price can be justified, the engineering costs and complexity can require outsourced skills to install, program, and maintain the system. Getting useful data off of the weather station can also be a headache or unreliable.

Dyacon weather stations provide a cost-effective solution in a package that is easily installed and maintained. The following video shows one of the Dyacon stations installed at Cherry Peak Ski Resort in northern Utah.

The Dyacon weather station is heavily used to determine slope conditions to support snow-making operations by providing web-bulb temperature. The staff can request condition reports using a simple text message. The Weather Underground connection also allows the resort to easily post real-time conditions on their website.

Dyacon weather stations provide excellent value from installation to end-use.

Eugene

Growers Know Weather

By | Blog

Weather data is easily found in today’s connected world. Pulling up “local” weather that is extrapolated from distant weather stations is easily done on a smart phone. But, just like politics, growers know that all weather is local.

Subtle changes in geography can create unique conditions, such as freezing, dry soil, or wind damage that can impact yields.

In addition to current measurements, historical data can be valuable in adjusting management practices, or validating insurance claims.

Why Dyacon Weather Stations?

  • Dyacon Weather Stations are easy to setup, no expensive consultants or environmental engineers are required.
  • The stations are portable and can be easily relocated as necessary.
  • Wind and temperature sensors can be positioned at elevations appropriate to the crop; wind sensor above the canopy and temperature at the fruit level.
  • Direct condition reports to any cell phone via SMS text message or smartphone ap.
  • Weather Underground compatible.
  • Data logging includes automatic email or ftp of log files.

Check out Dyacon MS-140 for use in your operation. A professional rain gauge is easily added.

Give us a call or send a note if you have any questions.

Eugene

Is it the stink or the stench?

By | Blog

Encroachment of suburbs is always a problem for established industrial operations. Multi-generation farms are often expected to become pastoral bouquets when new neighborhoods pop up in once arable land. Sensitive city noses often object to fresh country air that doesn’t come in a can.

Recently, residents in a Texas community have been raising a stink over the foul odors wafting through their neighborhoods. Up wind were landfill and composting operations. While there is no argument that the odor is objectionable, the real conflict is who bears the fault and the consequent cost of the remedy; each facility is operated by a different agency and each blames the other.

So, how do you resolve interagency conflicts between the wastewater treatment (composting) department and the solid waste disposal team while allowing the public to participate? You use a Dyacon Weather station.

The Dyacon Weather Station purchased by the community will provide data logging for a technical record and also upload directly to Weather Underground so that the wind direction is viewable by the public.

Dyacon weather stations are easy to use and do not require expensive consultants or complicated programming. The stations are immediately deployable and portable, allowing them to be relocated as necessary.

Dyacon Weather Stations – Resolving civil unrest and stinking problems wherever they arise.

Eugene

Simple Dyacon Wiring

Dyacon Simplicity or “Datalogger Rats Nest”

By | Blog

Many weather stations are based on general-purpose environmental dataloggers. These installations can become extremely complex, requiring application engineers to write custom programs, install the equipment, and perform maintenance tasks. For the budget-conscious industrial or private user, the financial burden is well outside of consideration. The time frame required for an “exclusive” reseller to schedule the programming and installation can also be prohibitive. In the end, you end up with a weather station that you don’t understand and cannot change or maintain.

Datalogger Rats Nest
Dyacon Simplicity
Dyacon weather stations can be configured and installed by those with typical “wire-twister” skills. Most industrial technicians can easily handle the task. In the end, the technician comes out looking like a hero when anyone in the company can pull up the data using a web browser.

Our working motto is, if you can install a light switch and program the time on a microwave oven, then you can install a Dyacon weather station.

Dyacon weather stations are shipped pre-configured, allowing new stations to be up and operating in less than an hour. The embedded cell phone makes the weather data ultimately accessible, no satellite links, expensive download programs, or funky antennas.

An another way we can simplify the systems even further is to build the stations with weather-proof connectors. This allows sensors to be plugged into circular connections rather than fishing them in to our standard pluggable terminal blocks. The water-proof connector option may be required when stations will be moved frequently.

Dyacon weather stations: For the non-engineer.

Oh… For those spreadsheet geeks: Yes, our stations do datalogging as well. And, we can send the log directly to your email or ftp server.

Eugene

PS: Some datalogger-based weather stations hide all the wiring in channels and behind back plates. While this makes for a cleaner looking installation, it can make service more difficult.

Flight Weather Data

“Real hit with local pilots”

By | Blog, Homepage

A Dyacon weather station has been in place at the Preston, Idaho airport for several months. The news of the advisory automatic weather station has been making the rounds among the pilots that use the facility. The weather data is available by SMS text message and WeatherUnderground.

Preston likes to promote their low fuel costs in order to entice pilots to the facility. In July their fuel cost was 100 LL $4.75/gal. This draws a few pilots from the surrounding area.

While preparing to support July’s Sky’s airshow (Facebook), I received the following story:

“So far the weather station has been a real hit with the local pilots and in one case a pilot was able to get the wind speed and direction on a return flight from Driggs, Idaho and made the decision to divert to Bear Lake. Had he pressed on to Preston the situation would have been difficult. That event was on the same day that the family perished on Bear Lake. He landed 30 min before the Bear Lake tragedy.

“Just last week I was able to finally get the phone number to USU, so I am hoping they will use it …, because they had a landing incident that lead to a blown tire and [even with] the cross wind data from the Garmin 1000. I told them that we could look at the actual airport data because of your system… their ears perked up.”

— John Kezele, Preston, ID Airport Board Member

Beat the wind sock. Give us a call for a better solution.

Eugene

Remote Airstrip Crash

By | Blog

A recent article about a plane crash at a remote airstrip caught my attention:
Hidden Splendor Airstrip Crash

The article states: “A small airplane crashed shortly after takeoff at a remote airstrip in Emery County Saturday afternoon.

“The Emery County Sheriff’s Office said the Cessna 182 airplane was caught in a crosswind which carried the plane off the Hidden Splendor airstrip, clipping one wing and throwing the plane over the edge of a deep wash.” (https://www.ksl.com/?sid=35566853, accessed 21 July 2015)

The following video by utahbyair.com shows several remote airstrips in southern Utah including the location where the above crash occurred.

Small airports may have a wind sock, but most remote airstrips have nothing. In either case, a Dyacon weather station can provide advisory information for a measure of safety and convenience when planning flights.

A simple text message request to a Dyacon weather station provides current conditions in conventional or METAR format. Data is also available through WeatherUnderground, providing current conditions as well as trend information.

Weather stations can be installed by users for permanent or seasonal applications. Dyacon also offers lease options for temporary applications such as short term events or seasonal use.

For wireless services, Dyacon has a direct relationship with Verizon, providing the broadest geographic coverage. This area can be extended by adding a Dyacon directional antenna.

Monopole Weather Station

The Plastic Mono-pole Sensor Cluster

By | Blog

As any designer and engineer knows, all designs are a balance of trade-offs, cost and product features ride the same elevator. Regardless of features, any product can be termed a “quality” product if it meets the design intent without statistically significant failures. An origami weather station could be high quality and meet the design intent, but its features (including materials) may not result in a long product life.

Many personal weather stations are optimized for cost. One of the methods to reduce cost of these weather stations is to minimize materials and simplify installation by combining all of the sensing components into a single unit which can be mounted on a pole.

When evaluating this type of weather station, users should recognize that this clustered configuration affects the measurements. Often the air flow around the cluster will affect the wind direction and speed. Similarly, rain gauges position over the temperature and humidity sensors will affect the temperature as the collected rain is discharged over the radiation shield.

Rain gauges often use a tipping bucket mechanism. When mounted on a pole, the rain gauge may shake and vibrate during a storm. The vibrations may cause the tipping bucket to actuate too soon.

In spite of these issues, the clustered weather station may be adequate for many applications. But, if you want to know the wind affecting the canopy of your orchard or forest and the temperature or humidity near the ground, these systems may not deliver the required data.

A more robust and flexible solution, such as Dyacon weather stations, provide the flexibility to position sensors where they are needed for the best measurement data for the application. Independent sensor also allow for serviceability and a longer product life, allowing users to maximize their investment.

For professional applications, ease-of-use, data connectivity, and serviceability, Dyacon weather stations are a compelling solution.

Let us know how we can help meet your weather station needs.

Eugene

Do you want your data log Emailed or FTP’d?

By | Blog

What good is your weather station data if you need a degree in computer science to see it.

Automatic upload to WeatherUnderground has been a standard feature of Dyacon MS-100 weather stations from the beginning. Now, we add two new ways to get your full data set, email and FTP.

“Ah, but what special accessories or add-on modules do I need?”

None. The capability is built into MS-100 weather station control modules. No additional boxes to buy and no additional wiring. The feature uses the integrated cell phone of the MS-130, MS-140, and MS-150 weather stations.

“Do I have to pay more for the service?”

No. Other than a few more bytes of data traffic, there is no additional cost, no software license, server access fees, and no development tools to buy. It’s your weather station, your data, we’d like you to keep it that way.

Details

The data log can be programmed to transmit daily, weekly, or monthly. The log is transmitted as a CSV file and is uploaded directly to the FTP server or attached to an email. Each mode (email and FTP) is enabled separately.

The email address, server, and password are programmed through the LCD interface on the Dyacon control module (data logger), CM-1. The Dyacon Control Module Utility, which is free, may also be used for configuring the settings.

The phone module must be provisioned with an appropriate data plan. A dedicated IP address is NOT required. Low-cost machine-to-machine data plans are available from Dyacon or your international distributor.

Please give us a call if you have any questions.

Eugene

Rain Gauge Fixed with 12 V Regulator

By | Blog

A friend came to me with a curious problem regarding the research weather stations he maintains. The Geonor rain gauges were experiencing glitches. Some of his stations exhibited only occasional problems, and others were failing almost daily.

In the plot below, the rain gauge output is in blue. It should be a steady, increasing line representing the weight of the accumulated precipitation. The green line is the battery voltage. In this case, when the sun would hit the solar panels each day, the solar charge controller turned on and the rain gauge stopped working.
Rain gauge output in blue. Solar panel output in green.

I found that the systems he maintains use a Morningstar Sunsaver solar charge controller. These solar charge controllers use a PWM output to charge the battery. This means that rather than just regulating the voltage and current to the battery, the controllers switch the charge voltage on and off very fast. This type of electrical signal can cause electrical noise and interfere with other devices on the circuit. Depending on the lengths of wires to the batteries and the susceptibility of other systems, the noise may become significant.

The Solution

After some testing, it was demonstrated that the PWM power from the solar charge controller was interfering with the vibrating wire signal adapter of the Geonor rain gauge. Adding a 12 VDC linear regulator to the circuit resolved the problem.

We quickly created a new product to address this problem. The regulator is now available as Dyacon RLP‑2WTM.

With an input range of 12.5 V to 36 V, RLP‑2W is also suitable for industrial automation applications. The On/Off control input of RLP‑2W allows for power optimization using a digital signal to control the regulator output.

Let us know if you have a specific problem with your data acquisition system. We’d love to see if we could help.

Eugene

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