Just 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.
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.
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.
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).
The user has enabled the public page. So, you’re welcome to take a look at the weather station 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.
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.)
This upper threshold is shown on the temperature history chart.
The Last Freeze value is shown on the GDD chart.
If you have other reports you would like to see, please let us know.
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.
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
Road surface temperature
Race track 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.
DyaconLive provides our customers with an easy to use website for staying up to date with current weather conditions and makes it easy to download historical station data. However, we know that for many applications weather data is just the first component of more in depth analysis. Indeed, the key value provided by a station may not necessarily be the raw measurements, but rather the derived quantities that can provide actionable information. The question a business owner faces might not be “What is the temperature?” but rather “What is the trend in average temperature?”.
At Dyacon, we strive to facilitate this need for actionable insights. As part of this effort, we are introducing DyaconLive Reports. These are application-specific reports that are downloaded from DyaconLive and provide sophisticated data analysis in a user friendly interface.
One of the reports now available on DyaconLive is a “Grower’s Report”. This report is specifically targeted at agricultural producers and helps monitor crop growth by calculating Growing Degree Days (GDD) (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Growing_degree-day). GDDs are calculated from air temperature measurements above (or sometimes below) a certain threshold.
This equation is often simplified by using daily max/min values. Temperature is an important factor in plant and insect growth, so GDDs provide a means of evaluating when a particular crop or insect will reach maturity. This helps grower’s anticipate problems and plan for harvest.
The figure below shows a typical Grower’s Report for one of Dyacon’s test stations in Logan, Utah. The key components of the report, common in many different reports, are highlighted yellow. Near the top is an overview of station metadata and the dates associated with the output. A data quality assessment table is displayed next to the station table, and this is arguably one of the most important components of any report. Without good quality input data, the report output is meaningless. Input data quality is assessed automatically by the DyaconLive server when the report is generated. Measurements are assessed for reasonableness in terms of data values, behavior, and in some cases consistency with other measurements. The details behind these algorithms will be discussed further in a future blog.
The main output of the report consists of a summary table detailing settings and totals, and interactive charts for visualizing report output. The Grower’s Report charts temperature over the report timeframe and shows where the GDD threshold is located relative the temperature measurements. The GDD chart shows accumulated GDD and how it is changing through time. Users can assess current GDD values to determine how their crop is maturing.
The only measurement required for this report is air temperature, which should be present on all Dyacon meteorological stations. It is worth noting that other reports will require a wider variety of instruments not present on every station.
How To Generate Your Report
Report generation currently requires Manager or Admin level access to DyaconLive.
Log in and navigate to the “Reports” section of the Data Page for your station.
Select a start date, temperature threshold, and temperature units.
Select ‘Generate Report’ and the report will be displayed in the browser.
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.
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.
Building a functional, temporary city in the desert every year is a remarkable challenge. The Burning Man organization does a remarkable job of pulling off one of the biggest and most challenging events in the world. Throw in a temporary airstrip (88NV) with thousands of aircraft flights and you now have a unique challenge that most event organizers don’t have to face.
Ben, a staff member and pilot explained:
I don’t know [the number of flights] off the top of my head. If I recall correctly it is in the low thousands of ops. Like 2000-3000 over the course of the week that it is open.
Just to give you an idea of what it is like, I made 27 ops last year myself there are about 10 pilots who fly people around like I do. The ultralight guys do close to a hundred each. Then we have the charter ops, I have no idea how many of those there are but it is lots, and parachute operations and medivac… We had something like 160 planes on the field for the people who flew their own planes in.
It is pretty impressive, we spend most of the year planning and then put it all together in a week use it for a week and then tear it apart in a few days.
To the air boss, local and remotely accessible weather data is an important component.
Dyacon weather stations provide surface weather data through a cable connection to a local PC while also sending data to DyaconLive and Weather Underground. Additionally, text messaging is used for weather reports, remote debugging, and configuration.
Burning Man first deployed a Dyacon station in 2017.
These stations are erected every year by their aviation staff and stored until the next year.
After sitting idle for the year, the 2017 station required a firmware update when it was deployed. This was easily done over-the-air, no programming tools, cables, or software utilities required, just a simple text message command.
The Burning Man staff do a remarkable job. We are proud to be a part of their dusty venture. (And we are glad that they now have two Dyacon stations serving their needs in 2018, one with cell phone and one on WiFi.)
Getting a sophisticated weather station deployed in remote areas can be a challenge. Equipment that requires custom programming and setup by outside engineers adds to the overall system cost. Maintenance by similar outside resources means that systems may be down for extended periods of time until funds can be allocated and engineers scheduled.
We recently provided a weather for a Small-scale & Micro Irrigation Support (SMIS) Project in Ethiopia. We shipped the equipment, manuals, and a USB drive and DVD with our YouTube videos. The users did the rest.
The following are some pictures that tell the story better than I.
We strive to build the most practical industrial weather stations on the market. This is a good example of the usability.
Read part 1 here. Updates are being made to as quickly as we can get them out.
Update: 10 July 2018
The work goes on to make DyaconLive more and more useful. Two table options were added to DyaconLive with the July release, a daily summary table and an aviation advisory table. One of these will be enabled on your login depending on the function of the weather station.
Last Observation is now give as an age rather than a date. This makes it more intuitive for users to see how old the data is.
We have also rearranged the dashboard to make room for the new table and improve readability. The new dashboard looks beautiful.
Update: 29 June 2018
One of the features we have added to DyaconLive is the option to set alarms based on instrument conditions.
Users can not only set the value, but can also specify instructions and a specific email recipient.
Are there any conditions for which you would like to receive alerts? Dewpoint, heat index, cloud base? Let us know.
Update: 29 March 2018
Chris and Eric released a new version of DyaconLive. The coolest part is the weather station status page that charts the battery voltage, solar panel voltage, and charger state. This gives users an excellent tool to evaluate battery condition. (You have to be the station admin user to see this, it doesn’t show up on the public link.) Read More