For most common meteorological variables, a variety of methods exist for measurement. Wind is no exception and given the plethora of available anemometers ranging from mechanical to ultrasonic, it can be difficult to determine which sensor is right for your application. This quick overview will give you the basics to point you in the right direction. Read More
In racing, there are two reasons for collecting weather data.
Engine performance analysis – Density altitude (DA)
Public safety – Lightning detection and heat index
Weather and drag racing
Density altitude is used to describe the density of the air using temperature, barometric pressure, and relative humidity. In a hot and humid location, the density altitude may be much higher than the actual altitude. Why does it matter? When the density altitude is higher than the actual altitude, engine performance may be decreased. Inversely, when DA is lower there is more oxygen available resulting in faster cars and better ET’s.
An on-site weather station can provide wind speed and wind direction measurements. These are important considerations for vehicle control during front-wheel lift and chute deployment. Wind conditions may also have an affect on ET. Read More
Dyacon has provided fully autonomous weather station solutions to our commercial and industrial users for several years now. Nearly all stations have used the embedded cell phone to provide a reliable wireless interface for a Weather Underground connection, data log upload, and remote command and control.
Nevertheless, there are some applications that require a local solution or one that does not have reoccurring costs.
All tools are designed with particular constraints in mind. Engineers must balance design priorities such as precision, cost, ease-of-use, application needs, material characteristics, operating environment, manufacturability, serviceability, and so forth. Compact cars and 4×4 trucks are optimized for their intended application and within their own unique design constraints.
A plastic, $40 weather instrument may be just as effective for a specific application as one that costs $25,000. Read More
Good anemometers can be expensive. Numerous do-it-yourself versions can be found on the Internet and are made with various components from paper cups to PVC pipe fittings. There are even some 3D printed designs that emulate molded or machined anemometers, but are typically very fragile.
The electronics for do-it-yourself weather instrument are often based on hobby boards, such as Raspberry Pi or Arduino. While function for some applications, they may not offer the robust features for commercial applications. Read More
The purchase cost of weather station equipment can be a barrier to new users, especially if there is some doubt over the suitability, capability, or data compatibility.
Short Term Need
Satisfy short-term needs for weather conditions, heat stress, or lightning detection. Seasonal or temporary stations provide measurement data and risk management information for sporting events, road races, wildfire support, fugitive dust monitoring, or research projects.
A leased station minimizes the long-term overhead in storing and maintaining equipment.
Setup and takedown services are also available for some locations.
Free Updates and Repairs
Repairs and updates are included in the lease cost. If a sensor fails, return it for replacement. Firmware updates are free. Battery replacement is free. Instrument service is free. Wireless cell phone service is free. On-site service contracts are also available for some locations.
As an equipment manufacturer, Dyacon is able to service and support leased or rented stations much more effectively than leasing companies. It’s our equipment. We built it. We know how it works. Consequently, your lease cost is lower than other sources.
Give us a call to see if a lease is right for you. Contact Us
Dyacon weather stations are now compatible with MesoWest, a weather data service developed by the University of Utah with API access through SynopticLabs.
MesoWest is a free weather data portal that is advertisement free. Data is available in graphic and tabular formats. The data may also be downloaded for further research and analysis. The SynopticLabs API allows users to create their own web portals using National Weather Service and personal weather station data.
The American Meteorological Society (AMS) is the nation’s leading professional scientific organization, with over 13,000 members. Members come from many different professions including weather enthusiasts, educators, researchers, scientists, broadcast meteorologists, students, and other professionals in meteorological fields.
The annual meeting will be held in Seattle, Washington from Monday, January 23rd through Thursday, January 26th. Our booth number is 718 in the main hall. Stop by to talk with Eugene and get face-to-face consultation. We hope to see you there!
Mon, 23 January 4:00–7:30 p.m. (Intn’l Walk-Around 4–5:30 p.m.; Ribbon Cutting at 5:30 p.m.)
Tues, 24 January 9:00 a.m.–6:00 p.m.
Wed, 25 January 9:00 a.m.–6:30 p.m.
Thurs, 26 January 9:00 a.m.–12:00 p.m.
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
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 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.
While sports may be a good conversation starter, weather is universal and has no fan loyalties to offend. Like politics, all weather is local. No matter where we live, there is always some type of extreme condition that we can brag or complain about. Lying behind our claims to climatic woes are rather unobtrusive, and may I say, unglamorous instruments. Aside from elevating your prestige among neighbors, weather stations rarely garner much attention.
Weather stations, meteorological (met) stations, automated surface observing systems (ASOS/AWOS), and remote automatic weather stations (RAWS) among other names are used to describe the weather equipment that ranges in price from a few dollars to government grant territory. While a grocery store weather station may be suitable to tell you whether to wear a coat in the morning, it is usually insufficient
for serious data collection for industrial users. On the other end of the spectrum, high-end systems are far beyond the abilities of the average industrial technician or wire-twister to install and operate. High-end systems are based on programmable data loggers that require an engineer to integrate the sensors and a developer to write a custom program to read the sensors, store the data, and relay it to servers where it can be downloaded, analyzed and viewed.
Industrial safety requires a wide range of parameters to measure local weather conditions. Depending on the hazards, wind speed, wind direction, temperature, and humidity may be critical values. Such parameters are typically available on nearly every weather station, however, heat values and instruments such as globe thermometer, WBGT, heat index, humidex, and lightning detection may be parameters only available on mid-range or high-end systems.
Environmental monitoring at construction, mine, material storage, waste management, and other industrial sites may use industrial weather instruments for dust or odor mitigation, supporting reclamation, validating or assessing regulatory compliance, and monitoring conditions such as evaporation rates, soil saturation, and wind gust effects.
Unlike government-funded entities, industrial users must be sensitive to equipment purchase, installation, and maintenance costs. While a nod from the neighbor may justify the instrument screwed to your back fence at home, commercial and industrial users are looking for actionable data at a reasonable cost.
Some cost-related questions:
Can existing staff support the installation and maintenance of the weather station?
Does the purchase and installation require working with an exclusive dealer? What is the cost for ongoing dealer support and how do they schedule service calls?
Are operating manuals available?
Is system configuration software free or is the purchase of a software license required?
Is a subscription required to access the weather station data?
Are software updates to the weather station free?
Sensor operation can be an overlooked detail. The basic question is: Can the sensor capture the data of interest?
Wind gust is one parameter that can be difficult to capture. Some equipment merely provides current or maximum values. This value may be sampled at an interval that does not allow for reliable gust detection or standard averaging techniques. Similarly, wind direction sensors may suffer from a dead-zone of three to five degrees. Manufacturers usually call this “north”, requiring the user to orient the whole system rather than merely setting the north position after installation.
Equipment configuration should be simple and flexible. Special interface dongles, costly software, or complex programming languages are typically not desirable. A system that can be configured through both wired and wireless connections offers substantial service flexibility. Some applications may require connecting the weather station to automation controllers (PLCs) or SCADA systems. Interface ports, such as Modbus (explained in this post), allow for a direct connection using standard industrial hardware.
A display, such as an LCD, on the instrument can be very valuable. A local LCD allows for operators to troubleshoot, configure, and maintain the system easily. This saves support cost and reduces configuration errors.
For an industrial weather station to be worth the money put in, it needs to have wired and wireless features to deliver useful data when and where it is needed. Wireless data can be in the form of WiFi, cell phone, ISM-band radio, or satellite all having their own advantages and disadvantages. Stations with embedded cell phones may provide wireless data features as well as reports and configuration through SMS text messages compatible with any phone.
Data accessibility should be a paramount consideration. If you can’t make sense of the data of interest, the system is useless. This may come in the form of charting historical values, condition reports on your cell phone, or a web portal. Software such as Weather View 32* and Weather Underground* are often used as means to review weather data. Our site of choice, Weather Underground, is a free web portal that beautifully charts instrument data and can be accessed by multiple users without any cost.
Industrial weather stations are a step up in performance and features from the department store variety. While they may be more costly than consumer goods, you do not need to jeopardize your next performance evaluation.
Hopefully this information will help you look beyond the wrapper and find a weather station solution that provides the versatility and flexibility that you need at a practical cost.
* Weather Underground®is a trade mark of The Weather Company, an IBM company.
Weather View 32 is a trade mark of Weather Information Systems.
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