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WiFi Weather Station on HughesNet

  • September 24, 2018

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

Burning Man Weather Station

  • August 31, 2018

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.)

Eugene

Ethiopian Weather Station

  • August 31, 2018

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.

Eugene

Stay Up to Date With Us

  • April 18, 2018

There are a variety of ways you can stay up to date with the staff here at Dyacon. Our social media will direct you to new blog posts and ideas, and our quarterly newsletter is an email sent out once per quarter informing you of significant Dyacon updates.

Quarterly Newsletter:





 

 

 




Winston Drag Racing 1994

Dyacon Weather Stations For Drag Racing

  • July 25, 2017

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

Industrial Weather Stations

  • August 12, 2016

DSC_0858While 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 Applications

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.

Considerations

Cost

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?

Features

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.

Data

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.

Summary

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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