News - Dyacon
Dyacon Weather Stations For Drag Racing

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.

Weather and guest safety

Heat index and globe temperature are measurements used to determine heat stress on event participants and the public.

Heat index and Humidex, calculated using temperature and relative humidity, are applicable to shaded areas. Wet-bulb globe temperature is used for areas where people are exposed to the sun and other heat sources. Both these elements help ensure that heat stress and heat stroke are avoided.

Dyacon lightning detection can provide early warning and advisory input to safety managers.

Dyacon Weather Stations

Weather-Station-MS-130-features-768x768Dyacon provides preconfigured stations that can be customized to fit any needs.

The MS-130 includes:

  • Solar Power
  • Data Logging
  • Modbus Cable Connection
  • Embedded Cell Phone
  • Email or FTP Data Logs
  • WeatherUnderground-Ready
  • Wind Speed and Direction
  • Real-time Gust Detection
  • Air Temperature
  • Barometric Pressure
  • Relative Humidity
Weather Station Display Solution For Local Data

Weather Station Display Solution for Local Data

  • June 9, 2017

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.

Dyacon Weather Station DisplayTM software fits this need.

Weather Station Display, Dark Theme

Weather Station Display, Dark Theme

Designed for readability and ease of use, Dyacon Weather Station Display rings true with a glass-cockpit-like interface. Light and dark themes allow the best option for the lighting conditions.

One of the principle applications for this software is aviation support, such as for NGOs operating in remote regions where cell phone and Internet connectivity are not available. Dyacon weather stations provide advisory data that ground personnel can relay to pilots through voice radio. In many cases, ground support staff may have specialties other than reading weather data so it’s important that they are able to read the weather conditions easily.

Dyacon Weather Station DisplayTM settings ensure that users can easily make changes to the units and connection through a simple, intuitive interface.

Weather Station Display, Settings Screen

Weather Station Display, Settings Screen

Dyacon Weather stations may be connected to the computer either through a cable connection or a short-range (300 ft to 1 mile) wireless link.

Watch for additional features as we continue the progress on this practical, simple weather station software. Users that purchase a license will receive updates as they become available.

We strive to make the most practical, professional weather station solutions for our users. Give us a call.

Eugene

What Is The Best Weather Station?

What is The Best Weather Station?

  • April 21, 2017

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.

Professional Weather Station

It isn’t hard to find consumer-grade equipment with the “Professional” moniker. Ink is cheap.

So, what is a “Professional Weather Station?” Anyone that does the job it is intended to do.

Precision Weather Station

Weather station equipment, like any instrument, is only as good as the installation. Research weather stations can produce junk measurements just as effectively as a grocery store instrument. More decimal places does not make better data.

A number of years ago I worked as a camera repair technician. Occasionally, we would be asked to repair or comment on an “exclusive” camera. These, typically German, cameras claimed exotic capabilities or precision construction and were always owned by amateurs.

In contrast, I worked with several professionals that used low-end equipment because they understood where and how a good image was created and the variables involved.

The principle questions affecting the need for precision and accuracy are determined by the application.

  • What measurement change will affect actionable decisions?
  • Are comparative measurements between stations involved?
  • If comparative measurements are used, can installation and equipment differences be controlled and are differences understood?

For example, aviation applications do not make flight changes if there is a 1 degree or 2 degree change in the wind direction. Wind is reported using 2 min or 10 min averages and presented in 10 degree increments. Consequently, selecting a high-end instruments that provide 0.02 degree resolution may be misguided if this is the principle requirement.

In commercial or industrial weather station applications, wind, temperature, humidity, or other measurements are only one input to management decisions. An increase in air temperature of 5 degrees may increase the risk of worker heat stress, but risks inherent to worker extraction, duration of exposure, re-initiation, task completion, process control, and other factors must also be considered along with available mitigation measures.

“Does little Johnny need to where a coat this morning?” does not require 0.01°C accuracy.

Variability of Physical Measurements

Related to precision, users must also recognize the limitations of physical measurements. Turbulent fluids, such as air, open water, and wind have no absolute depth, temperature, or flow rate for the volume of the body. In these cases averages and other statistical or empirical measures may be used to provide a quantitative approximation. Two matched temperature sensors placed several inches apart will read differently.

Air temperature in a mining tunnel may vary by 10 degrees F or more across the tunnel area. Evaporative cooling from seepage will cool one area while radiant heat from a steam line will heat another. Temperature gradients from floor to ceiling may also be significant. If a single point measurement is used, decision-makers must understand the point at which the measurement is taken.

Graphic Weather Data

Dyacon Station on Weather Underground

A more pedestrian weather station example would be the effect of nearby structures on wind patterns, temperature, and humidity. The temperature and wind from a roof-top weather station will be dramatically different from one located in an open field nearby.

Data accessibility

Even the best weather station that is properly installed and collects precision data is useless if the data sits in a log file and is not accessible. There are many research weather stations, often funded through government money, that are merely employment vehicles for those that maintain them. Many gigabytes of data is sitting in databases unused.

Weather Station Report - Cell Phone Screen

Weather Station Report – Cell Phone Screen

Getting the data to the end user is critical. Data delivered by cell phone text message, mobile app, or webpage may help return value on the purchase.

Direct connection to automation equipment may also be required. In some cases this may require additional modules, adapters, or accessories.

Know Your Equipment

Collected data may also not be useful if the data users do not know and understand the nature of the equipment behind the measurements, how or where it is installed, how it is maintained, and how the data is delivered.

Some sensors may have limitations that should be considered. A lightning detector may have range, latency, or detection efficiency characteristics that need to be understood by users.

Additionally, comparative measurements from one station to another may be misleading or useless if these issues are not understood.

Total Cost of Ownership

Upfront cost is only one consideration when purchasing equipment. While the purchase budget may be significant, installation cost, data accessibility, system maintenance, and repairs will take a toll.

Some equipment must be installed and maintained by exclusive dealers. This may or may not be appropriate for your application. If current staff will be used, sourcing equipment that is within the skill-level of available technicians is critical.

Equipment that remains unrepaired because no one knows how it works, jeopardizes the investment and operations that depend on it.

A WiFi-connected weather station may lower reoccurring wireless costs when compared to a cell phone station. However, equipment value may be compromised due to limitations on equipment placement options, internal cost or delay in IT support, and interruptions in data accessibility. All of these may add to the “cost” of a weather station.

Summary

When selecting “The Best Weather Station,” keep the purpose in mind. This is typically much more important than comparing sensor specifications.

Consider ancillary costs when making an equipment selection. Installation and maintenance are significant additions.

While you generally get what you pay for, the best weather station is one that meets your cost, installation, and application needs.

We keep a (growing) list of weather station and instrument manufacturers that we think are significant players in the market, from low-end to “research-grade.” If you would like a copy of the list, please let us know. While not exhaustive, it may help you become familiar with the range of options available.

Contact us if you would like some suggestions. We may not be a fit for your application, but we would love to learn about your needs and point you in the right direction.

Eugene
Product Engineer

3D Printed Anemometer (Wind Speed Sensor)

3D Printed Anemometer (Wind Speed Sensor)

  • March 27, 2017

Build Your Own Anemometer?

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.

Import Difficulties

Commercial wind sensors can be difficult to import into some countries. The price of the product, shipping, import duties, and other hurdles can greatly increase the total cost. Users must often work through exclusive dealers, which can be good or bad, depending on the dealer. Service and repair parts have similar complications.

Dyacon Solution

Dyacon began a project to address the following issues:

  • Reduce purchase price
  • Reduce import costs
  • Improve serviceability
  • Leverage modern technology
  • Utilize in-country skills

As an initial step, Dyacon has developed a wind sensor, specifically for 3D printing (additive manufacturing). The innovative concept is mechanically robust, repeatable, easy to assembly, and easy to repair. The sensor has been tested above 31 m/s (70 mph, 112 kph).

The Dyacon 3D printed anemometer concept consists of three classes of components:

  1. 3D printable, wind-tunnel validated, mechanical design.
  2. Dyacon Hardware kit (Axle, bearings, and assorted screws).
  3. Dyacon sensor board.
  4. Assembly instructions.

The 3D printed anemometer parts would be produced by the customer or a Dyacon partner in the destination country. The remaining components would be imported as components (or repair) hardware, minimizing the import costs.

Challenges

Let’s not fool ourselves and presume that 3D printing is easy. There is a significant investment in equipment and skills. Fused filament fabrication (FFF) can require significant skill with different settings for part geometries. Layer adhesion, mechanical strength, part shrinkage, print accuracy, and mechanical fit can be unique to each printer, component, and material.

Assembly skill is also required. Not to mention some testing. In other words, if a user wants a single sensor, it may not be a viable option.

Benefits

While this model does not fit all applications, it offers a compelling opportunity for mid-range weather station needs.

  • Wind-tunnel tested design
  • Skill participation and value added by the customer or distributor
  • Mechanical repair parts can be manufactured as needed
  • Import costs are minimized
  • Robust electronic solution

Call Us

If you would like to participate in this project as a reseller or distributor, please contact us.

3D Printed Anemometer, w-Cable

3D Printed Wind Sensor, w-Cable

Weather Station Lease

  • March 24, 2017

Dyacon now offers weather station leasing and rental options for full weather stations.

Minimize Up-front Cost

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.

Dyacon Advantage

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

MesoWest

MesoWest

  • February 27, 2017

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.

MesoWest

MesoWest California Weather Stations

MesoWest Stations in California

The Dyacon weather station and Preston, ID airport can be seen at the following link.
Preston, Idaho Airport

MesoWest Charts

MesoWest Chart of Dyacon weather station in Preston, ID

American Meteorological Society Annual Meeting

  • December 30, 2016

American Meteorological Society annual meeting 2017

Dyacon is pleased to announce attendance at the American Meteorological Society‘s 97th annual meeting as an exhibitor.

 

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!

Exhibit Hours:

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.

Exhibitor list  |  Additional Information

 

Update 2/17/17

Have You Cleaned Your Rain Gauge

  • December 17, 2016

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

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.

Ski Resorts, Web-bulb, And Snow-making

Ski Resorts, Web-bulb, and Snow-making

  • February 4, 2016

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

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