News - Page 2 of 4 - Dyacon

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

Growers Know Weather

Growers Know Weather

  • February 3, 2016

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?

Is it the stink or the stench?

  • February 2, 2016

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

Dyacon Simplicity Or “Datalogger Rats Nest”

Dyacon Simplicity or “Datalogger Rats Nest”

  • November 20, 2015

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.

“Real Hit With Local Pilots”

“Real hit with local pilots”

  • August 17, 2015

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

Remote Airstrip Crash

  • July 21, 2015

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.

The Plastic Mono-pole Sensor Cluster

The Plastic Mono-pole Sensor Cluster

  • April 17, 2015

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?

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

  • January 22, 2015

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

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