News - Page 3 of 5 - Dyacon
“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

Rain Gauge Fixed With 12 V Regulator

Rain Gauge Fixed with 12 V Regulator

  • December 9, 2014

A friend came to me with a curious problem regarding the research weather stations he maintains. The Geonor rain gauges were experiencing glitches. Some of his stations exhibited only occasional problems, and others were failing almost daily.

In the plot below, the rain gauge output is in blue. It should be a steady, increasing line representing the weight of the accumulated precipitation. The green line is the battery voltage. In this case, when the sun would hit the solar panels each day, the solar charge controller turned on and the rain gauge stopped working.
Rain gauge output in blue. Solar panel output in green.

I found that the systems he maintains use a Morningstar Sunsaver solar charge controller. These solar charge controllers use a PWM output to charge the battery. This means that rather than just regulating the voltage and current to the battery, the controllers switch the charge voltage on and off very fast. This type of electrical signal can cause electrical noise and interfere with other devices on the circuit. Depending on the lengths of wires to the batteries and the susceptibility of other systems, the noise may become significant.

The Solution

After some testing, it was demonstrated that the PWM power from the solar charge controller was interfering with the vibrating wire signal adapter of the Geonor rain gauge. Adding a 12 VDC linear regulator to the circuit resolved the problem.

We quickly created a new product to address this problem. The regulator is now available as Dyacon RLP‑2WTM.

With an input range of 12.5 V to 36 V, RLP‑2W is also suitable for industrial automation applications. The On/Off control input of RLP‑2W allows for power optimization using a digital signal to control the regulator output.

Let us know if you have a specific problem with your data acquisition system. We’d love to see if we could help.

Eugene

Smart Sensor Benefits, Part II

Smart Sensor Benefits, Part II

  • September 29, 2014

In part one of Smart Sensor Benefits I mentioned some advantages that digital sensors have when integrating them with data acquisition devices. They allow for easy integration by providing “ready-to-use” measurement data. The sensors can also provide a richer data set than can be achieved with an analog sensor. In the case of Dyacon WSD wind sensors, current and averaged wind parameters are available.

Now With Gust!

Utilizing the smart sensor processor, Dyacon can expand the functionality of WSD and TPH sensors. As an example, WSD-1 now calculates gust in addition to current measurements, 2 minute average, and 10 minute average.

That is much easier to work with than a 0 V to 5 V output!

Spinning Wind Sensor

How Far Will You Go?

Dyacon WSD-1 and TPH-1 sensors use Modbus RS-485. A recent article in an engineering trade journal, Design World, touted the advantages of RS-485. One of the valuable benefits is the ability to transmit over long cable lengths, 1500 ft to 6000 ft (450 m to 1830 m). These are rough values and depend on the data rate, cable type, and electrical environment.

The data rate on Dyacon Modbus sensors, WSD-1 and TPH-1, is selectable from 1200 bps up to 38400 bps. This feature allows users to optimize the data rate for the specific application, balancing power usage with connection reliability over long cable runs.

What Flavor Would You Like?

Dyacon has been building customized electronic products for integrators for many years. Systems often need to be optimized for particular applications in order to provide the necessary functional benefits or market differentiation. If you have a special need that requires a particular data set or protocol, give us a call. We would be happy to work with you to emulate another device, adapt measurement algorithms, or provide you with a unique solution for your application whether industrial automation, wind power survey, or environmental data acquisition.

Eugene

When it Pours

  • September 29, 2014

A couple of weeks ago, I journeyed to Zion National Park for some hiking and canyoneering with some family. As luck would have it, the heavy rains that week spoiled our plans, at least that is the way it seemed. We had planned a hike in one of the canyons on the first day, but even minimal rain can inundate the canyons making it a deadly experience.

Flooded Virgin River in Zion National Park

Flooded Virgin River in Zion National Park

Canyon Showers

Canyon Showers

It is not uncommon to hear of people trapped or killed by flash floods in the slot canyons of southern Utah. There is often no way out, but down stream and it is best to go under your own power. Caution must be observed to check weather reports and forecasts for the surrounding areas. The high precipitation rate that we observed compounded the danger and caused damage to roads throughout the region.

So, we enjoyed a wet hike in the pouring rain as we worked our way to Angel’s Landing and arrived just as the sky cleared.

Image of Angel's Landing

Angel’s Landing

The following day we were fortunate enough to get a permit to hike, wade, swim, rappel, and scramble through The Subway.

The reward, a view of The Subway.

The reward, a view of The Subway.

Upstream view of The Subway.

Upstream view of The Subway.

Subway Canyon

Subway Canyon

…And My Point?

Automatic weather stations in areas where capturing high precipitation rates is critical, a standard tipping bucket gauge may be overwhelmed. As the rain rate increases, the measurement error also increases. RGTB-4TM from Dyacon is designed specifically for such conditions. Even with rates of 250 mm/hr to 500 mm/hr (10 in/hr to 20 in/hr) accuracy is +/-3%.

Rain Gauge

Rain Gauge

The Siphon

The problem with conventional tipping bucket gauges is that simple funnels do not provide a consistent flow rate into the mechanism. When the rain increases, the mechanism is flooded and either the error rate increases or the gauge stops working.

Rain gauge siphon flow control.

Rain gauge siphon flow control.

RGTB-4 uses a proven siphon mechanism to ensure consistency and accuracy even when the funnel has been filled with water by heavy rains.

…And That’s Not All!

RGTB-4 also has discharge ports which can be used to capture precipitation for later verification and analysis. Just run standard tubing into a closed container so you can validate gauge measurements in a controlled environment. What more could you want? . . . Well, maybe you’d better not answer that.

Eugene

Eugene in The Subway

Eugene in The Subway

Airshow Weather Station

  • August 4, 2014

Across the country, hundreds of small airports have little or no weather instrumentation. A simple wind sock might be the only indicator of surface conditions, as is the case for the runway in Preston, Idaho.

After nearly a year of preparation in Preston, an airshow was held on August 2, 2014 to raise funds to extend the runway. Prior to the airshow, I noticed that they lacked basic wind instruments, so my beautiful daughter helped me set up an MS-130 weather station near the runway. This station was connected to Weather Underground through the embedded cell phone and also provided SMS text message weather reports.

I would have loved to catch more video of the show, but I could only catch so much because I was sitting with the air boss, receiving quantitative wind data that was relayed to the pilots throughout the event. It was a great experience for me and added a level of sophistication to a small Idaho airport.

Fly safe.

Eugene

Dyacon Wind Sensor: Now Detecting Wind GUST!

Dyacon Wind Sensor: Now Detecting Wind GUST!

  • August 1, 2014

While sustained winds are of interest, it is the wind gusts that generally cause damage . . . at least for those outside of tornado alley or on hurricane coast.

How do you measure a gust? With a Dyacon wind sensor, of course.

The latest firmware for Dyacon WSD‑1 now gives users more measurement parameters than other wind sensors on the market.

  • Current wind speed
  • Current wind direction
  • 2 minute average wind speed
  • 2 minute average wind direction
  • 10 minute average wind speed
  • 10 minute average wind direction
  • and . . . gust

You get it all for the same price and the same operating current, <2 mA at 12 VDC. Now that’s a bargain! (Sorry, no free knife sets.)

Keep in mind that not all increases in wind speed represent a gust. Where other stations simply look for the maximum wind speed over a period of time, we implement a more technical definition. To meet the definition of a gust, we look for increases in wind speed of at least 10 knots (11.5 mph, or 5.1 m/s) above the 2 minute average. The gust value is retained for 10 minutes and replaced if a higher value occurs.
The sudden impact of a rapid change in wind is what often causes damage. After about 3 seconds, the structures are engulfed, and the pressure differential is reduced.

When it occurs, you’ll see this new value populated on my weather station at weatherunderground.com.

Eugene

Your Weather Station On Your Website

Your Weather Station on Your Website

  • August 1, 2014

Many users would like to add weather conditions to their website. Good news! There’s no need to call the web developer and launch into weeks’ worth of work. Instead, Weather Underground has some great “sticker” options, where you can just copy and paste a little code snippet to add it to your blog or website.

Where would this be useful? Some applications include, but certainly aren’t limited to, hotels, outdoor water parks, boat rentals/marinas, golf courses, public libraries, and road condition sites. A resort in Hawaii would do well to brag about their temperate conditions online while we in the northern hemisphere are prying our icy hands off snow shovels.

Dyacon Weather Stations upload directly to Weather Underground. The site from my backyard is below. When you create your Weather Underground account, the “Get Weather Sticker” options will become available to you.

 

Oh, you want metric? No problem. Simply paste in a different snippet.

Not big enough? How about the following?

And it’s all done without an application engineer’s writing code for a black box data logger, add-on modules, or additional web servers . . . and without any extra fees. The developers at Weather Underground are my new friends. They might even get a Christmas card from me this year.

Eugene

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