Welcome to my website. As you can work out from the location bar at the top of all screens, my weather station system is located in Quedgeley, Gloucestershire. It has been running in one form or another since 2008; see the 'My Weather Systems' panel below. I am a retired teacher of Computing and I consequently use the weather station as my excuse to continue programming and to maintain and develop this and a few other websites.
This is a hobby site. If you find it useful (or entertaining) then I am pleased but remember it is not a professional system. Please do not base activity decisions on the information provided here.
My interest in weather systems started while at school half a century ago and was rekindled by my friend Trever Franks in Madeira who runs a Davis station in Funchal.
I purchased my first weather station in January 2008; a Technoline WS2300 and used the provided software - HeavyWeather to manage the station from my PC and to publish data on a website. I developed the first version of this site, although it was at 'weather.oaktreewebs.co.uk' and started uploading basic weather data to the site. At this stage, it was a case of convert the CSV files into Excel format, calculate daily summaries and then each evening / morning generate CSV files to upload to my web server. I had created suitable tables in a spreadsheet and manually inserted the raw and summary data into them each day.
The website then accessed the data to display the required information. It is obvious that this was not in realtime and so I started looking for something that would do the uploading automatically and provide more comprehensive data - I found Cumulus.
By mid 2009 I had reconfigured my tables and site to make use of Cumulus 1.9.x. Initially, I opted to only store the data that I could collect or calculate through Cumulus and focussed on uploading more frequently; under HeavyWeather, I sampled data every 30 minutes but under Cumulus I increased this to every 15 minutes. My main concern at the time was that if I was away, I could only just store a weeks load of data in the weather station.
Over this time, I tried many different locations for the weather station sensors, many of these unsuitable. Either in the shade but receiving significant radiated heat from the house; directly on the house wall on the West, or, as it is now on the east of my house and in shade. The wind vane is at roof height above it but on a large vertical wall so still not really suitable. Consequently, between 2009 and 2012, my high temperatures can be excessive and winds directions may have a bias.
By early 2013 I was uploading data to Weather Underground. I also decided that I needed a UV sensor and so started a period of experimentation with Oregon Scientific hardware and alternative software. After failed attempts using a WMR180 due to building issues I succeeded with the WMR200 in an alternative location which I use today. The weather station was located 5.5m above my garage with the UV and rain collector on a separate pole nearby.
In terms of Software, I tried Weather Front but found it didn't do what I wanted and Virtual Weather Station I had always found to be too complicated. I even investigated WeatherCat for Apple machines but this would have involved new computer hardware or re-siting the weather station (again). Ultimately, I settled on Cumulus which I believe to be the best.
Throughout this period, I was hosting the software on Windows based computers. The computer and weather stations were located in my dining room with both weather stations connected using USB and a serial card (WS2300). With early versions of Windows I was able to control when updates happened and therefore 'managed' the timing to make sure reboots didn't compromise the data, but with Windows 10, even with various tweeks, the downloads still occurred and caused the stations to fail. This inevitably happened when I was not available so was a source of constant annoyance.
By 2016 I was facing multiple issues with the weather station system: I had upgraded my PC to a Windows 10 system, the Oregon Scientific WMR200 was locking up and sensors were failing and I was getting annoyed whenever I had to change batteries or reset sensors.
Windows 10 kept on locking the system whenever an upgrade was downloaded - I had managed to turn off auto upgrade but not auto download. This only affected the WMR200 system.
With the WMR200 station, sensors would flatline for no apparent reason. Batteries would be replaced, sensors and console reset and I have replaced the outside temperature and UV sensor after discussion with Oregon. The rain gauge returned monsoon rates of rainfall while claiming only a few millimetre of rain had actually fallen. The main unit was 5.5 meters above my garage roof so fixing these involved a lot of climbing and repositioning of the station.
I now plan to replace this with a Davis Vantage Pro2. (I also want to swap from UV to Solar as this will give more useful information). I'll just have to keep on saving!
At the end of 2016, having experimented with CumulusMX, I decided that I would now take the leap and use the web technologies used for the 'interface' to completely redevelop my website and the data that I stored based on the hope that one day I could replace my WMR200 with a Davis Vantage Pro2.
Having started redeveloping my website, I decided it was also time to investigate Raspberry Pi's as an alternative to the Windows 10 PC. After only a few weeks, it was obvious that this was a far more satisfactory platform for the weather stations. I now have two and have developed a number of additional resources.
After moving to the Raspberry Pi's as the platform for both stations, I continued to have issues with the WMR200 station, I replaced the UV sensor when it failed in the summer and decommissioned the whole system in September when it again started flatlining data (even though it was displaying appropriate readings on the console.)
Over the past few weeks I have been experimenting with a pHAT for my Pi - a Blinkt from Pimoroni (see links). This has enabled me to have 'status lights' on the Pi monitoring various values provided by the weather station. It would now be very useful if the various 'new record' tags that existed on the old system worked on MX as I could then make different lights glow different colours when a record is set!
October and I have now upgraded to a Davis Vantage Pro2 which is now active. The WS2300 will again provide backup running on another Pi.
My 10th year of providing weather data for Quedgeley.
I now have three Pi's to play with. All are running the latest NOOBS release: v2.4.5. I would advise anyone going down the Pi road, get your own SD card - I do have to constantly reinstall Raspbian on the 16Gb card supplied with my first Pi.
As a result of rinning the latest Rasbian, I can now tweet (usinh Twython) directly form the system running the weather station (though not directly from CumulusMX). You will find the link at the top of every page. I tweet every hour between dawn and dusk with the current readings and weather forecast. When I get my Solar sensor, I will include pictures if the sun is shining!
I have made a number of improvements (in my view) to much of the CumulusMX 'Interface' which will be available on my Resources page ( temporarily off-line while I optimise the developments). I also intend to make a number of php based graphics available that use the database tables for their display so that images don't need to be uploaded as part of the sheduled uploads.
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