Instructables
Picture of Weather Station

The project described here is a simple weather station that measures air temperature, humidity, and surface temperature of the ground below the weather station.

Practical concepts covered are:

  • Powering your Phidget
  • Battery power
  • Solar power

Using the SBC

  • Using analog sensors
  • Using LEDs
  • Using USB sensors

Data Logging

  • Recording samples at a certain time
  • Writing to a text file
  • Writing to a removable USB key
  • Using the SBC cron scheduler
  • Using Phidgets with Python

Fixed Structures

  • Weather resistance
  • General planning and assembly

A project of this magnitude requires a time investment in addition to a monetary investment. Designing projects like these is hard but the reward is deep - and very real. A full, functional outdoor sensor system that you can build to whatever specifications you like... ask any hobbyist and you may see their eyes light up remembering their latest project. Building such things is a special kind of freedom!

A remote station project can monitor and log weather and other environmental conditions using Phidgets.
In this Instructable, I'll describe the steps to get you started.

We start with all of the pieces (the Phidgets, the power supply, the main structure, and the code) and then put it all together at the end.

 
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Step 1: Materials

Picture of Materials
800px-App_guide_weatherstn_battery.jpg
800px-App_guide_weatherstn_guyhardware.jpg

Tools:

Electronics:

The Power Supply:

  • 18-watt solar panel
  • Charge limiter, battery post clamps and protectors
  • 60-70 usable amp-hour lead acid battery
  • Exterior grade power cable

Structural System:

  • Station tripod
  • Commercial lightweight tripod
  • Extension masts
  • Protective screen for temperature and humidity sensor (i.e. a Stephenson-type screen)
  • Battery box to keep snow off the battery terminals
  • Pelican 1200 waterproof case for the SBC
  • Solar panel and SBC case mounting (metal frame or wide clamps with locks, with U-bolts)
  • Three stakes and 3 meters of plastic coated galvanized guy wires (for stabilizing against wind) with bolts and clips (see picture)
  • Miscellaneous hardware
  • Zip ties for cable management
  • Cold weather silicone caulk for sealing case wire holes
  • Silica gel packets for desiccant within the Pelican/SBC case
  • Penetrating oil (WD-40)
  • Foam to pad the U-bolt ends from the solar panel
  • Bolts and angle brackets for the Pelican case mounting
brwilk5 months ago

What is the cost of this set-up?

phidgetsinc (author)  brwilk5 months ago

Just under $1000. It was used for a University research project, so that helped to fund part of it. As mentioned, it might be a bit excessive for hobby applications, but it gives you an idea of what you need to do.

You could save money on hardware/setup if you put it in your backyard, and then you could definitely use WiFi, GSM or ethernet to share the data. Lots of options, it's all about knowing what you want to do and how you're using it.

you could use Ethernet or use long range wireless bridges

phidgetsinc (author)  hamishtheawesome5 months ago

Yeah, it depends where it's setup. This is setup in the Canadian wilderness, like a half hour hike away from any roadway, let alone building. There's virtually no network in the area. It all depends where you're setting it up though, ethernet and wireless bridges would work in other situations for sure.

omni965 months ago

Looks like an overkill to me

I would use an Arduino an a sensor shield and it will need less power to run, and will be smaller

Also you could hook a network shield or even have a board with wifi built in

phidgetsinc (author)  omni965 months ago

You could totally use an Arduino!! That's a good idea, you're right about power.

As for a wireless network of any sort, we'd have liked to do that, but this station is in Kananaskis in a remote location among many mountains. It's pretty easy to find tutorials for setting wifi and network shields up but maybe we'll post a how-to for that in the future as I'm sure many people want weather stations in well-connected cities too.

You could also use a ham radio and a DTMF encoder/decoder to work out a long-range communication method
If not, then a simple logging shield could do :)
mlayne25 months ago

I can't wait to get started. T