Introduction: DIY Anemometer and Windvane for Standalone Weather Station

I would like to share some knowledge about weather station. As we heard many times about weather station and some people would like to build their own weather station in their home.

Weather station is simply a thing or instruments which used to measure (sense) weather data from the surrounding environment. Weather data's are very useful for evaluation and comparison of climatic changes and effects of global warming. Mostly in our area, weather station are built far way by government and private organization and if people like us can grab those weather data from Internet. There are many apps in android to check the weather data in our present location. But this is not fully true, because the weather station location and your location may be far away and can change the data.

For example : If you are nearer to a sea shore and if the weather station is far away from sea shore then there will be big changes in Wind flow comparing in both region.

To avoid these types of errors, we as hardware activist can build our own low cost weather station and can send these data's to a common web service.

There are so many tutorials in Internet to workout with weather station using Arduino, Raspberry pi and so on. But there are only very few in detailed about building those instruments to sense data like wind speed and wind flow direction. I would like to share those detailed steps. Commonly a low cost weather station are built to sense weather data's like Temperature, Relative Humidity, Atmospheric pressure, Sea level pressure, Wind speed and Wind direction. But we have many sensors like DHT11, DHT22, BMP180, BMP085 to sense weather data like temperature, relative humidity and atmospheric pressure. The big and manual work to be done by all hardware hackers is to build their own Anemometer (Wind speed measurement), Wind vane ( Wind direction measurement), Stevenson screen (protection of sensors and to get precise weather data).

Manual works:

  1. Anemometer
  2. Wind Vane
  3. Stevenson screen


Anemometer is used to measure the wind flow velocity. There are different types of anemometer design like cup anemometer, ultrasonic anemometer, etc.

Ultrasonic anemometer is little bit difficult to build by our own and the easiest method is 3-cup anemometer.

In cup anemometer we generally calculate the number of rotations takes places for a particular period of time and then using that we can calculated the distance covered. Using the distance we can calculate the velocity. Here we use InfraRed sensors to count the rotation of cups in the anemometer.

Materials Required:

  1. Ball Bearing (625) - 2 nos.
  2. Christmas ball (or) Egg box
  3. 0.5 inch pvc pipe
  4. IR sensor pair
  5. Thick refill
  6. Black insulation tape
  7. White pain and whitener
  8. Lubricant oil
  9. Screw
  10. Anabond/feviquik/gluegun
  11. Ceiling cover plate

Step 1: Components Required

  1. Ball Bearing (625) - 2 nos.
  2. Christmas ball (or) Egg box
  3. 0.5 inch pvc pipe
  4. IR sensor pair
  5. Thick refill
  6. Black insulation tape
  7. White pain and whitener
  8. Lubricant oil
  9. Screw
  10. Anabond/feviquik/gluegun
  11. Ceiling cover plate

Step 2: Preview to Build Anemometer

These pictures are a preview and to have an idea of how to fix and build anemometer

Step 3:

  • First step to cut a egg box or Christmas ball in hemisphere.
  • We need 3 Hemisphere to form a 3 cup anemometer.
  • Take a Ceiling cover plate and attach all these 3 cup in the plate with 120° inclination between each cup.
  • We can use anabond or glue gun to fix the cup with the plate.

Step 4:

Take a refill which should not bend too much when applying little force.

Remove the ink from the refill and then paste a Black color insulation tape at the center of the refill.

Use a whitener to draw a small line in the black insulation tape. This method is used to count the number of rotation using Infra red sensors.

As in black background the IR light is not reflected and in white background the IR light is fully reflected. It will be explained in detail in below steps.

Step 5:

Take two 625 Ball bearing which is very small with low friction. Pour some lubricating oil in the ball bearing and rotate it to make smooth rotation of ball and to reduce the friction.

Take a 1/2 inch water line pvc pipe. Don't use electric line pvc pipe as its thickness is less than water line pipes.

Cut the pvc pipe to a length of the refill and heat pipe at one end and fix the ball bearing in one end of pipe.

Insert the refill inside the pipe at the ball bearing center and then heat another side of pvc pipe to fix the ball bearing at that end.

Step 6:

Its almost ready to see the anemometer. Now use a screw to combine both the ceiling cover plate and refill with a screw.

Its ready to check our anemometer whether its rotating smoothly or not. Go out to upstairs and check whether anemometer is rotating.

If it rotates smoothly then our work is fully success else try to fix the ball bearing, because mostly ball bearing cause problems of friction.

Try to buy a IR sensor circuit like this, so we can easily calibrate the output triggering voltage.
Drill a small hole in the PVC pipe and attach this IR sensor pair.

Connect 3.3v, GND, DOUT with the Raspberry pi/Arduino/MCU.


Wind Vane is an instruments used to measure the wind flow direction. For building anemometer, there are different types and designs based on the shape and structure.

But for building a wind vane, the design and shape are nearly same. Basic concept of wind vane is one side should be very flat and another side should be round and small.


  1. Thin (3 to 4 mm) Arcylic/ polycarbonate sheet
  2. 4wire / 6 wire slip ring
  3. 3-axis magnetometer ( HMC5883L)
  4. Ball bearing (625)
  5. 1/2 inch pvc pipe
  6. Thick refill
  7. Feviquik/Anabond

Step 8:

Take a 1/2 inch water line pcv pipe and paste a slip ring at the top of the pipe.

Take a thick refill as we did for anemometer, fix it over the slip ring top.

Insert the 4 wires of slip ring inside the refill.

Step 9:

Take another 1/2 inch pvc pipe and heat at one end of the pipe and fix a ball bearing of size number 625.

Before fixing ball bearing use lubricating oil to reduce friction while rotation.

Insert the refill in the ball bearing and connect both pvc pipe.

Step 10:

Take a arcylic or polycarbonate white sheet and cut as in arrow shape.

The arrow head show be big and flat because for good performance.

Drill a hole in center of the arrow and insert the refill head.

Connect the 4wires with HMC5883L 3-axis magnetometer and place the sensor flat at another end of the arrow and protect the sensor using a cap.

Magnetometer sensor use I2C technique, so connect the another end of the slip ring wire with the I2C pin of the Raspberry pi/Arduino/MCU which have I2C.