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Links to information about how to monitor the weather

The following URLs have been culled from posts to a mailing list about monitoring weather with Dallas 1-wire, MicroLan, iButton devices. Sadly, the discussion group is no more. Click here for information on it and alternatives. (Those are all related trademarks, all included for the delectation of search engines. Dallas is also related to Maxim and Dalsemi. Brand identity crisis? Them?)

This is a rough and ready page, in the wrong place, with the wrong name, but it may link you to what you want!

Entries saying things like "This site has..." should really say "I have heard that this site has..." My efforts will be worth at least what you've paid for them. (smile).
Just before we begin the main work of this page, I am going to give you some links to my not-scruffy work on the joys of computerized weather monitoring...

An entry point to a bunch of pages I have written on the subject.

Some pages about the Dallas Semiconductor 1-Wire chips and MicroLans... which have many uses, among them weather monitoring.

A subsection of the first site, addressing using the Dallas Semiconductor 1-Wire product line / MicroLans.


I have checked all the URLs, but of course the contents of the pages are subject to change. Don't hesitate to alert me to problems?

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You can buy the Davis rain gauge or "Rainew" gauge from weathershop.com or www.rainwise.com for $69.95. It has a reed switch that closes on .01" tips. It comes with a little display that you can use until you get your circuit working. For connecting it to a 1-Wire system, buy the pre assembled conversion kit from www.aag.com.mx for an additional $28.00 conversion took less than 5 minutes and it is working great.

Some of the posts that gave rise to the above are ambiguous... the Davis / "Rainew" device may be one product or two. Aitor Arrieta at AAG said: "You can buy our TAI8585KIT to upgrade the RainCollector to be compatible with 1-Wire network." Their web site: www.aag.com.mx

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You can find a variety of PIC code to support DS1820 at the following sites. Some of them include support for displaying the temperature on an LCD panel, etc.
     Peter Anderson's site.
     www.nottingham.ac.uk/pub/pic84/
     There was once info at http://ourworld.compuserve.com/homepages/steve_lawther/weather.htm, but at 9 June 06 the link seems dead.
sxlist.com/techref/microchip/ds1820-code ("Not found", once, 2/05, but found only hours later!)

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Ambient: "Weather Equipment for home and office". This is a big commercial site where you can find lots of things. In some cases, Ambient is acting as a distributor, so if you take the time to find the manufacturer, you can sometimes save money. For example, I believe that they sell a wind speed / direction detector for $159 + shipping which can be obtained from www.aag.com.mx for less... if it is the same device, and if you want to involve yourself with the costs and risks of shipments from Mexico. The post that alerted me to Ambient from mentions "Davis", and a fan aspirated radiation shield.... but the URL doesn't seem to match. It also speaks of Ambient as a source for "the Oregon unit, as a spare part. That is said to have a sender potentiometer for direction and a single reed /magnet for wind speed. One product they sell is the HA3 adapter, which I believe allows you to interact with a 1-Wire network via ASCII text.... sort of a modem into the 1-Wire....Think it was once available from www.weatherconnect.com, an online store with weather related stuff.

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Bray barometer full details of construction, calibration of a 1-Wire answer based on the MPX4115 sensor.

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Krausehouse: lots of fun stuff, in addition to weather monitoring info. I liked the survey on Windows XP security which offered "Is enough for me because I'm a moron." option. There is weather data online, provided from a 386 W/ 8MB under... you should be able to guess... Linux. Base source for the data collection routines used were said to be at adis.on.ca/pub/Linux/, but I couldn't find them when I looked... but there were other interesting things!

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You can also check out www.simon.melhuish.net/projects/oww Simon has a 'pretty picture' interface, but includes a tool to allow post processing of the data. Also interfaces with lots of other systems.

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The New Mexico Climate Center has some good stuff. (Weather.nmsu.edu). Their information on thermo shelters, and similar issues, is good.. if not easy to find! Use their search button, and search on "shelter", of use this link.

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Jim Jennings used to have some great stuff online, but I can't find him anymore.

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Far Circuits: Maker of bare PCBs, said to include some for 1-Wire work, but I couldn't find them at 10/04 (Site was there, just "no" 1-Wire.) Also sells blank PCB material for you to etch yourself, drills, etc.

For information on making your own PCBs, see my hobbyist electronics site.

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1-Wire related application notes are available from the Dallas / Maxim website, e.g......

App Note 159: Ultra-Reliable 1-Wire Communications

App Note 178: Printed Circuit Board Identification Using 1-Wire Products

App Note 186: Creating Global Identifiers Using 1-Wire Devices

App Note 187: 1-Wire Search Algorithm

App Note 190: Challenge and Response with 1-Wire SHA devices

App Note 191: DS2890 and Fluorescent Lighting Control

App Note 192: Using the DS2480B Serial 1-Wire Line Driver

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Once you have a weather station, the next step (if you can manage it!) is to have it on the internet, I think you need an "always on" internet connection to do this in a meaningful way... but once you've achieved that, you can become part of bigger projects, as you can see from one weather data contributor's notes....

The most recent version Arne's WServer software will also post to the APRS server which then is posted to the NOAA server in Boulder, Colorado. My station's data (C0333 or CW0333, Kittery Point, Maine) has been posting for several weeks now. Its exciting to look at a map of the United States and see your own station plotted there. It will be even better when there are more stations filling in the gaps.

Click here to see

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There have been times (as recently as Sept 2001) when the Dallas / Maxim site was not very well mapped. If you don't find what you want via www.maxim-ic.com/, try entering at TMEX entry point

In April, 2002, we were told....

The New iButton Solutions Search is now online and fully functional.
http://www.maxim-ic.com/products/ibutton/solutions/search.cfm
The Solutions Search allows you to search for iButton products and services, provided by companies from around the world, that can help you solve all of your application needs.
Solutions are available for all of the following applications and many more.
*       Access Control
*       Computer Security
*       eCash
*       Temperature Data Logging (Thermochron Apps)
*       Data Collection
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Jim Jenning reported that he runs his station using the Weather Display software.
History.. at 10/04 (and 2/05): URL seemed live, but "no reports for W5EUT" (Jim)

As far as he could determine, he had not had any problems with the humidity sensor. David Bray's barometer works fine, although Jim had to make modifications to use it at his elevation (9444 ft).

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If you are interested in sensing if an AC power device is on, try
this link, which will get you into the Dallas users discussion group archives.

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Click here for an index of Circuit Cellar articles where, it is said, you'll find an article on using transformers to detect whether current is flowing in a mains circuit. There were various warnings in the thread saying that badly designed transformer interfaces are dangerous. Circuit Cellar is full of things electronic hobbyists might pursue.

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This link will take you to Simon's site. He posts various useful things via the mailing list. Among other things, he used to have a description of a circuit explaining how to turn a relay on and off via a 1-Wire device, but at 9 June 06, the URL had changed. I bet the info is still somewhere on his site.

He's also put up details of the 1-wire power metering projects he's working on.

And information about the whats and whys of "hubs".

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The following came up in connection with anemometers and PDAs... They both (eventually) take you to the same place, I think. Try the first. The second is here just in case....

http://homepage.mac.com/tbitson/weather/

www.timbitson.com/weather/

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If you want to plot current flow/ no current flow with time then there are a couple of elegant solutions, UL listed and safe:
http://www.crmagnetics.com/2550.pdf
The device is basically a coil of wire with an LED attached. You pass the wire you want to monitor through the coil. (Note the need to be able to disconnect the wire you want to monitor.) Just connect the led leads (do not remove led) to a counter board and you are done for less than $15 (maybe you will need a reverse protection diode), just 60 (50) counts per ON second.

(Editor's note: I would guess that making connections to the unit could invalidate the UL approval and compromise the "absolute" safety. THE "safe" way to work with mains electricity: don't. Be sure you know what you are doing if you venture into this arena.)

Also, there was something at http://www.toroid.com/currents.htm, but that page seems not to be present anymore, even though the suite is. Maybe you can find the new location within the site. One of the devices there cost only $13. One writer at the newsgroup suggested that a 5V zener diode across leads should also make direct connection to counter possible. He thought you could then add a little trivial circuit (AC-RMS to DC converter) and you could measure the actual current with a 2438...

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Go to the Sensirion web page, the downloads / humidity section for an application note which includes a description of a commonly used approximation for dew point.

(Scroll down: "Dewpoint Calculation") The formula is quite accurate (+- 0.2°C) for meteorology applications.

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If you can find the Federal Meteorological Handbook # 1, section 5.4.3 is said to be good if you are interested in some details of wind speed reporting. No doubt the Handbook has lots of other good stuff.

The URL I had was no longer valid 2/05, but you should be able to find the Handbook from NOAA's Weather Service site.

The old Dalsemiu weather mailing list archive had a good discussion about what is meant by "sustained wind speed" and "gusting to..." speeds.

One such thread was called "Wind Reporting Standards", and was active in early May 2002.

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A company called Fascinating Electronics apparently had a wind direction sensor based on a dual wiper 360 degree potentiometer. (I'm not sure that' an approach I'd want to take, but anyway...) At one time they wouldn't sell you just the potentiometer, and the following were suggested as possible sources....

jdkcontrols
There was once a pdf document at www.piher-nacesa.com, but at 9 June 06, the URL seems bad.

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There was an interesting design article for a radiation monitor /counter in the "Electronics Designer's Casebook No.3 for the period Feb 16, 1978 to Jan 4, 1979".

A link to a pdf version of the article was once at http://www.ibutton.com/images/wideband.pdf If you relocate it at the iButton site, please send me the new URL?

The author used a PIN diode and some analog circuitry to build a detector that responds to alpha, beta and gamma. He also supplies the practical assembly information and the appropriate math. The PIN diode will work with the current input of a DS2438 where the internal current integrator should be useful. The PIN diode should also work with a DS2423 counter chip with some interface circuitry.

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For lots about severe weather in East Texas. (letarc/skywarn

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A discussion of lightning detectors gave rise to the following...

Phased antennas could give a good idea of direction. You'd have a lot of info if you could couple/ integrate that data with the electrostatic data Jim speaks of. So far, in my research I have only been able to determine that more frequent strikes indicate greater rain (precip), and that "positive" strikes are generally associated with large updrafts such as in super cells.

These links will give a bit more hard info.

http://bub2.meteo.psu.edu/default.htm
There was once more info at http://www.torro.org.uk/sfinfo.htm, but at 9 June 06 the link seems dead.

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If adding lightning detectors, consider one of the standards that already exist. There is a data convention, in the USA, for lightning data. The material at the following is pretty heavy going, and there are no quick "Where's the Lightning" links, but programmers might be interested in....
http://ghrc.msfc.nasa.gov/uso/readme/lightning.html

... and for space based detection...
http://ghrc.msfc.nasa.gov/uso/readme/gai.html

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For lightning DIRECTION detection, you might want to check out a detector called SFerics by Dick Fergus. The link below (theramp) wasn't working when I was testing, but it was later (2/05), and has good stuff. There a technical explanation of what he's done and what the project will detect. It is a fairly comprehensive discussion. One person who studied the material found it non-trivial, but maybe there is no simple alternative!

http://www.theramp.net/sferics/

For a commercial detector, have a look at...

www.boltek.com/stracker.htm... but he advised: This is a $500 device to plug into a PCI pc.

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This Australian Web Page offers a kit (US$65, PayPal okay, I think I remember seeing) to build a very inexpensive Wind Velocity and Direction sensor. He also sells kits with the bits you need for connecting your sensor to a computer.

http://home.alphalink.com.au/~derekw/ane/anemain.htm


I have checked all the URLs, but of course the contents of the pages are subject to change. Don't hesitate to alert me to problems? (Most re-checked 2/05)
All of the links above are to material put on the web by other weather enthusiasts. My own material for you is as follows:

The Dallas / Maxim 1-Wire / MicroLan / iButton devices
Programming in Delphi... with some 1-Wire / MicroLan examples

A great (inexpensive) microcontroller... a page I wrote about it, and links to where to find it.


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