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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!

And, 2/21, it is an OLD page. A kind reader alerted me to a dead link, and I ran a check... and found MANY dead links!! Sigh. Not just transient stuff that ought to have been removed, but lots of GOOD STUFF!


I've spent hours getting it down to just "good 2/21" links. But I haven't checked every still active link as to it's content.

One site/ service, etc that 2/21 I refused to give up on was Weather Connect/ Weather Underground. A "citizen science" effort. Think automated "WikiWeather" for weather data!

2/21, the place you need to go seems to be https://www.wunderground.com. They require registration before they will even tell you whether you can connect a weather station with anything but a smartphone, so I haven't looked further, but if you learn that they WILL accept connections from hobbyist-created weather data capture systems running in a PC, I'd be interested to hear that.

The rest...

I fear the page may now mostly be amusing to those who remember "the good old days". but be Good Stuff may still lurk here! But... you have been warned!

Hey, it's the internet! The information is not worth less than you are paying for it!

Why have I left my mentions of old sites? There's always the Internet Archive/ Wayback Machine!.. Thank heavens!

Just before we begin the main work of this page, I am going to give you some links to my less-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.

Yes! I talk about "the Dallas Semiconductor chips" a lot! That's because they are great chips, do a great job. (Very disappointed that they didn't replace their counter chip when they retired it... it was a terrific chip, and I know of nothing quite like it in any chip family, let alone one that will play nicely on a MicroLan. (See various here, for what that means!)

Dallas was an independent company when I first used their products. As is the way in that industry, it was incorporated into a larger company (Maxim). The story of Maxim is pretty impressive... my thanks to the authors of that for altering me to some obsolete links, and for their clear essay on Maxim, the bigger picture.)

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?

You could once buy the Davis rain 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, you could once buy a pre-assembled conversion kit from http://www.aag.com.mx for an additional $28.00 conversion took less than 5 minutes and it is working great. 2/21 weathershop only had an enhanced version of that excellent device. $285- same sensor, plus a logger that saves the data to a thumbdrive for periodic harvesting.(Weathershop "Automatic Rain Logging Gauge".) 2/21. Rainwise offers "Wired Rain Gauge, RAINEW 111 Tipping Bucket Wired Rain Gauge" Yes.. that IS "Rainew", not a mis-typed "Rainview". It is a well made self-emptying gauge based on the "tipper" design. $72.95. Seems to be the device I had in mind, with a simple "counter with display" thrown in. You can just take what goes into the counter, connect that to your own circuits, I (confidently) believe.

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." The AAG website was (long ago!) http://www.aag.com.mx. Another great company that is, I fear, no more. And again, some great products never replaced. I guess less than 85% of the people on the planet were going to buy one at least once a year, AND at a price that made the sellers a big profit.

If PIC is your thing, you can/ could 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. 2/21 I am now more enthusiastic about Arduinos.
     Peter Anderson's site.
     There was once good info at http://ourworld.compuserve.com/homepages/steve_lawther/weather.htm, but at 2/21 there's some good code at...
sxlist.com/techref/microchip/ds1820-code... which I think is the heir of Steve's work.

Ambient: "Weather Equipment for home and office". This was 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 at one point, they sold the splendid a wind speed / direction detector from http://www.aag.com.mx. Alas the AAG device is ling gone (see comment elsewhere), but maybe Ambient is still around.' The post that alerted me to Ambient also 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.

Also, alas, for "the history books": http://davidbray.org/onewire/barometer.html, the Bray barometer, Full details of construction, calibration of a 1-Wire answer based on the MPX4115 sensor. Mine is working fine, 2/21. But at least there are replacements, though no 1-Wire replacements that I know of, for this.

http://www.krausehouse.net/nuke5/html/index.php: Krausehouse: had 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 https://adis.ca/pub/Linux/", but I couldn't reach the site when I looked 2/21.

https://melhuish.info/simon/projects/oww/" Simon had a 'pretty picture' interface, but he included a tool to allow post processing of the data. Also interfaces with lots of other systems.

The New Mexico Climate Center had 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"? (At last! One that is still online 2/21! (It's been here since at least 2010) Sorry for all the bad links that I haven't weeded for too long.)

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

Far Circuits: Maker of bare PCBs, once 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 sold blank PCB material for you to etch yourself, drills, etc. (I say "sold", as I haven't looked again today, 2/21.)

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

1-Wire related application notes were 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"

(This from before 2005!) 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.

Sadly, this link is no good, 2/21... but maybe something similar still exists? Must! http://www-frd.fsl.noaa.gov/mesonet/ Please advise!

There have been times (at 2/21, I blush to see that this, until a moment ago, said "as recently as Sept 2001"!) when the Dallas / Maxim site was not very well mapped. The last links I had for information that must be there SOMEWHERE even now were: www.maxim-ic.com/" and "http://www.maxim-ic.com/products/ibutton/software/tmex/index.html". Search for 1-Wire, or MicroLan (they're both trademarks) or "TMEX"... I think that's their name for the relevant software.

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

The New iButton Solutions Search is now online and fully functional. (2/2021: It was at "http://www.maxim-ic.com/products/ibutton/solutions/search.cfm".) iButton was a trademark for a particular packaging of some 1-Wire chips. There was also a little company that rather bravely dared to call themselves i-Button who made a nice 1-Wire to serial interface for the MicroLan Master Controller. (The MC was any "ordinary" PC you chose to be the master in the master/slaves network that 1-Wire was.)
The Solutions Search allowed 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
(For the history books: Jim Jennings ran his weather station using the Weather Display software. You could see his information at http://www.findu.com/cgi-bin/wxpage.cgi?W5EUT... Ummm up to some time before 2004)

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).

If you are interested in sensing if an AC power device is on, see if you can find a replacement for http://lists.dalsemi.com/maillists/weather/2000-April/001405.html which used to get you into the Dallas users discussion group archives. (If you find the new URL, I'd be be grateful for an email!) Unless those, 1-Wire specific pages, can be found, I guess we are stuck with "visit our website" (you know what THAT means... on a par with the recorded "your call is very important to us", followed by "music" that would drive a deaf person off the line? (Or adverts!)"... Maxim's general, Microsoft managed, "support".

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. (It's still there, 2/21! Hurrah!!) 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.

This link will take you to Simon Atkins' site. He posts various useful things, some via a 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".

Try to find "Tim Bitson" on the web... he had good stuff, and I suspect that at least he may still be active. I'm sorry that this page has so many things that are now "for the history books". I have spent over an hour, 2/21, starting a general "weed out", but the TECHNOLOGY it relates to is, in many cases, still around. And there's a lot of fun to be had playing with it.

If you want to plot current flow present/ no current flow with time then there are.. or at least were... a couple of elegant UL listed and safe solutions:
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 work with power that can supply more than 3 amps or 12 volts.. (5v at 1A can start fires. ANY electricity is dangerous, if you make the wrong mistakes. Higher voltages, and currents... especially AC currents, bring extra... and easily un-noticed... dangers.)

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 current level with a dallas ds2438.

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. (Sensiron is a thriving source of sensors, 2/21)

(Search their downloads for "Dewpoint Calculation", and numerous helpful documents arise. A not-too expensive ($20?) sensor will give you a formula, accurate to +/- 0.2°C) for meteorology applications for at least one of their sensors.

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 may be able to find the Handbook from NOAA's Weather Service site. Let me know if you find it?

The old Dalsemi 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.

Wind direction: If you want to take an analog approach, a company called Fascinating Electronics apparently had a wind direction sensor based on a dual wiper 360 degree potentiometer. (The dual wipers gave you a way to reduce noise.) (I'm not sure that' an approach I'd want to take (I'd go digital as in the AAG sensor, but anyway...) At one time they wouldn't sell you just the potentiometer, and the following was suggested as a possible source... (was "jdkcontrols", that's "te.com" at 2/21. Since 2010, I'd first try Digi-key or Mouser, myself.)
There was once a pdf document at www.piher-nacesa.com, but at 9 June 06, the URL seems bad.

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.

http://www.letarc.net/skywarn/ Was once good for lots about severe weather in East Texas.

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 once gave a bit more hard info.

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

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 what was at... http://ghrc.msfc.nasa.gov/uso/readme/lightning.html if you can find it.

... and for space based detection...
http://ghrc.msfc.nasa.gov/uso/readme/gai.html ===
For lightning DIRECTION detection, you might want to check out a detector called SFerics by Dick Fergus. The link below (theramp) was working 2/05, not 2/21, and has good stuff. There is/was 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!


For a commercial detector, www.boltek.com once had a $500 device to plug into a PCI pc... not for the hobbyist, the likely reader of this page?... but we hobbyists can enjoy "window shopping", and looking for ideas, can't we?

This Australian web page once offered a kit (US$65, PayPal okay, I think I remember seeing) to build a very inexpensive Wind Velocity and Direction sensor. He also sold kits with the bits you need for connecting your sensor to a computer. Let me know if you find a new URL for this? 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 Lazarus... with some 1-Wire / MicroLan examples. Lazarus is very similar to Delphi, but free, multi-platform, open source. Both are based on Pascal, which came from a teacher's hypothetical language which was designed to be clear and easily understood!

Microcontrollers... A great (inexpensive) hobby... or more... Very "kid-friendly and safe. What you do if you are a Maker, and have grown too old for Lego. (And good for big "kids", too!) Arduino, PIC, Pi, BBC Micro:Bit, etc. (I say "Pi", even though it really isn't a microcontroller. It does tick some of the same boxes, though.)

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