Operating Instructions

Weather Site Personal Online Weather Station

The Weather Site is a computer peripheral that:

The electronics are housed in an array of ABS plastic tubes in the top of a 4-foot long ABS plastic mast. The wind speed (anemometer) and direction sensors, the rain collector and the temperature fins are the system's most noticeable elements.

The Weather Site package contains all required parts. It needs a few minutes of assembly. The system consists of the following parts packed in your carton:

The Weather Log operates on a 386 or higher IBM or compatible PC with Windows 3.1 or Windows 95, 4MB RAM, VGA or higher graphic capabilities, and a Windows compatible mouse. It can run on a hard disk drive with a minimum of 2MB available. It outputs to any Windows-supported printer. To operate with a Weather Site requires an available COM port.

Carpenter's level
Compass to find north
Side cutters to cut tie wraps

A minimum amount of assembly is required to ready your system for mounting on the roof.
1. Attach the fin to the weather vane rod with two screws provided.
2. Mount the three anemometer rods to the rotating member with two screws each as provided.
3. Screw the 1-1/2-inch ABS mast coupling into its mate in the sensor assembly.

To get an accurate wind direction reading, you must orient your Weather Site to true north, which in most places on earth is not the same as magnetic north. The difference between the true direction and magnetic direction is called magnetic declination. and it must be compensated for so that the directional information you send to the database on the Internet has the same north direction as all other Weather Sites. This makes the information exchange most useful.

map This isogonic map shows the difference in degrees that magnetic north varies from true north. (Lines of constant magnetic declination.) If this map is too rough for your taste, go to the NOAA Web site http://www.ngdc.noaa.gov/cgi-bin/seg/gmag/fldsnth1.pl for a more precise declination reading (D) for your U.S. location. The program asks for your lattitude and longitude, and provides the US Census Gazetteer Web address to find it.

Use the declination information as follows: Locate your position and note the degrees. If you are west of the zero line, true north is east (E) of magnetic north. A magnetic compass in San Francisco must be compensated 15 degrees east of true north, or 360 minus 15 degrees, which is 345 degrees. This means you would rotate your Weather Site counterclockwise from a magnetic north compass reading. Conversely, a magnetic compass in Atlanta, Georgia must be compensated 5 degrees west of true north, or 360 plus 5 degrees, which is 5 degrees. Your Weather Site would be rotated clockwise from the magnetic compass reading.

The Weather Site rooftop sensor unit weighs 3 pounds. A mounting kit is furnished with the system. It is of V-block design that mounts to flat (wall) surfaces and uses cable ties to the mast to hold the structure in place.

Select a Weather Site location away from trees or other objects that would interrupt the wind and change its direction, or objects that could shield the rain gauge from collecting rain accurately. The temperature and humidity sensors are protected from the sun by the white body and fins, and take accurate measurements in full sun. However, if the mast is mounted on a surface that radiates heat, such as a large flat black roof, the thermometer will measure inaccurately from the radiated heat.

It is important to orient the sensor horizontal member, the part with the anemometer and wind vane, pointing toward true north. This is how your Weather Site determines wind direction. See "Finding True North" above. To double check, on a properly oriented sensor, a wind from the north will strike the wind sensor before any other part of the Weather Site. Mount your Weather Site securely in place to a wall or fence using the two vee blocks and tie wraps provided. Use a carpenter's level to make sure the mast is vertical in all directions. For maximum rigidity, space the vee blocks as far apart as possible.Screw the vee blocks to the wall or fence with the #8 wood screws provided. Secure the 1-1/2-inch ABS pipe to the vee blocks with the 12-inch tie wraps provided.

The sensors are housed in a 15-inch tall ABS pipe with a female coupling at its base. It is designed to be located atop a two-foot tall mast with a male coupling at its end.

Should your installation require more height, 1-1/2 in ABS pipe is readily available at hardware stores. Purchase a 1-1/2-inch male ABS coupling and some ABS glue to fix the coupling in place, and raise the sensors to your required height. Remember that a long mast will need guy wire support near the top to keep it steady. These supplies are readily available at hardware, electronic supply and TV stores.

A 45-foot-long data cable, terminating in an RJ-ll connector connects from the sensor to the modular jack plate. At the time of installation, play-out this cable to make sure your location is close enough to reach your computer. At this time it is not recommended that the data cable be extended. However, should your installation require more than 45-feet of cable, 4-conductor telephone cable can be spliced to the existing cable, up to a maximum of 90 feet (45 added feet). Use care to extend conductors straight through, and not cross them over.

Locate the modular jack plate inside the house within 3 feet of the computer. The serial cable furnished with the system is three feet long.

The Weather Site sensor unit stores a minimum amount of weather data in its 32K of on-board memory. The system relies on your downloading data on a regular basis for maximum efficiency. The on-board memory clears automatically after downloading data.

The 45-foot serial data cable terminates in an RJ-11 telephone-type connector that plugs in to a modular jack plate. A tee connector is provided for connection of the serial cable to the computer.

Connect the RJ-11 connector on the three-foot-long cable to one leg of the tee-connector, and the other end, with the 9-pin D connector to your computer com (serial) port. Should your computer serial card have a 25-pin D connector, use the adapter furnished.

The modular jack plate has provisions for power. A female 2.1 mm x 5.5 mm DC power connector is provided on the side of the modular jack plate. The system is designed to accept a 100 ma battery eliminator, provided.

Should you require it, a 9 to 12-volt battery (not provided) can be attached to to the plug on the modular jack plate. One 9-volt battery can power the Weather Site. The life of this battery depends greatly on how often you ask your system to report. Lifetime can range from hours for constant reporting, to weeks of seldom schedules. For extended reporting times a 12-volt battery such as a car battery can be attached to provide power.

Following the directions on the label of the Weather Log disk, load your Weather Log program and start it running. The Weather Site measures and records seven weather parameters. The Weather Log program displays this information in the following format.

Before using the system, set the operating values to adapt the Weather Site to your area and to your particular liking. Using the Weather Log software program on your computer, choose the Setup folder and enter your choice of the following selections. The system is programmed with starting values, so it functions without your setting them.

Sample Interval Select the number of minutes between data samples to appear on the Weather Log graphs. Take many closely spaced samples to record quickly changing weather (typically wind speed and direction). The trade-off is the length of time shown on the graph versus reading detail. Note: When using the Weather Site on battery power, select the longest possible sample interval in order to preserve battery life.

Prevailing Wind Select the direction the wind normally comes from. Doing this positions the mid-point for the most visually pleasing Weather Log graph, and minimized trace wrap-around. This value will probably change with the seasons.

Gust Mode Select yes or no. Most times for most areas select no to allow a wind speed graph that is shows the greatest amount of data. During storm season, select yes to record the peak wind speeds.

Wind Speed: Select either MPH or KPH, depending on your country custom.

Barometer: Select either inches (of mercury) or millibars as you prefer.

Temperature: Select either Farenheit or Centigrade as you prefer.

The seven weather parameters measured by your Weather Site are wind speed, wind direction, barometer, rainfall, temperature, dew point, and humidity. These readings are displayed as numerical data on three screens. The parameters are averaged over the most recent 24 hours and 168 hours, and are displayed as a Daily Average and a Weekly Average. The parameters are also shown as of the most recent sample (Current).

Click the Download icon on the Weather Log to download data from the weather sensor to your computer. The system stores data in ASCII format for maximum compatility with databases.

Transmit your downloaded data to the Weather Log database as often as possible so that current information is available to others on the network.

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