Weather Station activated…


Yesterday was another adventure with the aluminum extension ladder. Normally, it comes out when I need to clean the gutters, put up the Christmas lights, and remove the lights again. Occasionally, I use it to retrieve a stuck rocket, ball or airplane that somehow “accidentally” gets launched up on the roof. Yesterday was an all together different beast. This year, I got a weather station as a gift. Installing the rain gauge and sending unit was a piece of cake. The anemometer, and wind vane was a little more work. The manual suggested that it should be located three to four feet above the peak of the roof. It came with a 30 foot cord to connect to the sending unit, which made the whole configuration a little tricky. I decided the best thing to do was mount it on a mast on the chimney. This is where the adventure begins. I found the parts I needed on the Radio Shack website: the mast, and a mounting kit. The mounting kit comes with two stainless steel straps. Or should I say eighteen foot razor blades. Those things are sharp. I ended up working with gloves on to get them in place. The straps also have a lot of memory, which makes some things easier and some things more difficult. The difficult part is that our chimney is on one side of the house, so wrapping the straps around it involves spanning the area that you can’t stand next to. My wife is uncomfortable with heights, so I ended up having to do most of it by myself. The ratchets were not the best. The metal they are made of it quite soft, which makes them a little hard to get tight. Creative use of duct tape to hold the strapping in place temporarily, and a few choice swear words later, and the mast is mounted on our roof.

I’ve been having a problem with the USB->Serial adapter that came with the unit, as it seems stop responding occasionally, and I have to reboot the host computer. I’m guessing the Vista driver isn’t all that great. When it is working, you can see what the data looks like here. I added a Weather Underground widget on the right that displays information from it. If I can’t get the USB->Serial connection working consistently, I may have to make a host computer out of a machine with a dedicated serial port. It sounds like I could make the host machine Linux based too. That’s an adventure for another day.

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