Computers / Hardware

PC/Mac Hardware and Software related stuff as well other tech related gear

Weather Station Display Upgrade

So, my weather station mostly worked great, except that I would occasionally lose the outdoor sensor signal. Then it would be a few hours before it found it again. I don’t know if my sensor is just a little too far away or what. I did some searching and found they sell another compatible display model that actually has a full LCD screen. More importantly, it features an EXTERNAL antenna. So I upgraded to this:

As you can see, the display is beautiful and has 3 info screens. Outdoor info, Indoor info, and then Records. This unit can store up to a year of data its collected. Since it has a real LCD screen, you can even display graphs of rainfall or windspeed etc. I get a perfect reliable signal now. The only negative is that there is no battery backup. Which means if the unit loses power for too long, you will lose your data and have to start over from scratch. So seeing as I have a 12v solar setup for my Ham Radio stuff, I thought, why not run it off of that. So I chopped up the power adapter for my weather station and wired this DC regulator in.

 

It takes 12v DC in and puts out 5v DC which is what my weather station uses. I was worried the weather station might use alot of power and drain my battery, but after some measurements, it only needs 0.13 amps at 12v DC to run. Thats not much at all and shouldnt be a burden on my system.

My AcuRite Home Weather Station Install

So I’ve been interested in measuring weather conditions for several years now, ever since I got a small Radio Shack outdoor wireless thermometer back in the day. Over the years, I’ve been upgrading them adding a few features each time. This is my latest version. The AcuRite 5 in 1 Professional Weather Center.

There are several variants of this weather station with different sensor and display unit options. The one I have is the Model 02064C. It includes mounting hardware, the outdoor sensor assembly and the indoor display unit.

The 5 in 1 Sensor measures outdoor Temperature, Humidity, Wind Speed, Wind Direction, and Rainfall. The Indoor Unit measures indoor Temperature, Humidity, and Barometric Pressure, and displays all the info together. It also can calculate Wind Chill, Heat Index, and stuff like that. On the bottom is a text display that cycles through various information such as moon phase, high temp of the day, etc.

For mounting the outdoor sensor, the manual recommends an open area free of obstructions and at least 5 feet off the ground. Ideally it should be above any buildings and such. But I live in the city so the best I could do is along the backyard fence. I used an existing pole that was cemented into the ground for an old satellite dish as a base, and strapped on a 10 foot steel pipe that would fit the sensor mounting hole using wireties and bungie cords. I’ll add some clamps later. Here’s what it looks like mounted outside.

And finally, the indoor display unit all setup and synced to the outdoor sensor.

Finally, here’s a short video of a walkaround of the outdoor install. Seems to be working well so far!

Our custom home security system

We don’t live in the greatest neighborhood and the neighbors have been growing more and more bold in trying to take advantage of us. Ignoring our “No Parking” sign and parking in our driveway; Throwing their own garbage in our trash bins; Letting their dogs shit in our yard and not picking it up, etc etc. So I was able to convince the family that it’d be in our best interest to have cameras that can catch such people in the act. Below you can see the installation process:

The parts we chose were 2 Foscam FI9961EP weatherproof/vandal proof outdoor 1080p cameras with night vision mode. They don’t pan or tilt unfortunately, but those were much more expensive and I couldn’t sell them on that. We also got 2 runs of 100 foot premade ethernet cable to provide the data in/out and the power to the cams on one wire. In the house, they connect into a Power over Ethernet Switch seen here:

My dragon watches over the camera packets to make sure all is safe 😛

 

The Finished product; wires routed, cameras screwed in and sealed up.

It came out well in the end. The way I have it setup on the foscam cameras, is to send video to an FTP server when they detect motion. I setup an old Mac Mini for the purpose.

Mac Mini 2.0ghz with a 250 GB hard drive running Ubuntu Server and vsftp server

 

And the end result. Voila!