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Weather telemetry? (remote station data logging)

Weather telemetry? (remote station data logging)

Weather telemetry? (remote station data logging)

(OP)
.

First, this problem/question is very much outside my area of expertise (dark side of moon type of 'way outside')...

I have 3 weather stations that I have used for obtaining data as part of various hydrologic simulation modeling projects. I am now in process of completing my doctoral program in engineering (civil/environmental) and would like to install at least 2 of these weather stations in my research watersheds. Both watersheds are in cellular tower range, though one may be limited to analog signals for 'good' reception. Weather stations can easily be damaged or fouled by ants, wasps, birds, squirrels, raccoons, and other critters, especially in wooded areas. I would like to monitor these stations remotely so I can discern whether damage/fouling has occured. I would like to receive data transmissions at least once an hour, preferably sending a packet of 5 minute interval data for the preceding hour span. I'm on a very tight budget (graduate student, non-funded project). My knowledge of electric circuitry is limited to simple middle-school/high-school projects and the one EE elective I took as an undergraduate. I have about 8 years experience with computer programming (machine languages, BASIC, C, LISP, etc at various competency levels), but I haven't actively programmed much of anything in almost 20 years - about when I started as an undergrad (yes, I'm not a college kid).

So, my question...

How can I remotely monitor these weather stations at some reasonable cost?

Any help is much appreciated - Thanks!

.

tsgrue: site engineering, stormwater
management, landscape design, ecosystem
rehabilitation, mathematical simulation
http://hhwq.blogspot.com

RE: Weather telemetry? (remote station data logging)

There are various methods. They all have terrain in their decision trees.

For instance you could skip the headache of Cellular entirely if you are near enough to these sites that you could use ISM radio which can reach 15 miles, perhaps to a location that you can then convert to the WEB then FTP or ?

Alternatively you may be able to use cellular and go with texting or IM.

What exactly is the data you want to transmit.  If it is very much data there will be more and more problems.

Keith Cress
Flamin Systems, Inc.- http://www.flaminsystems.com

RE: Weather telemetry? (remote station data logging)

(OP)
.

The terrain is rolling hills - not flat, not mountainous. There is relatively thick tree cover in the area.

A building is available within 5 to 10 miles of these watersheds in which I could set up a receiving station.

The data density is small: precipitation, humidity, pressure, radiation, wind, temperature, and maybe 4 other variables. So that's about 200 data points for an hour span (5 minute intervals). I can increase the intervals to 15 minutes, but I don't want to go longer than that. There is no magic about transmissions on the hour. I was just thinking this would save battery power.

Any and all guidance is appreciated!

.

tsgrue: site engineering, stormwater
management, landscape design, ecosystem
rehabilitation, mathematical simulation
http://hhwq.blogspot.com

RE: Weather telemetry? (remote station data logging)

lease cell phone telemetry modems.  Build your own folded dipole by looking at a ham radio book.  This may be the lowest cost reliable method.

RE: Weather telemetry? (remote station data logging)

Your needs are a little complex to do on a budget. I assume the weather stations you have are capable of logging the data in an electronic format - that they're not some old clock driven graph-a-line-on-a-drum device.

First, I would suggest a somewhat alternate approach. Get a small, lowpower microprocessor board with a flash memory or SD-flash interface (or other removable storage media that you can get a matching reader for a PC). Something you can power from a batery, and have it sleep at very low current, wake, take measurements, put measurements into the SD, and return to sleep. One of these will store tons of perodic data. This will get your system (and thesis) going while you take the system to the next step.

Second, Once you got that much going, then try to add cellular. You can add a yagi antenna on a pole to get to a cell tower if you know where it is. I would suggest GSM cellular with SMS messaging as the means of transmitting the data. Analog phone (aka AMPS) has longer range, but carriers are free to begin shutting down the system in mid-Feburary 2008, and some will do so immediately.

Cellular modules, removable media hobby devices, small microcontroller development boards are all available from hobbies places like www.sparkfun.com, Jameco Electronics, and also from more standard electronics suppliers like DigiKey and Mouser Electronics.

Third, Since your programming skills and electronics hardware skills are weak, but you apparently are connected to a college campus, go to the Electronics Engineering department, and say you want to fund a undergraduate project or a Masters thesis project as part of your own research needs. You will provide the materials, they just need to wire and program the devices. Maybe the department will cough up the small amount of money needed if you will just oversee the project.

Just a Thought

RE: Weather telemetry? (remote station data logging)

(OP)
.

The weather stations are Davis Vantage Pro. These are not the newest model (the units are several years old), but I think the stations are relatively the same as the Vantage Pro2+ model.



The stations are solar powered with backup battery. Electronic components are housed in a weather-resistant shelter. There is an option on the new models (and maybe the old models) for adding wireless data transmission.

http://www.davisnet.com/weather/products/weather_product.asp?pnum=06162

http://www.davisnet.com

.

tsgrue: site engineering, stormwater
management, landscape design, ecosystem
rehabilitation, mathematical simulation
http://hhwq.blogspot.com

RE: Weather telemetry? (remote station data logging)

If you want to go that route, you can get wireless Internet cards from Verizon, etal, and plug into the laptop and maybe wangle a way to interrogate directly from the web.  That would be cool...

TTFN

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