So, I got a weather station last year, and have been using it since then, but it’s always been wireless, and not great. It’s a Lacrosse WS-2316. Over the past 6 months, I’ve been improving the setup. Mounting the rain gauge on a post 3′ high (as per weather collection standards), mounting the anemometer on a mast mounted to the chimney. Then I hardwired the sensor to the base station the other week. So, instead of 120second updates, it’s now 7 second. So, useful!
Used wview for a while, but it doesn’t really do anything about random errors with the sensor (like the occasional time the sensor says the wind is 125MPH. Umm, no). It’s a known issue, and can be fixed by replacing the anemometer cable with STP. But, until I do that, I decided to go back to a program I used when it was in beta: LWC (Lightsoft Weather Center). It’s pretty nice. Uploads to wunderground, cwop, makes webpages, etc. Sure, wview does all that, but LWC seems to do it better (and has error correction for the anemometer error). I was getting weird dips in the dew point (therefore humidity) that only lasted for a few seconds (one data point on wunderground or cwop), which screwed up my data. So far, they seem better since I replaced the batteries in the base station, and put some clip on ferrites on the uplink cable. Don’t know why the batteries would matter, since it’s hardwired, but… The ferrites might help with interference since the base station is in the office above the garage, and therefore opener, which uses the same 433mhz frequency as the weather station if it were wireless. God knows if Lacrosse was smart enough to disable wireless reception if it detects a hardwire connection. =/
Yesterday, I hooked a webcam up to the system, and it’s now uploading a picture to wunderground, as well as posting it to the weather page hosted here.
The other geekout I’ve been having is energy usage. I’m a closet stats nerd. I’ve tracked every tank of gas my Prius has gotten, and I’ve been keeping track of my utility usage based on bills since we bought the house (I actually just got the utility company to get me all my usage from the appartments we lived in, so now I have 7 years of that too!).
I’ve had a kill-a-watt for a while now, and while it’s great, it’s limited by what it can do (you have to plug something into it, it can’t monitor 220v loads, etc). Heck, I even bought a kill-a-watt for my step-father-in-law for christmas year before last since he thought it was so cool when I showed him. But, as I said, it’s limited. So, when I saw my new toy on thinkgeek, I immediately wanted one. It’s called a “TED” or “The Energy Detective”. It “hooks up” to your central power panel, and gives you whole house numbers, second by second. Turn on a lamp, you see the meter increase. Turn on the stove, or heat, you see that too. Woohoo! I can see how much everything in the house uses, as well as see how much I use a day, etc. You put in the power rates, and it’ll tell you how much you’re spending per hour, per day, estimate on your utility bill, etc. It’s awesome. This coming week I’m going to pay the ransom money needed to unlock the USB port so I can start actually logging the data. I have faith that google will support the TED with google powermeter, but, we’ll have to see.
But, all of this has caused me to make some changes. Previously, I had my main TV set to “soft” standby. So, it powered up nearly instantly. It’s been like this for years. Little did I know it uses about 40W in this state. DOH! So, I put it into “hard” off, and it uses 1W or less. I also have paired down my always on computers. I now have one server, which used to be a dual G4 800mhz quicksilver. It’s now a 15″ G4 Powerbook. ’bout 80-100W savings. Then, geeking out, I bought a brand new 2009 Airport Extreme to replace my old UFO extreme. 802.11n is sweet… about 6x as fast as my old 802.11g connection. I since buying that have replaced my 8 port gig-e switch, router, and former base station with JUST the airport extreme. Since it’s got 3 gig-e LAN ports, and acts as a router and base station… bingo! So, theres another 20-30W of power saved (the former router was a soekris, and switch was a linksys SD2008). Both energy efficient, but total less so than 1 device.
Anyone need a decent linksys 8 port gig-e switch, or an old Airport Extreme?
So, more later…
Links of interest:
My Wunderground page: http://www.wunderground.com/weatherstation/WXDailyHistory.asp?ID=KORSPRIN10
My CWOP page: http://www.findu.com/cgi-bin/wxpage.cgi?call=cw9669
TED on thinkgeek: http://www.thinkgeek.com/gadgets/travelpower/b772/
TED website (it’s pretty bad): http://www.theenergydetective.com/
Google Powermeter: http://www.google.org/powermeter/
Once I have the data available, I’ll post a link to show my power usage at home, etc.