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DIY Weather Station by Gina


Gina
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Had a problem with the ESP32 that runs the outside and observatory temperature and humidity sensors - had to replace it.  All now working again.

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These are the sensors I have so far.  I shall be adding more for things like rainfall and showing if it's raining currently.  May add a a sky quality sensor later too.

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I think it's time to add some technical information.

The weather station consists of a number of sensor units which communicate with a server, which in turn produces the display, called a Dashboard.  The network is called MQTT and the server is called a "broker".  The system sends messages both ways between the "clients", in this case mainly weather sensors and the "broker".  The broker routes messages from client to client according to the addresses in the messages. The Dashboard is also a client.  The latter uses software called "NodeRED" which accepts messages from the broker and displays the data as text, charts or graphs.

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The weather sensors consist of appropriate detectors and a tiny Single Board Computer.  For temperature, humidity and atmospheric pressure I use the BME280 sensor unit.  For other weather conditions, other sensors are used which I'll post about later.

The SBC is the ESP32, a circuit board about 2" x 1" (or 50mm x 25mm in metric).  It has GPIO pins like an Arduino to connect the sensors to.  Communication is by WiFi.  In my case the sensor units communicate via WiFi Access Point to the main router and then to the broker device by Ethernet.  The display is by a web server and a browser displays the Dashboard.  The ESP32 is programmed with the Arduino IDE with a small addition to cover this board and uses the same sort of coding as an Arduino making setting up relatively easy.

The broker/server and NodeRED client is a Raspberry Pi 3 which has Ethernet connection (to the router) for reliability and sufficient computing power for all the broker and NodeRED computations.

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As an aside, I've found these images of software I produced many years ago to display weather data from a very different weather station.  I may try to produce something similar for my latest weather station though so far I'm reasonably satisfied with the NodeRED Dashboard.  The only sort of display NodeRED doesn't have is the wind rose as shown in the bottom image.  Another difference is with the rainfall gauge which has a semi-logarithmic scale which I was able to create.  I think this better represents the way rainfall works.

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