When I made the decision to purchase a personal weather station, and began to research my options, I was taken aback by the wide range of solutions that were available to choose from. Of course, by virtue of price alone, some solutions made
that decision for me. I narrowed my list of possible solutions to hardware from Ambient, Davis, La Crosse, and Oregon Scientific. Considering quality, price, and the popularity of these solutions within the weather station community, I
settled on the Davis Wireless Vantage Pro 2. At the time, I could not afford all of the bells and whistles for this station, but I was able to get the basic station that provides barometric pressure, humidity, precipitation, temperature,
and wind data. The software to extract this data also presented a plethora of choices, but I ultimately chose WeatherLink.
That was early 2008. It's now been over 8 years of constant operation, with little to no problems. The battery used to operate the station at night, when solar is not available, is the only component that has required replacement. The
image of my weather station used on this page was taken just days after it's initial installation, it looks a little different today. After more than 8 years of enduring Indiana's cold and hot weather extremes, the station is beginning to show some wear. I plan to replace
this station later this year, and I can guarantee you that its replacement will be another Davis station.
Now that you know about the actual weather station hardware, let me give you a glimpse of computer hardware and software that enables us to present this data on the web. While my setup is most definitely an overkill, and in no way represents
the requirements to run a Davis station, it does suit my needs.
- Server Hardware: HP Proliant, dual xeon 2.13 GHz processors, and 32 GB of memory
- Server Operating System: Windows Server 2016
- Weather Station Software: WeatherLink 6.0.3 and wx2sql 0.1.4
- Weather console is connected to the server using a network to USB device
WeatherLink is responsible for collecting the weather data, which it stores in data files. In a basic implementation, this data can be exported as both text files and images for use on a web site. In fact, for the first several years,
this is what enabled us to display weather data on this site. As time went on, however, we wanted more flexibility in the way the data was presented. This meant we needed a way to store the data in a mysql database. Being very pleased with
WeatherLink, I sat out to code a solution that would work with WeatherLink to export the data to a mysql database. My solution, wx2sql, is a java-based multi-platform program that can do just that. In addition, wx2sql monitors these data
files for changes, in order to keep the database updated with the latest observations. wx2sql is now running in my environment, providing up to date weather observation data. After further data validation and optimization, I plan to offer
wx2sql as a download for those that may be interested. If you would like more details on wx2sql, click on the 'Software' page on this site.
With WeatherLink, the folks at Davis provide a file layout document that was essential to developing wx2sql. Also, their support team was very willing to answer a couple of questions that I had in
regards to the file layout. I want to say thank you to these guys. In addition to the quality of their products, this type of support and openness is what will make me a repeat customer.