Wednesday, 15 October 2014

Watching the Weather

For some months I have been using an Oregon WMR180 weather centre but found it far from satisfactory. Wind speed measurements seem very low. Even in a good gusty wind it only just gets into double figures for mph. The rainfall gauge works when it feels like it. Worst of all to keep continuous records the computer has to be running 24hrs a day. My last station had a built in data logger which stored overnight readings. As seems usual with cheap systems the wind direction and speed detectors gave up the ghost and I had to repair the rain gauge.

I didn't particularly want to spend several hundreds of pounds for a more reliable system as I only keep a cursory watch on the weather. Having had a think and look round I decided to try a rather different type of weather station.


I bought the netatmo set up. The basic parts consist of two metal cylinders. The indoor one measures indoor temperature and humidity along with barometric pressure and, unusually, CO2 and sound volume levels. The idea being to indicate a relative comfort level indoors. The smaller outside unit just measures outdoor temperature and humidity.


Added to those there is now a rain gauge which I also purchased.  The indoor unit receives wireless signals from those parts outdoors and connects to my WiFi as it sends readings to netatmo's servers. The data can be recovered and displayed on several devices. There are free apps for iOS and android phones and tablets. Also there is a web connection which can be used on PC or Mac.

The web display:

This can be scrolled to show all the various readings as graphs.

As displayed on an iPad:

The top part of the display can be changed to show the rain gauge readings:

Also graphs can be displayed - this from the iPod Touch:

I read that the company is developing a module for measuring wind so I will have to wait before I can add that.

There are other facilities with the basic units like sending warnings of, for example, low temperature to phones or tablets. Also, using the free app from ITTT (if this then that), something like a high temperature notification can be sent to a WeMo wireless electrical socket to switch on aircon for example.


  1. John, this looks brilliant. I am still using the cheapo Maplin weather station without wind direction and it is doing fine but won't talk to the computer. That cost another forty quid. My mate had a defunct Maplin one. I spent a couple of days messing and decided that the little magnetic switch on the rain gauge was buggered. We went into Maplin and got a spray can of dry lube and a new switch for £4.99p. They gave me the switch. It works fine now.
    I love Maplin, I go in for their batteries and get the extra long life alkaline ones for my strobes. They are far better than Duracell. I buy them by the hundred but when I went in a hundred had gone from £17.00p to £27.00p. I asked and he did me another hundred for £20,00p including VAT. Great company but I was tempted by a little mini re-chargeable screw driver for £4.99p and a big ruck of computer RAM for 29.99p. I passed on the latter but of course bought the drill. It's a fun shop.

  2. Adrian. I had to exactly the same with a rain gauge - replace the switch. It appears to be a common fault from various reports I have seen.

    I've used Maplin on and off for over 40 years when they were pretty well mail order only. Still have some of their old catalogues as they are full of information.

    I've had a look at the old wind direction thingy and it has 8 of those reed switches. I may try to use a Pi to display it. I reckon it will be possible to work out all 8 directions just using two wires and a selection of resistors. The idea is that each switch connects a different resistor value so measuring that value should give me the direction. Display could be the b/w LCD screen I was playing with a while ago.

    Well done with the haggling - If you don't ask for a discount you don't get one!

  3. Is that why we are getting all this rain now John.{:))

    1. Of course Roy, I needed to test that all was working properly!


Thank you for visiting. Hope you enjoyed the pictures. Any comment, or correction to any information or identification I get wrong, is most welcome. John

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