ESP8266 Weather, Installation – Step 2.3

Now that the final hardware is complete, it's time to talk about the installation of the weather station at its final home location. I decided it was best to mount it securely to the back of my shed using Ambient Weather's mounting hardware. Before installing your weather station on a permanent mount, I strongly suggest placing it on a temporary mount at the install site, and verify that your station can connect with your WiFi network. I mounted mine on PVC pipe in a patio umbrella stand.

Verify connectivity before mounting

I plugged in the power and went inside to verify that the weather station was able to connect to my WiFi connection and report the current conditions to my Avatar control application. I let it run for a half an hour to verify it can maintain its connection. It worked perfectly so it was time to get out the tools and mount it to the rear wall of the shed. Step one is to mount the brackets to the wall using a level. The two brackets come as 2 separate halves that need to be bolted together. Once bolted together hold the top bracket against the wall and use a level to make sure the bracket is level from side to side, then mark the bolt holes with a pencil so you can remove the bracket and use a drill to make pilot holes for the lag bolts.

Use ladder to hold radiation shield while inserting electronics connected to instruments

Once the top bracket is mounted to the wall, its time to install the bottom bracket. Its recommended to place the two brackets with a 12" spacing. You can use that as your guide, but if 12" straddles a siding slat boundary you can move it up or down to get a flatter area to mount the brackets. Before marking the mounting holes, you must also make sure that the mounting pipe is level. To do this I placed one piece of the pipe in the upper bracket and tightened it and then used a level to make sure both the pipe was level side to side along with the bottom mounting bracket itself. Now mark those holes and drill your pilot holes, then screw the lower bracket in with your lag bolts.

The mounting kit comes with two pole sections so you can stick them together as one fits inside the other and then tighten them in place on the brackets  with the bracket screws, make sure to push the pole level front to back and side to side while tightening down, if the levelness is off by too much your wind direction will be biased on very calm days and if your level is really bad your rain gauge may not work properly. At this point I used the 2 hose clamps that came with the weather gauges to secure the thinner pole that the gauge set is already mounted on to the main pole. Next is to connect the wire to the radiation shield that houses the controller board. As you can see in the photo above, I used the ladder to hold the radiation shield while I inserted the controller board with the cables already attached since the cables are not long enough to reach the ground.

Next, I recommend plugging in the controller board and make sure it can connect to your WiFi and begin sending back data. Once you've verified the system is working properly you can tie wrap the cables in place and if possible hide your electric cord running to the control board.

Completed Installation with power cable hidden

Here is the finished product with all cables secured with tie wraps and I was able to push the power cord into the siding corner trim so it makes a nice clean installation with no dangling wires which also is functional because secured wires have much less chance of being accidentally pulled out. I'll have to do another article on how to send the data to the Weather Underground (wunderground.com), but until then here is a link to my Saddlebrook Palms weather station page.

Hope this helps you with your own weather station mounting and as always if you have any questions or would like to have any missing details better explained please leave a comment. Until next time happy making!




ESP8266 Weather, Final Test – Step 2.2

Wow how time flies. I can't believe a whole year has passed since the Weather Station Beta test. Well I learned many things with the Beta that needed to be addressed. I've been spending most of my time modifying the Avatar Framework  and solving the weather station hardware issues and haven't been keeping up with sharing on the Web. I'm hoping to start turning that around going forward. Before I dig into what problems I found and how I addressed them I want to talk about the current status of the Avatar ESP8266 Weather Station project.

During fall of 2016 I worked on the problems I observed until the end of the year. Starting in 2017 I began working on changes to the Avatar Framework that would allow the data being sent to identify what type of module is sending the data so that it can be filtered and interpreted correctly. I then put the weather station back outside and tested during the spring. Next I mounted the weather station in its final spot which was on a pole attached to my shed to give it stability and height for better wind speed and direction readings.

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ESP8266 Weather, Beta Up and Running – Step 2.1

Hi all, and welcome back for another installment of the Avatar ESP8266 weather station project. Well after all the board design, sub module interface design and assembling the boards its time to take it for a test drive. I've been busy lately and the beta test started on Memorial Day weekend but I'm just catching up with articles now, not to mention if you were staring at that pool everyday would you be coding and blogging or jumping in. Anyway, as mentioned previously I was going to follow Nate Seidle's lead over at SparkFun and use a solar radiation shield to package up the electronics. Well, in short thanks Nate, because step 1 was to hook to the instruments to the bare board with it just sitting on my outdoor grill's counter top. The board fired right up and I started getting data updates, but right away the temperature soared to 114 degrees, no I don't live in Arizona, and while warm that day, it was only in the upper 80's. Next I stuffed everything including the power supply into the radiation shield and attached it to my makeshift post. I fired it up again and within 10 minutes the temperature was reporting 87 degrees in the bright full sun, which was spot on. Here are some pictures I took: Read more ›




ESP8266 Weather, The Shim is In! – Step 2

Welcome back, it's now time to move on to the hardware which is step 2 of this 4 step plan I laid out previously. As I mentioned before, the new Avatar main board came in so fast I ended up showing it back in the step 1.2 article. I doubled down in that article and talked about the new interface that I designed for Avatar modules going forward and that too should have been a step 2 series article. That said, if you recall my third bullet item under step 2, it was to spin a shim board that would interface the new Avatar interface to the Particle.io Photon interface. I've actually completed that task and have been using the Avatar to Photon shim interface board for a while but I'm just getting around to writing an article now. First I want to give Kudos to OSH Park, they exceeded my expectations once again as I was holding the board in my hands in only 10 days from pressing the purchase button, you gotta love it! OK, back to the shim design, here is a closeup shot of the shim board.

Close-up of Avatar to Photon Shim Board

Close-up of Avatar to Photon Shim Board

As you can see the shim plugs into the top of each board so they are basically laid end to end with the shim bridging them together. The Sparkfun Weather board did Read more ›