Outdoor Air Quality Monitoring Coming Soon

IMG_6917Air quality is something we offen take for granted in Canada but our world is becoming more and more polluted. To help monitor air quality I’m added a air quality monitor to my weather station. I live in a valley on the prairies which often has air settling in and getting locked in as winds blow over and trap the air. So I’m curious what the air quality is like. What here for more details. Check out the crowd sourced project at https://www.purpleair.com
Talking about air quality, indoor air quality is also something to be concerned about. Radeon gases trapped in houses is a something that needs more attention. At my place in Didsbury I’ve seen numbers as high of 385Bq/m3 in my living area, basement would be even higher. World Health Organization recommends that levels should be max 100Bq/m3. Canada Health Organization max is 200Bq/m3. Air quality is something we need to look at more to improve the health of our communities.

Hail damage anemometer -Fixed

At about 22:00 July 1,2016 the anemometer was struck by a dime to quarter sized hail (estimate) that broke on of the wind cups right off the unit. Luckily it landed in the yard and I was able to glue it back on. Wind reading are back as of 15:45 July 2, 2016.

Back on track?

So you may have noticed that today’s weather was reporting a much more pleasant temperature of +21 celcius.  Was a nice day, as long as you stayed indoors.

The weather station was having transmission errors and were causing me grief as it was reporting “Low Battery on Station 1”, but a new battery was in and the station was reporting data packets were being received without error, but no outside temperature, outside humidity and rainfall data was being received.

lowbattery-error

After 8+ hours, the diagnostic screen showed lots of good packets and very few bad packets, but no data was recorded.

station1-stats

The view from WeatherLink Graph showed a lack of data recorded during this time.

graph-outage

I then proceed to verify that the solar panel was charging the super capacitor, which it was (This is what powers the sensor most of the time).  The CR123 backup battery was new (powers the sensor if the super capacitor runs out of power after a long night or cloudy day).  I then checked the main console’s backup battery and found that one of them had corroded, so I replaced the 3 C batteries.  The main console runs on AC power so the batteries are just for power outages.  My previous Oregon Scientific weather station would have transmission errors when the main console batteries were exhausted.  But even with new batteries in the Davis, the problem still existed.

So after some reading online, but still with no really solution, the last thing to try before calling Davis for support was change the transmission channels.  So I changed it to a new channel and things started working correctly again.  The interesting thing is the main console started reporting Channel 1 as possible data after the sensor was changed to the new channel. So I left the console to gather data from Channel 1, but no good or bad packets were received even through it thought something was there.  So the problem now appears to be frequency channel confusion and not a bad battery.  Time will tell.  So as of late this evening, I’ve put the station back outside. Once I’ve verified no more blank data, I’ll then re-enable uploading to Weather Underground.

I sure noticed that I missed the local data today!  Wasn’t sure what to wear outside on my walk.  The Weather Network data was so 1 hour ago and it had cooled off since that report.

Happy weather watching!

Battery problems on main sensor unit

Replaced main sensor unit battery again.  Noticed today that the console was reporting a Low Battery on Station 1. Look into the log files, I had 3 outages over the last week from that sensor unit.

wx-iss-outages

This battery was just replaced August 1, 2015.  Luckily I had an extra battery, so I ran out in the -21 Celsius evening and replaced the battery.  The backup battery should last for 8 months without any solar panel assistance, so the batteries I purchased to replace must have been bad batteries.  Hopefully this fixes the issue.

 

Also noticed that the new batteries for the 24 hour Fan-Aspirated Shield don’t appear to be working that well.  The fan was not running the other day when I checked on the unit, but today 4 hours after dark, the fan was still spinning.  I’ll have to look into this.

Anemometer Sensor Battery replaced

Cleaned the anemometer and replaced the backup battery today.  Sensor appears to be in good shape.

 

Maintenance on main sensor suite

Been 3 years since I installed the new weather station and I haven’t done any maintenance on it. So it was long over due.

The 11:30am to 1pm data for outside temp and humidity today will be missing as the sensors were offline.

New batteries for the 24 hour Fan-Aspirated Shield. This should hopefully correct temperature readings as the old batteries were not keeping the fan running 24/7 anymore.

New backup battery for the temperature/humidity/rain collector.

Full cleaning and wipe down for the Intergrated Sensor Suite.

In check the console’s battery and signal reception of the station, I somehow reset the console, so today’s historic data was reset.

July 2,2015 – drought report

June wasn’t our monsoon season that we often have.  With only 50.5mm of rainfall record and of that 50mm, 20mm was a localized 1 hour downpour.  Same storm but just 2km north received 20mm less rain during that storm. That weather station only recorded 27.2mm of rainfall for June.

Start conserving water.  Going to be a dry summer. I’m surprised we don’t have any water restriction yet.

http://www.drought.gov/nadm-media/nadm/nadm-201505.jpg

June 1, 2015 – Where is the rain?

Historically, at least since I’ve lived in Central Alberta, the end of May and early June is usually wet.  Here is looking back at the records I’ve measured:

Year  May  June  July
2005 21mm  158mm 53mm
2006 57mm  87mm 37mm
2007 102mm  101mm 21mm
2008 90mm  100mm 67mm
2009 5mm  37mm 51mm
2010 49mm  77mm 63mm
2011 75mm  102mm 49mm
2012 75mm  116mm 102mm
2013 87mm  132mm 31mm
2014 73mm  152mm 27mm
2015 31mm  ?mm ?mm

Few graphs showing the data: (click to enlarge)

RainFall2005-2015-Graph1

RainFall2005-2015-Graph2

RainFall2005-2015-Graph3

 

My predictions: Going to be a dry summer.  Maybe 70-90mm for June?

Interesting that since 2009 our June rainfall total has continue to rise each year by 20mm or more.  Is that due to more cloud seeding?

July 16, 2014 big bird adjustments to anemometer

Was puzzled why the wind speed was reporting nothing but the plants in the yard where swaying. Looking up at anemometer I found it twisted 45 degrees and all muddy.

20140716-110804-40084317.jpg

 

Below was a nice mess to clean up

20140716-110837-40117716.jpg

 

This happen sometime overnight and was corrected by 10:45am.

This has been a first for my weather equipment in the last 9 years.

Enjoy the warm weather!

New Windows 7 Sidebar Gadget for your desktop

Ever wish you could have a small window on your desktop that displays the current weather conditions and a view of the sky in Didsbury Alberta?

Your wish has been granted!  If you have Windows Vista or Windows 7 computer, just download the Windows Sidebar gadget and install. That is it!

NEW UPDATED VERSION 2 – Download here: http://weather.bluevistaventures.ca/gadget/DidsburyWX-V2.gadget
Version 2 posted October 4, 2012.  See below how to uninstall previous version.

 

To make this happen, I get a bit of help from Weather Underground to provide the weather webpage “sticker” and David Ryan (who created the original desktop gadget).  I then completely modified the gadget so it automatically connects to my weather station.  Current weather data and skycam are supplied and copyright by BlueVista Ventures.

Can you trust the download? Yes, I’ve checked over the code that makes up the gadget and it was all clean.  Therefore, it was safe for me to use and modify.  You can view the contents of the gadget download by renaming the download file to DidsburyWX.zip and then open the file and view the files within it.  Disclaimer: But I still need to state that I hold no responsibility if it causes any problems to your computer and you need to use it at your own risk.

 

Step by Step Instructions

  1. Click on the download link and select Open or Run.  You can also Save to your computer and double click the download file:
  2. Select Install when asked:
  3. The new Weather SideBar will appear on your desktop.
  4. After it is installed, if you close it by accident or it doesn’t open automatically, just run the “Desktop Gadget Gallery” under the Start Menu.  The SideBar gadget is called DidsburyWeatherDesktop, just double click it from the Sidebar windows
  5. If you wish to move the gadget on your screen, just hover the mouse over the top right corner of the gadget and click and drag the dotted box (see image).
  6. To close, click the X.  The wrench has no configuration changes, unless you wish to display a different webpage. Resizing doesn’t affect the weather gadget size.
  7. If you wish to uninstall it, go back to the Desktop Gadget Gallery and right click the gadget and select uninstall.

Enjoy!