Weather station consists of anemometer/wind vane for wind measurement, medium-range radio modem for data link, a little bit of electronics to control everything and large battery with solar panel to provide enough power. We chose a large battery, which can power the station for a few weeks of extremely bad weather without the sunshine.
Weather station checks the weather (wind speed/direction and temperature) every few minutes a reports the current conditions to the ground receivers. Also it's possible to implement humidity and barometric pressure measurements, but right now we try to keep it simple.
Anemometer and wind vane
We buy these sensors from another maker. They are made from durable but flexible plastic, and supposed to work well in hot humid climate we have in Japan. The only change we make – replace the cable to the weatherproof thick one with the better and stronger connector.
What's inside the box?
Inside the box there are three important parts. Wireless data transmitter (1), microprocessor controller board (2) and large battery (3). The box has moisture-proof rubber seal to protect the electronics against the bad weather.
- Wireless transmitter works in 430Mhz amateur radio range. It's silent most of the time, however about once a minute it sends a very short data message to the receiver stations. Low-power transmitters are used to avoid disturbing HAM radio operators and to save the battery.
- Microprocessor board controls everything. It keeps timing and sensor calibration data, takes care about the communication and power management.
- Battery keeps the system running at night and in the poor weather conditions. It's large enough to provide about 2-3weeks worth of power without any sunshine.
Solar panel recharges the battery, so you don't have to take down the station every month for battery recharge. There's not enough test data available about the solar panel performance in the winter, but we expect the maintenance-free period of the weather station to be about 2-3years.