WeatherLink is required to download the data from a Vantage Vue. It has a number of options to display weather data both live on a computer screen and to update to a web page.
Virtual Weather Station requires WeatherLink to access data from a Vantage Vue. It also has a number of options to display weather data on a computer screen. However, you have to upgrade the version to enable Internet features.
Comparing the two products, there is nothing wrong with Virtual Weather Station except that it is an added cost for the different versions. I decided not to go with it for this reason. The Saratoga-Weather.org templates provided much of the same benefits for a donation. Maybe if weather observations was going to be my main goal, I would have investigated Virtual Weather Station more. But, my main goal is astronomy so the weather information is a means to an end.
I noticed high CPU utilization after setting up Virtual Weather Station. Prior to installing it, the CPU utilization was around 50% due to Willing WebCam but now it was between 90% and 100% with both running. I did some research on Willing WebCam but after looking closer, I noticed that the wwcam.exe process was only using around 5%. The System process was running in the twenties. I did some research on Virtual Weather Station and found a posting on their FAQ about high utilization.
The issue was the USB port. There is a process to still use USB but emulated a serial port. I followed the steps and the CPU utilization went down to total around 50%.
In addition to configuring WeatherLink, I also purchased the base edition of Virtual Weather Station from Ambient Weather.
Here are the steps I did to initially configure Virtual Weather Station:
- Configure WeatherLink software first and configure for USB connection
- Install software
- Start software
- Register software
- Set Communication to Davis Vantage Vue (USB Interface).
- Software will automatically shutdown
- Go back into Communication Setup and set the Communication Rate to 30 seconds
- Update Database Settings and accept the defaults
- Run Assistant at Help –> Assistant
- Take defaults except for:
- Station Settings
- Enter Station Description, Station Location, Latitude, Longitude, Altitude and Time Zone.
- JPEG File Settings
- Change folder location to drive letter:\root
- Update Timer – 5 minutes
- Settings –> Program Settings
- Start Program Hidden – check
- Launch Program at Windows Start up – check
- Modify Display –> Broadcast image
- Change Title 1, 2 and 3
- Display Weather icon – check
- Display Image – check
- Browse to single image created by Willing WebCam
- Display Image Timestamp – check
- Size Image to Control
- JPG Filename – woicik_weather_conditions.jpg
- Modify Display –> Cable TV Slide 1
- Title – CURRENT WEATHER
- JPG Filename – weather_current.jpg
- Modify Display –> other displays
- Modify each displays until the desired display are showing
- Confirm other display JPGs are being created in “root” folder.
The manual for Virtual Weather Station is a great resource.
Since the Weather Display software wasn’t going to work out, I started a wider search for weather station software. I found a great link on Weather Underground which listed a number of weather station software.
The most promising candidates were Virtual Weather Station, Cumulus, Weather View 32 and WeatherLink. Ambient Weather was the website I found and purchased the Vantage Vue from. They sold their own weather station software called Virtual Weather Station that had three versions. Cumulus was free software. Weather View 32 looked promising. WeatherLink was made by Davis Instruments and required to download data from a Vantage Vue.
I had already looked at Virtual Weather Station and I had assumed I was going that route until I figured out there were other products on the market. I also had to purchase WeatherLink to get the data logger adapter. Cumulus was a nice price and Weather View 32 was an option so I downloaded both to test. Cumulus looked like it had all the the features I wanted and the price was right. However, it too seemed like it was being developed by one person like Weather Display and I worried about future updates. Weather View 32 was fine but a large installation. I figured WeatherLink could work but I didn’t want to purchase the IP version for uploading automatically. Virtual Weather Station had a $50 base version, a $70 Pro version and a $100 Internet version. The demos of all three except for WeatherLink were available for I tried them out.
Here is my plan:
- I am going to purchase the WeatherLink USB first. This will give me required data logger. If I purchase from Ambient Weather, I can bundle the base version of Virtual Weather Station for $20. I will try out that configuration even though the necessary web pages and FTP options aren’t available. I will also get a chance to see how the WeatherLink software itself works since I wasn’t able to test it.
- I will next test Cumulus with the weather station and see how it works and if I want to commit to this software.
- I might upgrade to the Internet Edition of Virtual Weather Station if needed to finish this project.