On Ambient Weather, I noticed some weather camera software called ImageSalsa WebCam Software. I hadn’t thought about doing this as part of my weather station but I have seen these type of pictures before that had the current temperature and other weather statistics along with a outside picture. I looked around the ImageSalsa website and notice that it was able to pull the data from the Vantage Vue and overlay the text on the picture from a web camera. The software even had the ability to upload the picture via FTP to a website.
ImageSalsa WebCam Software
Since I was going to have a computer anyway to log the weather data, I was really starting to like this additional equipment idea. What really sold me was the concept of a weather time-lapse movie. The same software developer also make a program called MovieSalsa which creates a movie from a series of photos. I found a sample and was sold. This looked cool.
I started to do some research for a new weather station. I wanted something the next level higher than my previous weather station. I started doing some research and found Davis Instruments. They had a full range of products but at first I didn’t think this was the right company because of the price. But, then I found the Vantage Vue.
The Vantage Vue had all the features of my previous weather station but was much better. First, the outdoor sensor unit was integrated into one unit. It also looked more rugged. Second, the console was bigger with a better layout of buttons and data. I liked what I saw. I found it on Amazon (Davis Instruments 6250 Vantage Vue Wireless Weather Station ) and the price wasn’t too bad but not in the budget right now. But, given the last weather station lasted so long, I thought this would be a good investment. I put in on my Amazon wish list along with the Davis Instruments Mounting Pole Kit and the Davis Instruments WeatherLink USB Software.
I was interested in the WeatherLink software because you could download the weather data to a computer. I thought it might be nice to store this data. I looked at the IP version which had a network port and could upload directly to a website but the price was almost double. The USB version still said you could upload to the Internet but needed a computer. I have a few older Windows XP computers around the house so I figured the USB option was the way to go.
I waited a few months and monitored the price on Amazon. It fluctuated a few times but still no money in the budget. Finally, the budget was available. I started to re-think ordering from Amazon because it was being sold by a few different vendors. I did some searching and found Ambient Weather. I liked the fact that they only sold weather related products. They didn’t have a price but you could email for a quote. The quote was a lot lower than Amazon. So, I ordered the weather station and mounting pole. I need to wait a few months to save up the money for the software.
In my browsing around the Ambient Weather website, I noticed some products for weather cameras. I hadn’t thought about doing weather pictures but since I was going to use a spare computer, I thought I should research this topic more.
A few years back I was at a sporting goods store and noticed a weather station for sale. The price wasn’t too bad and I always thought it would be cool to have one. The weather station was the Oregon Scientific WMR112A. It had a console connected to an outside baro-thermo-hygrometer, rain gauge and anemometer. The outside units were wireless and solar powered but had backup batteries for night.
I got the station home and realized I would need a pole of some type to mount it in the backyard. I went to Lowe’s and got the necessary parts. I installed everything and it worked like a charm. It provided many years of use but a few months back the anemometer stopped sending the wind speed. I thought the batteries may have died and after taking some things apart, it started working again. However, a couple of months later, the wind speed wasn’t being tracked. So, I figured it was time for a new one.
How does this relate to astronomy? At first, I used the weather station just to see the temperature and the wind speed. But weather is very tied to astronomy. If it is cloudy or raining, you can’t see the night sky. So, I realized I could justify a new weather station to go with new focus on astronomy.