Tag: weather station

Weather Station Froggit WH3000SE

I had been looking around for a cheap but reliable weather station for use at home. I wanted a unit that would upload data directly to the internet, and provide me with some on screen display.

Froggit is a name I had never come across before, but they are very big in Germany and sell a good selection of weather related products online.

The Froggit WH3000SE is available for around £149 with one screen but you can also purchase it with 2 screens if needed. The unit is wire-free, yes everything is mounted at the end of the garden, and no wires are needed to connect any of the sensors together.

Outdoor Sensor unit

From unpacking it out of the box to installation takes around 10 minutes and 2 x AA batteries. The unit comes in 433 or 868 MHz versions I think mine is 868 MHz, and that’s really good as 433 is quite busy these days.

The outdoor unit has a solar panel, I think much of the daytime power is generated from this unit, allowing the batteries to last longer.

The indoor screen is colorful and full of data, but it does have a narrow viewing angle. Put it on a desk or shelf so you are higher, and it’s just fine.

Indoor Screen

The unit can upload data to Wunderground, Met Office, Ecowitt and weathercloud.

To mount the unit in the clear you may need to order a small pole so the unit can be mounted on a fence or house. The idea is to keep the unit within easy reach, as you will need to change the batteries and periodically clean the rain gauge.

Stage one is to connect your phone or tablet to the Froggit unit, this should be easy but you can often run into trouble. The phone would connect to the Froggit unit, but it detected it didn’t have an internet connection and so it doesn’t try and route any traffic. It’s one of these options put in by the phone companies to help the user experience. I had to convince my phone it was OK to connect, otherwise it just kept timing out and failed to connect.

Once I had convinced the phone to connect, the setup was reasonably easy, I find Ecowitt is the best site for reading my own data.

Example Display from Ecowitt

This really is the best display for your own weather, but you can upload it to multiple sites at once, so WunderMap is also a great source of community data.

The wireless range seem fine for the average house, the range should provide you ample range to place the sensor unit in the garden and have the base display indoors.

As I understand it the outdoor sensor unit needs to be in the range of the indoor display, and the indoor display needs to be in the range of your home WiFi.

So if you are looking for a good starter kit, this excellent wireless range, then this really is a good unit. Temperate, rain and humidity to name a few all seem accurate. You can check out the review and further information on the unit online.

specifications:

    Internal temperature (accuracy: +/- 1 ° C)
    Outdoor temperature (accuracy: +/- 1 ° C
    Indoor humidity (accuracy: +/- 5%)
    Humidity outdoor (accuracy: +/- 5%)
    Barometric pressure (Accuracy: +/- 0.08 inHg (range: 27.13 to 32.50 inHg)
    Solar radiation (accuracy +/- 15%)
    UV (accuracy: +/- 15%)
    Precipitation (accuracy: +/- 10%)
    Precipitation (resolution: +/- 0.01 in)
    Wind direction (accuracy: +/- 1 °)
    Wind speed range (0 to 160 km / h)
    Wind speed (accuracy: +/- 3.5 km / h or 10%)
    Wind speed calculation (every 16 seconds)
    Wind gust calculation (every 16 seconds)

Decoding 433 MHz Signals with RTL SDR

One of the members at the radio club Merlin suggested trying out this sensor decoding program for the RTL SDR receiver. You can view and order one online for just a few pounds.

The software RTL 433 is a generic sensor decoder, and it will decode and display a variety of environmental data. Despite its name the frequency can be defined in the setup, and sensors can be found on 315, 433, 868 and 915 MHz depending on your location.

In the UK 433.92 is the most popular, and so this is a good place to start. Firstly you will need to install and have run the RTL SDR, you can do this by plugging it into the USB port on your computer and waiting. Windows will helpfully install the incorrect drivers, and this can be resolved by running Zadig. Follow the instructions here. The Quickstart guide is also online.

If your running Pi, Linux or Mac then you will need to look up the instructions on the link given for installation instructions.

Once the RTL dongle is installed, then the addition of a good 433 MHz antenna will allow the reception of some interesting signals, even if you just have the default magnetic antenna the chances are you will pick up some local traffic.

It will of course work much better with an external antenna, and these handy adaptors may help with connectivity.

The RTL has lots of diverse supported software, you can find a list available at RTL-SDR.com

Merlin also pointed out that while the program will run from the windows explorer it is best to create a .bat file in notepad.

Mine looks something like this

mode 800
rtl_433_64bit_static.exe -f 433.4M -s 1024k

Useful resources for the beginner

Cheap Starter USB SDR

SDR Receivers

Scanner Antennas

Coax Cable

Coax Adaptors for SDR receivers