The 'Personal Weather Station' at Floyd Cook's house in Kaw City, Oklahoma is the
TP1080WC. The generic type of system is frequently referred to as a “Fine Offset” system. This reference distinguishes the weather
station from other popular systems such as Davis, Oregon Scientific, LaCrosse, Ambient, and several other name brands.
March 12, 2014
A 'new' / 'seasoned' weather computer was placed into service on March
12, 2014. This small low power Dell does nothing but process weather data and send it to the Internet.
Fresh, updated, latest-revision weather software was installed on this computer with the result that there is NO weather history
available prior to March, 2014. Be advised.
Sometimes it's nice to walk
away from your computer, leave a page displayed on the screen, then
glance at it from time to time to see what the most recent conditions
are. My Generic Weather website has three pages that automatically
refresh/reload themselves each 15 minutes; hands-off. My computer sends
new WX information to the WWW each quarter hour, on the ¼ hour, so to
speak. The 15 minute refresh-time starts each time you click to load one
of the pages: (the Generic/Now
page, the Gauges
page, and the Today
page.) So if you load or refresh at 16 minutes after the hour for
instance you're getting very current data on your display. Granted: we're nit-picking
here. But if you're interested in glancing over to see what's happening,
very currently, click to refresh at 1 minute or 16 minutes, 31 minutes
or 46 minutes. thereafter what you see is only one minute old. grin.
Selection of the TP1080WC was a result of studying the customer Reviews at Amazon.com. I was shocked at the 'one star' reports of customer's experiences with the various brands. If you are familiar with Amazon's Customer Review chart you know it's a horizontal bar graph based on the opinion of many users. A very good rating of 5 stars shows the top bar longer than the other 4 bars. The 1-star bar at the bottom indicates customers' poor opinion of the product.
Curiously the one and two star bars were frequently very long bars on the majority of weather stations studied.
It was obvious that there was a lot of dissatisfaction with performance and with
after-sale service support on even the most popular weather stations. The TP1080WC
Power earned the best rating in the opinion of users. Customer support, dismal on most, was rated very good on the
Tycon 1080 reviews.
'Might be called
"Bend-Over-Backwards" customer service.
Operator and User Manuals are available for download in PDF form and they are worth a study. The 1080 documentation is above average from the several that I studied.
The system went together “just like advertised” and has worked flawlessly, with
a couple of exceptions: During a rain shower when I should have seen the rainfall increasing, it didn't. On the roof the next morning, carefully opening the rain gauge cover revealed the 'buckets' stuck on top-dead-center. Gently, delicately touching the bucket showed that the action was somewhat unsymmetrical. The rain gauge was not as level as it needed to be. Using this careful, sensitive procedure the gauge was secured in a position where there is no difference in the delicate touch needed to 'trip' the bucket to the opposite condition. The importance of this critical aspect of installation is not emphasized enough in the instructions.
Another rain gauge bucket
problem that has been a serious problem is spiders! The issue of spiders setting
up housekeeping in the gauge housing is a worldwide, universal problem. Their
nests are built in a manor that stops the buckets from tipping. Dog flea collars
seem to be a popular deterrent, as is common lawn insecticide granules. I'm told
spiders don't like peppermint oil. Cotton balls saturated with peppermint oil
are now in the housing. The insecticide and peppermint oil are proving 100%
successful in keeping spiders out of the rain gauge. We'll see.
As expected, additional computer software was selected with the same diligence as was the hardware. The software that was needed was to perform the task of uploading WX data from this location to the World Wide Web. It would be nice to be able to 'see' the current WX situation in Kaw City,
Oklahoma USA from anywhere in the world. I chose something called 'Cumulus'. Here again reviews of this component of the system drew high praise from – literally – around the world.
Cumulus is very thorough in the functions that it's responsible for. Although the computer screen displays of the configuration options and setups are absolutely 'mind-boggling' it is, indeed, all there. The 1080 WX data is received from the outside sensors every 48 seconds into the system control “console” ( via 900 mHz radio signal ). This table top unit has a touch screen display of all the data.
A USB cable connects the console to the computer where
the Cumulus software takes the console data and sends the adjusted values to the
WWW every 15 minutes. Data sent to the WWW is frequently interrupted after midnight
for computer routine maintenance, depending on current weather conditions.
I was amazed to learn that Cumulus is written and serviced, and the users are supported, by one individual! He lives on the
island of Sanday, in Orkney, off the north coast of Scotland in the UK. In this day of IBM, Oracle, Microsoft, Adobe, Cisco, etc.,
employing thousands, here is a well crafted, very complex piece of software that works with a multitude of weather stations, all done by
one individual. (Not quite true: he gives generous credit to many for their volunteer help on detailed aspects.) And ~ he doesn't sell the software, he asks for donations! He encourages you to use it for a period of time to be sure it suits your needs, then help with whatever you think it's worth. Amazing!
(( Yes. I did. ))
The weather at 107 Oak Drive in Kaw City, Oklahoma is displayed on the Internet at
three locations. One is my personal website.
Another is 'Weather
Underground', held in high regard all over the world for their user friendly display of weather reports from anywhere around the globe. The
third is 'Personal
Weather Stations', displaying a very nice tabular record of WX for Kaw City
for each 15
minutes of the day. (See 'maintenance interruption' above.) Of curious
interest ~ the Weather Underground site reports to me that it is getting well
over 3000 hits per months. Go figure?
The display as seen on my personal
website is somewhat 'generic' in that there are few frills; a minimum of graphics and nothing to
slow down the download of data from the web server. Consequently the pages load and display fast even on dialup Internet connections. Certainly the viewer is not badgered with popup ads and flashy pictures and graphics, etc. All of which have nothing to do with the display of weather information one is looking for. But – it's not 'eye-candy'. All of
this WX data is from 107 Oak Drive in Kaw City, Oklahoma USA. The personal
'Home' webpage, the gauges
page, and the today
page 'self-update' each 15 minutes after the page is selected.
Continuously updated hands-off
current data is displayed on your computer automatically.
The Weather Underground on the other hand is more typical of what we see with advertising-based web pages. Very colorful and pleasing to the eye. If you have high speed internet, it's OK. The temp. humidity, wind speed and direction are from Kaw
City. Curiously, although I supply barometric pressure to Weather Underground, the pressure displayed is
frequently from the National Weather Service at Ponca City airport, as is Pollen Count, Heat Index, and other 'observed'
parameters, and the 'Weather Forecast'.
The implementation and study of this Personal Weather Station has been a very challenging and rewarding pastime. Enjoy.