The WX Station is Alive!

I got all my pieces and parts, pretty much as described in the earlier post. In the last post, I detailed the wiring configuration that I intended to follow. With only a few exceptions, things worked really well. Here are some photos…

The enclosure from Allied Enclosure (part # AMU1084L) is really nice. It is completely weatherproof and has lots of mounting option on the outside and interior. I used a couple of waterproof cable grommets to pass the solar panel leads into the interior of the enclosure.

A few hiccups in the build:

  • The straps that hold the battery in place (metal straps with yellow tape) are something that I didn’t expect to need. Turns out the enclosure is small enough that interior real estate is tight. I really need to put the solar controller in the bottom of the box so that I could be close to the solar leads. So, I used the interior bolt holes in the enclosure to fashion a batter strap. I used electric tape (in yellow) to prevent the strap touching the battery terminals. Clunky, but oh well.
  • The M-3020 mini router can’t read USB 2.0 (used by the AcuRite weather station), so I am using a small 2-port hub inserted in the router. Another gotcha that I didn’t expect.
  • The AcuRite station (the display) fits nicely on the door and there is plenty of clearance. I don’t like the clear plastic frame around this and I may dremel it off to save space. Actually, I could do some minor surgery on the router, the solar controller, and weather display and probably have tons of space.
  • I am using very short leads on the power cables but am using whatever USB cables I happened to have laying around. I don’t think that they will affect system performance. Power cables, that’s a different story. I’ve been told to reduce the length to a minimum.
  • I have now had the system running in solar mode with my WiFi for about 2 days now. The performance is great. It’s raining in Portland and the system is keeping the battery charged nicely. Lowest voltage I saw was early this morning. Voltage was reading 12.7V. Most of the time, the battery is sitting at default float voltage of 13.7V.

Now for system testing and next steps:

  1. 4 days of solar only testing with WiFi network access
  2. Evaluate battery health
  3. 4 days of solar only testing with 3G cellular network access
  4. Evaluate battery health
  5. Clean up interior wiring and maybe do the dremel trimming described above
  6. Start thinking about the deployment out at the Fly-a-Ways field (all I need is a mast and place to mount the enclosure). 
  7. I will need to register a new PWS once I relocate the system. Easily done on the WunderGround PWS site.

I’m pleased with the build and stoked that everything is working as designed. It was so easy flashing the meteobridge firmware onto the TP-Link router. I was worried that was going to be the ugly step. Next blog post will describe the ongoing test results.