Down but not out
Weather station hardware problems - resolved!
About a month ago the w.brx.io weather station hit some hardware problems. At the time it was not obvious that the problems were definitely hardware related, so some troubleshooting needed to take place. Things were busy around here just then, inevitably, and so the troubleshooting took some time.
I’ve been running a weather station based on the Fine Offset WH1080 package for the last 12 years, not all of that time in Worthing. Data is read off the base station via USB using pywws running on a Raspberry Pi. This has worked well generally, resilient against my worst/best efforts at DIY installation, and resistant, mostly, to the various non-weather environmental challenges it has had to deal with. Parts have been replaced, but the station has stayed stable.
Most recently I had to replace the base station ~5 years ago, and I went for a like-for-like replacement, the WH1080.
A month ago, on 10 March, pywws started throwing errors complaining about the USB connection to the base station, and began logging temperatures in excess of 2,000°C. Regardless of what your view on global warming is, that seems extreme. It then proceeded to repeatedly stop itself because it was not able to resolve the errors.
I have been running pywws on an original v1 Raspberry Pi so far, and I wondered whether the USB subsystem had eventually packed up, so I swapped it out for another Pi (a v2 device), but the errors persisted. At this stage hardware on a Pi seemed unlikely to be the real culprit. So I hit up the forums, and it seemed like the most accurate diagnosis was a dodgy base station. Grrr.
Fixing it with a new one
As with most things, the prices on WH1080s and WH1081s have only gone up recently, actually they have gone up a lot and I couldn’t find a good price for one. So in the end I have opted for a W-8681-MKII, which to my mind is something of an upgrade. It has the same format base station as the WH1080, so it works like a drop-in replacement. In pywws’s weather.ini file it is referred to as a 1080 rather than 3080 device, but the hardware looks a lot more swish. The looks are also somewhat misleading. The pictures on the box, and the device itself, reveal what looks like a window for a solar sensor, but the base station does not record any luminance data, and pywws cannot find any luminance data either (eg. using pywws-testweatherstation).
So, as of 8 April, the w.brx.io weather station has been recording weather data again. Historical data going back to the start of 2021 should start showing up on the site tomorrow (Weds 12 April). At this time it’s still using the v2 Raspberry Pi which makes processing historical data much faster, and also greatly reduces the startup time of the pywws-livelog process (which was installed via pip), but I may switch back to the v1 for old-times sake once things settle down again!