Behind the Scenes

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This part of the website is devoted to people who have to know how things work.

First off... My high speed internet is provided by Comcast Cable (4 Mbps down, 356Kb up). It is coupled to an RCA cable modem and a Linksys WRV54G wireless VPN router. My network is an extended star topology, and the backbone consists of Cat5e cable running at 100Mbps. Below you will see my makeshift wiring closet. The Hp Pavilion 233mhz was replaced with an IBM Netvista running at 800mhz running Windows Advanced Server 2000. It functions as my primary domain controller. All of this fancy equipment is protected by an APC 350 backups and APC cable line surge protector.

Moving on... When you request, Live Weather, or the webcam your request is answered by my IBM Netfinity 5000 running Windows 2003 Server Enterprise Edition. The server has dual 550mhz PIII processors with 384Mb of RAM. This server is connected directly to the Vantage Pro console via a serial port. I use Ambient Virtual Weather Station Internet edition (12.07) to bring the weather to you the user. This server is also my file server and backup Domain Controller. This server also has a video capture card installed so it brings you the webcam images you see  via a 1 watt wireless video transmitter. It is protected by an APC Smart-Ups 700 with auto shutdown.

My webcam is a bullet waterproof webcam mounted outside of the house looking NE toward the river. It is coupled to a 1 Watt wireless transmitter.

OK...that's enough with the computer side. Lets talk about the weather station. I currently use a Davis Vantage Pro Plus (with UV and solar sensors) to bring you the weather. I recommend it over the Oregon Scientific hands DOWN!!! I located the Integrated Sensor Suite (ISS) and anemometer (wind thingy) on a galvanized pipe suspended 15 ft in the air. Maybe you have noticed that the ISS is suspended high in the air (15ft to be exact) this was do to the terrain problems. The ground slopes as it gets closer to the river (from 27ft above sea level to 2ft). The extra height allows the ISS to transmit the signals to the wireless repeater.

I had to buy a wireless repeater due to the fact the range from the house to the river exceeded 400ft plus the terrain problem did not help either. So that meant I had to buy more equipment. I mounted the repeater in a pine tree (engineering at its best) 19ft off the ground so the line of sight could be achieved between the ISS and repeater. I chose the Solar wireless repeater for obvious reasons, the pine tree had no power outlet. I also learned that Davis provides you with a power connector on the circuit board, so you can use it either as a AC or solar powered repeater. I used PVC pipe (495 PSI, $2-3 at Lowes versus a $40 pole from Davis. This pole held up fine during Hurricane Ivan in 2004. I used electrical conduit straps and a piece of pressure treated decking board to hold it firmly to the tree.

I hope this walk through and suggestions on how gets to your computer was helpful and maybe I gave you some ideas about mounting your weather station. I welcome ALL of your comments, suggestions and questions. Please click on the Contact Us button as the top of the page (None of the fields are required on the feedback page. Therefore if you don't want to give your name and/or email address that is fine.)






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