Now that you have your Tempestº up and running, you may be wondering if there are any projects you can do with your purchase. Well, this is where myTempestº comes in, so welcome! In this introductory blog we will briefly outline some of the exciting Tempestº projects you can do with your shiny new weather station. We will expand on these individually in future blogs.
Tempestº Projects #1: WeatherFlow Tempestº App and Website
During setup you will have downloaded the Tempestº App, available for iOS and Android. In our Getting Started with Tempestº Blog we walked you through the main features available within the app. It’s a great place to start, and contains all the weather data that you could possibly want from your Tempestº; current conditions, forecast, graphs and historical data for any day since you set up your device. The WeatherFlow developers regularly update the app. They are also helpful and responsive to any questions you have or bugs you might discover.
Explore the active Community Forum for answers to your questions, or to submit bug reports. However there won’t be many! We have also included some simple documents in the Support section above. Remember that you can also view your Tempestº data on your stations’s own tempestwx.com website on a tablet or PC. As an example you can view our own data here.
Tempestº Machine Learning and AI
WeatherFlow have built a weather station that is simple to install and easy to maintain. This makes it suitable for anyone with an interest in the weather to use. This might include weather geeks, gardeners, outdoor sports clubs and schools. Very few people are able to site their instruments according to worldwide meteorological standards, and therefore compromises have to be made. WeatherFlow have realised that no two stations, even those placed a few metres apart, can produce identical data. However by combining the data received from thousands of Tempestº Weather Systems, and combining it with professional weather data (including the ECMWF Weather Model), WeatherFlow are able to produce some of the most accurate weather forecasts available.
Machine learning and clever AI can modify your data to reflect accurate local weather conditions. In fact over the first few weeks after installation, your Tempestº will calibrate itself, improving the accuracy of rainfall and pressure readings. WeatherFlow calibrate all Tempestº units before shipping and the vast majority will work out-of-the-box. However if you feel your data is incorrect and have co-located instruments such as a tipping rain gauge, you can submit reports or support tickets. WeatherFlow will then recalibrate your device remotely.
Some people prefer to view and process their own raw data coming from their Tempestº. If you are one of these, you will be pleased to know that your Tempestº sends raw data over your network as UDP packets. These are small packets of data sent from your Tempestº to your Hub at regular intervals. There are ways of intercepting these packets and using the data for other Tempestº projects. Don’t worry if this sounds complicated, as you don’t really need to know anything about this to get started!
Tempestº Projects #2: Smart Home Integrations
You can integrate your Tempestº into your smart home by linking it to Alexa, Google Home and IFTTT. We have the Alexa WeatherFlow Smart Weather Skill enabled, which works really well. We can simply say “Alexa, ask WeatherFlow for a report” and she will announce a detailed weather summary directly from our Tempestº! We’ve also set up IFTTT routines which interact with our Philips Hue lighting system. For example we can set the lights to change colour when the temperature reaches a particular threshold; or blink them when it starts raining. We will explain more about smart home integration in a future blog. For now tap Smart Home Integrations from the Settings of your Tempestº App to find out more.
Tempestº Projects #3: Weather Underground
For years Weather Underground was the go-to third party network for weather enthusiasts. It was free to use, reliable and allowed owners of home weather stations to upload their data and webcam images. You could then view your data in graphs, and share it with other people. The Weather Company (IBM) purchased Weather Underground in 2016. Since then the quality of its offering has declined, as has the reliability of its servers. However, it’s still worth using, and you can easily upload your data directly from the Tempestº app.
All you need to do is create an account and fill in the requested details about your weather station. Weather Underground will issue you with a PWS ID, in our case IWIMBO22, and Key. Now login to your Tempestº account in a web browser. Tap Settings > Stations > select your station > Public Data > Link Weather Underground > enter your PWS Station ID and Key > optionally toggle rain > Link. After a few minutes you will be able to start viewing your data on Weather Underground!
Advanced Tempestº Projects
These are the simplest projects you can achieve using the equipment you already have. We notice from the Tempest° Facebook Groups and Community Forum that many people that buy the Tempestº yearn for a larger display. Some of the following projects achieve this in spectacular fashion. The most exciting Tempestº projects will require a little more time and investment. However they are not that difficult to achieve, and well worth the effort. If you want to produce the beautiful websites showcased under the Live menu above, you will need a domain name and a web server.
This is the “www” address where you or others can view your Tempestº data, in our case mytempestuk.com. Think of something catchy that describes what you want to achieve, or simply your location. We usually buy our domains from 123Reg in the UK as they often have good deals, especially for the first year.
Once you own your domain name, you will need to find somewhere to store all your website files and images. It’s very similar to your computer’s file manager, only stored remotely. You can drag and drop files from your computer with free software such as FileZilla. We use Jolt who offer competitive plans costing just a few pounds a month for simple websites. They also offer excellent support and have UK-based servers. If you buy your domain name and web hosting from different companies, you may need to change the ‘Nameservers’ in your domain name account. However this is pretty straightforward.
Once you have your domain name and host, you are ready to begin creating your exciting Tempestº projects. Our favourite, PWS_Dashboard, requires no more equipment to set up, but an additional device can open up even more possibilities…
Enter Meteobridge. These are small devices that connect to most weather stations, either physically via USB or by decoding the data it sends via UDP packets. This is the case with Tempestº. UDP packets are small packets of data that are sent from your Tempestº to your Hub every few seconds. You can see two of the devices pictured above. The first is the cheapest option – you can flash the Meteobridge software onto a cheap TP-Link modem yourself; and the second is a ready-to-go MeteoBridge Pro which is more expensive but has a small display and other advanced options. There are additional Meteobridge devices which you can discover on the Meteobridge website, as well as a Raspberry Pi option.
We won’t go into detail here as this will form the subject of a future blog. In our opinion Meteobridge is hands down the best option for making the most of your weather station data. Meteobridge opens up a whole new world of possibilities; from uploading your data to other weather networks to creating webcam image overlays and beautiful websites. You can even save your weather data into MySQL databases forever, then use it for powerful climatological data analysis. More on this later. You can try Meteobridge for free for 14 days, after which you will need to purchase a license for €65. MeteoBridge Pro models come fully licensed.
Some people also use WeeWx to leverage their weather data, but we do not have any experience of this. Perhaps this will be the subject of a future project!
Tempestº Projects #4: PWS_Dashboard
PWS_Dashboard is the easiest website template to set up, and certainly one of the most eye-catching. It’s a free one-page template and fully responsive, which means it adapts to display on desktops, tablets and mobiles. The template is regularly updated by the developer, with extensive support in the dedicated section of the Weather-Watch Forum. You don’t need Meteobridge to use it as the template can download your data directly from the WeatherFlow API or Weather Underground. Having a Meteobridge will help though, and simplify some of the setup.
Don’t be fooled by the one-page nature of this template. The blocks are fully customisable, and each provides further links to graphs and other information. PWS_Dashboard saves historical data onto your server as text files; and from the menu top left you can choose from various themes as well as explore a whole host of other information. You can even add your own links to this menu.
Follow the instructions at PWS_Dashboard. Basically just download the zipped files to your computer, unzip and upload them to your web server as instructed. Simply work through the various tabs on a special setup webpage et voilà! It is also very easy to update the template as files are added or changed.
We have already shown you how to upload your data to Weather Underground using the Tempestº app. Once you’ve installed PWS_Dashboard, you can also upload your data directly to PWS Weather, the Met Office WOW website and AWEKAS. Meteobridge opens up further possibilities by enabling upload to a huge number of networks including Windy.com, Weather34, Weathercloud and CWOP to name but a few!
Tempestº Projects #5: Meteotemplate
We have been using Meteotemplate for our WessexWeather website for several years now. It is the most comprehensive template out there and one of its strengths is that it stores all your weather data in a MySQL database on your server. This means that you no longer have to rely on third parties like Weather Underground as your data source. As long as you backup your database, it is yours forever. We have 12 years of weather data going back to 2009. Meteotemplate can use this to compile and display a seemingly endless array of historical and climate reports.
It consists of a customisable front page of blocks which automatically update in real time. There is also a series of customisable menus and plugins that add even more functionality. Ideally you will need a Meteobridge to run this site, although with a little know-how you can do so without.
Our only concern about Meteotemplate is that it hasn’t been updated in a while. The blocks and plugins depend on external data sources, and if these change then the template also has to be updated. As a result some of the blocks no longer function properly. However Meteotemplate’s strongest point is in its data handling capabilities which run flawlessly. We understand that the developer is still working on the template when time permits. He plans to update it with a simpler, more modern look, focussing more on one’s data than all the other bells and whistles. We can understand the logic here.
Like PWS_Dashboard, installation and updating is straightforward. Request the download files, upload them to your web server and set them up using a single setup page and control panel. The comprehensive WIKI will walk you through setup in detail and the Forum will help answer any questions you might have. There is also a responsive mobile version out-of-the-box (visit wessexweather.synology.me/mytempest/meteotemplate on a mobile); or you can completely customise your own mobile website (visit www.wessexweather.net on a mobile).
Tempestº Projects #6: Weather Station WordPress Plugin
This Tempestº project is a little different in that it doesn’t provide you with a ready-made template to begin with. If you like the idea of creating your own website with WordPress (like this one), you can install and activate the Weather Station Plugin from your WordPress Dashboard. You do not need a Meteobridge to use Weather Station as it gets is data using the WeatherFlow API. Simply add your Tempestº in the Plugin settings and it will begin collecting data immediately.
Weather Station works by creating shortcodes that you place within your WordPress website content. These shortcodes include a vast range of textual data, graphs, diagrams and gauges that can display live and historical weather data. The plugin can be a little heavy on server resources, so we would advise on limiting the number of shortcodes you insert.
The Zambretti Forecast and live data displayed in the Sidebar are all produced by Weather Station. You can also choose from a number of ready-made widgets or embed beautiful weather maps like this one from Windy.com.
The Weather Station WordPress Plugin has a comprehensive Handbook and Community Support forum, and the developer is active and supportive. Like PWS_Dashboard you can also use it to upload your data to Met Office WOW and PWS Weather.
Tempestº Projects Conclusion
We hope this blog has helped to introduce some of the exciting Tempestº projects that you can achieve. Over the coming months we will bring you comprehensive blogs on each of these projects, together with any other interesting Tempestº projects that come to light. We’d love to hear your comments below, or on Twitter and Facebook, and once again thanks for visiting!