Metrics gathered from wx78633 are published on wx78633.com, and syndicated via the APRS network to APRS.fi
and FindU.com. Click the images below to access real-time and historical data.
What is wx78633.com?
WX78633.com is a hobby project I started in 2017 that combines several of my
interests; meteorology, software development, web development, electronics,
integrating systems, and general tinkering in my workshop. To some degree, this
project started as far back as about 2005 but was far less sophisticated at the
time. My original weather station consisted of a simple anemometer and wind vane
connected to some LEDs and a bicycle speedometer in my living room. My original
station did not have a 'name', but it likely wouldn't have been WX78633 at the time
as I was living in a different zip code.
I also became pretty interested in Raspberry Pi hobby projects using GPIO input/output
to send/receive control signals from devices. The combined low cost and sufficient
capabilities of the Pi made it an ideal platform for my station. I've purchased three so
far. Unfortunately, my first one burned up. I'm still not sure if it was due to the
high temperature I subjected it to (my garage in the hot Texas summer) or perhaps
I had too much current running through my devices. To err on the side of safety my new
station includes a fan to cool the Pi down if the CPU becomes too hot. I also spent some
extra effort to limit current through my components (and into the PI).
(diagram displaying layout of system components)
So how did this all come together? Let's get started.
The wind vane. Not fancy, but it works. Definitely something I want to improve upon in
The anemometer. I had to learn how to braze copper for this one! Overall, I'm happy
with the way it turned out. The wide diameter also makes for a consistent reading.
The anemometer uses a single Hall Effect sensor and
the wind vane uses four Hall Effect sensors to control the signal to the Pi. The sensors are
hot-glued to the bottom of the instruments and are activated by magnets that turn with the instrument.
A new addition to my station - a temperature/humidity sensor. I'm
using a DHT11 humidity and temperature sensor made by OSEPP.
Version 1 of the station. Not much to it - the Pi, a biscuit block to connect
the wires running to the instruments, and a small board I built to control the current
flow between the Pi and the instruments. Everything was attached to the bottom of a plastic
bin with velcro and the bin was hung on the wall. You can see two holes on the top of of the bin
reinforced with common washers.
The inital layout for version 2. I mounted my components to a sheet
of plexiglass instead of using velcro in a bin. I've added a small fan and also two relay switches to control various external
Trial run with everything wired to a breadboard.
And another view of the trial run. I realized I
would need several more small PCB boards to manage electrical current and I didn't want to have to
go through the trouble of laying lots of connection wires on the top of the board, so I decided to
look for a PCB that I could use to mount all of my components.
This is the PCB I chose to use. Inexpensive and all of the
holes and connections match the breadboard I used, so transferring my proof-of-concept to the board would
be a snap.
Proof-of-concept using the breadboard. I'm using some PNP transistors
to control the signal to the relays, and pull-down resistors to control the signal to the fan. I've also
connected the biscuit block that handles input from the weather instruments.
Close-up view of the breadboard.
Initial state of the PCB with electronic components transferred
from the breadboard to the PCB. This was the first time I really learned how to solder, so I've chosen to
not show the back of the board ;)
Finally, the PCB with connected components.
Quick shot of the panel I used to connect the run from the biscuit block
to the local instruments. This box is outside in the weather in close proximity to the weather vane and anemometer.
I plan to clean up the wiring someday.
UPDATE! I replaced the wiring box with a simple PVC pipe mounted
on the side of the tower. It's a much cleaner solution, and provides a greater degree of weather-proofing.
One last trial with the PCB and components before I place them on
the final backplane.
Tracing component stands for the backplane.
The new backplane with all of the components
And, finally, the complete backplane mounted in a safe cabinet with a
plexiglass front cover. Makes it easy to see what's going on inside!
Full view of the cabinet, TNC, and FT-2800 Ham radio.
That's all! I hope you enjoyed the story!