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Vantage Connect >

Posted: Thu Nov 09, 2017 12:24 am
by RobF

Davis Pro 2 Plus and a 5 minute upload plan with Vantage Connect

In theory this was a "perfect" solution for our needs. No power was needed as everything is solar/battery powered, and no internet is needed. We did not have to run any cables, and do not rely on flaky wifi connections as Vantage Connect uses cellular connections to upload data to

What is not perfect is does not provide any responsive or even remotely attractive widgets or methods to present our 5 minute data on our website. It has a 760 pixel wide "My Weather" page and a "Summary" page that we can iFrame into our site, but that does not work for mobile. And it is ugly, like it was made 15 years ago.

It does upload to Weather Underground every 15 minutes, but a 15 minute wait is unacceptable to us in a real-time world. Even 5 minutes was a struggle to accept. And the Weather Underground widgets are not impressive anymore.

So for the past five days I have been trying several weather software solutions to get as close as possible to be able to present our 5 minute weather data in a modern and attractive way on our website. A limitation is that does not provide wind gust data in the XML feed they offer and it appears most weather software uses the XML feed to download data.

Weather Underground is able to retrieve wind gust data, but with 15 minute intervals it misses 5 minutes of wind gust speeds during every update since WeatherLink has 10 minute gust speeds.

I have WeatherLink 6.0.3 software on my PC that once an hour does get all of the data. However, when using for it's weather data source, all of the cool Internet features of the software are grayed out. So I can look at the data myself, but it will not automatically update any other weather software.

As of this morning, the best I could do is use WeatherDisplay to download data from and update Meteotemplate every 5 minutes. It was able to provide everything but the wind gusts and Solar data. Since wind gusts are very important for us (right on Clearwater Beach, Florida where thunderstorms and tropical storms/hurricanes are common), I thought I could manually import the data my WeatherLink software downloaded from every hour and overwrite the data WeatherDisplay was uploading every five minutes.

Well, that worked except for whatever reason my WeatherLink software uses alpha characters for wind direction (N, SW, ENE, etc.) and Meteotemplate required numerical data in degrees. So updates were adding wind gusts and solar data while erasing wind direction data.

Right now I have the wlIP plugin configured and the cron job running for Meteotemplate and I am getting everything in 5 minute updates from except wind gusts since it does get the Solar data. I can take WeatherDisplay out of this equation even though I will still use it to upload to a few other weather sites since is very limited.

I am told by someone in the WX forums that will provide wind gust data in "archive packets" which are in binary, or hex, I am not sure. To quote johnd, "...[wind gusts] are at byte 25 in the archive record." I've not been successful at finding how to get the "archive records", but it may be possible.

So far I am able to get 5 minute updates via the Meteotemplate plugin and have everything but wind gusts. I can do manual imports with wind gust data from my Weatherlink 6.0.3 software. I think I'll export the data from Meteotemplate which is nearly complete, and replace the data in the Wind Gust column and import it back overwriting the old data. Still way to much human involvement, but after five days of searching and experimenting, I think that's as close as I am going to get for now.

The good news is I'll be able to present our weather data in a mostly responsive and modern design on our website! I can tweak the responsiveness and make it very mobile friendly.

Anybody want to seek out the archive packets and build a plugin that gets ALL the data? ;)