Our new house came with small 64 tree avocado orchard. I spent several days trying to answer what I thought was a very simple question. How much should I water the trees? I discovered that to correctly answer that question you need to know the current Evapotranspiration (ETo) for your area to plug into the CIMIS Water Requirements Calculator. The ETo for most areas within California can be found at the California Department of Water Resources CIMIS Data Page. A description of what ETo is and where it comes from can be found in the UC Cooperative Extension June 1999 newsletter. This seemed like a lot of manual work each week just to know how long to program a timer. This lead me down the path of looking into home weather stations. Any home weather station would need to be computer accessable and would preferably have a web interface. My search of the web did not reveal any single place that had links to most of the competitive products. I therefore decided to make up my own and post it for others.
People much wiser than I have said to find a software solution for your problem, then buy whatever hardware it takes to run it. I have found this to be all too true. I therefore list the software first and indicate which hardware it supports.
All the software listed performed basic logging of weather data and provided some way to generate web pages. Most provided the ability to generate web pages and automatically upload them to your web site. Several of the commercial packages included the ability to download METAR data for your area to supplement the data gathered by your station. Other features included the ability to page/email you when parameters exceeded thresholds. This is potentially useful for warning you if your greenhouse is about to freeze.
The following vendors appear to manufacturer standalone weather stations that offer computer interfaces
I found a useful comparison of some of the weather stations at Virtual Weather Stations Stations Specification and Prices.
My interest is in a weather system to help program a sprinkler system. It would appear that the weather system component of this system is obtainable for between 500 and 1000 dollars. The sprinkler component is not such an obvious choice. I will update this page when I learn more about home weather systems.
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