Watson W8681 weather station feeding data to WUnderground via a Raspberry Pi

Install Raspbian on your Pi. In the setup process go to Advanced and enable SSH. Also, set it to boot to the command line rather than the desktop – you should be able to run this headless.

Do some basic maintenance

sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get upgrade
sudo rpi-update
sudo reboot

Install Python

sudo apt-get install python-configobj

Install dependencies:

sudo apt-get install python-cheetah
sudo apt-get install python-imaging
sudo apt-get install python-usb

Now install WeeWX
Visit http://weewx.com/downloads to find the link to the latest .deb file. In this case it is weewx_3.3.1-1_all.deb.
Download it:

wget http://weewx.com/downloads/weewx_3.3.1-1_all.deb

Install it:

sudo dpkg -i weewx_3.3.1-1_all.deb

The installer will ask you for a location, lat/long (decimal degrees) of your location, altitude, station type and hardware model.
For the W8681 it is a “FineOffsetUSB” type, and the model # is “W-8681”

sudo tail -f /var/log/syslog

will give you an idea of if it is working or not.
If dpkg complains of missing dependencies then simply perform sudo apt-get update followed by sudo apt-get -f install.

You might notice in the syslog that you get a USB error – this occurs if you have not yet plugged in the weather station receiver.

sudo /etc/init.d/weewx stop

Plug in the receiver if you haven’t already.
Then, edit /etc/weewx/weewx.conf. I used nano. You will need to be root.
Adjust settings such as piping it to wunderground, or to aprs.fi/CWOP if you would like.
Save the file, and then start weewx again:

sudo /etc/init.d/weewx start


Building an APRS iGate using a Raspberry Pi and a TV tuner dongle

I’ve been messing around with APRS – the Automatic Packet Reporting System – for some time now and had noticed an absence of coverage in my local area. The end goal of APRS is to feed packets (which might be position data, weather reports, messages or other information) to the APRS-IS (which can be viewed at aprs.fi), and this is done via digipeaters and iGates. A digipeater merely re-transmits packets, until they reach an iGate, which feeds them to the Internet.

My local RAYNET group frequently uses APRS for position tracking at events, but often position reports fail to reach control due to a lack of APRS coverage. I therefore deemed it would be a good project to make a portable, lightweight iGate that could be deployed quickly. (more…)