Posted tagged ‘SheevaPlug’

Meteo Sheeva

November 23, 2013

Late last year I purchased a Meteo Sheeva to log the data from my WMR200 weather station. While the WMR200 is supposed to function as a simple data logger Oregon Scientific’s awful software renders the feature useless. Therefore, to log data from the WMR200, I required a separate connected computer. My requirements for a data logging machine were that it be:

  • capable of logging the data from my WMR200’s sensors
  • able to publish my  weather data live to the internet
  • compact
  • low-cost
  • turn-key

The Meteo Sheeva fulfills all of these requirements and then some.

A Meteo Sheeva is actually a combination of two things. Firstly there is the “Sheeva” part. This takes the physical form of a SheevaPlug Linux-based compact computer. Secondly there is the “Meteo” part. The Meteo Sheeva ships with an SD Card preloaded with a demo version of the Linux-based MeteoHub data logger software. I purchased the Meteo Sheeva unit from a UK vendor called New IT for £130 and licensed the MeteoHub software from Smartbedded for £50.

For me this is a relatively low price purchase compared to dedicating a full size machine to data collection. I could have created a data logger for less money by configuring a Raspberry Pi with, say, wview. However, I was more interested in my particular solution being turn-key in nature than in saving more money.

The SheevaPlug fufills the compact requirement as it measure only 11 x 7 x 5 cm. This makes it bigger than a cased Raspberry Pi but still small enough to tuck out of sight. This picture shows my SheevaPlug next to a beer mat for comparison purposes.

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Like the Raspberry Pi the SheevaPlug runs off of a SD Card. It is powered off the mains via a detachable radio type power cable. For connectivity it has a USB socket to connect to a weather station and has an ethernet port for networking.

The unit’s setup is indeed turn-key and couldn’t be much easier. I simply connected the SheevaPlug to the mains, attached it via USB to the WMR200 and to my router using an ethernet cable. Once powered up all interactions with the MeteoHub software are made via a web browser and a simple web-based UI. All I had to do to start data logging was access the Weather Station section of the UI, specify that a WMR200 was connected and then select which of the automatically detected sensors I wanted to log data from.

The MeteoHub interface is simple, uncluttered and well organised. For example, here is Sensors page which shows the current status of all connected weather sensors:

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The MeteoHub manual is excellent. The manual covers every detail of the software’s capabilities. This is invaluable, not because the MeteoHub software is difficult to use, but because of the massive amount of functionality it provides. I will describe a small subset of the main features which I have found to be the most useful for my own requirements. Bear in mind that MeteoHub is capable of much more than I make use of.

The first feature I started experimenting with was the ability to specify charts from the logged sensor data. I focused on bar and line charts but there are many more options available as well as flexible configurations for time period, aggregation buckets, scales and colours. With limited UI-based configuration I was able to create charts for all of my weather data types over many different time periods.

Here are a selection of some of the charts I have specified for my own setup:

Last Day of Maximum Wind Speed, Gust Speed and Wind Direction:

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Last Day of Temperature, Humidity and Dew Point:

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Last Month of Daily Surface Pressure Ranges:

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Last Month of Daily Maximum Wind and Gust Speeds:

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Last Year of Total Monthly Rainfall (data logging started in September):

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Any of the charts can be displayed via the MeteoHub UI at any time. However, the charting feature really come into its own when combined with the automated FTP upload feature. This can be used to publish updated charts to a website on a pre-defined schedule. I use this feature to publish my setup’s charts to my own weather website.

MeteoHub can also automatically publish its data via FTP in WD-Live format. This makes it capable of feeding the Flash-based Weather Display Live dashboard. This is separate software from another vendor but costs only $40 and enables a dynamic and attractive looking weather dashboard which is highly configurable. This is my particular online weather dashboard:

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Weather data can also be pushed to more than two dozen online weather services including WeatherBug, Weather Underground and the UK Met Office. For example, here is my data displayed on the Met Office’s WOW website:

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Publishing my weather station’s data to my website in WD-Live format had an interesting side benefit as I could use it to view my weather station’s latest readings from my smart phone. The paid-for but inexpensive Android Weather Watch Widget can be pointed at the WD-Live data file’s location and display the latest conditions for my weather station:

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In short I cannot recommend the Meteo Sheeva highly enough as a weather station data logger. Even though I only take advantage of a subset of its capabilities the features I do use make use of make it more than worth the money I have invested in it. You can get a cheaper and smaller solution using a Raspberry Pi. However, if you want something that works out of the box then the Meteo Sheeva cannot be beat.

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