Home Weather Stations : Weather Observation Equipment : ULTIMETER Weather Stations Reviews

Frequently Asked Questions

1.   How far can the wind sensor be from the keyboard/display unit?
2.   How high should the wind sensor be above my roof?
3.   Exactly how does the data logger work and what does it do?
4.   Must my computer be turned on to log data?
5.   What type and length cables are used in these system?
6.   Can I make my own cables or extension cables?
7.   How do the self-emptying rain gauges work?
8.   How can I get weather data into my computer from a remote site?
9.   What is the format of the serial data output of the ULTIMETER II?
10.  What is the format of the serial data output of the U-100, U-800 & U-2000?
11.  What are the serial port pinouts?
12.  How do I test my ULTIMETER Pro Rain Gauge?
13.  How do I wire my ULTIMETER Pro Rain Gauge?

HOW FAR CAN THE WIND SENSOR BE FROM THE KEYBOARD/DISPLAY UNIT?

The longest working installation we know of is 650 feet. The cable normally supplied with a system is 40 feet. Longer lengths can be supplied on special order. Customs lengths can be provided with about 2 weeks lead time. We also offer optional 40 foot extension cables.

HOW HIGH SHOULD THE WIND SENSOR BE ABOVE MY ROOF?

When wind strikes the side walls or sloping roof of a building, it is deflected upward, creating a turbulance that tends to reduce the horizontal wind speed above the roof. To minimize the affect of turbulance on your readings, try to mount the wind sensor at least 5 feet and desirably 8 to 10 feet above the highest part of your roof.

EXACTLY HOW DOES THE DATA LOGGER WORK AND WHAT DOES IT DO?

ULTIMETER weather stations put out a more or less steady stream of data records in serial form. The rate varies from about 10 to 15 records per minute for the ULTIMETER II to 60 to 90 records per minute for the ULTIMETER 2000, 800, and 100. A cable included in the data logger package connects this serial data into the serial port of your computer.

The logging portion of the Data Logger software receives these records through the serial port and retains the highest wind gust and the direction from which it came. Every 5 minutes it appends a log file with the highest gust and associated direction over the last 5 minutes together with the instant value of all other, slower variables. The log file is written in a highly compressed format. Because data is always recorded at 5 minute intervals, you can count on having great detail even when an unexpected weather event occurs while you're away from your weather station.

The viewer portion of the Data Logger software has two basic capabilities:

  • CURRENT REPORT - In this mode your computer display is divided into quadrants. You may select which weather variables you wish displayed in each quadrant. The program then provides four simultaneous moving graphs covering the last 20 hours for the selected variables. The graphs are updated every 5 minutes.
  • HISTORIC DATA - In this mode the program will retrieve from the log file data from any starting time and date to any ending time and date you select. You can graph the data on screen, display it in tabular form on screen, print it in graphic or tabular form, or write it to an output file in a comma and quotes delimited file that can be imported to a spreadsheet or data base.
Note that although data is always logged at 5 minute intervals, you can select whatever output reporting intervals you wish, from 5 minutes to 24 hours. When two or more 5 minute data values are to be combined in the output, you can select whether you wish the output to reflect the highest, lowest, average, or median of the combined 5 minute values.

WHY MUST MY COMPUTER BE TURNED ON TO LOG DATA?

Some weather stations require a relatively costly special purpose data buffer in order to store data, even if you have a computer available. ULTIMETER systems are designed so if you wish, you can connect them directly into a computer to log data. The computer needs to be left on, but many experts believe leaving a computer on actually extends its life. This approach has two major advantages:

  • EASY, SECURE DATA RECORDING - You don't have to remember to transfer data to your computer - it is automatically and securely recorded on a floppy or hard drive every 5 minutes. Even if there were a malfunction of the weather station, you wouldn't lose previously recorded data, whereas using a storage buffer you could irretrievably lose weeks of data.
  • THIS IS THE MOST ECONOMICAL APPROACH - Why spend money on special purpose hardware when your computer can do the job? In the United States, you could even purchase a capable used computer exclusively for data logging and still save money compared to the cost of a special purpose data buffer.

HOWEVER - if you prefer not to leave your computer on, you can use your ULTIMETER system with a buffer. The very best will be our soon-to-be-released "Weather Buffer". It will provide completely seamless operation ("just plug it in") and enough storage capacity for the most demanding applications. With an ULTIMETER system, the choice is yours.

WHAT TYPE AND LENGTH CABLES ARE USED IN THESE SYSTEMS?

Sensor cables are unshielded 4 conductor telephone line except for our new heated anemometer which uses a similar 6 conductor cable. Peet Bros. cable is a UV resistant type suitable for outdoor use. Standard sensor cable lengths and terminations are given below.

CONNECTORS ARE MODULAR PHONE TYPE UNLESS OTHERWISE INDICATED?

CABLE FUNCTION CONDUCTORS LENGTH TERMINATION
Wind Sensor
4 40 ft. * Male
Replacement Wind Sensor Option
4 Approx. 6" Female
Outdoor Humidity Sensor
4 40 ft. Male
Wired Rain Gauge
4 40 ft. Male
Standard Temperature Sensor
4 25 ft. Male
Optional Stainless Steel Temperature Probe
4 40 ft. Male
Indoor Humidity Sensor
4 15 ft. Male
Wireless Rain Gauge Receiver
6 9 ft. Male
Sensor Extension Cable **
4 40 ft.
One End: Male
Other End: Female
ULTIMETER II
Computer Interface Cable
4 30 ft.
One End: Male
Other End: Female DB-25
ULTIMETER 2000/800/100
Computer Interface Cable
6 15
One End: Male
Other End: Female DB-9
ULTIMETER 2000
Duplex Cable
6 8 ft.
One End: Male
Other End: Two Female
Junction Box or Signal Splitter to Keyboard/Display Cables
8 1.5, 8, 25, 50, 100 ft.
One End: Male
Other End: Male
Pin 1 to Pin 1
* Custom length wind sensors cables are available on special order.
** If you elect to make your own indoor extension cable, with a male modular plug on each end, and use a conventional telephone type "in-line coupler", you must wire the extension pin 1 to pin 4. Check connections through the coupler very carefully - they are frequently the cause of problems.

HOW CAN I GET THE WEATHER DATA FROM A REMOTE SYSTEM?

Peet Bros. now sells WeatherVox which is a unit that hooks up to the ULTIMETER II, ULTIMETER 2000, ULTIMETER 800, or ULTIMETER 100 and your phone line. You call into this unit and it gives you all of the weather readings by voice. Another possibility is to connect the weather station to a modem at the remote location. You can call that phone from your home computer and display the remote weather data on your home display. Several independent software developers offer computer programs that permit you to do this very easily. For details, please see our lising of 3rd party developers.

ULTIMETER II SERIAL DATA OUTPUT

The following information is provided for those who may wish to write their own programs to use serial data from the ULTIMETER II.

The ULTIMETER II provides serial data output at a nominal 2400 baud rate. This a one way data flow with no handshaking. The serial output rate averages about 15 records per minute. The serial output is briefly interrupted at times while the microprocessor attends other functions. If an output record is interrupted, the balance of the same record will be output following the interruption. Each record starts with an asterisk (mph) or pound sign (kmph), and ends with a carriage return and a line feed, in the sequence shown below:

* or # START OF RECORD (1BYTE)
CURRENT WIND DIRECTION (1 HEX DIGIT) 0 IS NORTH, 4 IS EAST, ETC.
CURRENT WIND SPEED (2 HEX DIGITS) IN MPH IF *: IN KMPH IF #
CURRENT TEMPERATURE (2 HEX DIGITS) SUBTRACT 56 FOR DEGREES F
UPPER RAIN GAUGE (4 HEX DIGITS) DIVIDE BY 10 OR 100 FOR INCHES*
LOWER RAIN GAUGE (4 HEX DIGITS) DIVIDE BY 10 OR 100 FOR INCHES*

CR LF
* Divide by 10 if your rain gauge senses each 0.1 (0.5mm).
* Divide by 100 if your rain gauge senses each 0.01 (or 0.25mm).

ULTIMETER MODELS 2000, 800 & 100 SERIAL DATA SPECIFICATIONS
(see above for ULTIMETER II Serial Data Specifications)

GENERAL

NOTES:
1. IGNORE THE FIRST TWO DIGITS OF WIND DIRECTION. THESE DIGITS ARE NORMALLY 00, BUT IF A DIRECTION CALIBRATION NUMBER HAS BEEN ENTERED, THEY MAY BE FF.
2. RAIN GAUGES THAT MEASURE IN INCREMENTS OF 0.1 MM ARE FULLY SUPPORTED ON THE ULTIMETER LIQUID CRYSTAL DISPLAY. ANY PROGRAM OR DEVICE USING THE SERIAL DATA OUTPUT MUST UNDERSTAND THAT THE DATA IS IN 0.1 MM INCREMENTS. SERIAL OUTPUT FOR ALL OTHER RAIN GAUGE SELECTIONS IS REPORTED IN INCREMENTS OF 0.01 INCHES.

  • Data Logging Mode (Default Output Mode) Press CLEAR + WIND SPEED for 3 seconds.
    While in this mode, records are sent out continuously at up to about 90 per minute. The total record size is 40 hex digits + header, carriage return and line feed.
  • Packet Mode Press CLEAR + WIND CHILL for 3 seconds.
    While in the mode, one record is output every 5 minutes. The total record is 44 hex digits + header, carriage return and line feed.
  • Complete Record Mode Press CLEAR + RAIN for 3 seconds.
    While in mode, data is output continuously. The total record size is 448 hex digits + header, carriage return & line feed.
  • Modem Mode - input/output (ULTIMETER 2000 only) Press CLEAR + TEMPERATURE for 3 seconds.
    While in this mode, there is no regular data output.
DATA LOGGING MODE - RECORD STRUCTURE
  • Header = !!
  • Data Fields
    • 1. Wind Speed (0.1 kph)
    • 2. Wind Direction (0-255)
    • 3. Outdoor Temp (0.1 deg F)
    • 4. Rain* Long Term Total (0.01 inches)
    • 5. Barometer (0.1 mbar)
    • 6. Indoor Temp (0.1 deg F)
    • 7. Outdoor Humidity (0.1%)
    • 8. Indoor Humidity (0.1%)
    • 9. Date (day of year)
    • 10. Time (minute of day)
    • 11. Today's Rain Total (0.01 inches)*
    • 12. 1 Minute Wind Speed Average (0.1kph)*
  • Carriage Return & Line Feed

*Some instruments may not include field 12, some may not include 11 or 12. Please contact Peet Bros. if this presents any problem.
Total size: 40, 44 or 48 characters (hex digits) + header, carriage return and line feed.

SERIAL MODE LIST

PACKET MODE - RECORD STRUCTURE

  • Header = $ULTW
  • Data Fields
    • 1. Wind Speed Peak over last 5 min. (0.1 kph)
    • 2. Wind Direction of Wind Speed Peak (0-255)
    • 3. Current Outdoor Temp (0.1 deg F)
    • 4. Rain Long Term Total (0.01 in.)
    • 5. Current Barometer (0.1 mbar)
    • 6. Barometer Delta Value(0.1 mbar)
    • 7. Barometer Corr. Factor(LSW)
    • 8. Barometer Corr. Factor(MSW)
    • 9. Current Outdoor Humidity (0.1%)
    • 10. Date (day of year)
    • 11. Time (minute of day)
    • 12. Today's Rain Total (0.01 inches)*
    • 13. 5 Minute Wind Speed Average (0.1kph)*
  • Carriage Return & Line Feed

*Some instruments may not include field 13, some may not include 12 or 13. Please contact Peet Bros. if this presents any problem.
Total size: 44, 48 or 52 characters (hex digits) + header, carriage return and line feed.


SERIAL MODE LIST

COMPLETE RECORD MODE - RECORD STRUCTURE

  • Header = &CR&
  • Data Fields
    • 1. Wind Speed (0.1kph)
    • 2. Current Wind Direction (0-255)
    • 3. 5 minute Wind Speed Peak (0.1 kph)
    • 4. 5 minute Wind Direction Peak (0-255)
    • 5. Wind Chill (0.1 deg F)
    • 6. Outdoor Temp (0.1deg F)(corrected 5/19/97)
    • 7. Rain Total for today (0.01 in.)
    • 8. Barometer (0.1 mbar)
    • 9. Barometer Delta Value (0.1 mbar)
    • 10. Barometer Correction Factor(LSW)
    • 11. Barometer Correction Factor(MSW)
    • 12. Indoor Temp (0.1 deg F)
    • 13. Outdoor Humidity (.1%)
    • 14. Indoor Humidity (.1%)
    • 15. Dew Point (0.1 deg F)
    • 16. Date (day of year)
    • 17. Time (minute of day)
    • 18. Today's Low Chill Value
    • 19. Today's Low Chill Time
    • 20. Yesterday's Low Chill Value
    • 21. Yesterday's Low Chill Time
    • 22. Long Term Low Chill Date
    • 23. Long Term Low Chill Value
    • 24. Long Term Low Chill Time
    • 25. Today's Low Outdoor Temp Value
    • 26. Today's Low Outdoor Temp Time
    • 27. Yesterday's Low Outdoor Temp Value
    • 28. Yesterday's Low Outdoor Temp Time
    • 29. Long Term Low Outdoor Temp Date
    • 30. Long Term Low Outdoor Temp Value
    • 31. Long Term Low Outdoor Temp Time
    • 32. Today's Low Barometer Value
    • 33. Today's Low Barometer Time
    • 34. Wind Speed (0.1kph)
    • 35. Current Wind Direction (0-255)
    • 36. Yesterday's Low Barometer Value
    • 37. Yesterday's Low Barometer Time
    • 38. Long Term Low Barometer Date
    • 39. Long Term Low Barometer Value
    • 40. Long Term Low Barometer Time
    • 41. Today's Low Indoor Temp Value
    • 42. Today's Low Indoor Temp Time
    • 43. Yesterday's Low Indoor Temp Value
    • 44. Yesterday's Low Indoor Temp Time
    • 45. Long Term Low Indoor Temp Date
    • 46. Long Term Low Indoor Temp Value
    • 47. Long Term Low Indoor Temp Time
    • 48. Today's Low Outdoor Humidity Value
    • 49. Today's Low Outdoor Humidity Time
    • 50. Yesterday's Low Outdoor Humidity Value
    • 51. Yesterday's Low Outdoor Humidity Time
    • 52. Long Term Low Outdoor Humidity Date
    • 53. Long Term Low Outdoor Humidity Value
    • 54. Long Term Low Outdoor Humidity Time
    • 55. Today's Low Indoor Humidity Value
    • 56. Today's Low Indoor Humidity Time
    • 57. Yesterday's Low Indoor Humidity Value
    • 58. Yesterday's Low Indoor Humidity Time
    • 59. Long Term Low Indoor Humidity Date
    • 60. Long Term Low Indoor Humidity Value
    • 61. Long Term Low Indoor Humidity Time
    • 62. Today's Wind Speed Value
    • 63. Today's Wind Speed Time
    • 64. Yesterday's Wind Speed Value
    • 65. Yesterday's Wind Speed Time
    • 66. Long Term Wind Speed Date
    • 67. Long Term Wind Speed Value
    • 68. Long Term Wind Speed Time
    • 69. Today's High Outdoor Temp Value
    • 70. Today's High Outdoor Temp Time
    • 71. Wind Speed (0.1kph)
    • 72. Current Wind Direction (0-255)
    • 73. Yesterday's High Outdoor Temp Value
    • 74. Yesterday's High Outdoor Temp Time
    • 75. Long Term High Outdoor Temp Date
    • 76. Long Term High Outdoor Temp Value
    • 77. Long Term High Outdoor Temp Time
    • 78. Today's High Barometer Value
    • 79. Today's High Barometer Time
    • 80. Yesterday's High Barometer Value
    • 81. Yesterday's High Barometer Time
    • 82. Long Term High Barometer Date
    • 83. Long Term High Barometer Value
    • 84. Long Term High Barometer Time
    • 85. Today's High Indoor Temp Value
    • 86. Today's High Indoor Temp Time
    • 87. Yesterday's High Indoor Temp Value
    • 88. Yesterday's High Indoor Temp Time
    • 89. Long Term High Indoor Temp Date
    • 90. Long Term High Indoor Temp Value
    • 91. Long Term High Indoor Temp Time
    • 92. Today's High Outdoor Humidity Value
    • 93. Today's High Outdoor Humidity Time
    • 94. Yesterday's High Outdoor Humidity Value
    • 95. Yesterday's High Outdoor Humidity Time
    • 96. Long Term High Outdoor Humidity Date
    • 97. Long Term High Outdoor Humidity Value
    • 98. Long Term High Outdoor Humidity Time
    • 99. Today's High Indoor Humidity Value
    • 100. Today's High Indoor Humidity Time
    • 101. Yesterday's High Indoor Humidity Value
    • 102. Yesterday's High Indoor Humidity Time
    • 103. Long Term High Indoor Humidity Date
    • 104. Long Term High Indoor Humidity Value
    • 105. Long Term High Indoor Humidity Time
    • 106. Yesterday's Rain Total (0.01")
    • 107. Long Term Rain Date
    • 108. Long Term Rain Total (0.01")
    • 109. Leap Year Value (0-3)
    • 110. WDCF Value (0-255)
    • 111. Yesterday's High Wind Direction (2 bytes)
    • 112. Today's High Wind Direction (2 bytes)
    • 113. Spare (2 bytes)
    • 114. Long Term High Wind Direction (2 bytes)
    • 115. 1 Minute Wind Speed Average (0.1kph)

*Some instruments may not include field 115. Please contact Peet Bros. if this presents any problem.
Total size: 448 or 452 characters (hex digits) + header, carriage return and line feed.

SERIAL MODE LIST

MODEM MODE

This mode is not available on the ULTIMETER 100/500/800. Any command input will cause the Model 2000 to enter MODEM MODE.

The command header is >n where n=A-K. The header is immediately followed by from zero to eight digits (all decimal except barometer correction value).

COMMAND SYNTAX

  • >A plus 8 decimal digits to SET DATE(4) TIME(4) (Day of Year:0=1/1, Min. of Day: 0=midnight)
  • >B plus 3 decimal digits to SET WIND DIRECTION CORRECTION FACTOR (0 to 256)
  • >C plus 1 decimal digit to SET RAIN GAUGE INCREMENT SIZE '0' = 0.01" or 0.25mm, '1' = 0.1" or 02.5 mm
  • >D plus 8 hex digits to SET BAROMETER CORRECTION VALUE (Most significant digits first)
  • >E plus 5 decimal digits to SET SEA LEVEL PRESSURE READING (mbar x 10)
  • >F plus 1 decimal digit to SET LEAP YEAR VALUE (0 - 3)
  • >G plus no digits for MASTER RESET
  • >H plus no digits to REQUEST ONE COMPLETE RECORD
  • >I plus no digits to SET DATA LOGGING MODE
    From the keypad, hold CLEAR and WIND keys for 3 seconds.
  • >J plus no digits to SET PACKET MODE
    From the keypad, hold CLEAR and CHILL keys for 3 seconds.
  • >K plus no digits to SET COMPLETE RECORD MODE
    From the keypad, hold CLEAR and RAIN keys for 3 seconds.

SERIAL PORT PIN OUTS & SERIAL CABLE WIRING CAUTION:

Regulated voltage is brought to the serial output receptacle on the ULTIMETER 2000 and 100/500/800. The regulator is likely to be damaged if you accidentally reverse the sequence of serial cable wires. If you plan to make a serial interface cable, we urge you to take the following steps to avoid malfunction and possible damage when wiring a modular/DB-9 or modular/DB-25 adapter:

  • Examine the standard modular phone cord you intend to use, to determine on which end the color sequence of wires matches the color sequence of wires on the adapter.
  • Plug the matching end of the cord into the adapter.
  • Wire color will now be continuous from the modular plug at one end, to the adapter insert pins at the other end, so you can use wire color as a guide determining which two or three pins to insert in the required numbered holes of the adapter.
  • Connect only the required wires and individually insulate all unused wires.

MODEL 2000
PIN # AND FUNCTION
100_800
PIN # AND FUNCTION
MODEL II
PIN # AND FUNCTION
DB-9 to COMPUTER DB-25 to COMPUTER DB-9 to TNC DB-25 to TNC
1 SPECIAL 1 SPECIAL - - - - - -
2 +5 VOLTS 2 +5 VOLTS 1 N/C - - - -
3 OUTPUT 3 OUTPUT 2 OUTPUT PIN 2 PIN 3 PIN 3 PIN 2
4 HUMIDITY 4 N/C 3 N/C - - - -
5 GROUND 5 GROUND 4 GROUND PIN 5 PIN 7 PIN 5 PIN 7
6 INPUT 6 INPUT - - PIN 3 PIN 2 PIN 2 PIN 3
MODULAR PHONE RECEPTACLE PINS ARE LABELED FROM LEFT TO RIGHT, LOOKING INTO THE FEMALE RECEPTACLE WITH THE RELEASE CLIP ON THE TOP.

HOW OUR SELF-EMPTYING RAIN GAUGES WORK

Inside the rain gauge is a "see-saw" mechanism. On each side of the fulcrum is a collector shaped like a miniature coal shovel, with high sides and an open end. There is a vertical divider along the fulcrum, between the two collectors.

Rain water is funneled into whichever collector is "up". When enough water has been funneled into the "up" collector, the mechanism tilts the other way. The water previously collected spills out and new rain start collecting in the opposite collector, which is now up. Each time the mechanism tilts the other way, a magnet brushes past a reed switch, sending a signal back to the control unit.

"Keep a weather eye on Peet Bros."
USA Manufacturer of Weather Instruments,Home Weather Stations,Anemometers,Rain Gauges,Wind Sensors, Barometers,Humidity Sensors,Barometric Pressure Sensors,APRS Weather Stations,Ham Radio Weather Stations,and ULTIMETER Weather Sensors,for over 20 years.

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