Unofficial Weather Blog

This blog is not about Weather, it is about what is going on with the Unofficial Weather website. Basically, it is Jerry complaining.

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Blog Entry


Dual solar panel wind sensor arrived and was installed today. All seems to be back up and running. The solar panels power a fan that keeps the temperature sensor from baking in the sun. With the increased power, the fan should run longer, faster and more often giving us a more acurate temperature reading in direct sunlight.


Batteries died in 5-in-1 today. Grrr.... replaced batteries and went inside to make sure all was well. While inside, something... (wind, squirrel, ??) dumped the 5-in-1 on the ground breaking the wind cups. I ordered a new unit but as it is of course Saturday and Acu-Rite is closed and I had to have it shipped. It will ship via what I call Fed-Ex Stupid Post. It goes from Lake Geneva Wi, to Grayslake (a town directly next to Zion), to a couple of towns south-west of Chicago, back to Wisconsin, then to the Zion post office. Fed-Ex calls this "Smart Post". I don't see the "smart" part. I should get the unit by a week from Monday if Acu-Rite ships this Monday. So, this week we will have BS readings on wind speed. On the bright side, I ordered the new version with dual solar panels. Theoretically, this will give me slightly more accurate temperature readings in direct sunlight.


Mounted the camera outside today. I put a snapshot made by the new camera in the Camera Section of the site. Take a look at the detail. Wish I could show you the video, but a 5 minute video clip is over 650 meg.


Camera parts finally arrived.


Well, my order of the last parts for my new camera finally shipped from Amazon today. Ordered Thursday, shipped on Tuesday. Memorial Day must be a major holiday for the folks at Amazon. Why they could not ship on Friday I have no idea. Glad I get 2 day


Yesterday, all day, spent running power on the outside of my house. For the past couple of years, my Sentinel camera has been running on an extension cord (DUH!). Finally got up enough energy to install outlets on the outside of my house. I have needed those outside since we purchased this house in 2009. I now have two outlets (2 plugs each) for yard work, and another outlet for my cameras. All water tight and no shorts or fires. :-)


Yikes... Never order anything from Amazon the week before a holiday if you want it fast. Ordered the external hard drive and power for the case on Thursday. Prime member, so FREE Two-Day Shipping does not mean jack if it takes them more than 24 hours to get it on a truck. Did they ship it on Friday like they normally would...NO! So now it is Saturday and even if they ship it today, carrier probably will not pick it up till Tuesday because Monday is Memorial Day... Thanks Amazon!! Bastards!


I was bad today. Dipped into my savings to finish off this camera. 24v AC power for the camera case, and a 2 TB external hard drive. $103.00. So in total this camera cost me:

  • Heated/Cooled outdoor camera enclosure: $31.98 Shipped
  • Raspberry PI Computer, power supply & Case: $48.99 Shipped
  • 60' Ethernet cable: $3.75 Shipped
  • Raspberry PI Camera: $30.95 Shipped
  • Adata 32 GB Class 10 SD card: $24.99 Shipped
  • TP-Link 1 GB router with 2 USB ports: $69.99 Shipped
  • 24v AC Power Adapter 40VA: $15.99 Shipped
  • 2 TB USB3 external drive: $87.98 Shipped

Some things, like the router and the SD card I already owned, so they are not really money spent. But if your going to build one of these, chances are you will need to spend that money. A grand total of...

$314.62 with shipping charges included.

With this setup it is a homemade DVR and TRUE HD (1080p with 30fps and 5MP bitstream of 1.8 million). This setup will store 10 days of video. I can add 3 additional cameras for $156.65 each at today's prices.

If you decide to build one of these I would suggest dedicating the router to the cameras so it is not affected by your personal LAN's traffic, and it is not affecting your personal LAN's traffic. If you are going to use more than 1 camera, I suggest limiting the number of cameras on a GB router to 4 as this camera is a bandwidth hog, and 650 MB data transfers every 5 minutes per camera will beat your poor external hard drive to death in short order. But man is it beautiful. Found a comparable camera on Amazon selling for over $1800.00 and that is just the camera. It has no storage. With the 2TB drive You can store up to 10 days on a 2TB drive with 1 camera. 5 days with 2 cameras... about 3 days with 3 cameras, About 2 days with 4 cameras. Continuous 24 hours a day recording.

You might be able to go cheaper if you are a good bargain hunter. I got all my parts on


Spent the entire night (till about 6 AM) getting my new camera setup. It works wonderfully!! It is a 5MP 1080p 30fps low light camera in a full size outdoor enclosure with a heater and a fan. The camera works great inside right now, everything is mounted in the enclosure and hooked up. I have 1 more part to buy. I am waiting to buy a 24 volt AC 3Amp power supply for the enclosure. The heater and fan require it. I don't want to put it outside until it has a working fan. It was 80 degrees out there yesterday. I probably need to spend some more money on a 1 or 2 Tb hard drive. 5 minutes of video is about 650 MB. By my calculations that works out to be about 190 GB per day of storage. A 1Tb hard drive will get me about 5 days or so.


After extensive debugging, I located the problems in the NOAA Weather forecast caused by the NOAA Alert upgrade. UGH. Had to upgrade NOAA forecasts too. Was a nightmare, but I think it is all better now. I still need to do more work on NOAA alerts, but I think I will hold off on those changes until I am done building my new camera. The case arrived today! yeah!


Updated the program that does NOAA Alerts. Got it working well, but Unfortunately in the process, I broke NOAA weather forecasts.


I am building a new camera. Unlike the other cameras, this one I am making myself. It is a true 1080p and a true High Definition camera. It has low light capabilities, 5 mega-pixels and is 30 frames a second. I have the camera part working. The picture quality on the video and the smooth frame rate are absolutely stunning! I ordered a outdoor housing for it and still need to order a power supply for the housing (next month...need $$). The outdoor housing has a heater and fan built in to keep it cool in the summer and warm on those cold winter Illinois nights. Doubt I will have this one on the Website as High Definition does not translate well to streaming, but we shall see. The parts for this camera cost me about $100.00, maybe a tad over after it is done. I am using the Raspberry PI and a PI camera board. This camera should easily be able to get the definition to see license plate numbers on passing cars. It is a fantastic live picture on my HD TV, and the recordings are just as good. I am excited. lol


Fixed a bug in the menu that has been driving me nuts. Bug caused double menus to display if you went to the Storm Center then went to Time Lapse Sky View. It was a brain freeze type bug. But it should be fixed now.


Sky time lapse does look pretty good. Looks like it is a new feature. I have put it up in the camera section. I am will tweak it a bit over the next few days. I am sure I will end up breaking it a few times. The Weather Display software is grabbing daylight photos up until a couple hours after sunset, then stops till dawn. Strings the photos together into a time lapse view of the sky. Cool...


Setup Weather Display to grab a live photo of the sky every minute in Daylight Hours, and make a time lapse movie from the snaps. If it looks cool, I will place it on the website along with the other time lapse videos.


Okay. Fixed the forecast page.


Need to get on the Talking Weather server and rewrite the Forecast page creation. It currently generates the Forecast page in HTML4 and it displays kinda funky.


The old website URL's now load the correct pages on the new website.


Finishing up the "new" look for the website. I have run the HTML validator tool on all web pages. The video pages fail due to these functions being written by someone else, and them being written in html4.

Another page that fails HTML5 validation is the storm center page. I have an issue with the DIV around the Interactive Map. I have placed the correct HTML5 code in the CSS for the map iframe, instructing the iframe NOT to display scroll bars. For some reason it insists on placing the right scroll bar on the frame. I spent over a day trying to resolve this issue and finally gave up and used the HTML4 command scrolling="no" in the iframe code. Perhaps some day I will revisit the issue, but I have spent quite enough time on trying to get HTML5 to behave on that element. It works, yes it is wrong, but at this point I don't care.

I am still looking for some code that plays the radio on all browsers. It plays fine on most major browsers, but some of the odd ball browsers, it is broken (For Example: The very odd IE 11 on Windows 8, the worlds buggiest browser).


Found the issue with the Weather Gauges. For some reason the gauges stopped working in the HTML directory. I had to move the html's to the main directory. So weird.