Observing the weather is a fun learning experience. Making weather stations can be very easy as long as you have the right instruments to use. Here are some electronic instruments that you can make to construct your own weather stations.
- Thermometer. A thermometer is a device that measures temperature. It comes from the words thermo, meaning warm, and meter, meaning to measure. Basic electronic thermometers can be made using four resistors, each made from very thin copper wires measuring about 40 meters. As temperature changes, the electrical resistance in the wire changes as well. When the electrical resistance changes, the voltage changes. Measuring the change in voltage will allow you to measure the change in temperature.
- Barometer. A barometer is a portable device that measures atmospheric pressure. There are four types of barometers, namely, the water-based barometers, the mercury barometers, the aneroid barometers, and the barographs. A barometer is used to predict weather. A low pressure area is most likely to have rainy weather, and a high pressure area is most likely to have fair weather. A basic electronic barometer is made by using a strain gauge transducer. This directly converts pressure to voltage, and measuring the change in voltage will let you measure the change in pressure.
- Anemometer. An anemometer is a device that measures wind speed. It comes from the Greek word anemos, which means speed. Italian author, artist, architect, poet, priest, linguist, philosopher, and cryptographer, and general Renaissance humanist polymath Leon Battista Alberti, designed the very first anemometer in the 1450s. There are two types of anemometer, namely the velocity anemometers, and the pressure anemometers. Velocity anemometers are cup anemometers, windmill anemometers, hot-wire anemometers, Laser Doppler anemometers, sonic anemometers, and ping-pong ball anemometers. Pressure anemometers, on the other hand, are plate anemometers and tube anemometers. A basic electronic anemometer can be made using a couple of cups attached to a spindle. The wind will make the spindle rotate. A simple make-and-break electric contact should be used as the counter mechanism of the electric cup anemometer. The speed of the spindle's rotation will let you measure the wind speed.
- Wind Vane. A wind vane is a device that shows the direction of the wind. Vane comes from the Anglo-Saxon word fane, which means flag. It is also called a weather vane or a weathercock. A basic electronic wind vane can be made using the technology of magnetic recording dials. When the magnet gets energized, it will attract the needle, therefore showing what direction the vane is pointing. Nowadays, most people use windsocks instead of weather vanes. Windsocks are professionally used at airports, because of their high visibility from the air and from the ground.
- Rain gauge. A rain gauge is a device that measures the amount of precipitation over a period of time. It is also called a udometer, a pluviometer, or a cup. There are four types of rain gauges, namely, the standard rain gauge, the weighing precipitation gauge, the tipping bucket rain gauge, and the optical rain gauge. A basic home rain gauge can be made using a triangular bucket and an inductive proximity sensor. When it rains, it will fill one part of the triangular bucket until the center of gravity of the whole triangular bucket moves over its pivot point. The dual bucket then tips to the side of the filled one emptying it, and exposing the other side to collect rain. The sensor monitor how many times this happens and increments the counter.
If you do not have the time to make these electronic devices, you can just purchase them from your local weather station stores, or online from sites like Oregon Scientific. They offer weather radios and instruments, atomic clocks, and sensors and accessories. You can visit their online store here: oregonscientificstore.com.
Now that you know how to make the instruments needed in making weather stations, take time to calibrate these instruments before using them. Calibrating them would assure you of accuracy when making the readings.