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PWS Maintenance

By: Kari Strenfel, 9:41 PM GMT on September 24, 2015

It's Fall again! And that means you need to clean those leaves out of your rain bucket! Here are some tips for regular weather station maintenance!



Temperature
Compare the temperature at your station to that of a calibrated thermometer. To calibrate a thermometer you simply do a test in an ice water bath and a boiling water bath. If your thermometer reads 32F (0C) in ice water, and 212F (100C) in boiling water, then you know your thermometer is accurate. Then compare this thermometer to your weather station at various times of the day. If the temperature at your station is incorrect, you have a few different options:
1) You can send back to the manufacturer for calibration.
2) You can often adjust the temperature error in your weather station software.
Also use warm water and soap to remove any dust, cobwebs, or any other debris from the radiation shield.

Humidity
To check your humidity or dew point data, check your data on dewy mornings or in rainy conditions. You should see high humidity in both of these conditions with dew point temperatures very close to the actual temperature. If your data shows very low humidity during these conditions, you again have two options:
1) You can send back to the manufacturer for calibration.
2) You can often adjust the humidity or dew point error in your weather station software.

Pressure
If you suspect your pressure reading is incorrect, compare your data to nearby weather stations as well as the nearby airport. If it is incorrect, you again have two options:
1) You can send back to the manufacturer for calibration.
2) You can often adjust the pressure error in your weather station software. Try to match the pressure at your station to the nearest airport.

Anemometer
Make sure your wind speed and direction measurements are accurate by ensuring your propeller or cup anemometer are able to spin freely. Dirt or dust can get in and disrupt the bearings, so you can fix this by cleaning the sensor with warm water. Actually, ice can freeze the anemometer from spinning freely, so also make sure to check the station after winter storms! If any parts are cracked or broken, or not spinning freely, send to the manufacturer for replacement or new bearings.

Rain bucket
Is your rain gauge reporting 0 inches of rain when it has been raining all day? Your rain gauge may be clogged with leaves or pine needles, or even bird poo! Make sure to rinse it out often with warm water and soap, but then remember to go into your history page later to delete the erroneous data. (See instructions below to delete bad data.)

Solar panel
Your solar panel must be cleaned regularly to maintain highest functionality possible. When the photovoltaics are dirty or dusty, the station is not receiving maximum power available. Warm water and soap will do the trick. Also for highest efficiency the solar panel should face due south in the northern hemisphere (north in the southern hemisphere).

To delete any bad data that may have been reported during your maintenance, follow the steps below:
You can delete your station data if you are logged into wunderground. Go to your PWS dashboard page (or history page) and select the date you are interested in. Switch to the "Tables" view and there will be a blue edit button above the table of data. Hit the edit button, then select the points you want to delete. You can select multiple points at a time by control clicking on multiple points, but deleting entire rows or columns will not work. Once you have made your selection, delete points, then refresh your page to see the bad data removed.

Let me know if you have any questions or comments,
Kari
PWSmet

weather stations dashboard

The views of the author are his/her own and do not necessarily represent the position of The Weather Company or its parent, IBM.

Reader Comments

Great tips! Thanks Kari
In the paragraph labeled "Temperature" you mean 212 degf, not 112, right?
Quoting 2. dawilts:

In the paragraph labeled "Temperature" you mean 212 degf, not 112, right?


Yep! Thanks for catching that typo! I have made this change!
Kari
When you notice that a PWS is posting what appears to be erroneous data on WU, you can report the station for bad data for temperature, pressure, and wind. But you can't report it for bad data for precipitation. Any idea why that is?
Quoting 4. EJOnPineIsland:

When you notice that a PWS is posting what appears to be erroneous data on WU, you can report the station for bad data for temperature, pressure, and wind. But you can't report it for bad data for precipitation. Any idea why that is?


We are working on updating the option to "Flag this station" so I will add this to the list of requests.
Thanks!
Quoting 5. PWSmet:



We are working on updating the option to "Flag this station" so I will add this to the list of requests.
Thanks!


Thanks for the reply, Kari.
Hi, just wondering why our pws is no longer showing on the wundermap. Or it may show for 12 hours and its gone for 12 hours or so.
Weather Station ID: INEWSOUT258
Station Name: Barnsley Park
Its been in place for a about 2 years and seems to be still updating and sending to wundermap.
I just checked emails and there is nothing from wunderground about any errors or the station not reporting.
We can also access it from its url.
Hope to hear back soon.
Brett
Quoting 7. Plough:

Hi, just wondering why our pws is no longer showing on the wundermap. Or it may show for 12 hours and its gone for 12 hours or so.
Weather Station ID: INEWSOUT258
Station Name: Barnsley Park
Its been in place for a about 2 years and seems to be still updating and sending to wundermap.
I just checked emails and there is nothing from wunderground about any errors or the station not reporting.
We can also access it from its url.
Hope to hear back soon.
Brett



Hi Brett,
It looks like your station was failing our QC process. This happens when the temperature at your station is significantly different from nearby stations. It gets flagged and temporarily removed from the map.
Thanks and let me know if you have any other questions,
Kari

Is WU experiencing problems with PWS updates? I've been having issues for the past three days with my WU page supposedly not updating properly. Everything looks great locally on my PWS. And the wind/temp/etc readings on my WU page update properly every 15-20 seconds but when I look at the data via table view, I can see 10-20 minute gaps in what WU is supposedly getting from me. However, I'm still seeing accurate current readings (wind/temp/etc.) during these periods where no data shows in table view.

I've contacted support twice about this now via the contact page but still haven't received a response. My station ID is KNCWINST43. Any help would be most appreciated!
why is my pws not showing up is there anyone out there that will talk to me?
My rain gauge stopped working a few months ago. Didn't see anything obvious at first when I took the cover off, but the tipping bucket resisted movement.

Closer examination revealed what looked like multiple strands of cotton from the bottom of one side of the tipping bucket to the bottom of the assembly! It's like a spider deliberately locked up the see-saw for some reason!

Cleaned it all out and it's been fine since. Really would like to know why & how a spider even got UP there to the sensor! I mean, sure, it's possible for an insect to climb a mast, but ... spiders on the roof?
Great advice here. These little weather stations are so reliable that it is easy to forget they need routine maintenance beyond changing batteries every couple years.

"Spiders on the roof?" Absolutely! They fly on a strand of web. Plus, your rain sensor is a fine spider house with that little hole in the top and that nice box that protects it from the elements. You should check to make sure it isn't inhabited at least twice per year.

As for "maintenance" of the PWS network, I have a couple of questions: First, why are you allowing PWS entries to show up on the "compare temperature/wind" map when they do not have wind sensors, and second, why are you showing stations with no rain gauge in the "compare precipitation" map? You know which ones these are, so please exclude them.
Thanks for the reminder!
Just so you know, Kari...
WU PWS station MOR032 at Bray OK reads like its indoors or something. No wind and 59 degrees while all others, OK mesonet, other official and unofficial stations such as wu pws in the area are about ten degrees higher with southerly winds gusting well into the 20s.

I don't know why my pws can't be viewed on this website. All of my internet systems are up and running just fine.
Cross post on Netatmo blog:

When I access my Station using the iPad (app) it comes up as "NOT REPORTING" yet the table of data is regularly updated. If this is a 'QC' issue, is there any way I can identify what the problem is? Perhaps I could then fix it!
Nice and useful information. I wanted to add some information about calibrating glass thermometers. At sea level where the typical atmospheric pressure is 14.7 lbs water does boil at 212 deg F but as you increase in altitude the boiling point will lower. In Denver at approx. 5,000 feet, water boils around 202 deg F.
Just be aware of your approx. altitude and you can search for tables on the Internet to help.
Garry
I know this probably isn't the best place to mention this. But, one big thing y'all need to work on is making the Wunderstation app for Android. I mean here it is November 2015 and y'all still don't have Wunderstation for Android!

Several months ago y'all created a survey for a new mobile app in place of the Wunderapp which is a great app. Why fix what isn't broken? Wunderstation for Android should be the #1 priority.
PWSmet has created a new entry.
Quoting 10. malibucooper:

why is my pws not showing up is there anyone out there that will talk to me?


It looks like we last received data from your station on Sept 2nd. You may want to log into your WeatherSnoop software to make sure your Weather Underground Station ID and password are still entered correctly.

Thanks,
Kari
Quoting 16. Vern3773:

Cross post on Netatmo blog:

When I access my Station using the iPad (app) it comes up as "NOT REPORTING" yet the table of data is regularly updated. If this is a 'QC' issue, is there any way I can identify what the problem is? Perhaps I could then fix it!


Your station has not sent us data since Nov 10th, this is why it shows up as not reporting on your app. Let me know if you need help getting your station back online.
Thanks,
Kari
Temperature calibration would be better done using a good quality min/max thermometer in my view.
To get accurate anemometer readings check suitable location since local vortexes will cause major errors in speed and direction. Also use a compass to establish magnetic north for your initial baseline setup.
I am logged in to the website and trying to delete some bad data from September last year. The edit link above the table of data is greyed out and not working. How can I access the edit link? Peter