ConsoleWD - Weather Display for Raspberry Pi

7 minutes reading time (1414 words)
I've been running the Weather Display software for logging all my weather data for years. I've always felt though that leaving a PC or laptop (I've tried both) on 24 hours/7 days a week just to collect and store weather data was a bit excessive. Also they were Windows based machines, the never ending stream of updates meant that restarts of the machine were inevitable, and therefore so was the risk of some data loss.  So the challenge was set - could I run and collect all the data I collected on my PC on a low power device like the Raspberry Pi?
Turns out there are a number of ways you can do this using the following weather station software:
  • Weather Display's Raspberry Pi equivalent, Consolewd
  • WeeWx
  • CumulusMX
It goes without saying that to do this you need to have your weather station up and running, and the ability to interface your output onto the internet. In my case I have a Vantage Vue, with a Davis Weather Link Live that collects the data from the weather station. This setup would equally work with any of the Davis Vantage Pro models.
You also need to have a Pi3b or a Pi4b ready to go with the latest Raspian OS.

Deciding what weather station software to use.

As it was going to be a fresh start I wasn't tied to what piece of software I was going to use. I tried getting CumulusMX up and running and struggled a bit - my Linux fu not being all that good. I also had a bit of a go with WeeWx. However the instructions for Consolewd looked pretty easy for someone with limited Linux knowledge, so I gave it a go!

Obtaining Consolewd - The Weather Station Software for Raspberry Pi

You can grab a copy of the software directly from the weather-display website. Unless you are running a 64bit OS on your Pi, then you will want the 32 bit version:
download consolewd
Note that the software comes at no cost, but you are encouraged to buy a licence or donate, especially if you expect support. The money you pay / donate appears to go towards developing more features for the software, something that the entire community of consolewd users benefit from. If you don't pay / donate then don't expect the support or new features to be added. So do the right thing!

Installation of ConsoleWD

Before you install the software you will need to do some network stuff first. You will want to make sure that your Raspberry Pi, and the data collection device (in my case the Weather Link Live), both have fixed IP addresses. This means that the network address you have for these devices doesn't change. This is importnt to make sure that the two devices can find each other on the network. To do this have a look in your administration panel on your router. Normally you need to find each device in a list on your router, and there is usually a way of fixing the IP address there.
Once you have downloaded your file, it should appear in the  /home/pi/Downloads directory. These instructions assume that's where the downloaded file is. From the desktop, open the File Manager, and navigate to the /home/pi/Downloads directory.
Locate the downloaded file. It's most likely called "consolewd64.tar.gz" .Click on this file and a utility to decompress the file will open similar to the following:
Click on the "Extract files" button - second button from the right on the top menu. You should see a dialogue box like the following pop up:
xarchiver dialogue
You will need to type or use the browse button to put /home/pi in the "Extract To:" box. Also make sure that "Extract files with full path" is ticked. Once that's all done, click on extract.
The consolewdfiles directory is created and the files are created within tht directory. You can now use the file manager to browse to the new directory and you should see the following:
The next part is easier done in a command window. This step copies across some necessary files. Open a terminal window by right mouse clicking on the Deploy folder and choosing "Open in Terminal"
Now type in the following, pressing enter after each line:
sudo cp * /usr/lib
sudo cp * /usr/local/lib
Then close the terminal window, and the software install is done.

Configuration of ConsoleWD

You can do the next configuration step using nano or similar command line editor, but I'm going to show you how to use the inbuilt html configuration process. You can also perfrom the configuration using the text editor via the Raspberry Pi UI, once the initial file is created. We'll start with the basic setup you will  need to get up and running.
Once again go back to the consolewdfiles directory. Within that directory you will see a file called config.html. In the screenshot above it's the second icon in along the top. Click on that and it will open in your favourite browser. To get started the minimum you need to input will be the following:
  • Everything that is applicable under the heading ConsoleWD setup
  • Latitude and Longitude - available from Google Earth 
  • Station Name - your weather station name
  • FTP Settings - available from your hosting service
 Once you have made those changes , scroll down to the bottom and click on save. This will download a file, which you will find in the  /home/pi/Downloads directory.Once you've downloaded the file you then need to move that file back into your consolewdfiles directory, again using the file manager. 


Creating a script file

Once everything is configured and ready to go you will want to use a script file to start ConsoleWD.  You can think of ConsoleWD as a set of different modules, all of which need to work together. So far you are going to need to run 2 of those modules - consolewd,  the application and cronftpreal, the ftp program to upload your weather data to your website..
Browse to the /home/pi directory and again right mouse click on the directory folder, and choose Open in Terminal. We're going to use nano, a terminal editor to write the script. In the terminal window, type the following:
nano -e
and press enter. Then type the following:
# Start WD components
Then hold down the CTRL key and press X (CTRL-X), type Y and press enter. You will end back up at the terminal window. The forst line in the script declares that it is a shell script. The 3rd and 4th call the consolewd and ftp components.
Once that's all done, go back to the file manager, and locate the file called . It should be near the top of the file list because we named it with the "a_" at the start of the file. Double click on the script, and you will be asked if you want to run it in a terminal window. Choose "Execute in Terminal".  A new terminal window will open. It will initially display a copy of your config.txt, then it will show (if everything is connected ok) a text string of your weather conditions similar to the following:
And that's it! There's a few more features which I'll cover off in another post, but if you have got this far you will understand how ConsoleWD works, and can most probably have a play configuring these for your self. If you do have issues, there is a support form located on the forum, or you can post your questions in our forum and we'll see if we can help out!

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