Familiar Parts Make Interfacing Weather Station Easy

Hackers love to measure things, and enjoy monitoring the world around them. Weather stations are a big part of this, and many tinkerers have tried to interface such hardware with varying levels of success. [Ray] is one such individual, and was pleasantly surprised when working on a recent project.

Unlike more old-school models, the model [Ray] found himself working on was a modern unit with a significant number of sensors, a WiFi interface, and even a color screen. Reading the manual, [Ray] noted the device used the IP, which is commonly used by the ESP8266 when running in AP mode. The hunch proved to be correct, and opening the device revealed an ESP-WROOM-2 running the show.

Now working with familiar parts, it was simple to hook up to the onboard serial port to scope for data. To [Ray]’s delight, the device was outputting all the weather data out over the connection, and in plaintext to boot. The station also featured the ability to connect to Weather Underground, and watching the debug messages during this process helped [Ray] to understand the format of the information.

It’s rare that manufacturers make it so easy, but debug ports can often be a treasure trove of information to the budding hacker. We’ve seen others cracked before, too.

11 thoughts on “Familiar Parts Make Interfacing Weather Station Easy

      1. Acurite is a good, reliable brand, I’ve had no problems with mine, would definitely recommend, and would probably upgrade to this model if my current one ever fails (which looks unlikely!).

        This looks to be their standard outdoor sensor unit (which is rugged, survives 70-80C temperature swings we see in this part of Canada, has most of the sensors you’d care about, and I can’t remember the last time it even needed batteries changed), but the indoor base unit is where the WiFi stuff is happening.

        Every hackaday hacker’s favourite rtl_433 can also decode the downlink data bursts, but then you miss out on the indoor temp/pressure/humidity readings. See http://noseynick.net/wx/noseywx.html for my own scripts to convert rtl_433 to wunderground-compatible HTTP requests

        1. For me it is a bunch of weirdos that are “unavailable in most European countries” as they write on their website. I can tell you they are missing out on sales….

          Does anyone know if these are sold under a different brand or name?

    1. To be clear, it’s the display unit that is hackable as described here. The 5-in-1 sensor shipped in a bunch of different configurations, many without the color WIFI displays. If you have an older 5-in-1 like I do, you can buy just the color WIFI display unit as an upgrade, which provides the WIFI, and thus, presumably the ESP-8266 module. Model numbers for WIFI color displays are 06088M and 06086M. I am not able to verify that these units are built as described above. But it is likely.

  1. Building your own weather-station would be better and hacking this one is cool but if are inclined to buy and use a weather-station it is best to go semi-pro like with Davis Instruments products. They aren’t cheap but there is value in every dollar and parts are readily available and affordable and parts you will need when hail storms come. Running cheap weather-stations in places where the weather doesn’t always “play nice” is more expensive than buying a decent one and keeping it running because with the former, you keep having to buy whole new systems every time a storm does its thing.

  2. Our device is using is a Famistar 14-1 device. Only has option to upload to wunderground and weathercloud. Trying to find a way to upload data to cwop or even send it out via APRS on amateur radio.
    Any suggestions?

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