WeatherSnoop's main feature is its ability to communicate with popular weather stations. This section assumes that you have already obtained your weather station and are ready to set it up.
If you are planning on using a weather station with WeatherSnoop, then read this section as it contains important setup information.
In order to ensure that WeatherSnoop and your station will work well together, it is important that your station is setup properly.
Virtually every weather station that is supported by WeatherSnoop has a manual available, either with the station or obtainable over the Internet. We strongly suggest that you take the time to read the manual for your particular station. You should use the station's user manual to determine where to optimally place your weather instruments, how to setup the station console and verify that the station is in working order, and run tests to ensure that all sensors are set up and working properly.
If you own a weather station that has wireless sensors, you should take extra precautions to ensure that the sensors are in communication range of the station. If sensors are battery powered, verify that they contain fresh batteries in order to keep data transmitting.
Remember: if your station or console cannot see the data, then neither can WeatherSnoop!
There are a number of stations whose only method of interfacing to your Mac is via an RS-232, or serial port. If your station fits into this category, then you will need to obtain an RS-232 to USB adapter, since modern Macs do not have an RS-232 port built-in. If you do not already have an RS-232 to USB adapter, they are readily available for purchase over the Internet.
WeatherSnoop recommends RS-232 to USB adapters based on the FTDI chipset (www.ftdichip.com), which have proven to be extremely reliable. Manufacturers such as Sabrent and StarTech offer cables based upon the FTDI chipset.
We advise customers to avoid using any RS-232 to USB adapter that uses the Prolific chipset. Adapters using this chipset have traditionally been unreliable on the Mac.
If you haven't already installed the driver for either of these adapters, just go to WeatherSnoop's Help Menu and choose the menu option to be taken to the manufacturer's web page. Once there, you can download and install the driver.
In our experience, a sizable percentage of the connectivity issues encountered by customers can be directly attributable to the quality of the data cable connecting the Mac to the station itself.
If you are using a USB-based weather station, we highly recommend that you obtain a well shielded USB cable with as short a length as you can manage. The best USB cables have ferrite cores embedded on one or both ends to minimize interference.
Also, we recommend that you do not go through a USB hub; instead, plug your USB cable directly into your Mac. We have seen connectivity issues resolved by simply bypassing the USB hub and going directly to the Mac's USB port.
Good cables make good connections, so don't skimp on the cable!
Another option for RS-232-based weather stations is an RS-232 to Network adapter. These devices usually run anywhere from $80 to $150 USD and bridge an RS-232 device to an ethernet or WiFi network. Although this can add an additional layer of complexity when setting up your station, the convenience it brings is significant.
Station placement can become easier, and more importantly, the station can be accessed from different computers. For most weather stations that have a serial port, WeatherSnoop can talk to a station through such an adapter. Be sure to refer to the instructions that comes with your serial to network adapter for configuration and setup information.
WeatherSnoop was designed to run on the Mac environment under one user account. If you use features such as Fast User Switching, or log into a different account entirely, then WeatherSnoop may not behave properly. We do not support the use of WeatherSnoop in those types of environments.