Tempest System FAQs Follow
Help & Troubleshooting FAQs / Product FAQs
I don't have an iOS or Android device - how do I get through setup?
You can only set up your Hub through the iOS or Android applications. Some BlackBerry devices can run Android apps. If this isn't an option or if you have a Windows phone, try using a friend's or family member's iOS or Android device for the setup process. Once the Hub and devices are setup and configured to WiFi, you can access the data anywhere on the web.
How do I change my station name?
There are two names and locations tied to each station setup. One is the physical location, used for metadata like elevation to help with weather data calculations. Only the owner can see the this private name. The second name/location setting is the public location, which can be assigned a separate name and set of lat/long coordinates. The public name is defaulted to the nearest street name.
The public location can be different from the physical location if the owner wishes to obfuscate the physical location, for example, to locate the station in the middle of the road or away from their actual home. Public name and location settings control the where the station will appear on the public maps.
- To update the station name seen by the owner and its physical location, open the app, go to settings > stations > choose your station > tap the location row > adjust the location. Be sure to save the changes.
- To update the public name and location, go to settings > stations > choose your station > Public Data > adjust the location the same way. Be sure to save the changes.
What is the wireless range of the Tempest device?
Sensor devices communicate with HUB via powerful sub-gHz telemetry radios and can maintain connection up to 300 meters (1000 ft+) unobstructed, in clear line of sight. The Hub should be placed no farther from the router than any other wireless connected devices. Situations vary with obstructions, wall materials, signal interference and power.
How frequently are measurements reported by the sensors?
All values are reported on a one-minute average cycle. Lightning strikes are instantaneously reported upon detection. The haptic rain sensor also reports instantaneous rain start events when more than 5 seconds of continuous rain occurs. The ultrasonic anemometer samples the wind every 3 seconds and sends an average of wind speed & direction to the Hub.
More on wind sampling...
Every 3 seconds the ultrasonic transducers sample the wind speed and direction. These values are averaged in one-minute observations. The lull is the lowest of the 3-second readings and the gust is the highest of the 3 second readings. The one-minute averages become part of your station’s long term record. These are World Meteorological Organization (WMO) standard sampling methods.
What does 'Direction Offset' do to the wind direction?
The wind direction offset value is added to your raw wind direction reading. If you think your wind direction is off or perhaps the sensor device is installed backwards and you don't want to fix it manually, simply apply a direction offset. Go to Settings > Stations > Choose a station > Manage devices > Choose Tempest > Advanced > Direction Offset.
How is wind direction displayed?
Wind direction reports are based on where the wind is blowing from. Wind direction is displayed in degree format or cardinal direction. Conventional wind barbs point into the wind but you can also treat the wind as a vector using an arrow that points in the direction of the flow.
How is pressure displayed?
The value displayed on the station home screen of the app is sea level pressure. Also known as relative pressure or barometric pressure, this is an adjusted value based on temperature and total height above sea level (elevation + height above ground).
Station pressure or atmospheric pressure is measured directly by the sensor. This pressure value is not of much use to people, unless for some reason you want to know what the actual pressure is at your house (maybe for brewing beer, baking bread or engine tuning?). Station pressure is displayed in the list view in the app.
Pressure trends: The following trends are determined from changes over 3 hour intervals...
"Falling"/"Rising" if the magnitude of the pressure change is ≥ 1 mb
"Steady" if the magnitude of the pressure change is ≤ 1 mb
What are the rates of the rain intensity values?
VERY LIGHT: < 0.25 mm/hour
LIGHT: ≥ 0.25, < 1.0 mm/hour
MODERATE: ≥ 1.0, < 4.0 mm/hour
HEAVY: ≥ 4.0, < 16.0 mm/hour
VERY HEAVY: ≥ 16.0, < 50 mm/hour
EXTREME: > 50.0 mm/hour
How do I view daily summaries of observations?
You can view daily summaries of observations using the history tab. You can also use the graph view at the outermost zoom level for any parameter. In the graph view, the box plots represent the highest and lowest observed values for that day. The red line displayed in each box is the average value over the entire day, not the average of the highest and lowest value.
Will I lose data if my Hub/station experiences an outage?
Sensor devices can store about an hour worth of data and will continue pinging the Hub to reconnect. Once power to the Hub is reestablished and the devices reconnect, stored device data will be offloaded to the Hub for publication.
Tip: In the event of a prolonged power outage, you can power the Hub with an external power bank. The hub requires a minimum 5-Watt (1 Amp @ 5 volts) power supply. Make sure the power bank you select has pass through charging ability, meaning it will charge itself (from the wall) at the same time it powers the Hub. For reference, a 10,000mAh battery capacity can power the Hub for over 72 hours.
Sensor devices will continue transmitting data to the Hub. The Hub can store about a week of data from one Tempest. Once internet connection is restored to the Hub, it will publish the data. Tip: The Hub is able to publish the data locally (UDP, BLE) as long as it has power (setup UDP broadcast and/or leave the app open on a Bluetooth connected device).
Why is the lightning detector giving false positives?
The lightning detector in the Tempest senses the small electromagnetic pulse produced by lightning. Although it will reject most non-lightning emissions, it may report so-called "false positives" from other electromagnetic sources including motors, microwave ovens, computer monitors, speakers, and even motion detectors. Be sure to locate the Tempest away from such sources. Sometimes these sources are not obvious. If you experience false positives, the simple solution is to re-locate your Tempest in a location free of electromagnetic interference. If however, you cannot identify any potential interference, or you are limited on siting options, subtle changes in the positioning of air can make all the difference.
What does the RSSI value indicate?
RSSI is a relative measurement of signal strength between either a device and the Hub or the Hub and your router/access point. The closer to zero the better the signal. For example, an RSSI of -55 is great. -12 is fantastic (Tempest & the Hub are probably sitting right next to each other). -75 is still good. Once you get closer to -90, you're on the edge and could suffer from packet loss or drop outs.
How do I clean the Tempest device?
Under normal conditions, you should not need to clean your Tempest device. Rain and wind will keep it sufficiently clean. In some cases, you may notice foreign build-up in the wind gap where the ultra-sonic anemometer takes readings. In this case, we recommend removing any debris with a light spray from a hose. You may also want to take the device indoors and use water from the kitchen or bathroom faucet at medium to high pressure. Do not use soap or anything but water. You may need to use a cloth on the top of the device to remove bird droppings and you may also want to wipe the exterior and between the radiation shield plates to remove anything the water does not. Do NOT use a cloth or abrasion of any kind in the wind gap area, which is coated with a super-hydrophobic material.
What does the 'Share Publicly' setting entail?
The 'Share Publicly' settings toggle allows you to decide whether or not others can view data from your weather station and also permits integrated services like IFTTT to use the data. This data does not include any personal identification. It does include a general proximity location for geographical context. If this is of concern, you can simply change the location of your station in the Station settings menu. Here's an example of publicly shared weather data: https://tempestwx.com/station/1934/grid
Can I see a map of all Tempest stations?
There’s a map of all publicly reporting Tempest stations here: TempestWx.com/map
You can also get to this map from the mobile app, starting from the Settings tab, scroll to the "More" heading and tap the "TempestWx (Map)" link.
What's the difference between the mobile app and the web app?
The mobile app is focused on providing an intuitive view of current conditions and forecast information, both of which are driven and improved by observation data from your Tempest hardware.
The web app (TempestWx.com) includes all of the features of the mobile apps, plus a few extras - typically those that are used less frequently and/or are more appropriate for a browser interface. As we add more features to both apps, we will continue to be guided by our design principles.
Our design goals are to keep the Tempest apps purposefully simple, elegant and easy-to-use. Feedback on our apps generally comes in two forms: Some users want a more technical, sophisticated view of the data from their weather station. Others simply want to know what the weather is doing now and in the future in a simple and clean interface. Our challenge is to provide both.
What are the IFTTT column headers for the observation log applet?
If you are using the pre-made applet, the column headers are as follows: Timestamp, AirTemp, Humidity, Pressure, WindAvg, WindDir, WindLull, WindGust, Rain, UV, Brightness, SolarRadiation, LightningStrike
Know that you can make new columns and convert from the base units or add a conversion to the data coming in to a cell. This is one of the pre-configured IFTTT applets which is simple to set up but the configuration cannot be changed. However, you can actually create your own applet with your own configuration (parameters, units, etc.).
To configure your own data logging applet...
From IFTTT, go to My Applets > New Applet > select WeatherFlow for the "If" part > choose New Observation. Then choose Google Sheets for the "Then" part > "Add Row" > customize your preferred ingredients to a formatted row.
How can I use my data on my website or blog?
- If your website uses WordPress, check out this beautiful Weather Station plugin: https://weather.station.software/
- The desktop software, Weather-Display (www.weather-display.com) is a powerful tool for visualizing weather data and also provides a way to publish data to a website.
- If you are an experienced developer, or know someone who is, check out our API: https://weatherflow.github.io/Tempest/
How do I link my station to Weather Underground?
To send your weather station data to WU, create a WU PWS and gather your PWS ID and Station key. Then login to your account on the web app: https://tempestwx.com/ and go to settings > stations > choose your station > public data > Weather Underground and enter your WU PWS station ID and key. Wait at least 30 minutes to an hour before WU starts publishing your data. This process could take longer depending on WU issues.
Can I see my weather station online?
Yes. Go to https://tempestwx.com/ and sign in with your Tempest account login credentials. You can also share your weather station with friends and family by sharing the URL noted at the bottom of your station’s web page. You can use any connected device to view your weather data. iPad – yes. iPhone – yes. Android phone or tablet – yes. Computer – yes. Anything with a browser.
Do I need WiFi?
We do not recommend using the Tempest System without a WiFi connection. Connecting the Hub (indoor base station) to WiFi will not only provide complete and continuous weather data, but will also allow the user to access the data anytime, from anywhere with an internet connection. The Hub will also use a WiFi connection to download necessary firmware updates. It is possible to connect to the Hub over Bluetooth only, but only the most recent observations from the Tempest device will be available while in Bluetooth range.
Is the Tempest device solar powered?
The Tempest device uses an advanced rechargeable battery that is well suited for use outdoors and in cold temperatures. LTO batteries are safe on the environment and have a very long lifetime of almost 50,000 cycles - which is decades of recharging. If the battery capacity in your Tempest gets too low, software will automatically put the device in a power saving mode. See more info on Tempest's battery technology and solar power.
How does the ultra-sonic anemometer work?
The ultra-sonic anemometer is comprised of 4 transducers housed in the top of the device. The Tempest measures wind speed and direction based on the time of flight of ultra-sonic pulses between pairs of transducers. This allows for a high degree of accuracy especially in variable wind conditions. For more information, check out Wikipedia on Ultra-Sonic Anemometers.
How does the haptic rain sensor work?
Tempest uses a patent-pending haptic rain sensor in the top of the device. Using a combination of pressure and capacitance, Tempest measures and counts each falling raindrop. Algorithms exclude things that are not rain (like the rumblings of a passing train or Harley). This allows Tempest to report the instant rain begins falling, the current intensity, and the total rain accumulation over time. Accuracy compares to a large tipping bucket, but does not get fouled with leaves or bird poop. See more info here: Tempest System Rain Data
Do I need a solar radiation shield?
Nope! The Tempest thermometer is located inside the built-in radiation shield. The unique design of this radiation shield itself allows for accurate ambient temperature readings the majority of the time. Air moves through the radiation shield freely while blocking radiative heat sources. Under certain conditions, especially full sun combined with calm or very light winds, solar radiation can lead to elevated readings inside the shield compared to ambient conditions outside. In those cases, Tempest will automatically apply an empirically-derived compensation, using its own solar radiation and wind readings, to keep temperature readings accurate. No additional shielding is necessary!
Does Tempest detect lightning?
Tempest detects cloud-to-ground and cloud-to-cloud lightning activity. The sensor detects electrical transmissions from lightning activity up to 40km (approx. 25 miles) away and gives an estimate of distance. Humans can typically sense lightning only up to 25km away. The sensor algorithm is even smart enough to reject man-made signals such as microwave ovens and motors. That said, it’s important to place the Tempest away from electrical disturbances for best performance. See more on Tempest's lightning detection.
What is the temperature operating range of the equipment?
The WiFi Hub (indoor base station) is not to be used outdoors. The device should not be in an environment where relative humidity can reach 95% or more because water could condense on the circuits and cause damage.
- The ideal operating range is from -35C to 60C (-31F to 140F). At extremely cold temperatures, the ultrasonic anemometer may report wind speed readings lower than actual.
- Temperature readings will be reported down to -37 C (-35 F). The device should not suffer any long term ill effects if outdoor temperatures drop below -35C (-31F).
- The LTO battery used in the Tempest device will continue charging normally down to about -55C (-67F). At or below this temperature, the battery should be able to keep the device powered for long enough until the temperature warms up to allow the battery to recharge.
How durable is the Tempest device?
We use a marine-grade plastic formula for the device casings, which are designed to improve durability and keep the devices shining white for many years to come. No matter where you live; in the heat of Central Florida, the bitter cold of Canada, or across the seas, the Tempest won't degrade after years of weathering.
Can I use this on a moving vehicle?
The Tempest System is not designed to support mobile installations. Although, we do know of many owners who have installed Tempest equipment on a boat, RV, storm chasing vehicle, motor homes, etc. but there are some drawbacks to know about...
- There is no GPS in the hardware, so the station location settings need to be updated manually upon relocating.
- Auto-calibrations, forecasts and AI learning for the forecasts are all based on location and taking measurements consistently at a certain location.
- Wind direction is determined by aligning the Tempest sensor device to true north.
- Rain readings are triggered by vibrations detected by the haptic rain sensor, so, being in motion could create false rain readings.
- The Hub (indoor base station) connects to a 2.4GHz home WiFi network, but a mobile hotspot could work. We don't recommend using the Tempest without a WiFi connection.
- The Hub does need to be powered, requiring a 1amp @5v power supply.
Is the Tempest a scientific/professional instrument?
The Tempest device was designed to be the best weather sensor device for residential use in the world. The sensor hardware within Tempest devices are best-of-class; as good or better than what you find in other home weather stations. The data these sensors provide is higher quality than data coming from most home stations as well as what more expensive, pro-sumer hardware produces. Moreover, the Tempest system is more than hardware - using advanced quality control analysis and machine learning techniques, our goal is to provide you the most accurate estimate of real-time conditions, as well as a guaranteed better forecast.
In addition to data accuracy and forecast enhancement, there are several attributes where the Tempest perform better than other devices, better even than "professional" devices. These areas include cost, simplicity, ease-of-use, low maintenance, and high reliability.
And while we do intend to develop a line of commercial/professional weather hardware devices in the future, the Tempest is aimed squarely at the home consumer. Despite being designed for common residential use with available WiFi, they will perform exceptionally well in a variety of situations. That said, features like power management, signal range, connectivity, inputs/outputs have not been optimized for the various advanced needs of the scientific / professional user.
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