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 Use Utilite and RTL-SDR Dongle to Receive Home Weather Data 
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Joined: Mon Jan 09, 2012 3:16 am
Posts: 351
Post Use Utilite and RTL-SDR Dongle to Receive Home Weather Data
Overview

A wide variety of simple wireless "Weather Stations" are available. Generally, they consist of a remote wireless sensor unit and a base receiver, display unit. Actually, the label of Weather Station seems to be a bit of a misnomer as most of these only provide basic data such as temperature and humidity. In any event, many of these devices communicate at 433.92 MHz. Using a RTL-SDR broadband receiver dongle and the application, rtl_433, Utilite can receive, decode, and display the data these units transmit.

For information on using the RTL-SDR broadband receiver dongle with Utilite, see:

viewtopic.php?f=77&t=1972


Hardware
1. Utilite
2. RTL-SDR USB dongle
3. Antenna
4. Wireless "Weather Station"

Attachment:
rtl_433 equipment.jpeg
rtl_433 equipment.jpeg [ 26.51 KiB | Viewed 5421 times ]



Software

Ideally, one would expect rtl_433 to work in conjunction with a previously installed occurrence of the rtl-sdr libraries and utilities. Most other rtl-sdr applications work this way. Unfortunately, the rtl_433 package installs its own rtl-sdr libraries and utilities which don't seem to be as up to date as the "official" rtl-sdr repositories. Such is the case in the world of open source branching and forking. The bottom line is that if you chose to install rtl_433 you will first need to uninstall prior versions of rtl-sdr. Fortunately, the authors have provided good function in this area and make uninstall does a good job of cleaning things up.

Required Packages
1. git
2. cmake
3.libusb-1.0-0.dev
4. build-essential
5. rtl_433

The packages git, cmake, libusb-1.0-0-dev, and build-essential, if not already installed on your Utilite, are available from the Ubuntu package manager. Rtl_433, however is not available in the package manage, so it must be downloaded and installed from source.

Just like the rtl-sdr package, rtl_433 includes the required librtlsd library and a variety of command line utilities including rtl_test, rtl_sdr, rtl_tcp, and rtl_fm. In addition, it provides the new utility we are interested in - which is rtl_433.


Software Installation

To obtain rtl_433, navigate to https://github.com/merbanan/rtl_433 and download the zip file. Extract the zip file in a directory of your choice (I used /usr/local/src), and install using the following commands in your terminal.

cd rtl_433/
mkdir build
cd build
cmake ../ -DINSTALL_UDEV_RULES=O
make
sudo make install
sudo ldconfig

Note: Running cmake with the with the -DINSTALL_UDEV_RULES=ON argument allows you to use the RTL-SDR dongle, and run rtl_433 as a non-root user.


Software Operation and Results

To run rtl_433, simply open a terminal window and issue the command rtl_433.

The picture below shows the rtl_433 running on Utilite and receiving data from a Radio Shack Wireless Weather Forecaster. As you can see, the data rtl_433 returns closely matches the data indicated by the base unit. The slight difference in readings is because the 2 images were not taken at exactly the same time.

Attachment:
rtl_433 System Output.jpeg
rtl_433 System Output.jpeg [ 170.99 KiB | Viewed 5419 times ]



Conclusions

1. Utilite in conjunction with a suitable RTL-SDR receiver, the program rtl_433, and a suitable wireless weather monitor provides interesting possibilities for data logging, display, graphing, etc.

2. Utilite once again demonstrates its versatility.


Further Reading

http://goughlui.com/?p=5395
https://github.com/merbanan/rtl_433
http://www.rtl-sdr.com/using-rtl-sdr-rt ... s-devices/
http://www.yellownote.nl/blog/dvb-t-fun ... ns-part-3/


Fri Aug 29, 2014 1:05 am
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Joined: Tue Mar 25, 2014 5:56 pm
Posts: 109
Post Re: Use Utilite and RTL-SDR Dongle to Receive Home Weather D
Thank you Hassellbear!

Very interesting article , like so many that you have posted here.

Do you know, is there an existing software that could be used to a) record the temperature and/or weather data on hourly bases to the database and then b) showing it in some kind of graphical format for example in the browser?


Sun Aug 31, 2014 8:51 am
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Joined: Mon Jan 09, 2012 3:16 am
Posts: 351
Post Re: Use Utilite and RTL-SDR Dongle to Receive Home Weather D
Hello 2kanna,

Thanks, I have a lot of fun working with Utilite. I've learned many new things in the process.

Lui Gough modified the code to output a csv file which can be graphed. See his article at: http://goughlui.com/?p=5395

Unfortunately, I haven't found where he posted the modified code, but in the comments at the end of his article he provides some insight on the changes he made. He might share his code if asked.

Best regards,

Darryl Hassell


Sun Aug 31, 2014 4:17 pm
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Joined: Tue Mar 25, 2014 5:56 pm
Posts: 109
Post Re: Use Utilite and RTL-SDR Dongle to Receive Home Weather D
Thanks for the tip, I'll check that out!


Mon Sep 01, 2014 6:07 pm
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