Gardening Lawn

Raspberry Pi Weather Station Pt. 2

When I originally thought about this project, I was thinking of having the Raspberry Pi interface with another micro-controller which would take the actual measurements. The majority of the sensors are essentially designed to generate pulses. The frequency of these pulses corresponds to a certain value. For example, the rain gauge operates using a reed switch with a 100 Ohm resistor in series with it. When a hundredth of an inch of water passes through it, it momentarily closed the reed switch. Depending on how you hook it up, it can be either active low or active high. I prefer working with active high signals, so that is the design I went with.

However, after thinking about it for awhile I decided to use the GPIOs on the Raspberry PI and to use the interrupt library. In hind sight, that may not have been the best idea. I originally connected the rain gauge to the first GPIO pin (board pin 3). Unfortunately, the only place where it is documented that board pin 3 has pull up resistor on the Raspberry Pi board itself is in the code for the library. So when I first did my integration, it was throwing all kinds of errors and warnings. So, I ended up switching it to board pin 8. The schematic below is the updated schematic I am currently using.

The code is relatively simple. Rather than having locks, I use a counter. Due to the GIL in Python, the counter is essentially atomic (not that it matters much for this implementation anyway). Every hour, I calculate what the difference is in the current count from the previous hour’s count. I multiply by 0.01″ because every rising edge should be a hundredth of an inch and write it to the database.

import RPi.GPIO as GPIO
import time
import psycopg2

GPIO.setup(8, GPIO.IN, pull_up_down=GPIO.PUD_DOWN)

c = 0
o = 0

def my_callback(channel):
   global c
   c = c + 1
   print("Rain Gauge Trigger %i" % (c,))

GPIO.add_event_detect(8, GPIO.RISING, callback=my_callback)

while 1==1:
   t = c #read c once in case it changes
   r = (c-o)*0.01
   o = t

   # now do the database update
   conn = psycopg2.connect("dbname=weather user=grafana password=[PASSWORD] host=[HOST]")
   cur = conn.cursor()
   cur.execute("INSERT INTO rain (time, amount) VALUES ('now', %s)", (r, ))

I run the program using screen so that I can disconnect from the Raspberry Pi. At some point, I plan on using systemd to run it as a daemon which is restartable and will run at boot. From, there I use Grafana to generate a nice display.

Unfortunately, one of the problems I do have is that there are a lot of “phantom” interrupts as in there are interrupts when it is not raining. I get a few of these an hour. I believe it has something to do with the logic level thresholds, so I am going to play with the pull down resistor to see if I can get them to go away.

AWS Gardening

Raspberry Pi Weather Station Pt. 1

I got my first weather station almost two decades ago. It was a very basic weather station by Davis and only supported rain, temperature and wind speed. After that one finally kicked the bucket, I ended up with a similar Peet Brothers weather station and for a brief period of time I used it for reporting weather over APRS.

Now that I am getting back into gardening again and starting to care about my lawn more, I would like to be able to have a better idea of what is going on. I’d like to be able to monitor the weather in the garden and be able to analyze it over the years.

So, I decided that I am going to build my own weather station out of a Raspberry Pi 4. The Raspberry Pi will interface with a rain guage, temperature sensor and hygrometer. I’m not worried about wind speed because my house is surrounded by many very tall trees, so I will never be able to get an accurate measurement.

On the software side, I wanted to be able to record the data for as long as possible and to have a convenient way to display and manipulate the data. To do this, I plan on using Postgresql and Grafana hosted on an AWS t3a.nano instance.

I looked into using Prometheus, but it was not as flexible or easy to use as I would like. Part of the problem is that my house is behind a NAT gateway and I have no plans on opening any ports or bothering with any VPNs. Out of the box, Prometheus only records data for 15 days. That can be changed using a modern version, but I’m always worried about a configuration file getting overwritten during an update and losing data.


  • Raspberry Pi 4
  • Rainwise Rainew 111 Rain Guage
  • TEMPer1F_H1 temperature/humidity sensor


  • T3a Nano AWS instance
  • Postgres Database
  • Grafana for visualization
  • Python3 to hold everything together