Network storage and display recommendations

After hours of reading and researching, I’m more confused than ever. Here’s what I’m trying to do:

  1. Provide my wife and family an easy, countertop console to display WX data.
  2. Provide for historical data from our Tempest (and a host of older wx devices).
    My skills:
  3. I’m a retired IT specialist with older programming skills (very rusty).
  4. I have a pile of older laptops (mostly windows xp thru 8) that i can reuse.
  5. some exposure to Suse Linux.
    My questions/issues:
  6. WeeWX seems to be the best possible platforms, but need suggestions.
  7. Should i use an older laptop as base or buy and use Raspberry Pi/cheap box?
  8. Which OS would be best (I’m leaning towards Open Suse, but don’t know what’s easiest).
  9. How difficult is it to acquire and modify one of the displays from WeeWx?

If i could get some idea of direction to study and possible alternative, that would help me in my search.

Everything you’re asking is doable if you can edit a simple text file. Transitioning from SuSE to a debian(ish) os is very easy so don’t worry that. Weewx can be turnkey if you want it to be, and it’s can be basically infinitely flexible if you want it to be. If you’re retired IT you can definitely handle it.

[…longer answer follows…]


  • what is in your ‘host of older wx devices’ and what data do you want to get off them ? How do they connect up to a computer or to your LAN ?

  • I’m assuming you want an integrated dashboard from multiple sources of information, correct ?

  • if you had to spend money, what’s your budget ?

  • do you want something that works LAN-only with no connection to the WF servers at all ? That’s important to a lot of people.

Some options:

  • If you wanted WF-only data and didn’t mind a persistent connection to the WF server, personally I think Peter’s wfpiconsole is the prettiest display I’ve seen. Installation of the software can be a bit slow but that’s a one-time pain. Screenshot and forums are [HERE]. Screenshot is at the top.

  • If you want to integrate multiple sources of data, or run just WF LAN-only, or if you want to do your own display, then I’d say weewx with the Belchertown skin is the prettiest looking. Pat’s site is [HERE] if you want to take a look (be gentle please). Super customizable via editing the weewx config file. You can also roll your own look’n’feel from scratch if so inclined.

Re: hardware, the simplest turnkey set of hardware to buy would be a rig configured to support Peter’s wfpiconsole. That’s a pi, pi display, sd card, touchscreen, and case. Looks pretty nice on the desk too. Cool part about buying the setup for wfpiconsole is you can use the same gear for weewx if you want to switch back and forth and fiddle around with which way you want to go.

You can run weewx on anything speaking Linux of any variant of your choice, and going debian(ish) gets you the best support since that’s the reference platform…but it does work on CentOS 7+8 and similar variants like SuSE.

For starters if you have a Linux laptop you could definitely spin up a full weewx setup in just a few minutes if you keep it simple. I have some installation scripts that work on a variety of distros if you want to look for the ‘’ scripts in my github repo [LINK] which sets up weewx using a Simulator station that autogenerates some data. It helps a lot in getting comfortable with the app.

  • my provisioner scripts can be used standalone to add weewx and nginx as a webserver to a bunch of operating systems. You can also pick whether you want to use the pre-packaged versions (rpm for RedHat-ish systems) or whether you want to use the legacy python installer (what I use) that is a little more flexible and upgrades cleaner in my opinion. End result works equally well either way.

For getting @vreihen’s driver for weewx working, you need to also download+install it and edit the conf file to basically identify the sensor id for you Tempest and Hub. Otherwise it’s almost plug’n’play.
Super easy.


+1 Vince.

Also, WeatherBox is coming out soon, which addresses all the points made as well.

Good info would be what the devices are that fall under “host of older wx devices” to see if they are supportable.

Thanks! I think I’ll reprovision a older Dell laptop for Debian and play with weewx just to get me some 'speriance on both the OS and Python while I try Weewx. When ready I’ll probably try moving to pi.

Also, would an NAS of about 250Gb support years of data? I have a bunch of older sub 500gb drives laying around I can repurpose.

As I may have many questions as I venture forth, should I contact you through this channel or some other path?

I have 11 years of data and it’s under 0.5 GB in size, so I think you’re good to go there.

Spin up weewx in Simulator mode. Install the Belchertown skin. Play around with it. Then switch to the WF driver and run for real.

Good plan! I’ll let you know how it goes!

Here’s what I’ve been able to accomplish:

  1. Built a E5540 (17” laptop running i5; 16Gb ram; 500Gb HD) to Debian 10.7.0 (Buster) (had to use NetINST w/Net downloads) and, not knowing what GUI to use, I loaded cinnamon…
    Funny note, I stared at the Cinnamon screen for about 2 minutes, perplexed as to what to do next! – I realize that’s going to be a learning curve… is another GUI better?
  2. Found out that Python is already in the Debian. I hope it’s complete as I don’t know what else to load – any suggestions?
  3. Found out that Python is also on my big windows main machine. As it’s a i9 with 64gb ram, 3Tb in HD’s (sys on 750Gb SSD), Nvida Geforce RTX2060 driving a 38” screen driven. I run GIS on it.

Here’s what I’m thinking:

  1. Load VirtualBox on the Windows box.
  2. Load Debian Buster on it.
  3. Load Weewx; Belchertown skins.1. Learn Python on Windows and the Virtual box.
    I’m very comfortable with the Windows environment, including the win developers/command line. I can concentrate on Python and Weewx learning curves.
  4. If possible, create another VirtualBox for the pi and try my weewx modes there before I buy a pi machine.

Unfortunately, lost two days with trying to get biois update on the Dell… (FreeDOS has MAJOR issues with bootable cdroms when using DVD drives). Just bypassed this issue and ran Debian’s NetInst without issues.

Any suggestions or warnings would be appreciated as I stumble down this (abet self-generated) torturous path?

You’re overthinking. You also have waaaay more compute than you need for this one.

  1. I dunno about GUI recommendations. I never install a GUI on any Linux servers that I run, unless forced for other reasons. GUIs are for Windows people :slight_smile:
  2. Yes all Linux distros will have python there. You want python3 since python2 is past EOL. All modern distros will have python3 present and most will set it as the default.
  3. That is a little surprising actually but sure, fine.

Given that you have a Linux laptop now, I’d suggest just use that and not worry Windows at all. If you’re gonna dive in, go for it.

Option 1 - just install it to your laptop

Simplest way to install weewx plus a nginx webserver on your debian laptop is to just run my provisioner script that’s available (HERE) on GitHub.

That script downloads all the prerequisites for weewx for your os, installs it, and installs and configures weewx in Simulator mode. It sets the lat/lon/timezone to my location here near Seattle, which doesn’t really matter if you’re running the Simulator. You could comment out (or edit) the lines at the bottom of the file to match your location.

What should happen is weewx will run and nginx will as well, so you should be able to see weewx webpages at http://x.x.x.x/weewx in 5 minutes after it runs it’s periodic routine to generate the web pages.

Option 2 - go the VM route on Linux

Alternately - if you want to go VirtualBox on your Linux laptop that would be fine too. Install that ‘plus’ Vagrant. Git clone my repo (HERE), cd into setup/debian10, and run “vagrant up” and it’ll build and start a VM with the same resulting configuration. To nuke the VM just run “vagrant destroy” in that directory. Super cool way to spin up and tear down test environments.

Option 3 - go the VM route on Windows

Don’t do that. It would make all the Linux people sad :slight_smile:

Actually it works great there too. Same as option 2 above except you’d want to download a git client for Windows. Personally I use cygwin for this.

My recommendation…

Personally - I’d say go option-1 above and go pure Linux right off the bat. If you wanted to remove things you’ve installed, it’s just a couple commands to run. Easy.

If you need some free self-paced Linux training take the Introduction to Linux class that almost 700,000 people have taken. Link is (HERE). Ignore anything there saying pay to play, as the course is totally free. Just ignore the bogus certificate of completion silliness. That course will get you the fundamentals for how to work in a Linux world.

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Thanks! I’m just (perhaps too) comfortable in a Win environment. At my age, I probably should branch out and give the Linux box a go… nothing like jumping in with everything…

I’ll let you know how it goes…


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Completed the install of Debian 10.8 on Dell laptop. Completed EDx for Linux foundation (thanks!). Ran your Provisioning script; Ngnix and Weewx are running. I assume (because i’ve not modified scripts yet) it’s showing me your Hood River location? (BTW, i went to Jr. High in The Dalles and High School in Bend!).
Which files do i modify to get my location and/or Weatherflow info? Which leads me to were to find info on adding/viewing different displays and modifing scripts to my preferences (i assume i’ll be using Python).

You want to read the docs on the weewx site, and scan their wiki. You should not need to do any python programming. There are a lot of very good docs that took forever to write, so leverage them and point out where they perhaps could be improved.

If you ran my example you’re running the Simulator driver. The weewx author lives in Hood River.

Anyway, if you have weewx questions, you should subscribe to the weewx-user google group and ask there. The google group is searchable with years of folks asking the same questions as they spun up on the software. Folks there are very helpful.

If you have your WF gear and want to switch to @vreihen’s weewx driver, use his docs for how to do so.

But my suggestion is it might be easier to get your feet wet using the simulator for a while. Get used to tweaking weewx.conf file and the skin(s) you have installed to kinda salt to taste. But there’s really no wrong answer.

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Thanks! if i grok this correctly, nginx generates the simulation data that your provisioning script setup for weewx? so nginx is just necessary for the simulator operation. I can use that as an alternate (abet, and basic and correctly formatted data) for checking out different screens?
again, thanks for the direction and guidance.

Not even close.

Weewx does all the heavy lifting. It talks to the weather station (or simulates a station), generates data and saves it into its database, and periodically generates web pages and graphs ‘from’ that saved data. Nginx is just a webserver so you can see the web pages weewx generated.

All my provisioning script did was install weewx+nginx and minimally configure them to work together so weewx writes its output web pages and images into a directory nginx is configured to be able to read.

Oh, so nginx is sort of an apache-lite?
I’ll join the weewx google-group and start playing with it. Thanks for your assistance!

It’s lighter weight than apache and many folks think it’s faster, but notionally it’s the same. It’s a webserver. There are lots of them out there.

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After running the provisioning script, nginx ran and weewx loaded with the Deb-107 webpage. I then modified weewx.conf, adding the suggested changes to [Station], adding [WeatherFlowUDP] and [[sensor_map]] sections. I then made copy of the original conf file; copied my changed conf file, replaced the original weewx.conf with mine. checked for locations of all the weewx.conf files and confirmed no other ones existed that appeared to be weewx config files. That was two days ago.
I then tried to restart weewx with command line weewxd restart command. Bash says it can’t find weewx. I tried to NGINX, same response. I’ve tried to run both commands from every location for any existence of either weewx, weewxd, or nginx. I’ve shut down the laptop, restarted the laptop, restarted firefox and every other option i know to try.

  1. How do i get weewx to find the new weewx.conf?
  2. How do i restart weewx to load changes to weewx.conf.
  3. What else must i understand to make simple changes to weewx, skins and data loads?

i’ve loaded and run the UDP listening script - works fine, my WeatherFlow Tempest is sending info.
I’m running Debian 10 on a Dell laptop.

have you re ran the config command and choose the the correct ‘plugin’ as station ?

i’ve tried to other commands, none of which weewx responds to. I’m sure i’m not executing the commands correctly as i can’t seem to get any command line bash response to my entries for weewx. I’m using xterm as command console; nginx as the web server, os is Debian 10. as an example, i’d try to restart weewx with the “weewx -restart”, “weewxd restart” “sudo weewx…” and so on… ad nausium. I can’t seem to even get help to work. all i get back from bash is “bash: weewx not found” - no matter where i execute the command. So i’m doing something simple, wrong…

did i mention i’m new to Linux?

I think Vince’s provisioning script uses the method to install weewx that doesn’t add the weewx commands to the path (i.e. you can’t call them from any directory). If in a terminal you navigate to the weewx directory that contains the weewx functions (cd /home/weewx/bin) can you now call them?