As many lake-goers at Conesus know, weather is pretty random all of the time. It rains, it gets windy, sometimes you get the thunderstorms – All of which you can just look at a normal forecast for. But what about the water? Is is rough out, maybe too rough to boat safely? Is the water freezing or just right for swimming? All of which is privately monitored or not monitored at all. Thats where building and placing a weather buoy would come in.
I’m Zachary DuBois. My main hobby is problem solving, coding, and building things to make life easier. I am going to be teamed up with my cousin to build a data-logging weather buoy that will monitor over 30 different water and air sensors and report to a website that will be publicly available for everyone. This includes, water turbidity (clarity/color), temperature, wave data (amplitude, frequency, direction), and many others listed below.
All of this data is useful for fishing, checking to see if it would be good to go boating, swimming, letting you know if the water rises above your dock, and checking if it is a good swim day. And of course, it can be used for scientific research of the lake to find more trends and possibly predicting as we gather more data. But collecting the amount of data we want requires quite a bit of equipment which is where you can help us out. A lot of the equipment is out of a high schooler’s price range – Hence the campaign.
What We Need
We need contributions to be able to afford to build this buoy. We estimate it to be $5,000 but have made our goal to be $7,500 to account in the a safety price incase a component breaks or we need to make a major change while we are building it. Any excess money that cannot be put towards a stretch goal below will be donated to the Conesus Lake Association and/or a charity. A full price breakdown with all the parts and their prices will be available in a few days of the campaign going live.
What You Get
Supporting our project will definitely place you permanently as someone who help this project happen on the website and you will receive a thank you email from me to show my thanks. You also receive what is indicated on the perk you select. Perks include:
- Your name on the website and an email from me thanking you.
- A personal thank you letter from me sent to you.
- Meeting and a full tour of the buoy before it is put in the water.
- You signature on a permanent sign in clear view on board the buoy.
- Code will be fully open-sourced and available on GitHub.
- Design and wiring diagrams will also be published and open-source (All the hardware is not open-source however).
- Sensor data is live every minute and will available for everyone publicly.
- User accounts can set up alerts for temperatures, no swim advisories, no boating advisories, bad weather conditions, and water depth warnings.
- Indefinite data history allowing for the creation of trends and looking back at weather patterns.
- Developer friendly with a JSON API and web hooks.
- All power comes from the solor panels leaving no power costs or pollution.
- Power is stored in two on-board 250AhSLA (Sealed Lead Acid) batteries which provides enough power for the entire buoy to run for more than two days receiving no power from the solar panels.
Sensors & Equipment
- Air temperature
- Air humidity
- Wind speed
- Wind direction
- UV level
- Light level
- Four cameras (Creating a 360º view around the buoy)
- A LiDar radar to detect when a watercraft gets too close
- Geiger counter to gather ambiant radiation
- Air particle (Air quality)
- LPG gas
- Hydrogen gas
- Methane gas
- Alcohol gas
- 9 DOF (Degrees Of Freedom)
- Water temperature probes at regular intervals submerged underwater.
- Water level (On shore)
- Water turbidity (Clarity/color)
- ORP (Oxidation-Reduction Potential)
- Disolved oxygen
- Current direction
- Wave height
- Wave direction
If we exceed our goal, we want to create a few other small projects to go with this buoy. They are listed below.
- Weather kiosk in the boat launch.
- Another buoy? 🙂
What Happens If We Don’t Reach The Goal?
If we were to not reach our goal we have a few fallback plans detailed below.
- If we don’t reach our goal but have enough raised to create parts of the buoy (including the buoy itself), we will send out a vote to all the backers of the project on what sensors are most important to them. With the selected items, we will build the buoy.
- If we don’t reach our goal and don’t have enough to create the buoy, we will send out a vote to the backers to pick a charity that the money will be donated to.
- If we exceed the goal by enough to invite backers to a cookout, we will plan and set everything up.
- If we reallyexceed our goal, we will throw a cookout for the backers and include a lot of extra sensors and features. Any excess after this will be donated to a charity after a vote.
- Then there is the possibility we have enough to build two or a few and place them around the lake to gather even more trends and improve the accuracy.
Risks & Challenges
As with any project of this scale, there are some major risks and challenges that we will have to overcome.
Some of our risks are:
- Not getting enough interest to be funded.
- The buoy getting damaged by watercraft, lightning, sinking from being flipped, or even stolen (GPS will be equipped on the buoy).
And our challenges:
- Creating a buoy that will be stable enough not to flip from extreme winds and wake.
- Ensuring a safe and dry environment for the non-waterproof equipment.
- Create accurate and calibrated measurements.
- Keeping no carbon footprint by using solar to keep an on-board rechargeable battery or super-capacitor bank charged.
- Keeping the buoy modular to ensure that parts can be replaced easily and ensure for easy maintenance.
- Ensuring the sun cannot damage our equipment through the use of UV radiation shields.
- Attempting to get the buoy recognized as a data collector for several weather services.
- Ensuring that the only power can withstand multiple days without getting sunlight – Also ensuring the entire buoy does not draw too much power.
Other Ways You Can Help
Everyone can support this project in a major way. Either by backing or sharing it with your friends and neighbors.
There are many ways you can contact me.
- Via my blog
- Via phone: +1 (646) 768-0909
Or via snail mail:
Attn: Conesus Lake Weather Buoy
PO Box 116
Rush, NY 14543