Wind direction and turbulence detection in urban environment

Before getting into coding; has someone a few recommendations for good quality wind vanes with high responsiveness, probably with low mass? I want to detect the sometimes rapidly changing wind direction at an inner city crossroads, where the houses turn streets into wind funnels.

Using Rob Tillaart's excellent running median and running average libraries could then be a suitable way to adjust the output's granularity.

Or would you rather recommend building one's own sensor with a specific kind of reed-switch arrangement, potentiometer or rotary encoder?

Thanks for some hints!

I would guess that a commercial ultrasonic wind sensor would theoretically have the fastest response time.
Check the specs and make your own version if the standard models have too much low pass filtering.

Thanks, these are very responsive to rapidly changing gusts, nice, but wow... pricey things!

Quantifying your requirements would go a long way to helping you find a suitable product.

Wind direction is one thing, but "turbulence" is 3 dimensional movement of the air. Possibly all 3 directions at the same time.



Turbulence is only important in terms of rapid change of x/y-direction relative to the global normal, detecting more complex motion is luckily not necessary for this project. It is mainly to identify the worst street intersections, also capturing the amount of dust particles deposited by the on-going wind (that's done with another apparatus).

As for quantifying, well, I would be willing to spend $200 on such wind vane, maybe a bit more; but since this is not a scientific paper style project, the ultrasonic devices I looked at today are in a different league, price wise, with prices well above $1,000, and the small hobbyist $30 plastic wind vanes one can find are not "fast" enough in terms of reaction time, and maybe too unreliable?

What devices did you use for, for example, weather station projects?

What are your technical requirements? I'm no expert but google indicates that non-toy wind vanes have properties such as length constant, delay distance, damping, accuracy, and more. Can state your needs in those terms?

Unfortunately not really, only that the usual plastic $30 type versions from Alibaba et al. don't seem to quite cut it. In town, they either provide too coarse angle readings or seem to vibrate. I'm seaching further online as there are no shops one can visit to get recommendations.

I'm seaching further online as there are no shops one can visit to get recommendations.

Try a marine supply place - you could use a masthead unit for speed and direction.

And for x-y turbulence indication, you need at least two direction sensor fairly close together. Turbulence will be indicated by the two showing different wind directions in the same time period.


All right, a marine supplier, I did not think of that one, thanks!

Just had a quick cursory look and there seem to be quite a few in the range between $100 and $300, but have to check if they aren't purely visual, but output some electric signal an Adafruit Metro Mini can read. Looks promising...

You could build your own arduino-driven ultrasonic sensor: Ultrasonic Anemometer For An Absurdly Accurate Weather Station | Hackaday

You can't express your technical requirements for the dynamic response of your sensor in what appear to be industry standard terms. Hmmm. How will you know whether the vane you buy is "good enough"?

Well, I’m not part of an industry ; )

I will know if it is good enough for the purpose once I bought and tried it. The marine equipment sector was a good hint. Sailing boats need a very responsive yet robust equipment, and my confidence in some of the products from that sector is higher than in a $30 rock-bottom hobbyist part.

I’m not averse building one of the ultrasonic kind; a good CNC-machine shop, metrology equipment, etc. is available. It’s certainly worth contemplating.

I will know if it is good enough for the purpose once I bought and tried it.

Sounds like a plan!

I like this wind sensor (it has been decoded for Arduino), but let us know what you end up using.

I'll surely get back here in a few weeks, once my amateur error correction codes fail, for example ; )