A recently purchased AcuRite weather station requires a USB connection to a computer in order to update online services such as the Weather Underground or AcuRite’s My Backyard Weather. In this case, the optimal location for the display unit is in the kitchen, so there are three options to making that work:
- Computer located in the kitchen.
A small, fanless computer would be quiet and have a small footprint. Unfortunately the one on hand does not meet the hardware requirements of the VIS Reader software. Buying a system for this purpose would cost more than an upgraded system (like a Davis) that would have that capability built in.
- Put the display unit by the computer in the basement office.
That would work also, but defeats the purpose of the display unit, since no one would see it except me. Also, the wireless communication is a bit iffy there.
- Combination of the two.
In this case, the best solution is the leave the computer downstairs in the office and put the display unit in the kitchen. This can be accomplished by using an USB extender and there are quite a few options. For example, Monoprice has a wide selection; extenders integrated into the USB cable itself and USB over Cat5. Usually, Monoprice would be the first choice, however, I have experience with Tripp-Lite products and that’s what what chosen for this project.
The particular extenerder used for this task can be purchased at Newegg. Keep in mind that Cat5 cable and connectors will also be needed, or a long patch cable could be used as well. Cable and connectors are in the Workbench inventory, so no additional expense here.
The display was mounted on the wall where a telephone used to hang, it was easy enough to use the old telephone cable to pull the Cat5 down through the wall an into the basement. A similar process was used to route into the office space. In the office the cable was terminated with a keystone jack. In the kitchen, it was terminated with a RJ45 connector (since it will all be tucked away inside the wall).
It works great, it’s been connected for a week without issue.
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