How to make the Acu-Rite PWS Rapidfire

"Rapidfire" is a term used by Weather Underground that indicates a Personal Weather Station (PWS) is sending data at a high rate of speed. Rapidfire updates are sent as quickly as every few seconds. Weather Underground uses the term "Normal" for stations sending batch updates every 15 minutes to an hour. Although Acu-Rite gives you the ability to send "Normal" updates, it is difficult to find information on how to get their equipment to send "Rapidfire" updates... Well it was until I wrote this page anyway.

Background - If you're in a hurry, scroll down to Step 1

A number of years ago, I purchased my second Acu-Rite PWS. My first station was a 3-IN-1 that gave me temp, humidity, wind speed and barometric pressure. The new sensor (5-IN-1) had the addition of wind direction and rainfall amount. Best of all, my new sensor came with something called an Internet "Bridge". The bridge sat inside my house, connected directly to my network router and with the assistance of the Acu-Rite service "Acu-Link", I could see both my new 5-in-1 and my old 3-in-1 sensors from anywhere in the world. See me do my Snoopy dance!

I was a 50 year old kid with a new toy. I am a technical guy, worked with computers my whole career, but I think if I were a computer novice, Acu-Rite made getting this all working pretty easy. I had it all up and running... from opening up the box to watching my readings online in less than an hour.

While playing with my new toy, I found a setting on Acu-Link that allowed me to setup a Weather Underground account and feed data from my PWS to Weather Underground. I had been using Weather Underground for years to get my predictions, maps, weather news, etc... So naturally my excitement was heightened even further. I had to get this going!!

I added 2 PWS' to my Weather Underground account. It assigned me 2 IDs for my stations... KILZION3 and KILZION5. The coincidence that I had a 3-in-1 and a 5-in-1 sensors was not lost on me. I decided KILZION3 was going to be my 3-in-1 sensor and KILZION5 was going to be my 5-in-1.

It was at this point, I hit my first "GOTCHA". I went back to Acu-Link to tell it to transmit my sensor data to Weather Underground. I discovered that although the Internet Bridge can handle up to 3 PWS sensors and Weather Underground allows you to have as many PWS' you like, Acu-Link will only transmit 1 PWS to Weather Underground. I refused to believe this for the longest time. I tried reading the blogs, searching the Internet and tried tricking Acu-link into sending both. Nothing gave me a solution so eventually I had to come to the realization that I was SOL. On Weather Underground I let KILZION3 sit idle, and made KILZION5 a live feed.

My next "GOTCHAS" were Rapidfire, Wind Gusts and Rainfall to Weather Underground. I noticed the only other PWS in the small city I live in was put up by the city itself. It was doing something called "Rapidfire" updates. Their sensor updated on Weather Underground every few seconds. My updates were arriving at Weather Underground every 15 minutes up to an hour. I also noted that my updates did not send Wind Gust and the rainfall data seemed to update at weird intervals and was not accurate until the midnight update when the totals for the day were sent. I began the quest to figure out how to make my Acu-Rite PWS Rapidfire!

I found the Acu-Rite website had no information I could locate, so I Emailed Acu-Rite tech support. They informed me there was no way to do what I wanted to do. Pfft. I continued looking. Over time I found methods to get both my 3-in-1 PWS and my 5-in-1 Rapidfiring to Weather Underground, WeatherBug and others. These methods do send Wind Gust and accurate rain data, plus allow me to run a website with live data updates.

These steps tell you how to get your Acu-Rite weather sensors. The instructions that come with the hardware and software tell you how to install. I do not cover installation details. Read the instructions that come with the hardware and software for those details.

Getting your weather station to Rapidfire will not cost you any functionality. These procedures will add the Rapidfire functionality while retaining Acu-Link functionality.

STEP 1: Buy the hardware you need

If you already purchased an Acu-Rite PWS and it only came with a display unit that is not a PC Connect Display, don't freak out. You can purchase an Acu-Rite Internet Bridge OR an Acu-Rite PC-Connect Display Unit from Acu-Rite and still use the display that came with your PWS the same way you are using it now.

Confused about what to buy?? My website describes both the 5-in-1 and 3-in-1 sensors. I also describe both the Acu-Rite Bridge and the Acu-Rite PC-Connect Display Unit. Go to the Hardware/Software section of this site and read to help you decide what you want.

STEP 2: Get Acu-Link Working

Step 2 describes the Acu-Link activation. Step 2 is not required to get Rapidfire working, however I highly recommend you do it. It only takes a few minutes and by activating Acu-Link, you prove you hooked your PWS to the Internet properly and it gives you the ability to view your PWS from anywhere in the world via an Internet browser. Acu-Link also gives you the ability to view your sensors on your tablet or phone with the free Android or Apple APP that Acu-Rite provides. If none of this matters to you, skip to step 3.

Step 3: Setup a Weather Underground account and add a PWS

Weather Underground allows you to setup an account and add a PWS FREE of charge...in fact when you setup an active PWS, you get a FREE paid account that eliminates the Advertisements. Once you have done this, test all is well by having Acu-Link feed Weather Underground. To test, go back to your Acu-Link account and click on the down arrow that is next to your Email address in the upper right hand corner. Click on "Share my Bridge" from the menu that appears. Enter the info for your Weather Underground PWS. Be sure you check the box at the bottom that turns on sharing and save it. Go to Weather Underground and see that your data is being updated the "normal" way.

STEP 4: Okay...Let's Rapidfire!

You are ready for this step only if you completed step 1 through 3. If you have completed step 1 through 3 you now have a PC that may or may not be hooked to anything. You have an Acu-Link account that is displaying your sensors. You have a Weather Underground account that is being fed data by Acu-Link. If this does not describe what you have, you are not ready...go back to step 1.

Okay. The hardest part is actually over. All you need to do now is to do some software things and maybe tweak some hookups.

If you have an AcuRite Bridge

If you have a PC-Connect display

Weather Display is NOT FREE software. It has a 30 day trial, and then stops working. A mere $70.00 gets you this software. I feel it is well worth the price. See the Weather-Display.com site for details. You can read my description of this software on this site's PWS Software page.

Conclusion

If you have completed all four steps, you are now Rapidfiring and Acu-Link still works. Check your Barometric pressure on Weather Underground and compare it to the reading on your Acu-Rite display unit or the Acu-Link site. If you have not adjusted it already, Your Weather Underground reading is displaying very wrong readings. This is because we are sending the raw data from the Acu-Rite equipment and it believes you are at sea level. You need to offset the reading. Adjust your Barometric pressure to match the reading on your Acu-Rite display unit or the reading on your Acu-Link site. To do this, go to the Control Panel in Weather Display...in the Offset section... or make the adjustment in Kevin Key's bridge reader if you're using that.