A shipboard weather station has very special requirements. It must operate in both a harsh and a dirty environment where salt spray, stack exhaust, high winds, fog, and heavy rain are frequent.
Many are also required to calculate True winds (the wind relative to Earth's True North) and Relative winds (winds relative to the ship) when the ship is moving, stationary, drifting, or performing an experiment or maneuver.
To defeat these conditions, it is necessary to have a completely sealed unit, minimize cables and connectors, and use double O-ring seals and metallic components built from 6061-T6 Mil-spec anti-corrosive aluminum. This enclosure should be protected with a baked-on thermoplastic resin.
To calculate True North under all conditions, it is necessary to have both GPS and a built-in, no-moving-parts compass (the GPS for while the ship is moving, and the compass for when it is drifting, stationary, or in other conditions where the bow is not pointed directly in the direction the ship is moving).
Coastal Environmental Systems has over 30 years of experience selecting the right sensors for reliability in extreme conditions, and the knowledge to properly feed data to your ship's interfaces.
The WEATHERPAK® shipboard weather station is used on ships that require True wind calculations, both port and starboard wind data, on larger military vessels, and on research vessels.
WEATHERPAK employs its own compass and its own independent GPS receiver to compute True wind direction. Its powerful ARM-9 microcontroller (ZENO® datalogger) allows the WEATHERPAK to consider both port and starboard systems, to determine which is upwind, correct to True wind, then report that data. It is also powerful enough to communicate with other ships' sensors via RS-232-RS-422 or RS-485.
From the North Sea to the Gulf of Mexico to the waters off Nova Scotia, Coastal systems on offshore platforms aid in helicopter operations as well as standard weather reporting. Many systems also monitor other parameters, such as water temperature.
For Boeing, two WEATHERPAK® systems are installed on both sides of the platform because a large radar in the center impacts winds from either direction. The WEATHERPAK systems automatically report the "upwind" sensor readings to the ship's LAN.
Coastal's INTERCEPT® software is built on an open source platform that will automatically gather, organize, archive, and display data from all weather stations in the network. It is web based so any number of users on the ship's LAN can view the data by using a simple web browser.
The display box/bridge interface is at the center of the WEATHERPAK® Shipboard Weather Station. It distributes power to the system, collects data from WEATHERPAK, displays selected data on the screen, and passes the NMEA message out to the navigation system. In the dual WEATHERPAK system, a switch allows the user to select which WEATHERPAK will report data to the display and output the NMEA message.