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OpenWind - solar powered wireless anemometer


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Hi Folks,

I'm interested on this anemometer and was wondering if anyone has some experience with it. It seem to be new in the market and therefore not so much information about it out there. I've been looking for a device like this for a while since my boat has no electronics, no battery and this seems to run independent and quite simple. I want to avoid the expensive alternative equipments out there to get wind information, this seems to have a reasonable price. Does anyone has some experience with it? thougths? 

www.openwind.de
instagram @sail.openwind

Many thanks! 

- Andi

Screenshot 2019-10-08 at 13.41.56.png

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4 minutes ago, Alex W said:
45 minutes ago, IStream said:

It's a piece of shit. Stay away.

You might be confusing this with Sailtimer?  Sailtimer is a piece of shit, this one I don't know anything about.

You might be right.

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45 minutes ago, IStream said:

It's a piece of shit. Stay away.

Please expand on that or link to a thread that does.  I'm looking for a decent mast rotation compensated anemometer and I'm having trouble finding a decent one for a reasonable price.  What do you suggest?

 

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Just search for sailtimer on this forum, there are a couple of very long threads that show it is a piece of shit.

The seller provides no support, the devices don't recharge properly and die.  They might work if you take it down from your mast after every sail and recharge it.

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1 hour ago, Alex W said:

You might be confusing this with Sailtimer?  Sailtimer is a piece of shit, this one I don't know anything about.

If you are willing to tinker and write a bit of code you can use a Davis anenometer (about $125) plus a Netduino (about $25) plus this code that I put on github to get NMEA 0183 output:

https://github.com/alexphredorg/WindInstrument

That NMEA0183 was plugged into my chart plotter and was available on all of my instruments.  You could also easily wire it up to wifi if you wanted it to show up on iNavX or SeaIQ or other phone plotter apps.

You could also take the basic code and port it to other more common embedded platforms like Arduino.

I wrote this for my old boat and it worked quite well for recreational purposes.  In comparison to the Raymarine stuff that I use on my current boat the biggest downside is that the Davis anenometer has it's dead spot (which you want facing into the irons) when the nose is facing the wand, which puts it into a lot of upwash from your sails.  You could get more creative than I did to fix that problem.  Another downside is that I never wrote good calibration UI for it, so you have to mount it dead on with the front of the boat, or change the code to twiddle the angle offset.

I don't provide any support or even own the hardware to play with anymore (I sold it with the boat), so please don't ask me for support.  This is very much a DIY project, but it's a good budget one.

Exactly the way I want to go.  I've made my living using and improving open source software for the past 20 years .  I want a system that is not proprietary so that I can make it work the way that I want it to work....  Thanks for that.

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1 hour ago, gbkersey said:

Exactly the way I want to go.  I've made my living using and improving open source software for the past 20 years .  I want a system that is not proprietary so that I can make it work the way that I want it to work....  Thanks for that.

The Davis wand is a good way to go then.  It's cheap and well documented and easy to work with.  It has two independent circuits, one is a potentiometer that varies between gnd and v+ for angle (roughly 10 degrees to 350 degrees, there is a dead spot), so you can hook that up to an analog input.  The other circuit is a pulse per rpm for the spinning cups, so you just count those and multiply by a constant for wind speed.  It is pretty easy to work with from there.

Signet also documents their wands.  They are slightly more complicated to work with.  I haven't seen documentation for the Garmin, Raymarine or B&G ones.

 

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Thanks Alex.  I have a Raymarine fluxgate magnetometer for the boat, guess I need to get another for the mast.

My goal is to eventually build an open source data acquisition, storage, and display system using non-proprietary sensors...  Fortunately, we have a  bunch of mult-hull sailing engineers at Austin Yacht Club and I believe that as a group, we possess all of the skills required to do this.

 

 

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19 minutes ago, gbkersey said:

Thanks Alex.  I have a Raymarine fluxgate magnetometer for the boat, guess I need to get another for the mast.

My goal is to eventually build an open source data acquisition, storage, and display system using non-proprietary sensors...  Fortunately, we have a  bunch of mult-hull sailing engineers at Austin Yacht Club and I believe that as a group, we possess all of the skills required to do this.

 

 

This looks promising :)

https://www.digikey.com/product-detail/en/texas-instruments/DRV425EVM/296-43710-ND/5823357&?gclid=EAIaIQobChMI07L-vNON5QIVyiCtBh2sDAYpEAYYAiABEgIk7fD_BwE

who's in for a collaborative open source instrument platform?

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4 minutes ago, carcrash said:

Certainly NOT n2k

It's easy to DIY N2K.  I played with it a lot about 4 years ago on my old boat and had a system that was translating N2K over CanBus to NMEA0183 over WiFi.  I also played with injecting N2K PGMs for wind and boat speed.

The hardest part is just finding good microcontrollers that have CANBUS integration standard.  I was working with a Beaglebone Black, which has CANBUS natively and you just need to wire up the transceiver.

 

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2 minutes ago, ryley said:

Is this going to turn into the "let's crowdsource a good mast display" thread?

Good luck!  That's a huge challenge, finding a sunlight visible, waterproof, and backlit (for night) display at an affordable price isn't easy.  I found it cheaper to just buy a pile of refurb Raymarine i70s.

 

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28 minutes ago, Alex W said:

Good luck!  That's a huge challenge, finding a sunlight visible, waterproof, and backlit (for night) display at an affordable price isn't easy.  I found it cheaper to just buy a pile of refurb Raymarine i70s.

 

that was my point. If I recall there was a thread back in about '05 or '07 that started off "this should be really easy" and ended with "hmm.. maybe a vakaros or racegeek..." ;)

I'm just wondering if this "open source instrument" thread is already headed down that rabbit hole.

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47 minutes ago, Alex W said:

It's easy to DIY N2K.  I played with it a lot about 4 years ago on my old boat and had a system that was translating N2K over CanBus to NMEA0183 over WiFi.  I also played with injecting N2K PGMs for wind and boat speed.

The hardest part is just finding good microcontrollers that have CANBUS integration standard.  I was working with a Beaglebone Black, which has CANBUS natively and you just need to wire up the transceiver.

 

teensy

uses arduino IDE, native CANBUS and comes on a cute little board that you plug into a USB :).

 

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14 minutes ago, ryley said:

that was my point. If I recall there was a thread back in about '05 or '07 that started off "this should be really easy" and ended with "hmm.. maybe a vakaros or racegeek..." ;)

I'm just wondering if this "open source instrument" thread is already headed down that rabbit hole.

Absolutely, the only question is whether it would be a fun rabbit hole or not :).

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11 hours ago, Alex W said:

Good luck!  That's a huge challenge, finding a sunlight visible, waterproof, and backlit (for night) display at an affordable price isn't easy.  I found it cheaper to just buy a pile of refurb Raymarine i70s.

This. I gave up on the DIY chartplotter when I couldn't find a decent waterproof display and mouse at any sort of reasonable price.

I bought a Simrad chartplotter instead and the Raspberry Pi bits with OpenCPN can go inside the hull space.

FKT

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15 hours ago, ryley said:

that was my point. If I recall there was a thread back in about '05 or '07 that started off "this should be really easy" and ended with "hmm.. maybe a vakaros or racegeek..." ;)

I'm just wondering if this "open source instrument" thread is already headed down that rabbit hole.

In ‘05-‘07, eInk was expensive, fragile and only available in limited quantities. Now every electronics supply site has eInk displays in multiple sizes.

Kindles are hackable, run Linux and have Wi-Fi. You could prototype a screen with a hacked Kindle. The latest Oasis is even somewhat waterproof.

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  • 6 months later...

OpenWind anemometer is over-built,  like a tank (it has automotive wind-vane and cups bearings). It has much more solar power than is needed.  It includes heel and roll read-outs, and it has best support ever, including bluetooth and software interface, from the makers.  They even re-wrote a program, individually, for my application.  Best purchase in a long time.  Peter.

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  • 1 month later...

Any comments on this product after living with it for a while?  

Will it work with iNavx on an iPad?

I'd like to put a wind instrument on my boat (the boat is bereft of networks or a chart plotter) without too much cost.  I'm only a coastal sailer and beer can racer.

Elsewhere someone said the wind direction is very sensitive. I didn't know if this is a positive or negative comment!

Thanks

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No experience, but Webb Chiles bought one and has an account on his journal from a couple weeks ago, but he cannot try it out on his boat for many months to come. Interested myself for my boat with almost no instruments on it now, for connection to iPhone and iPad and even Mac Airbook, if not ancient chartplotter.

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Public Disclosure On:

Put a cheap fiber optic bundle with an LED under it and an offset camera to watch the fibers bend in the wind like a handful of wheat stalks aloft. Wifi the image to a smartphone and Bobs your Uncle   Direction and speed for small change  

Everything eventually becomes free 

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12 hours ago, 44forty said:

Now if I put that at the top of my mast then I could launch the drone and read it via smart tv via nmea via the companionway from the cockpit 

It has a threaded undercentre to aid attachment or to attach to an extendable stick to get varying altitude/position readings. And its most definitely wireless. :D

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On 6/19/2020 at 6:40 AM, nibj said:

Any comments on this product after living with it for a while?  

Will it work with iNavx on an iPad?

I'd like to put a wind instrument on my boat (the boat is bereft of networks or a chart plotter) without too much cost.  I'm only a coastal sailer and beer can racer.

Elsewhere someone said the wind direction is very sensitive. I didn't know if this is a positive or negative comment!

Thanks

If the device can put NMEA2000 or NMEA0183 data into an Ethernet network iNavX should be able to connect to it.

Looking at the OpenWind, it looks like it speaks a proprietary protocol to an app on your iPad via Bluetooth. I do not believe iNavX can tap into that.

However, Openwind does sell a "NMEA Kit" for €165 which will put the data onto NMEA 2000 or NMEA 0183.

From there, you could use an N2K to Ethernet/Wifi gateway to make the data available to the iPad and iNavX. There are several commercially available products (Yacht D, Maretron, VYacht, etc. etc.) to make this happen, though if there is no N2K installation on the boat you will need to set that up too rather than just popping in another node with the NMEA Kit.

 

So...directly, no it won't speak directly to iNavX that I can see. But with some additional hardware it should be pretty easy.

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On 10/8/2019 at 11:54 PM, IStream said:

It's a piece of shit. Stay away.

it's an unpaid Ad ie spam .

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  • 1 month later...
On 6/30/2020 at 6:04 AM, iNavX said:

If the device can put NMEA2000 or NMEA0183 data into an Ethernet network iNavX should be able to connect to it.

Looking at the OpenWind, it looks like it speaks a proprietary protocol to an app on your iPad via Bluetooth. I do not believe iNavX can tap into that.

However, Openwind does sell a "NMEA Kit" for €165 which will put the data onto NMEA 2000 or NMEA 0183.

From there, you could use an N2K to Ethernet/Wifi gateway to make the data available to the iPad and iNavX. There are several commercially available products (Yacht D, Maretron, VYacht, etc. etc.) to make this happen, though if there is no N2K installation on the boat you will need to set that up too rather than just popping in another node with the NMEA Kit.

 

So...directly, no it won't speak directly to iNavX that I can see. But with some additional hardware it should be pretty easy.

If you run the openwind app in the background of you iphone/ipad. The app passes all the needed nmea sentences to the navigation app; iSailor, iRegatta, etc. You don’t need the NMEA kit. 
 

The Openwind app actually has quite a few cool features. Pretty nice for everyone not wanting to invest a lot of money into displays, cables, etc. 

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User INavX is incorrect.  OpenWind can pass data to iNavX without a network. I have an OpenWind device temporarily mounted on a rail (to test and while I wait for it to be mounted on the mast). The iPad/iPhone OpenWind app passes NMEA wind information to iNavX via UDP (mine uses port 2000).  I prefer the look of the iNavX wind display to the OpenWind one (but the RayMarine is better still).  However the OpenWind app gives information about the state of the device and so on.  

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  • 2 weeks later...
On 8/22/2020 at 12:39 AM, nibj said:

User INavX is incorrect.  OpenWind can pass data to iNavX without a network. I have an OpenWind device temporarily mounted on a rail (to test and while I wait for it to be mounted on the mast). The iPad/iPhone OpenWind app passes NMEA wind information to iNavX via UDP (mine uses port 2000).  I prefer the look of the iNavX wind display to the OpenWind one (but the RayMarine is better still).  However the OpenWind app gives information about the state of the device and so on.  

Sorta incorrect. UDP is part of the TCP/IP transport layer network protocols. It is using a networking protocol, but it happens to be the host and the client are on the same device. iNavX talks to a host over TCP/IP, that the host is on the local machine doesn't really matter.

It's kind of like how you can host a webserver on your PC then access it with a browser pointing to "localhost" (127.0.0.1) - the client and server are two apps/services on the same device.

The OpenWind app in this case appears to be acting in role of the N2K Gateway. Though it is likely only send it's own data and not all the N2K data, right?

Good to know, thanks.

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On 8/21/2020 at 8:08 PM, Only Fools Rush In said:

If you run the openwind app in the background of you iphone/ipad. The app passes all the needed nmea sentences to the navigation app; iSailor, iRegatta, etc. You don’t need the NMEA kit. 
 

The Openwind app actually has quite a few cool features. Pretty nice for everyone not wanting to invest a lot of money into displays, cables, etc. 

Does it only pass its own information? Or if the Openwind device is connected to the NMEA network, can it pass other data from other instruments? I thought the NMEA kit was what allowed that communication in the first place?

It would be cool if the NMEA kit allowed the App to share data like depth and other NMEA data from other instruments to an app like iNavX.

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Check Webb Chiles recent posts. He's had trouble getting it to connect to his iPhone on his Moore 24. Not the highest of masts. Makes me skeptical about buying it for my PSC34.

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  • 3 months later...

SailTimer just sent me a pretty disturbing package as a result of this thread.

They apparently had sent me a few emails (which I did find in my spam folder after seeing the package).  Those emails directly reference my comments in this thread.

The package contained a printout of this thread, printouts of the emails that they tried to send me, the full size packaging from a SailTimer (but it was an empty box), and dozens of pages of reviews and other positive comments.  There are some things in the email that could be interpreted as vague threats, like this:

Looking at your bike work (and even family photos) and sailing blog online, it looks like you appreciate good engineering. We are actually nice people, and always try to say something constructive and follow The Golden Rule. 

I'm not sure how they found my address, but I'm not discrete with my real name so it probably wasn't that hard.  I'm not very happy with them referencing my family.

I'm pretty creeped out by the companies tactics.  Even if email hadn't worked they could have contacted me through this forum.  I have had no experience with them before getting this package, but this isn't convincing me to buy the product.  I've read dozens of unhappy reviewers from paying customers of the products. Here are a couple of links:

https://www.bbb.org/ca/ns/glen-haven/profile/wind-energy-systems/sailtimer-inc-0087-41983/customer-reviews

and

 

image.png.166ca2061ce8c57f92b3635f4504cd8c.png

 

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I have had two Sailtimers. The first one, with fixed battery, did not hold a charge. It is stuck atop my mast and does not even rotate.

The second is an RB. The battery does not hold its charge. I think there is a design issue: putting the solar panels on either side of the "sail" only delivers a maximum of 50% power input, and usually less. An E-W wind will ensure that no panels are receiving sunlight.

The company says "put the battery in, fully charged" and it will maintain its charge, but this is just not demonstrated by the facts.

Probably, you'd need to install a reflective dish beneath the vertical axis, to get enough sunlight onto the panels. Just a guess. 

That German one with the solar panel on top looks a better bet. 

I left the wiring from my original wind vane in my mast, , just in case. I'd rather have wireless, but I want something that can last at least a season up top.

Sailtimer is probably only good for a racing dingy.

 

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Thanks for the specific user feedback, there isn’t a lot about the RB. I have no personal experience with them, just read (and passed along links to) other people’s complaints.

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Pleasure, Alex. I've wanted Sailtimer to work for approaching 5 years now. Great idea. The comments I read here helped me realize that I'm not the only one who come up against reality. The RB batteries themselves can hold power for weeks, when charged. Put them in the RB and they drain faster than the RB can charge them. I think there needs to be a way to get more sunlight to bear on the solar panels, or the unit needs to be accessible or de-mountable so the owner can take it home and charge it up when not sailing. Mounting it atop a 40 foot or so mast is not practical unless you are a rigger who loves mast climbing. 

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On 12/7/2020 at 3:05 PM, Alex W said:

SailTimer just sent me a pretty disturbing package as a result of this thread.

Wow .......... very strange move on their part.  Not sure that's the positive "Golden Rule" image they wanted to project.

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Some info on the OpenWind device below.

2 Key takeaways: It can run independently of the (fixed) battery, using the solar panel. No reported battery issues - oldest still-in-use unit is 4 years old.

"OpenWind consumes very little energy and can run with the solar panel alone, without the use of the battery. If kept outside, the battery should be always at 100%. You can only discharge the battery if you forget the unit switched on indoors without reach of sunlight. The total capacity of the battery is 1200 mAh. OpenWind consumes about -13mA if it is connected to a phone and with no sunlight. On a partially cloudy day it consumes about 0mA to +30mA. On a heavy cloudy day it will consume about -7 to 0mA. On a sunny day it can go up to +80mA of consumption. The positive values illustrate that the battery is charging and negative values that it is discharging/consuming. If the device is not connected it will enter a sleeping mode and shut down everything not necessary, consuming only 1mA. "
 
 
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