In my opinion, the Windtronic 2 is the perfect wind meter for kite fliers. Got one for Christmas, and it's the best toy this single-line nut ever had ;-) In fact, this handy little device has been my constant companion on nearly every kite-flying outing of ours since that Christmas Day.
At first glance, this wind meter looks and feels like something of a toy. Sleek light-gray finish, plastic feel and surprisingly light weight. Then you have to remind yourself that it cost well over 100 bucks when first released and is most definitely a precision instrument! Some respect is due. To re-express that in practical terms - don't let your 4 year old near it! Or your dog, if you have one.
A very neat, simple and sensible feature of the Windtronic 2 is the standard camera screw-mount in the base. Many kinds of tripods for cameras can therefore be used to mount the wind meter for ... ahem ... Wind Energy Data Logging. That simply means the maximum gust strength and the average wind-strength are continuously updated from when the meter was switched on.
To begin with, I was concerned that the mini tripods for digital cameras wouldn't let the meter catch much wind. A ruler beside the mounted meter measured the rotating cups at about 22 cm (8 3/4") off the grass. However, I've found that in light winds, the speed this close to the ground is not much different to the wind speed at shoulder height. However, in strong wind, the difference is easily measured.The Windtronic Wind Speed Meter is available on Amazon, where there are many very good reviews. Seems like I'm not the only one to enthuse about this meter!
Here are the features in concise list form. However, I've also expanded on each point, sometimes with my own experiences or opinions...
Due to its remarkably light weight, I fully intend to hoist my Windtronic 2 up under a large kite one day, to get wind readings at various altitudes! Even a 1.5 meter span kite could probably hoist it up in moderate winds. Of course, great care would need to be taken to protect the unit from shock. I'm considering a cage made from bamboo skewers - light, strong and bendy to absorb the occasional bump!
Now this one is firmly in the 'day-dream' realm...
How about providing a super-accurate wind gradient service to the local airport :-) With a bit of thought and organization, it should be possible to take readings of wind speed and direction at 25, 50, 75, 100 feet, going right up to 300 feet. You'd need to attach a vane to the bamboo cage to get direction. By standing under the kite with a compass, you could read off wind direction to the nearest 15 degrees.
The Windtronic 2 is a great companion for any single-line kite flier, as I can attest from experience. Get a true idea of what weather each of your kites does well in. Of course, single-liners are just the tip of the ice-berg here. Owners of anything from stunt kites to sailing boats to paragliders could also make good use of this anemometer.The Windtronic Wind Speed Meter is available on Amazon. I got mine as a gift and it would certainly make a great gift for anyone who is into wind sports.
The video below shows the device in action. I had to take it in the shade so the LCD display would be glare-free and thus readable. Note how the spinning cups are slowed down, and even frozen occasionally, by the frame-rate of the camera! You can stare at it, mesmerized, for a full 30 seconds if you want to...
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Jul 28, 14 05:06 AM
This was an experiment with mounting a camera directly onto the kite. With winds gusting to over 30kph up high, the Fresh Wind Barn Door kite was selected...
In a word, it was tricky. I mounted the camera as close as possible to the center of gravity of the kite, but it still ended up quite a few cm closer to the trailing edge than I would have liked. It was only practical to mount he camera - on its bendy tripod (!) - near the diagonal spars crossing point. Electrical tape secured 2 short tripod legs to the diagonal spars, holding the camera upright with the kite sitting on its trailing edge.
It was a struggle to get enough lift to gain much height, and the kite swung dangerously from side to side. Might try the drogues next time! I did my best to urge the kite higher in mid-swing.
Eventually, for a few seconds, the kite got to around 100 feet on almost 200 feet of 200 pound Dacron.
A video clip will of course be forthcoming on Facebook. And only seasoned kite fliers will bother watching it all the whole way through, possibly wrestling with sea-sickness all the while. Hence the title of this post. Still, it was an interesting, if slightly nerve-wracking, outing! At shoulder level, the breeze measured around 9kph gusting to 18.5kph. Some low cloud over the hills was absolutely tearing along, perhaps up around 40kph.
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