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Anemometer is one of the oldest and most ancient instrument in human history. For more than 500 years, anemometer has been used as a tool to measure wind speed and later on to measure wind direction as well. The term anemometer is derived from the Greek word anemos, which means wind.

Anemometer was first invented by Leon Battista Alberti in 1450 – an Italian architect. His anemometer is a mechanical anemometer that consisted of a disk placed perpendicular to the direction of the wind that would spin when there is a wind flow, the angle of inclination of the disk momentarily revealing its force.

Following the first invention of mechanical anemometer, many others further improved and developed their own versions of anemometer. Cup anemometer was one of the earliest and most successful anemometer development that is still popularly used up to this day. It is still remain as the industry standards wind measurement device. 

Anemometer usually consists of two main parts; the wind sensor and the display receiver. Depending on the measurement types, the wind sensor can be categorized into two types; wind speed sensor and wind speed and direction sensor.

The wind speed sensor is a vertical axis with three hemispherical or half cone cups on top. The concave surfaces of the cups are fixed in the same direction. While the wind speed and direction is a vertical axis with three half-cups on top and a wind vane arrow on the bottom.

The general working principle for cup anemometer is actually quite simple, the wind cup rotations will indicate the wind speed. While the arrow on the bottom of the wind sensor will point to the direction the wind is blowing from.

How does wind sensor work?

The wind flows cause the wind cups to rotate. The faster the wind blows, the faster the cups rotate. The rotation triggers the rotor of the internal sensor to calculate the wind speed.

wind sensor working principle

How does wind speed and direction sensor work?

The wind speed and direction sensor measures both wind speed and wind direction. The working principle is similar to wind speed sensor but with an addition of wind direction sensor. The rotation of a wind vane arrow transmits the measured wind direction information to central sensor inside the anemometer body, and at the same time send all the captured wind direction data together with other data such as wind speed to the receiver display.

Common Problems of Wind Speed and Direction Sensor 

What are the possible common problems when it comes to wind speed and direction sensor? Here are some things to note.

Wind Speed Sensor

  • Inflexible wind cup rotation

After using anemometers for few years or even longer, one of the common things that happen is for the oil in the rotation bearing to dry up, this cause the wind cup rotation to be less smooth and less sensitive to wind especially in low wind speed. While in high wind, the wind flow is strong enough to make the wind cup and bearing rotates, so it will not affect much.

However if this happens to a new wind speed sensor, it may be due to a problem with the bearing’s internal components or just simply a faulty product, it is recommended to immediately contact the anemometer manufacturers for return and exchange.

  • Damaged Wind Cup

A damaged or deformed wind cup can lead to inaccurate wind speed measurement. Therefore, no matter how small the damage is, a damaged wind cup should be replaced with the new one to ensure accurate wind speed measurement. Scarlet’s anemometers have a replaceable wind cup design, this is a good thing because in case the wind cup is damaged, you do not have to buy a new wind sensor, you only need to replace the wind cup and it can be used again.

  • Small Particles

Most anemometers usually also has a temperature measurement which is measured through a small hole in the sensor body. In windy and sandy weather, some fine small particles may enter the sensor shaft and cause the temperature sensing to be less accurate. Therefore, users should perform maintenance and clean the wind speed sensor to ensure the accuracy and durability.

When looking for anemometers, you can opt for the ones with IP67 protection grade (Ingress Protection ) like WR3-Plus and WL-21 Wireless Anemometers, which means it is 100% protected against solid objects like dust and sand, and it has been tested to work for at least 30 minutes under 15cm to 1m of water.

  • Zero Wind Speed

There may be two reasons for the wind speed sensor reading to show zero value;

Check the operating wind speed measurement range of your anemometer. Make sure the anemometer is operating within its wind speed measurement range. If it shows zero value, then it probably is way below its minimum wind speed measurement value. Scarlet’s anemometer wind speed measurement range starts from as low as 0.3 m/s.

Another possible reason is that the cable is damaged and the speed conductors are in intermittent contact. Cabled anemometer is quite a hassle to use when your installation involves a lot of height. The alternative solution for this is to use wireless anemometers, it is cable-free, avoid all the hassle and problems with cable.

If the one you already have now is the cabled anemometers, you can first check the cable and the power supply system, or find a technician to help you fix it.

Wind direction sensor

  • The wind vane is not flexible

Wind direction sensor is much simpler than wind speed. The most common problem with the wind direction sensor is having inflexible wind vane rotation. If your wind direction sensor is inflexible and a little bit stuck after a long time of use, the possible reason is that the oil in the bearing dries up or some of the internal components are severely worn. In this case, you need to replace the sensor element.

About Scarlet Wireless Anemometer

Scarlet’s wireless anemometers offers a professional and industrial-grade accurate wind measurement. It is cable-free with long and stable transmission distance up to 500 m, allowing easy and flexible installation across different industry application such as construction, cranes, boat, Hollywood film production, and other rigging-related services in the entertainment industry.

The wind data can be conveniently read on the receiver display. Scarlet wireless anemometer has data logging function which can be used for further wind data analysis. The wind sensor is IP-67 rated, which means waterproof and dust tight, suitable for use even in extreme weather condition.

The battery supports long-term continuous use up to 3-year, no need to change back and forth so often.


Need Wind Speed Measurement?

Check the WR3 Plus – Wireless Wind Speed Meter

 Wireless range: Max 500 meters

  Display: current/average/maximum wind speed, wind direction, temperature, wind chill, Beaufort scale, air pressure, hourly report & history wind graph

  Selectable intervals: 2s, 5s, 10s, 1min, 5 mins, 10 mins, 60 mins

  Memory capacity: 64MB  ~1 year continuous recording (based on 10s interval)

  Wind speed alarm: Yes, visual & audible

WR3Plus Wind Speed Meter

Need Wind Speed & Direction Measurement?

Check the WL21– Wireless Wind Speed and Direction Data Logger

 Wireless range: Max 500 meters

  Display: current/average/maximum wind speed, temperature, wind chill, Beaufort scale, air pressure, hourly report & history wind graph

  Selectable intervals: 2s, 5s, 10s, 1min, 5 mins, 10 mins, 60 mins

  Memory capacity: 64MB  ~1 year continuous recording (based on 10s interval)

  Wind speed alarm: Yes, visual & audible

WL21 Wireless Wind Data Logger