Environmental Monitoring with PRTG & Netatmo

Netatmo has always struck me as an interesting device, but I’ve honestly never had a real reason or need to have a weather station at my home.

With that said, one place I do have an actual need to monitor environmental statistics is at my data center. We have around 6000 square feet of raised floor and 120 tons of cooling that we need to monitor and graph data for.

To date we had no remote way to monitor this stuff, and really didn’t have a need to, but as the regulatory atmosphere gets more complex we need to be able prove we’re doing it in real-time. Another audit, another box to check.

Enter Netatmo. I honestly kinda laughed when this was first suggested. I immediately thought there was no way this could replace expensive data center specific sensors, but the latest breed of internet of things devices really do a good job and can be adapted to a variety of needs. A simple Netatmo setup and the fact that PRTG can interact with it creates a really clean solution.

PRTG has actually supported this since 2014, mainly b/c their CEO bought one and wanted to graph it. Their blog post about it is worth a read.

The PRTG sensor supports the following data points:

  • Downtime
  • Indoor Co2
  • Indoor Noise
  • Indoor Pressure
  • Indoor & Outdoor Humidity
  • Indoor & Outdoor Temperature
  • Last Update
  • Outdoor Unit Battery
  • Outdoor Unit Last Seen
  • RF status
  • Wifi status

They pull these values directly from your Netatmo account via API, so no need to directly access the device from your PRTG probe. This was key for us as any WiFi we have here is on an isolated VLAN outside our network core (where PRTG lives).

How to configure PRTG to monitor your Netamo

1 — Get a Netatmo and however many modules you need.

2 — Set it up. I won’t get into how you do this, Netatmo has plenty of their own documentation.

3 — Download the PRTG sensor

4 — Copy the NetAtmoXML.exe to the Custom Sensors\EXEXML folder of your PRTG installation. If you’re going to run this from a probe device, you need to copy it to the Custom Sensors\EXEXML folder on your probe.

5 — open up a command prompt, run NetAtmoXML.exe -r

This will open up a browser window where you’ll need to log into your Netatmo account and authorize the API access.

They’ll provide details around your sensor name and its parameters. Copy this and save it somewhere.

The line you need is: -d”<mac address>” -t”<long hash for the sensor ID>”

6 — Add the sensor to PRTG

You’ll need to pick a device to add the sensor to. Can be your probe device or something new you create, it really does not matter. We just created a blank device called Netatmo Sensors and gave it a random IP.

On this device add a new sensor and pick EXE/Script Advanced
On the dropdown for EXE/Script select NetAtmoXML.exe
Under parameters paste in -d”<mac address>” -t”<long hash for the sensor ID>”
If you’re running more than 1 station you want to check set placeholders as environmental values

8 — Give it some time and your sensor should begin populating data.

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Our initial configuration

We’re still adjusting this as we go, but the general plan is to have Netatmo PWS in our main data center, with 3 indoor modules placed in key aisles throughout so we get an even sampling. We also have a smaller colocation facility which will get it’s own Netatmo PWS and 2 modules.

We’ve had our initial test sensors running a couple weeks now and its’ generally been pretty solid. We did have to move the placement around a bit to keep the RF signal up between the PWS and module, but after a slight adjustment it is working quite well.

We really won’t even use the Netatmo portal to monitor this — the point being to tie it into all our existing monitoring inside PRTG.

Update 5/30/2017 — We’ve had this solution in place for around 6 months now and its been pretty solid. Occasionally (every 1–2 weeks) for some reason the Netatmo will experience some RF loss and trigger an alert in PRTG, but other than that we’ve had no issues. The sensor data is close enough for what we need, and definitely shows fluctuations if we have any sort of cooling issue or take a unit offline for maintenance.

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