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Customizing the database

For most users the database defaults will work just fine. However, there may be occasions when you may want to add a new observation type to your database, or change its unit system. This section shows you how to do this.

Every relational database depends on a schema to specify which types to include in the database. When a WeeWX database is first created, it uses a Python version of the schema to initialize the database. However, once the database has been created, the schema is read directly from the database and the Python version is not used again — any changes to it will have no effect. This means that the strategy for modifying the schema depends on whether the database already exists.

Specifying a schema for a new database

If the database does not exist yet, then you will want to pick an appropriate starting schema. If it's not exactly what you want, you can modify it to fit your needs before creating the database.

Picking a starting schema

WeeWX gives you a choice of three different schemas to choose from when creating a new database:

Name Number of
observation types
schemas.wview.schema 49 The original schema that came with wview.
schemas.wview_extended.schema 111 A version of the wview schema,
which has been extended with
many new types.
This is the default version.
schemas.wview_small.schema 20 A minimalist version of the wview schema.

For most users, the default database schema, schemas.wview_extended.schema, will work just fine.

To specify which schema to use when creating a database, modify option schema in section [DataBindings] in weewx.conf. For example, suppose you wanted to use the classic (and smaller) schema schemas.wview.schema instead of the default schemas.wview_extended.schema. Then the section [DataBindings] would look like:

        database = archive_sqlite
        table_name = archive
        manager = weewx.manager.DaySummaryManager
        schema = schemas.wview.schema

Now, when you start WeeWX, it will use this new choice instead of the default.


This only works when the database is first created. Thereafter, WeeWX reads the schema directly from the database. Changing this option will have no effect!

Modifying a starting schema

If none of the three starting schemas that come with WeeWX suits your purposes, you can easily create your own. Just pick one of the three schemas as a starting point, then modify it. Put the results in the user subdirectory, where it will be safe from upgrades. For example, suppose you like the schemas.wview_small schema, but you need to store the type electricity from the example Adding a second data source. The type electricity does not appear in the schema, so you'll have to add it before starting up WeeWX. We will call the resulting new schema user.myschema.schema.

If you did a Debian install, here's how you would do this:

 # Copy the wview_small schema over to the user subdirectory and rename it myschema:
sudo cp /usr/share/weewx/schemas/ /etc/weewx/bin/user/

 # Edit it using your favorite text editor
sudo nano /etc/weewx/bin/user/

If you did a pip install, it can be difficult to find the starting schema because it can be buried deep in the Python library tree. It's easier to just download from the git repository and start with that:

 # Download the wview_small schema and rename it to
cd ~/weewx-data/bin/user

 # Edit it using your favorite text editor

In change this:

         ('windchill',            'REAL'),
         ('windDir',              'REAL'),
         ('windGust',             'REAL'),
         ('windGustDir',          'REAL'),
         ('windSpeed',            'REAL'),

to this

         ('windchill',            'REAL'),
         ('windDir',              'REAL'),
         ('windGust',             'REAL'),
         ('windGustDir',          'REAL'),
         ('windSpeed',            'REAL'),
         ('electricity',          'REAL'),

The only change was the addition (highlighted) of electricity to the list of observation names.

Now change option schema under [DataBindings] in weewx.conf to use your new schema:

        database = archive_sqlite
        table_name = archive
        manager = weewx.manager.DaySummaryManager
        schema = user.myschema.schema

Start WeeWX. When the new database is created, it will use your modified schema instead of the default.


This will only work when the database is first created! Thereafter, WeeWX reads the schema directly from the database and your changes will have no effect!

Modify the schema of an existing database

The previous section covers the case where you do not have an existing database, so you modify a starting schema, then use it to initialize the database. But, what if you already have a database, and you want to modify its schema, perhaps by adding a column or two? Creating a new starting schema is not going to work because it is only used when the database is first created. Here is where the command weectl database can be useful.

There are two ways to do this. Both are covered below.

  1. Modify the database in situ. This choice works best for small changes.

  2. Reconfigure the old database to a new one while modifying it along the way, This choice is best for large modifications.


Before using weectl database, MAKE A BACKUP!

Be sure to stop weewxd before making any changes to the database.

Modify the database in situ

If you want to make some minor modifications to an existing database, perhaps adding or removing a column, then this can easily be done using the command weectl database with an appropriate action. We will cover the cases of adding, removing, and renaming a type. See the documentation for weectl database for more details.

Adding a type

Suppose you have an existing database, to which you want to add a type, such as the type electricity from the example Adding a second data source. This can be done in one easy step using the action weectl database add-column:

weectl database add-column electricity

The tool not only adds electricity to the main archive table, but also to the daily summaries.

Removing a type

In a similar manner, the tool can remove any unneeded types from an existing database. For example, suppose you are using the schemas.wview schema, but you're pretty sure you're not going to need to store soil moisture. You can drop the unnecessary types this way:

weectl database drop-columns soilMoist1 soilMoist2 soilMoist3 soilMoist4 

Unlike the action add-column, the action drop-columns can take more than one type. This is done in the interest of efficiency: adding new columns is easy and fast with the SQLite database, but dropping columns requires copying the whole database. By specifying more than one type, you can amortize the cost over a single invocation of the utility.


Dropping types from a database means you will lose any data associated with them! The data cannot be recovered.

Renaming a type

Suppose you just want to rename a type? This can be done using the action rename-column. Here's an example where you rename soilMoist1 to soilMoistGarden:

weectl database rename-column soilMoist1 soilMoistGarden

Note how the action rename-column requires two positional arguments: the column being renamed, and its final name.

Reconfigure database using a new schema

If you are making major changes to your database, you may find it easier to create a brand-new database using the schema you want, then transfer all data from the old database into the new one. This approach is more work, and takes more processing time than the in situ strategies outlines above, but has the advantage that it leaves behind a record of exactly the schema you are using.

Here is the general strategy to do this.

  1. Create a new schema that includes exactly the types that you want.

  2. Specify this schema as the starting schema for the database.

  3. Make sure you have the necessary permissions to create the new database.

  4. Use the action weectl database reconfigure to create the new database and populate it with data from the old database.

  5. Shuffle databases around so WeeWX will use the new database.

Here are the details:

  1. Create a new schema. First step is to create a new schema with exactly the types you want. See the instructions above Modify a starting schema. As an example, suppose your new schema is called user.myschema.schema.

  2. Set as starting schema. Set your new schema as the starting schema with whatever database binding you are working with (generally, wx_binding). For example:

            database = archive_sqlite
            table_name = archive
            manager = weewx.manager.DaySummaryManager
            schema = user.myschema.schema
  3. Check permissions. The transfer action will create a new database with the same name as the old, except with the suffix _new attached to the end. Make sure you have the necessary permissions to do this. In particular, if you are using MySQL, you will need CREATE privileges.

  4. Create and populate the new database. Use the command weectl database with the reconfigure action.

    weectl database reconfigure

    This will create a new database (nominally, weewx.sdb_new if you are using SQLite, weewx_new if you are using MySQL), using the schema found in user.myschema.schema, and populate it with data from the old database.

  5. Shuffle the databases. Now arrange things so WeeWX can find the new database.


    Make a backup of the data before doing any of the next steps!

    You can either shuffle the databases around so the new database has the same name as the old database, or edit weewx.conf to use the new database name. To do the former:

    cd ~/weewx-data/archive
    mv weewx.sdb_new weewx.sdb
    mysql -u <username> --password=<mypassword>
    mysql> DROP DATABASE weewx;                             # Delete the old database
    mysql> CREATE DATABASE weewx;                           # Create a new one with the same name
    mysql> RENAME TABLE weewx_new.archive TO weewx.archive; # Rename to the nominal name
  6. It's worth noting that there's actually a hidden, last step: rebuilding the daily summaries inside the new database. This will be done automatically by weewxd at the next startup. Alternatively, it can be done manually using the weectl database rebuild-daily action:

    weectl database rebuild-daily

Changing the unit system in an existing database

Normally, data are stored in the databases using US Customary units, and you shouldn't care; it is an "implementation detail". Data can always be displayed using any set of units you want — the section Changing unit systems explains how to change the reporting units. Nevertheless, there may be special situations where you wish to store the data in Metric units. For example, you may need to allow direct programmatic access to the database from another piece of software that expects metric units.

You should not change the database unit system midstream. That is, do not start with one unit system then, some time later, switch to another. WeeWX cannot handle databases with mixed unit systems — see the section [StdConvert] in the WeeWX User's Guide. However, you can reconfigure the database by copying it to a new database, performing the unit conversion along the way. You then use this new database.

The general strategy is identical to the strategy outlined above in the section Reconfigure database using new schema. The only difference is that instead of specifying a new starting schema, you specify a different database unit system. This means that instead of steps 1 and 2 above, you edit the configuration file and change option target_unit in section [StdConvert] to reflect your choice. For example, if you are switching to metric units, the option will look like:

    target_unit = METRICWX

After changing target_unit, you then go ahead with the rest of the steps. That is run the action weectl database reconfigure, then shuffle the databases.

Rebuilding the daily summaries

The weectl database command can also be used to rebuild the daily summaries:

weectl database rebuild-daily

In most cases this will be sufficient; however, if anomalies remain in the daily summaries the daily summary tables may be dropped first before rebuilding:

weectl database drop-daily

Then try again with weectl database rebuild-daily.