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Steve Schlumpf
08-04-2018, 8:43 PM
Anyone have any experience/suggestions when it comes to a home weather station? I have a digital inside/outside temp gauge but sure would like something that shows wind speed, direction, wind chill, humidity, etc. Appreciate any suggestions as to what to look for or avoid. Thanks!

Lee Schierer
08-04-2018, 9:53 PM
We have an older LaCrosse weather station, but it isn't completely satisfactory. It has a rain gauge that only works part of the time and then loses signal even though it is only 10 feet from the receiver. The rain gauge is pretty accurate when it works. It loses accumulated data every time you have to restart it. The "ranges" between transmitter and receiver most quote are overly optimistic. Things like aluminum siding and walls significantly reduce the separation distance. Regular AA batteries only last 3-4 months, but the lithium cells generally will last close to a year. Mounting the anemometer is tricky to get it away from building affects. I mounted mine on a 4 foot pole (it should have been 6 feet) above the highest point of our out building and it still sees wind shadow from the building depending upon the wind direction.

I have considered replacing ours with this one (https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00FWSP3UC/?coliid=I3COPKOKWP08BB&colid=1D4LOQ4GYUNA5&psc=0&ref_=lv_ov_lig_dp_it) . I don't know if it is any better than what I have, but you can plug it in, with optional accessories, so there are no batteries to replace.

Malcolm Schweizer
08-04-2018, 11:08 PM
My name is Malcolm, and I am a weather geek. Allow me to corrupt you and drain your wallet. :-)

Seriously- get ready for sticker shock, but if you want a quality weather station, look at Davis Instruments and Oregon Scientific. They are quality, and offer the ability to build components piece by piece if you can't afford all at once. They have remote and multiple station options, data mapping, and plenty of price points.

I also urge you to buy "Modern Marine Weather" by David Burch. This is geared towards offshore sailing, but is the best weather book I have read to date, and I have taken college level weather courses. He explains everything in easy to understand terms yet keeps you in the technical dialogue.
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IF the cost is too much, get a good manual barometer, thermometer, and hygrometer. Weems and Plath have some high quality entry level options. Beware- these things can get expensive as well, but a decent one is all you need unless you're offshore sailing. Make sure the barometer reads in millibars because that's what weather charts will use. Most barometers will have inches of mercury as well. I personally prefer millibars to be the outer dial, as that's where you will be looking at minute changes and comparing to the isobars on the weather maps.
A great example, although this one is pricey, of the dial I am referring to:
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Bruce Page
08-05-2018, 12:24 AM
Santa brought me a LaCross weather station last December. I have no previous experience with these but have been happy with the LaCross. It's a lot of fun to see what's going on real time. I can also view all of the information on my iPhone or iPad from anywhere. All of the components are WiFi based and work fine. The wind gage is ~ 40' from the base station. I haven't needed to replace any batteries..yet.

Curt Harms
08-05-2018, 7:22 AM
We have an Ambient Weather WS-0900-IP. It's a way to be able to monitor the weather in the back yard from anywhere in the world. The sensors are kinda flimsy which is probably an issue with any of the less than maybe $200+ stations. We had a LaCrosse station previously and like Lee found the rain gauge about useless. We did need to do a warranty exchange for the outdoor unit - wind speed & direction & rain. We're on Weather Underground's Wundermap so Ambient Weather could see that wind was working but rain was not. It's advisable to use Lithium batteries rather than Alkaline, Lithium works at lower temperatures. A pair of batteries should last about a year.

Jerome Stanek
08-05-2018, 7:27 AM
I had a LaCross and in the winter the temp would read 5 to 6 degrees off according to my calibrated cooler test thermometer along with three others. I called them and they told me that that was within their specs. I really didn't like their customer service when you read their specs it says within 2 degrees + or - but they add them together so 4 degrees is what they were telling me and they started pulling temps from around my area but all were 10 miles or more away

Steve Schlumpf
08-05-2018, 9:44 AM
Thanks for the suggestions everyone! I am totally ignorant when it comes to weather stations and you have given me a lot to research and check out. Appreciate it!

Yonak Hawkins
08-05-2018, 11:21 AM
I have considered replacing ours with this one (https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00FWSP3UC/?coliid=I3COPKOKWP08BB&colid=1D4LOQ4GYUNA5&psc=0&ref_=lv_ov_lig_dp_it).

Lee, the biggest problem I have is with outside sensors losing their ability to communicate with the inside units. AcuRite is the worst offender for this, in my experience. ..My 2Ę .. others' experience may be different.

Todd Mason-Darnell
08-05-2018, 11:24 AM
Another weather nerd/data junky.

another vote for Davis Instruments. At a very good entry level, I would recommend the Vantage Vue.

David Bassett
08-05-2018, 1:12 PM
And now for something completely different... though on topic. More for a complete record for the weather junkies, than OP, I suspect. Raspberry Pi, (an educational computing effort,) has a weather station project:

Build your own Weather Station (https://projects.raspberrypi.org/en/projects/build-your-own-weather-station)

It is based on a project kit they created for schools. The project would allow the adventurous to build, and customize, their own weather station.

Wade Lippman
08-05-2018, 1:32 PM
Another weather nerd/data junky.

another vote for Davis Instruments. At a very good entry level, I would recommend the Vantage Vue.

+1. I have a Vantage Vue and it is good.

I used to have the AcuRight Lee mentioned; it was inaccurate from the day I got it and progressed to useless. But it is well priced!

Paul Brinkmeyer
08-05-2018, 4:30 PM
I had a Davis system back in the 90's. Hard wired, and worked great.
Side note: One day I came home from a trip and no electric in the house.
Main breaker was tripped and many other breakers., after resetting, only some stuff worked. Called electric Co, they came out quick, and found one leg of my main wiring out, and soon had it fixed., but told me it was probably lighting strike. As we walked around the house, we found parts of the wind vane, with what looked like worm holes in it. Actually it was lighting strike. found a lot of damage to other things, metal soffits arced to rain gutters, all telephone equipment failed, etc. So it not only worked as weather station, lighting rod too.

Pat Barry
08-05-2018, 5:29 PM
I have Accurite temperature sensors that operate over wifi and they work great. I haven't had problems others mention. Now I don't have a weather station but if I wanted one I would buy theirs.

Lee Schierer
08-05-2018, 9:32 PM
I used to have the AcuRight Lee mentioned; it was inaccurate from the day I got it and progressed to useless.

I have a LaCrosse thermometer in a different room from the LaCrosse weather station and it reads temperatures about 3 degrees lower than the newer weather station and appears to be the more accurate of the two based on a lab grade glass tube thermometer.

Curt Harms
08-06-2018, 7:09 AM
It make a difference what's between the transmitter & receiver. The Ambient weather unit we have has 2 transmitters, indoor and outdoor. Both talk to little base station plugged into a router. We have very reliable connectivity but the only thing between the transmitters and receiver is a glass patio door and some framing/drywall. I'm certain that if there were metal siding or thick masonry it'd be a different and sadder story.

Tim Bueler
08-06-2018, 9:48 AM
I have 2 different Accurite stations. Each has a little different information or displays the info a different way. I've not had connectivity issues with either. The base units both plug in and I change the batteries in the outdoor units once per year. Of the items they have in common they rarely read the same but never, what I would consider, too far off (however, I am not a weather nerd...YMMV). One annoying thing is the "forecast" on one machine always says it's going to rain and the barometer on the other machine always shows steady even when the best barometer I have, my sinuses, say otherwise. All in all, not being a weather nerd, they show trends well enough for me and high and low temps within a few degrees.

I have NOT had good luck with Oregon Scientific or LaCrosse.

When these start to fail I will likely upgrade to Davis or another higher grade system. Like good quality power tools I suspect it will be cheaper in the long run and more pleasant to operate.

Daniel Smith
08-06-2018, 10:47 AM
I had an older LaCrosse station that was OK for temperature and rain, but the wireless communication rate (something like once every 128 seconds) made it completely useless for wind.

I've had a Davis Vantage Pro II for 10+ years and have been completely satisfied. It seems to be pretty accurate and gives much more information than the LaCrosse I had. Recently I've had to replace a couple of outside components due to age/environment, but I think that is to be expected. As mentioned earlier, it is pricey, but I'd buy it again in a heartbeat if I had to.

Peter Christensen
08-06-2018, 11:48 AM
I'm curious about a few things and if someone can answer I would appreciate it.
Do the wind speed cups load up when heavy snow comes?
Does the transmitted single deteriorate with heavy snow? Satellite TV sometimes looses the signal.
How do they stand up to sustained -40C/F cold?
Are there any models that will show temps below -40C/F?
Are the wind chill measurements accurate?

Thanks

Mike Chance in Iowa
08-06-2018, 3:21 PM
We had an Ambient WS-1400-IP and while it was easy to setup and seemed to be accurate, it lasted less then 2 years before it started giving us very inaccurate temperature readings while the wind and rain gauges were still working. It was fun while it lasted, but other people in our area have added weather stations, so we haven't bothered to replace it. If we decide to replace it, we will probably get a Davis.

Lon Crosby
08-06-2018, 9:12 PM
Have a Davis Vantage Vue which has been running trouble free for over 3 years now. The remote monitor is a royal pain (to retrieve old data) so interfaced it to wunderground.com. Makes all of the difference in the world.

Curt Harms
08-07-2018, 2:28 PM
I'm curious about a few things and if someone can answer I would appreciate it.
Do the wind speed cups load up when heavy snow comes?
Does the transmitted single deteriorate with heavy snow? Satellite TV sometimes looses the signal.
How do they stand up to sustained -40C/F cold?
Are there any models that will show temps below -40C/F?
Are the wind chill measurements accurate?

Thanks

The LaCrosse unit we had used sort of a little propeller to measure wind speed. It would freeze up in heavy wet snow. The Ambient Weather unit uses a typical 3 cup configuration which hasn't frozen up yet but it's only been through 1 winter. We've never had precipitation attenuate the radio signal from the outdoor units to the base station. The LaCrosse unit we had could be wired so no radio signals involved, it used common 4 conductor phone wire. As far as temperature, lithium AAs are supposed to be good to -40. Alkalines aren't reliable below +10 F according to Ambient Weather. Our Ambient weather outdoor units sometimes get intermittent in temps below about +10 F and and warmer than +90 F. It may just be the unit, I don't know. New outdoor temperature/humidity senders are only about $11 but shipping is something like $15.

Peter Christensen
08-07-2018, 2:57 PM
Thanks Curt.

I prefer to be wireless in order to put the transmitter away from the house and to avoid poking holes through the walls we spent so much on to be energy efficient. Cold of -20C (-4F) temps in the winter with drops at night to and lower than -40C/F for weeks at a time made me wonder about the batteries. Does the temperature just stop at -40C/F or become erratic or quit? Snowfalls are generally light but drift back and forth until the snow has evaporated or the next snowfall occurs. Heavy ones only happen at either end of winter.

Curt Harms
08-08-2018, 7:49 AM
Thanks Curt.

I prefer to be wireless in order to put the transmitter away from the house and to avoid poking holes through the walls we spent so much on to be energy efficient. Cold of -20C (-4F) temps in the winter with drops at night to and lower than -40C/F for weeks at a time made me wonder about the batteries. Does the temperature just stop at -40C/F or become erratic or quit? Snowfalls are generally light but drift back and forth until the snow has evaporated or the next snowfall occurs. Heavy ones only happen at either end of winter.

We get below 0F only rarely here so I don't know how Lithium battery powered devices behave near their lower temperature limits. I've had our temp sender become intermittent below +10F with lithium batteries but it has also infrequently been intermittent above 90F so I'm inclined to blame a weak device, not the temperature.

John K Jordan
08-08-2018, 10:28 AM
...urge you to buy "Modern Marine Weather" by David Burch. This is geared towards offshore sailing, but is the best weather book I have read to date...
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IF the cost is too much, get a good manual barometer, thermometer, and hygrometer.

Rats, another book recommendation from a knowledgeable source. You have to know how weak some of us are when it comes to books. There goes another $45.

For the budget minded: 35+ years ago I made a sling psychrometer for not much more than the cost of two thermometers. It worked well

JKJ

Daniel Smith
08-08-2018, 11:24 AM
I'm curious about a few things and if someone can answer I would appreciate it.
Do the wind speed cups load up when heavy snow comes?
Does the transmitted single deteriorate with heavy snow? Satellite TV sometimes looses the signal.
How do they stand up to sustained -40C/F cold?
Are there any models that will show temps below -40C/F?
Are the wind chill measurements accurate?

Thanks

My Davis has seen temperatures down to around -18F without issue. Accuracy and transmission don't seem to be affected. Every now and then we'll get a stretch where the high will top out at about 0F for several days in a row and I haven't noticed any change in performance. I have no idea how it would perform at -40 - that's a whole 'nother level of BRRRRR. The outside unit uses a 3V lithium battery and has a small solar panel. I'm not sure what percentage comes from the battery vs solar, but I typically go a couple of years between battery changes.

I haven't had any real issues with snow caking in the wind cups, but we typically don't get too much snow at one time and until last year the wind gauge was relatively protected by trees. My experience might change now that we've moved and it is out in the open.

Peter Christensen
08-08-2018, 11:50 AM
Thanks guys. Now I have to convince the Ministeress of Finance we need one. ;)

Wade Lippman
08-09-2018, 12:58 PM
Have a Davis Vantage Vue which has been running trouble free for over 3 years now. The remote monitor is a royal pain (to retrieve old data) so interfaced it to wunderground.com. Makes all of the difference in the world.

How do you interface it?

Curt Harms
08-10-2018, 8:19 AM
Have a Davis Vantage Vue which has been running trouble free for over 3 years now. The remote monitor is a royal pain (to retrieve old data) so interfaced it to wunderground.com. Makes all of the difference in the world.

That's why I wanted a weather station with its own internet connection. Many require being hooked up to a PC that's on all the time and I didn't care for that idea. For those that would like a local source of temperature and rainfall you could check out wunderground.com/wundermap. Of course the information on that page is as good as the stations providing the data and their siting - temp sensors in a shaded spot, wind and rain in the open, that sort of thing.

roger wiegand
08-10-2018, 8:36 AM
Do units like those from Davis offer a hard wire option? An hour fishing a wire seems like a good trade for solid connectivity and not having to get to a perhaps poorly accessible location to change batteries. I was thinking of putting mine on a pole over the roof to get more accurate wind readings. How high over a roof do you need to be to mitigate the effect of the building? I'm guessing that too close and you'll get high or low readings, depending on the geometry.

Malcolm Schweizer
08-10-2018, 8:45 AM
Do units like those from Davis offer a hard wire option? An hour fishing a wire seems like a good trade for solid connectivity and not having to get to a perhaps poorly accessible location to change batteries. I was thinking of putting mine on a pole over the roof to get more accurate wind readings. How high over a roof do you need to be to mitigate the effect of the building? I'm guessing that too close and you'll get high or low readings, depending on the geometry.

Yes- they have wired and wireless. https://www.weathershack.com/category/weather-stations.html?utm_source=bing&utm_medium=cpc&utm_campaign=268396731&utm_content=1185274015184332&utm_term=davis%20weather%20instruments&utm_product={ProductId}&msclkid=49ceca4cf3e6112ad93391217b4c9665

Lee Schierer
08-10-2018, 8:48 AM
I was thinking of putting mine on a pole over the roof to get more accurate wind readings. How high over a roof do you need to be to mitigate the effect of the building? I'm guessing that too close and you'll get high or low readings, depending on the geometry.

To get true wind speed they recommend mounting your anemometer 30 feet above the ground. If there are buildings or trees nearby it would need to be higher. Obviously maintenance and lengths of cord become a factor for a home installation.

John K Jordan
08-10-2018, 9:20 AM
... maintenance and lengths of cord become a factor for a home installation.

And lightning protection, although I have no idea if the small data wires could create a hazard. A friend was disconnecting his ham radio antenna wire when lightning struck, vaporizing the wire. He said it left green reside on his hands.

Matt Meiser
08-10-2018, 9:25 AM
Iíve always wanted one from back when I was a kid and readings would have been manual. We bought a lacrosse several years ago and returned it because I couldnít even get it working out of the box much leads after sitting in the weather. Iíve looked at them on and off but then found the Weather Underground app and it turns out there are 3-4 in a couple mile radius of me.

Steve Schlumpf
08-10-2018, 8:11 PM
I want to thank everyone for their input and suggestions! First I have to admit that I know nothing about weather stations, so I did some research and found a few online reviews. Review #1 (https://www.weatherstationadvisor.com/ambient-weather-ws-2902-review/) Review #2 (https://www.lifewire.com/best-home-weather-stations-4140476)

Based on a number of reviews, and a price point I could live with for a first time venture into weather stations, today I ordered the Ambient WS 2902A system. On Wednesday Amazon had it for $169.99 and free shipping but yesterday AmbientWeather.com offered the very same unit for $95.99. Ordered it today and with shipping to my location, total came to $120.54.

Once again, I admit that I have no idea what I am getting into but am looking forward to getting this setup and having fun with it!