Thinking of buying a weather station for Christmas? Read this first.

Many readers of WUWT have an interest in weather, and specifically temperature. This being “Black Friday”, I thought I’d spend a few minutes talking about some of the home weather stations that are available and being promoted as “deals” this year. I’m going to provide you with some details that might help you avoid purchasing a piece of poorly manufactured equipment that might look pretty, but won’t last and won’t be accurate.

One of the most promoted weather stations out there this year is one by a company called “LaCrosse”. You’ll see this snazzy looking “5 in 1” weather station at Costco, Amazon, and many other places.

They like to bill themselves as a company based in Wisconsin, but make no mistake, everything they sell is manufactured in China, as is this unit. I’ve had a fair amount of personal experience with this company, and the products are generally low-end when it comes to reliability, quality, and accuracy.

Pros:

  • Great price
  • Lots of features
  • Color LCD display
  • Cell phone interface/app

Cons:

  • Rain gauge with lower surface collection area than is standard means lower accuracy on rainfall measurements
  • No wind direction measurement – only speed
  • Small cup size on Anemometer means low wind readings are not captured
  • No specs given on accuracy of temperature, humidity, pressure, rainfall – only ranges given in their published specs
  • Company’s products have history of short durability

My experience with Chinese made products like this is that they have a temperature accuracy that is often only ±2 or 3 degrees Fahrenheit, don’t read winds accurately, nor report rainfall measurements accurately due to non-standard sizes of wind cups and rain collectors. Even worse, in my experience, they often don’t last very long. The plastic components don’t handle weather and sun exposure well, and the housing darkens with age, increasing the bias to the temperature. While this product “looks” great, it’s really little more than a toy.

Another similar Chinese-made weather station is one from a company called AcuRite, also available in many places, such as Target, Amazon, Kohl’s, Home Depot, and many other online stores. Like the LaCrosse, it has a snappy display and lots of features, but like any Chinese-made product, it suffers from accuracy and reliability issues.

 

Pros:

  • Good price
  • Lots of features
  • Color LCD display
  • Cell phone interface/app
  • Computer logging program
  • Solar powered fan for aspirated temperature readings

Cons:

  • Oddly shaped rain gauge aperture with lower surface collection area than is standard means lower accuracy on rainfall measurements
  • Small cup size and odd shape on Anemometer means low wind readings are not captured
  • Accuracy of temperature is listed as ±2 degrees F
  • Users report fan stops working after a few months, resulting in higher than normal temperature readings
  • Slow – wind speed reported every 18 seconds and direction every 30
  • Users report short useful product lifetime

The above examples are just two of the many Chinese-made consumer grade weather stations being foisted on consumers this Christmas. While these might be fine for “entertainment value”, anybody who is serious about getting accurate weather and climate information really needs to look elsewhere. These weather stations have even worse problems than we have uncovered in the NOAA surface temperature network.

There is one company, Davis Instruments, of Hayward California that makes quality weather stations that have accuracy and quality, and I highly recommend them if you plan to purchase a weather station. Sure, they may cost more, but they do in fact last, have standard sized rain and wind collection that meet WMO specs, and have sensors that are NIST traceable. Plus, they are wholly American-made.

The caveat “you get what you pay for” holds true in the weather station market.

Pros:

  • Standard sized and shape rain gauge comes meet WMO standards for size and collection area
  • Rain gauge has integrated bird spikes to prevent roosting and clogging
  • Rain gauge has new wind-tunnel tested cone to ensure better collection at high wind speed
  • NIST traceability with sensors
  • Temperature accurate to within ±1 degreeF (0.5C) Full specs here
  • NOAA, Naval Observaory, WMO, algorithms built into firmware for calculated data
  • Durable construction won’t darken or fail – users report stations lasting 10 years or more
  • Parts are available from the U.S. manufacturer – unlike from China manufacturers

Cons:

  • No color display
  • Higher price (lower cost Vantage Vue seen below, is available)
  • Cell phone/website interface is an optional add-on

Full disclosure: my company has the first and oldest online weather instrument store ( weathershop.com 1995) and we sell these. If you’d like to take a look, we have a sale on, and you can take my word for it: these stations will last, and give you accurate readings, as well as log data, send data to places like Weather Underground, and works with Android/iOS apps if you get the WeatherLink IP to connect to your home router.

20% Off ALL Davis Instruments Weather Stations & Accessories

I have seen so many people buy these cheap Chinese instruments, then become frustrated with them either right out of the box (DOA) or having them fail in a few months, that I thought I’d take a moment to tell people about what I’ve learned through experience. Even if you don’t buy a Davis weather station through my weathershop.com store, at least don’t buy one of these cheap Chinese alternatives if you value greater accuracy and reliability.

Thanks for your consideration.

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80 thoughts on “Thinking of buying a weather station for Christmas? Read this first.

  1. I heartily agree with Anthony. Been a Davis Vantage owner for 16-17 years. In that time I have gone through 1 system. They are accurate and many components are replaceable. They can wear as any electronic device left out in the weather will. My first model lasted well over a decade, 12+ years, before needing replacement as compatibility became an issue with sub-components. (Davis changed the RF components for extended range, a benefit.)

    I also strongly recommend Davis.

  2. The company I work for in the UK uses the Davis Vantage Pro for industrial purposes (Cement works, glass plants) where the conditions are always very dusty, and they work well for a few years before succumbing to the environment. For domestic use in your back garden, they ought to last quite a bit longer. I’d recommend Davis before more expensive products.

  3. “No color display” can be a PRO not a CON. I understand the pleasant novelty delivered by back-lit color and to read it from across the room has value too, but the number of components required to make it happen has significant bearing on lifespan.

    Custom B&W LCD matrix on glass is the most stable technology yet developed if it is sited and mounted properly. Shade display from direct sunlight if possible but more important, ensure that sunlight does not heat part of the case and not the other. Touch screen LCDs avoid like the plague, the glass will deform over time from finger pressure and plastic overlays degrade from UV. Insist on Real Buttons[tm] if possible.

    But sadly Real Buttons such as the self-cleaning contact switches of our youth are dead and gone into the dustbin of reliable technologies. So regardless of what you get or what you pay, you WILL discover that over time you must push harder and harder until you actually deform the case and see the display fade or flicker.

    If buttons do not ‘click’ you may be in luck. You must stop, grit your teeth and disassemble it to expose the circuit board and rubber membrane with its slightly conductive pads, and clean the lot with a contact cleaner that leaves no residue, and reassemble.

    If the buttons ‘click’ or ‘pop’ under your finger, you may be in luck if there is a separate clickie array that you can clean. If the clickie pads are bonded to the circuit board, tie a rock to it so you can use it as a paperweight.

    LCD can be bad if it its temp drops below freezing. I just installed an outside temperature controller and found one with a ye-old-fashioned red LED segment display because it doesn’t mind freezing temps, and in the hopes that the display and its power supply will generate enough warmth in the case to retard condensation.

  4. I live in an exposed coastal site and bought a Davis Vantage Vue, I had nothing but trouble with it. Battery located within the unit on the roof needed replacing on average every nine months, it also needed frequent resetting. Rain sensor packed up approx. three days after the warranty ran out,and the whole lot had to be shipped out to get replaced. Near constant error messages on the console I gave up and the whole thing now sits in a corner in the garage.
    I don’t know if the writer of the article is the same retailer I bought my unit from, but I thought they had folded, there was certainly a period of time where a lot of online weather forums stated this. When the rain sensor packed up I had to send the unit to somewhere in Portsmouth, UK for repair as ‘weathershop’ which I think was based in Brighton, UK had ceased trading.

  5. I’ve had a Vantage Pro II purchased from Anthony for going on ten years. Just works and works year after year. Sends data to my computer which I use to schedule irrigation for our golf course plus info is needed for myriad of reports that we do for different agencies (water taking, chemical use). It even has a sense of humour; when we have a big rain storm the comment at the bottom of the station says “Its raining cats and dogs!”. Only service we do is clean the rain collector every year and change batteries on occasion.

  6. It’s way more educational to build your own weather station. link

    You don’t even need a station. The cheapest option is to go on weatherunderground.com/wundermap . You may find that one of your neighbours has a station that’s close enough for your needs.

    My lot isn’t huge but one part can get frost when the rest is spared. A few temperature sensors in the flower beds could save a lot of work because we would know which flowers to cover and which could be ignored.

    There are several stations within a couple of miles of my house. The temperature spread is about six degrees F (29 to 35). If you’re a serious gardener worried about frost, that might make you want to have your own station.

    • I avoid Wondermap’s “personal stations”. They are often poorly sited and I have no idea if they are ever calibrated. Just a personal preference, though our local meterologist has mentioned this too.

    • I live in the small city of Yuma, AZ, and there are 4 stations within a 3 mile radius on Wunderground.com. They all show it warms faster in the morning in the valley than it does at our airport. They all tend to agree with the maximum temps at the airport.

    • Bob wrote, “There are several stations within a couple of miles of my house. The temperature spread is about six degrees F (29 to 35)”

      But, but, but… how can that be, since 6°F = 3.33°C, and HuffPo tells us that a 1°C to 2°C change is catastrophic?

  7. Well, I’ll throw in that sometimes you get a good one from both LaCrosse and AcuRite. I have a LaCrosse c84612 that’s going on 5 years old (or more) and I love it. Its best feature is that the anemometer is totally solar powered so I don’t have to go up on the roof to change batteries. The rain gauge and temperature units and separate and do need batteries. I was at Sam’s a couple of days ago and they had a new glitzy LaCrosse that has all its sensors in one package, like the Davis shown above, but it needs batteries so it can’t go on the roof. It does have a wind vane so it sends local wind direction to the display.

    • I have an Accurite, been running for 4 or t years now, does data logging to my pc. I had one bearing go bad early on, they send a free replacement, and I extended the rim if the rain cup.
      Other than that, it was worth the $100 or so it cost.

      But, it is starting to act up (temp spikes that aren’t real), but that might just be the batteries are wearing out, which I need to check.
      All of the switches use sealed mercury switches which are weather tolerant. And replacement bearings can be bought cheaply online if needed.

  8. Had some experience w/ LaCross that has indoor-outdoor readings. Pain in the neck to set up or reprogram.

  9. I have an about 17 years old RS WX-200 on my roof.

    Pros:
    – Works 99% flawlessy, even during harsh Finnish winter. (Had to repair some minor stuff on it only twice during this 17 years of use)
    – It’s wired, so no wireless interference, and no need to climb up on the roof to change batteries.
    – Simple serial interface to your computer.
    – No useless fancy stuff in it.
    – Didn’t have to pay a dime for it, got it as a gift :-)

    Cons:
    – The anemometer freezes in some weather conditions, no heater in it.
    – Rain and wind gauges give sometimes spurious readings, luckily very seldom.

  10. Davis Vantage Pro user here. In 10 years I have replaced only the temp/humidity sensor due to a mud dauber building a nest on it and polished the cover over the solar panel a couple of times. Houston is hell on plastics. Recently relocated to Arvada, Co and it it’s still ticking along.
    This may be its last year as the white plastics are turning powdery and the sunscreen has a coating of the Southern US moss/lichens/green crud.
    https://www.wunderground.com/personal-weather-station/dashboard?ID=KCOARVAD168

  11. I can attest the fancy 5 in 1 Accurite I had lasted a little over a year and the outside unit died, as did the replacement unit. I can also say that when Hurricane Irma went over us, it showed winds at 30 mph when they were gusting to over 80. The unit looked nice, but was not worth the price in the long run. I regret not taking Anthony’s advice a few years ago on weather stations. He was and still is spot on!

  12. Reblogged this on Head Noises and commented:
    Weather stations on sale.

    For what it’s worth, we have the accurite indoor and outdoor station…thing…and the +/- 3 degrees thing is true, plus there is a horrible lag in temperature measurement.

  13. I have a Davis Vantage Pro2 that I bought in February 2005. It’s been a good instrument but not problem free. I’ve had the most trouble with the charging circuit. There are a few solar cells on the front of the instrument suite that charge a 1 farad (not a typo!) capacitor that acts as a battery that runs the sensors and transmitter. If there’s not enough sun there’s a back-up battery. First the capacitor went bad and some years later the charging circuit stopped working. The only way I noticed this was that battery lasted just 6 months instead of several years. The solar cells were replaced. The originals didn’t hold up to UV very well. So far the new ones are good.

    I also lost the anemometer to a nearby lightning strike. I bought a replacement.

    I have the data logger accessory and software so I have all my weather data since Feb. 2005.

    Wireless uses 900 MHz. The range is very good. I originally had the sensor suite 400′ from the base and it still communicated fine.

    You can set alarms to go off if some parameter is exceeded, either high or low. I found the procedure to select the parameter to set/clear to be confusing. It’s very easy to press a wrong button and end up setting some other parameter.

      • Old thinking. You can get thousands of farads in ultracapacitors not too much bigger than a few D cells.

      • @Mike
        Thanks for making me aware. My capacitor knowledge was c. 1975 or so, senior level physics. I needed the update. :-)

    • I forgot about that. I also had to replace the Super Cap on mine. ~$6.00 to buy a new cap and replace.

  14. I highly recommend the Davis Vantage Pro 2. I’m on my second one as my first one developed an electronic fault in the transmitter after 15 years of trouble free service. A plus is that the console from the original works with the newer unit so I have a readout in the bedroom and another in the kitchen. Lots of features including in/out door temp. & RH, Dew point, heat index/wind chill, graphic data display, etc. Also anemometer mounts separately with long wire so it can be mounted on a pole above obstructions. It has a solar powered transmitter with a rechargeable battery that lasts at least 2-3 years.

    It is not cheap, but as someone who spent 35 years buying and using all kinds of measurement instruments, I can say that you do indeed get what you pay for.

    • Well, many people say ‘you get what you pay for.’ The truth is, you get no more than you pay for. Often, you get a lot less.

  15. If you are a tinkerer you can do a lot better than the Weatherlink IP for $250+.

    You can pick up a 3DR 900 MHz radio on amazon for ~$30 and load in open source software (search for “DavisSI1000”) and have a data feed of packets from your station via USB.

    I use this and weewx to load the data up to WUnderground and PWS.

    I have a home server where I run that software but I think you can also toss it on a raspberry pi or arduino for less than $50.

    Only negative I have found so far in 3 years of running it has been that since I am pulling data from the station and not the display there is no barometric pressure value in the feed. I overcame that pulling that data from another WU station in the neighborhood and inserting it into my data packets before they are read by the weewx software.

  16. I will add that Davis customer service is great. I have had a few miscellaneous issues over many years of use (a couple software issues with new computers & rodents chewing on cables) and they trouble shot over the phone & had me up & going again in now time – fast & friendly.

  17. My problem is owls; With security lighting they are attracted to the area and perch on anything. TV antenna last a month at best(fixed https://goo.gl/3FRaVN added spikes at the top), cameras have to be inverted so they can land on them and not impact the camera. It’s not fun looking at the Anemometer cups on the ground in the morning, the station is at 35′ on the radio tower so replacing units isn’t too bad… Anemometer cups: Davis is $15 to replace and Acurite $5 – Davis has stand up wire around the rain collector, sweet..

  18. I bought a Davis Vantage Pro about 14-15 years ago, and was very happy with it overall. I had it all hooked up into my desktop with the software program which I could access online through Remote Desktop via my HP 4″ Windows based “palm pilot’ tethered to a flip style cell phone plan. That was very cool back then to have my weather station in my pocket anywhere in the world. Even my IT tech geek friends were impressed. This was before the iPhone or any SmartPhone and really took some work getting all that set up through the internet. Of course, this is all old hat now, and my nephew was just showing me what his home security system complete with video could do. I recall back then, it was all nearly $1700 with the software package.

    Unfortunately, about 3-4 years ago, I had a micro burst blow through my rural yard, and the wind blew debris into the Davis weather station on the mast, and smashed it to smithereens. I still have the main console, the software and the wireless transmitter etc, (all looks identical to the pics above) but does anyone know if you can just buy the weather station part? The old transmitter seems to be fine, so maybe I have some spare parts. I never pursued it after the station was destroyed, but sure would be nice to get it going again without buying everything brand new again. Does anyone know if you can parts for the Davis Pro and specifically just the outdoor station?

    • Check with Davis. I had to buy a new transmitter card from them when my 3V lithium batteries started needing replacement too often. They were very helpful and will surely tell you which parts they have available and how much.

    • There are a lot of differences betweem the Davis VP and the Davis VP 2. The RF section is very different (the VP 2 has linger antennas), the PV cell is different and supercaps may be a different voltage, and I’m not sure what else.

      Davis doesn’t have many parts left for the VP (classic). They should have almost everything for VP 2 except maybe supercaps. I replaced mine with exact replacements from DigiKey.

  19. Thanks Anthony. Some good ideas for Christmas.

    BTW, have you considered hosting a line of GISS-approved Climate Station Products?

    Some key features of a GISS_approved climate station:
    user-adjustable vernier variable resistor attached to temperature sensor to dial away pesky lows and crank-in some thermageddon.
    optical aerosol measurement array for initializing your favorite CGM. If this is too expensive an option for a home installation, just skip the sensor and just make-up a number to display with a random number generator.
    – iOS/Android app that features NOAA/NASA real-time surface official temperature readings from stations throughout the African Congo and Central Asia. When these numbers aren’t available, just have the app make-up some shit to infill the missing data fields.
    time-traveling rainfall sensor to know what the rainfall across Asia will be in 2060-2080 or to know what it was in back as far as 1880.

    Merry snow-less Climate Christmas Anthony.
    (wishing a white Christmas is so triggering for the Millennial, so be careful with that one)

  20. I have a LaCrosse WS-2308 running Open2300 (open source Linux based software) since 2006. It’s reliable, but can be inaccurate at times.
    I’ve managed to fix most of the problems caused by cheap hardware using the even cheaper open source software…

      • I have had a Vantage Pro for 10 years or so. It’s been quite reliable, with occasional battery changes needed.
        The unit as shipped di not have the bird spikes arounfd the rain collector and it would fill up with bird cr*p during the dry season and get blocked. An upgrade to the new plasticcollector fixed that problem.
        The solar panel and it’s plastic mounting panel finally succumbed to the AZ sun, but again a replacement was easy.
        I like the fact that replacement parts are available…:^)

  21. I would add that Davis did a full rebuild of my Vantage Pro a few years ago for like $100. Fixed the bad pixels in the display and upgraded the motherboard. Super customer service.

  22. I’ll attest to the durability of the Vantage Pro II. Put one on my property 7 years ago and have only a couple of minor issues. I’d buy it again if this one breaks down.

  23. I have a cheap Acurite. The first one stopped working, so I got another one just like it (figuring the units could share parts when needed). I found the original was wet inside (clips broke off and it doesn’t seal now) and after drying it out, I put batteries in it and it has recovered. I have to seal the battery compartment to keep out rain, but I considered it a tough little unit. In addition, I have a rain gauge and a wind sock for wind direction. For simply knowing what is going on outside, that’s sufficient. If I were to move up to recording the weather for some project, a better unit would be in order.

  24. I’ve owned the Davis Vantage2 (split wireless, wind sp/dir on the flagpole) since around 2002, survived many hurricanes in central Florida, and a number of snow/ice events in SC. I’ve only had to send it back to the factory once for a warranty repair. Davis stands behind their warranty better than most any other company I’ve dealt with. If you are into Linux/unix based computers, there is a host of programs that can interface to the system and get your data onto CWOP and other places. I’ll admit I’ve been lackluster about keeping my station calibrated the last couple of years, and as such, I don’t push my data out to CWOP anymore. I would highly recommend the VP2.

  25. I happen to have both a LaCrosse and an AcuRite instrument in view right now. I agree completely with Anthony’s view of LaCrosse. Mine was a gift, and measures indoor/outdoor temperature, as well as “accurate” time. It references the US time signal from WWV. It currently reads two hours off. It also doesn’t show seconds so its accuracy is really only +/- a half minute (whenever the hour numbers happen to be right). The outdoor temperature is so flaky that I have given up even trying to make it work. With the color display, at least it LOOKS impressive.

    I’ve had better luck with AcuRite weather stations. I own two, in different locations. I must point out that my displays are NOT color. They are monochrome, with a colored overlays. That makes them look like color displays, but all the data are monochrome. I don’t find this to be a disadvantage. I mounted the remote units at head height so I can easily change the batteries, so I know the wind speeds are inaccurate. It also makes it easier to unclog the rain gages (which are more prone to clogging at such low elevations). They include a calibration offset to correct a DC offset in temperature. They have both continued to work for three years, which I consider quite satisfactory for the price. I was satisfied with the data when Harvey passed through a couple of months ago. They cost 20 percent of the Davis price.

  26. I have a WMR928NX from Origon (I think it the internally the model as the Siemens), which I bought about 12 years ago. Never had any issues with what so ever. The internal and external temperature sensors appear to be correct within 0.2C compared to to my Comac reference thermometer. Anybody else with experience of this weather station?

  27. I owned the LaCrosse very similar to the one shown at the top of this article. The rain gauge never matched the simple glass cylinder rain gauge I also used nearby. The wind anemometer broke during the first storm to hit it (a cup literally broke off). I was able to get temperature readings for a year or so before that also stopped working. They were always suspect – several degrees off from a simple outside thermometer I kept.

    If you want a serious weather station, you need to invest some money – otherwise don’t bother as its a lot of trouble to try and set one of these up correctly, only to tear it back down.

    Oh, my glass rain cylinder was shattered years later in a bad Texas storm – lots of debris from trees around here. I ‘made’ a new one (using the volume versus surface area ratio of the original and marking it) from borosilicate glass cylinder and so far, it has survived.

  28. Bestreviews.com has just updated their weather station recommendations and has a shopping guide for selecting one. I have an Ambient Weather Station that I installed in November 2012 when my daughter was taking a weather course at the community college.

    Davis Instruments is described as the Rolls Royce of weather stations. Next is AcuRite, Ambient Weather, La Crosse, and Oregon Scientific.

  29. I owned 3 or 4 starting way back with kit build from Heathkit….and eventually an early Davis Instruments unit that was best in quality and reliabilty IMHO…..But station placement is CRITICAL due to wind gradient and building/tree wind disturbance…..

    Now i just check my NEST thermostat or smartphone for local weather data….

    Use remote access Davis Instruments for wind conditions at distant sailing, gliding, long range firing range sites before travelling.

  30. So I think what you are really saying is if you want to believe in global warming by a cheap chinese version because it too will lie to you about the temperature +- 2 whole degrees. Approved by Michael Mann and Penn State.

  31. I’ve got two different AcuRite consoles (different models). Both models appear to have a firmware bug which prevents the feature which stores data for later retrieval over USB from working. The bug is intemittent but usually prevents retrieving data from even a 12-hour recorded span. I have carefully tested and documented this flaw. My best guess is that it is a problem with their console, not the host computer.

    AcuRite steadfastly ignores this problem. They don’t deny it — they ignore it. I have been unable to get them to make any statement about this flaw one way or the other. They have gladly replaced the offending console(s) under warranty — with new consoles which appear to exhibit the exact same problem.

    My personal opinion is that they won’t comment on this because of the huge exposure they have. I am far from impressed by the way in which they have dealt with this problem.

    Second point — I’ve done a serious bit of testing of their fan-aspirated solar radiation shield (the fan runs on solar cells). In my tests it exhibited a 3-5F error (depending mostly on wind conditions) due to solar heating compared to a good fan-aspirated shield. If you’re interested, a report on these tests is available here:

    http://www.osengr.org/Projects/Solar-Radiation-Shield/Radiation-Shield-Comparison.pdf

  32. Remember, these units must to be exposed to the elements continuously for years. They need to be ruggedly constructed and plastics may fail in the constant UV exposure. Constant extreme dryness or humidity will also impact the packaging. Daily temperature cycling will inevitably weaken all mechanical and electrical connections and moving parts.

    Look for the temperature specs: In Canada, for most places, a range of -40C to +whatever is essential. Temperatures can drop below -40C, depending upon where you are; here in Ottawa, -30C is NOT adequate. Under the Sun, the internal electronics can become a lot hotter than the maximum they can tolerate, just like your car can become much hotter in the Sun (yes, the real greenhouse effect). I suspect the cheaper instruments only use commercial temperature grade electronic components.

    Remember those LED lightbulbs that advertize 50,000 hours duration. Well, that only applies to the solid state LEDs themselves, all the other bits, especially soldered wire joints, cause the much higher failure rate we are already accustomed too.

    Further, take heed as much as you can of the weather station siting information you can gather here on this web site.

  33. I had an older LaCrosse unit, with the Weather Direct label.
    It actually handled the weather in Phoenix, AZ pretty good for 5 years or so.
    Only reason it quit working was because Weather Direct shut down its website.

    Glad I read this entry before considering a replacement.

  34. Very useful post, thanks Anthony. I’ve been looking for a baseline device to do a large scale weather network. This is a good lead.

  35. Thanks for the expert evaluations.
    I’m not in the market for a weather station (though I’d like to have one.)
    But “you get what you pay” reminder is valuable.
    Recently I wanted to get a “spring bar removal tool”.
    (I very rarely buy stuff online. If someone dug me up in a million years, they’d probably conclude I was a Cro-Magnon.8-)
    Anyway, I found a cheap one locally.
    I bought it.
    I tried it.
    It didn’t work.
    I had to put it on a grinder before it would work.
    I doubt putting a cheap weather station on a grinder would make it work. 8-)

    • “I doubt putting a cheap weather station on a grinder would make it work. 8-)”

      How do you know until you try? If you have an intermittent fault, it might fix it. Well, the intermittent part of it, anyway.

  36. I have a friend who would love one of these.
    Let’s see

    um, everything that looks like a link on http://weathershop.com/Specials.htm
    isn’t clickable?

    I know it’s me and my paranoid browser settings, but what did I do wrong here?

    [Check Out These Deals] isn’t clickable

    20% Off ALL Davis Instruments Weather Stations & Accessories Storewide! isn’t clickable
    the picture below it isn’t clickable.

  37. I’d like to get the Greenblob Climate Maximizer so I can be fooled into thinking that it is warmer in the winter.

    Or maybe one of those ones they have been using in Australia that captures the highest temperature per split second.

  38. I may be wrong because I am relying on memory from five years ago, but I believe that the Weather Underground, which some have mentioned, has a connection with the now-defunct terrorist group of the same name. In addition, the last time I checked, a few years ago, the WU is totally on board with the “97% consensus” regarding human-caused GW.

  39. I have a Davis VP (classic), bought used in 2003 from a Boston TV Met who used it at home. He was upgrading to the fan aspirated model. Most of its warts are fixed with the VP 2. However, for the most part, it still works fine, see http://wermenh.com/wx/current.html for displays generated with Python, gnuplot, and other software.

    A lot of professional mets use Davis products.

  40. I’ve owned several LaCross and Acurite units. Never had one last for more than a year.
    When I decided to buy a real weather station for my house I bought a Davis Vantage Vue. I find the transducers to be accurate and It has served faithfully for several years.

  41. Another vote for Davis. The Vantage Pro 2 is a champ. Their customer support is really good, very easy to work with the one time I needed them.

  42. what about any UK products Anthony? most US suppliers charge an arm and a leg for shipping if they do, most don’t ship.

  43. I had an Oregon tipping bucket type of rain gauge. Found on calibration the bucket size was in error by 30%. Then found over about 10 months parallel recording with a manual gauge other errors. The bucket count caused considerable errors upto 20% when in heavy rain (over 100mm/day) and in very light rain (such as less than 0.5mm/day). Then there were signals errors (ie signal breaks) especially in heavy down pours (eg 50mm in two hours). Then after about 6 months the battery declined which had an effect on count transmission). I threw the gauge away and rely on daily manual measurements I adjust the distribution from a number of BOM weather stations in the surrounding area.when I am away.

    • Tipping bucket gauges can be tough to get right. The folks at CoCoRaHS require reporters to use their approved manual gauge, (not available at weathershop!), see http://www.weatheryourway.com/cocorahs/rgcoco.htm .

      I calibrated my Davis gauge by being careful to level it when I installed it, and then freezing a known quantity of water and letting it melt in the funnel. The two sources generally match pretty well, I think the discrepancies are mainly from wind shaking the Davis gauge which is higher and less stable than the CoCoRaHS gauge.

      The NWS folks seem to appreciate the CoCoRaHS readings for accuracy over the ASOS reports from their remote stations.

  44. In this era, and esp in my area in Mich, I don’t even try to measure wind or rain, what with living amongst the oak trees.. So wind direction and speed is what the computer says; rain is how full the wheel barrel got last night.

    But temp is important because we go outside in every season, from summer to winter, and it’s nice to know how to dress, asp in the winter. I have played with a number of things thru the years, including mercury in glass thermometers and big dial thermometers, and what I like now is a cheap battery operated indoor outdoor thermo, checked for accuracy in ice water, and the sensor put under the soffit/gutter on the north side of the house, protruding about 4 inches into open space. It never sees direct sun.

    In the AM it’s about 1C below the airport temp and in the evening, about 1 C above. Good enuf.

  45. Good points. But not really fair to the Chinese offerings. Going just a little off on a tangent, I have three digital calipers, all Chinese. Why, because the American or Japanese versions cost ten to thirty times as much. And if you want software to go with that, add a few hundred dollars more.

    More importantly (MUCH), I wonder in frustration what happened to the promise of detailed home monitoring and recording of data via a PC analog-digital interface? All I can find is stupid little one or two function sensors and/or alarms that record nothing except min/max temperature and humidity or voltage/current, and maybe electrical usage for a given device. They’re hard to read, hard to set up, and provide no useable record unless you log all the readings manually.

    Can you tell me where I can find an array of sensors that can send their data to a PC and record it automatically in a database that will allow me to review and analyse what’s happening and when in my attic, my basement, my water heater, my fridge and freezer?

    Surely that’s not rocket science… I bought my first multimeter with an RS232 connection at Radio Shack probably thirty years ago. Ten years or so later, they offered a dumbed-down model, and now you can’t find one at all on the consumer market in Canada.

    So if the Chinese ever come up with a PC-connectible home monitoring kit, I’ll jump on it and take a chance on the quality. I don’t think I’ll live long enough to afford an American or European version.

    • I use a RS232 – USB converter, which of course allows me to plug in my RS232 inputs to any USB connection. As long as your software still runs on your newer computer, or even a DOS shell etc, it should work if you have the original drivers. But I did keep all my old computers, back to my Win 3.11 486/DOS, until a few years ago, just so as stuff would be certain to work. The RS232/USB seems to work for most stuff.

      • I’ve got a desktop PC with an RS232 port. I’ve also got two or three devices that I could connect to that port, since there are also USB – RS232 adapters. But that’s the smaller part of the problem. The main issue is being able to stream information 24/7 through that connection and into one database that can accept a variety of data and can also let you know when sensors malfunction or when a critical threshhold has been reached .

        Twenty years ago, I got the impression we were within a few years of getting this kind of information gathering capability, and now there’s no sign of it.

        I did a brief search on PC based home automation just now, and all I see is arrangements for turning things on and off, preferably remotely. Monitoring for review and analysis doesn’t seem to come into it.

        Seems you can buy a motorized wind turbine for your attic and set it to go on an off at certain temperature and humidity levels, but you can’t buy a device that will measure and record these data 24/7 for a month or two so you can determine whether you actually need the turbine or at what levels it should be set to turn on and off.

  46. Hi Anthony
    Like many, I chose a unit from a local retailer which was simply a repackaged Chinese unit – the DreamLink WH1080.
    I am now on my 3rd unit replaced under warranty in less than 6 months. Living in a high-wind area, it is not unusual to get 150Kph winds here – approaching 100Mph. The unit flexes so terribly in teh wind that it eventually breaks.
    After discussion with the shop, I eventually glued the main component comprising the transmission and solar collector directly onto the support pole and it has survived through some very significant winds since.
    However I now have other problems in that the Wireless connectivity between the external unit and the inside head unit will drop out – this happened on the last unit which was why it was replaced.
    Despite all this, I do find the station compelling and have set up a website using WEEWX so I can constantly see the local weather at home from anywhere – pretty cool.
    If it dows come to a replacement I will have to look at something far more substantial, but for now I have the bug and will continue to pursue it.
    My station https://www.wunderground.com/weather/nz/wellington/IWELLING358 – and it has disconnected from outside station since late last night !!
    Andi

  47. I would be very happy with a cheap bluetooth thermometer that I could hang from a tree branch. Let my phone display temperature and history.

    I can barely read the one outside my window, and it’s affected by escaping heat.

  48. I installed a Vantage Vue in my back yard, about 4 miles W of Rapid City, SD in July 2010. I ordered mine directly from Davis, shortly after the Vantage Vue became available. Its operation has been flawless, except for a need to replace the anemometer cups and wind direction vane due to hailstorm damage about a year after I put it in. I now have “spares” I bought from Davis as hailstorms are a way of life hereabouts in summer, and I echo the comments about great customer service at Davis. Other than that, I clean my sensor unit occasionally and replace lithium batteries when the console advises me to do so. My next door neighbor even bought a console to see weather conditions sent from my sensor unit! My Vantage Vue stood up quite well to “Winter Storm Atlas” in October 2013, when we had a blizzard that delivered about 3 ft of snow. From my perspective, I have to agree with comments about Davis quality.

  49. I’m still running a Oregon Scientific WMR-968 that I bought well over 10 years ago and dragged through two moves. Have had to replace the wind vane and anemometer because they became fragile from UV damage and broke during moves but all-in-all everything still works fine. Periodically find units being parted out so I have plenty of backup parts for another 10 years. Accuracy and consistency seem find compared to other instruments I have collected and measurements in the neighborhood.

  50. I agree with Anthony. I have used Davis equipment (currently Vantage Pro 2) for many years. It is practical and reliable. I have always had an alternative to the tipping bucket – a standard British Met Office copper manual gauge 18 inches above ground level compared with the four to five feet of the Davis tipping bucket. There can inevitably be differences, but easy to iron out. Incidentally, my temperature records over the past 18 years show no discernible warming.

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