Friday, December 15, 2017

Temporary Weather Station

And at this point, it's very temporary! Not that I'm sending it back, but because the "Sensor Suite" isn't installed in it's final position, as seen here:



And this is it turned 90*:



The anemometer cups and wind vane speak for themselves. The rectangular box off to the left side in the above picture is the rain gauge, and the vertical stack of louvers houses the brains of the thing, along with temperature, humidity, and barometric pressure sensors. The housing at the very top holds the solar cell, which charges two "AA" sized rechargeable alkaline batteries that are supposed to last for 36 months. The little brain box also houses a 915 MHz transmitter to send data to the base unit every 48 seconds.

The new toy is a Weatherwise WS-1090-SOLAR wireless weather station, and I bought it after reading the glowing reviews on eHam.net.


This is the console that sits inside:




The console is powered by three "AA" batteries said to be good for 12 months. The clock inside is radio synchronized to my neighbors over at WWVB. Somebody made a joke here a while back that being so close to WWVB would probably cause NON clock equipped stuff to try and synchronize. So far, every single device we own that has a radio synchronized clock in it has come up, and gotten a lock and was fully adjusted within 15 minutes. GOOD signal strength here, buckaroo!

I found I had to run the LCD contrast at max to get a decent viewing angle out of it. The screen is a 7" touch screen, and tapping any display area brings up a sub-menu of display choices for that parameter. And there's a USB port on the side that allows you either download the stored measurements, or communicate directly with the device, and display/store/manipulate the data provided by the Sensor Suite.

Pretty sophisticated, and pretty powerful for a $100 device.

The only complaints I recall from eHam and other sites was that the "300 foot" wireless range was a bit optimistic, and you were better off to keep the two units "Line of Sight".

One of the things I've noticed is that the temperature readings for both inside and outside don't agree with several other thermometers I have, or with the NWS and some other local Weather Underground stations.

The inside temp is always 5* higher than all the other thermometers, and the outside temp runs about 2* higher than close-by stations.

And the barometric pressure reading is consistently low.

And when the Sensor Suite is in direct sun, the indicated outdoor temperature climbs to 15* or higher than the ambient air around it.

The manual alludes to being able to calibrate the readings from the touchscreen, but I can't find any way to change the displayed value. And the weather software I used to communicate with the unit via the USB cable will allow me to set numerous offsets and scale factors, but they only apply to the displayed value in the software. The LCD screen still shows incorrect readings.

Granted, it's not my $600 Davis Instruments Weather Vue system, with genuine NIST-traceable calibration, but I'm surprised you can't make adjustments to the displayed values on the display console.

Over the last few days I've run across, and collected up, all the bits and pieces of my Davis weather station. The entire sensor suite is still on the 5' section of mast I had it on in Long Beach.

Boy......it sure would be easy to put that section of mast into the heavy-duty 5' Rohn tripod I have and set it up on the back porch.........just for a while, you know?

8 comments:

  1. That's just super cool. You have all the toys, DRJIM.

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  2. And this little thing is barely out of the "toy" category.

    It would be a good "My First Weather Station", and if it had acceptable accuracy it would be a hit out of the park for $100, but the 5* error in the indoor temperature makes me suspect the calibration of the entire sensor suite.

    To have no way to enter a correction factor so the station console shows the corrected values on the display is a glaring error.

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  3. What would your recommendation be for a weather station for someone that likes to garden?

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    Replies
    1. How much do you want to spend, and are you interested in the specialty sensors for things like soil moisture?

      Davis instruments makes the best ones out there IMNSHO, and I've tried a lot of the ones out there. Some just have a few instruments of questionable accuracy, like the little one I just bought, and some have "real" calibrations, and will allow you to adjust the calibration factors so you can get very good accuracy.

      It's like any other tool you's buy. You have to look at what what you want to measure, and then find a unit at a price you can afford that will do what you want.

      If this little unit had better calibration, it would be a home run. As it is, I'd give it a double....

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  4. That's a nice piece of gear. I don't have one, but I have thought about it. There's a weather web page I can go to where this guy about 10 miles from me has a weather station and I can go on line and read all his data. It's pretty popular as he gets gazillions of hits , especially when bad weather is coming in.

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    Replies
    1. For $117 delivered, it's an pretty amazing little thing. If the calibration was accurate, I'd recommend it in a heat beat. BUT...the inside air temp is consistently 5* too high, and the outdoor temp sensor needs to be better shielded from direct sun. As soon as the sun rises enough that the sensors are in direct sun, the indicated outdoor temp starts rising because the sun is warming the housing the temp sensor is inside of, and that gives you a false reading.

      Weather Underground and the Citizen's Weather Observation Program (CWOP) list thousands of sites around the U.S., and you can most likely find a station close to you.

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  5. You might consider using a white plumbing pipe section to slide over that unit that has the temp sensor and brain. Big enough to allow airflow, and keep any part of it out of direct sunlight.
    If weight is an issue, section it to leave a support leg (or more) that reaches the ground. Might be better to have some sort of overhead cover to keep direct sunlight from heating the inner surface.

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    Replies
    1. The manufacturer is aware of the solar heating, and sells a replacement louver assembly for $40. It appears to be much larger in diameter. I'll probably get some thin aluminum sheet from Home Depot and fabricate a solar shield for it.

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Keep it civil, please....