Author Topic: Total Newb - $300 budget  (Read 4093 times)

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Offline billunger

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Total Newb - $300 budget
« on: November 19, 2011, 09:52:19 PM »
I have wanted to buy a wireless weather station for my home for quite some time and now have the budget to get started, which is about $300.

I live in a city in Northern Michigan, have an attached garage, and would ideally like to put the data collecting equipment on the roof of the garage.  My house is a traditional bi-level home, my computer is in the lower level less than 100' from the top of the garage ( though through a handful of walls and roof ), and I would like to be able to wireless view/monitor/gather the data on a Mac.  Ideally, the station would connect to my wireless network ( 2.4Ghz ).

I am completely new to all of this and would greatly appreciate any information on equipment to buy or if my idea is even reasonable at my price range.

Any help or suggestions would be greatly appreciated!!

tia,
Bill

Offline Downlinerz2

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Re: Total Newb - $300 budget
« Reply #1 on: November 19, 2011, 10:03:56 PM »
   Hi Bill!!!  The only station in the range you mentioned I have experience with is the Oregon Scientific WMR968.  I had mine going for over a year and while at times it was frustrating, it worked very well. It is an excellent starter station.  The biggest problem was the lack of anything that can be termed technical service.  They were rarely a help on the couple occasions I needed help.  Thankfully I found this pool of expertise. You will get excellent advice from the various stations on the forum.  The WMR968 is usually around $220 I think, or in that range. Good luck on your choice and can't wait to see what you choose.

Offline DanS

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Re: Total Newb - $300 budget
« Reply #2 on: November 20, 2011, 12:12:22 AM »
Hello Bill. Along with Downlinerz2's suggestion you may want to check out Ambient's WS series stations, such as this one http://www.ambientweather.com/amws2080.html . Members on here that have them appear to be quite satisfied with operation and technical/sales support of these.

Online SlowModem

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Re: Total Newb - $300 budget
« Reply #3 on: November 20, 2011, 12:19:02 AM »
The OS Site says the 968 has been discontinued.

http://www.oregonscientificstore.com/oregon_scientific/product.asp?itmky=659831

There are a few sites that have some in stock to sell.
Greg Whitehead
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Offline Skywatch

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Re: Total Newb - $300 budget
« Reply #4 on: November 20, 2011, 12:19:37 AM »
I believe the WMR968 has been discontinued. For around the same price Davis has their Vantage Vue which in my honest opinion outperforms Oregon Scientific. Better accuracy, easier installation, more features, durable, reliable. The link may be able to tell you more.
http://www.archertradingpost.com/atp/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=1_6_7&products_id=77
Even with shipping you'll get a better price. This dealer is a winner with me. Good prices. Expidited or priority shipping is usually good priced too, and still stay under 300$!

Davis stations are a better fit for most situations.
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Online SlowModem

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Re: Total Newb - $300 budget
« Reply #5 on: November 20, 2011, 12:24:41 AM »
Expidited or priority shipping is usually good priced too, and still stay under 300$!

Davis stations are a better fit for most situations.

Add ~$120 for the datalogger to connect to the computer
Greg Whitehead
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Offline Downlinerz2

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Re: Total Newb - $300 budget
« Reply #6 on: November 20, 2011, 12:29:09 AM »
The OS Site says the 968 has been discontinued.
http://www.oregonscientificstore.com/oregon_scientific/product.asp?itmky=659831
There are a few sites that have some in stock to sell.
   Wow, that is a surprise.  Wasn't expecting that. :shock: So much for that recommendation

Offline billunger

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Re: Total Newb - $300 budget
« Reply #7 on: November 20, 2011, 07:34:21 AM »
Great suggestions!  I like the Davis, but the lack of computer integration is a bummer and adding it for $120 puts me well over my $300 budget <sigh>.

On the other hand, it looks like the AmbientWeather unit requires a PC.  <another sigh>

bill

Offline DanS

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Re: Total Newb - $300 budget
« Reply #8 on: November 20, 2011, 08:01:15 AM »
Great suggestions!  I like the Davis, but the lack of computer integration is a bummer and adding it for $120 puts me well over my $300 budget <sigh>.

On the other hand, it looks like the AmbientWeather unit requires a PC.  <another sigh>

bill

or a  http://www.ambientweather.com/weambnslu2.html

Offline billunger

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Re: Total Newb - $300 budget
« Reply #9 on: November 20, 2011, 08:12:05 AM »
Great suggestions!  I like the Davis, but the lack of computer integration is a bummer and adding it for $120 puts me well over my $300 budget <sigh>.

On the other hand, it looks like the AmbientWeather unit requires a PC.  <another sigh>

bill

or a  http://www.ambientweather.com/weambnslu2.html

That unit alone breaks the budget, but it is very cool!  :-)

Offline billunger

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Re: Total Newb - $300 budget
« Reply #10 on: November 20, 2011, 08:15:20 AM »
I am now seeing that Ambient Weather actually has a Mac-compatible software:  Weather Snoop.  Does anyone know what the differences are between the Weather Snoop application ( Mac-based ) and the Virtual Weather application ( PC-based )?

I *really* like the Davis products, but would be pushing $400 for a unit, station, and mac-interface while I *might* be able to get into a total solution with the Ambient line for $300.  Which begs another question:  is there a $100 difference in quality/reliability in the Davis line vs the Ambient line?

thanks again for all of the help!!
Bill

Offline smorris

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Re: Total Newb - $300 budget
« Reply #11 on: November 20, 2011, 08:39:06 AM »
Hi Bill, and welcome to the forum.

As a fellow Mac user, I understand the frustration in trying to find a good solution.

WeatherSnoop is a nice little application for presenting the your local conditions on your Mac. However, you still need some way to get the data from your weather station to your Mac. Does the Ambient package have some sort of data logger or connection to get it there? Or is the receiver/console wired directly to the Mac? I played with WeatherSnoop a bit but I didn't have a station yet, and then the next time I tried WeatherSnoop I already had the Davis data logger. WeatherSnoop will send your data to Weather Underground,CWOP, and WeatherBug.

A few of us here with Macs use Lightsoft Weather Center. Here's a thread describing it in a bit more detail.
http://www.wxforum.net/index.php?topic=8545.0

The guys on the MacWeather.net forum mostly seem to use Davis, Oregon Scientific,  and LaCrosse weather stations. Even if you don't get LWC, stop in ther to discuss Mac specific problems. I use both forums a nd find they compliment each other nicely. This has a lot more hardware and knowledge and the MW forum has the Mac side covered.

Hope that helps,
Steve

(you can peek at my site in my sig to see an example output from LWC's custom web template, but the data is stale, as my hard drive croaked yesterday...)
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Offline WeatherHost

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Re: Total Newb - $300 budget
« Reply #12 on: November 20, 2011, 09:55:02 AM »
Somebody mentioned the 2080; what about the 1090?

What about battery life?  Has anybody tried to adapt a solar charger to keep them charged?


Offline billunger

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Re: Total Newb - $300 budget
« Reply #13 on: November 20, 2011, 10:51:20 AM »
Do most home wireless weather stations require a console?  I don't really need a console if I am monitoring on my computer, so maybe there is a solution that just contains the outdoor sensors ( solar and wireless ) and maybe an adapter/receiver that connects to the computer?  Not sure if that would still stay in budget though...

Offline smorris

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Re: Total Newb - $300 budget
« Reply #14 on: November 20, 2011, 11:50:44 AM »
Bill,

It looks like the Ambient Mac Verizon's of the 1090 and 2080 connect the console to your Mac via a USB cable. The console is still needed,as that is what receives the signal from the outdoor wireless station. Once it is hooked up, you could use WeatherSnoop or possibly LWC to view the weather conditions on your Mac and send data to Weather Underground, CWOP, WeatherBug, etc.

Steve
Steve - Avon, Ohio
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Offline d_l

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Re: Total Newb - $300 budget
« Reply #15 on: November 20, 2011, 12:17:19 PM »
A Vantage Vue for $258  -  http://www.rainmanweather.com/site/catalog/Davis-Instruments-Best-Price-Quote/Weather%20Stations

A Weatherlink logger for $109  - http://www.rainmanweather.com/site/catalog/Davis-Instruments-Best-Price-Quote/WeatherLink%20Software

So $367 plus some shipping vs. $300 and shipping for Ambient stuff.  Yes that extra $67 will be the best money you ever spent.  I'm pretty biased against non-Davis equipment.  Everyday I have to look at their readings on WeatherUnderground and wonder how they could be so wrong compared to nearby Davis units. 

In the summer mornings they often show excessive temperatures due to poor solar shielding.  During windy rains, their tippers flip in the wind giving excessive rainfalls.  So goofy rainfall readings are common.  Beats me how they show winds of less than 25-35 mph, while I'm getting blown away at 60-70 mph and higher.

I realize that the mounting location can make a big difference in results, but as a rule the the other Davis units in the neighborhood are in ballpark agreement with my readings.  These non-Davis stations sometimes seem to be reporting results from another planet.

The previous opinions are from results I've seen over the past three years. If $300 is all you have, then that's that.
--Dave--

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Offline WeatherHost

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Re: Total Newb - $300 budget
« Reply #16 on: November 20, 2011, 01:22:34 PM »
^^  I'm pretty much the opposite.  Both Davis units I had were unreliable at best and stopped updating the console frequently for no apparent reason.  I will never buy another Davis.  To me, they are the Monster Cable of weather stations, overpriced based on name only.

 


Offline billunger

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Re: Total Newb - $300 budget
« Reply #17 on: November 20, 2011, 01:55:52 PM »
^^  I'm pretty much the opposite.  Both Davis units I had were unreliable at best and stopped updating the console frequently for no apparent reason.  I will never buy another Davis.  To me, they are the Monster Cable of weather stations, overpriced based on name only.

 



What is your experience with the Ambient Weather units?

Offline Skywatch

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Re: Total Newb - $300 budget
« Reply #18 on: November 20, 2011, 02:10:58 PM »
^^  I'm pretty much the opposite.  Both Davis units I had were unreliable at best and stopped updating the console frequently for no apparent reason.  I will never buy another Davis.  To me, they are the Monster Cable of weather stations, overpriced based on name only.

 


You had 2 failed Davis units? Sounds like user error but I could be wrong. I and many have been happy with our Davis stations.
Always good to diagnose the situation before confirming or assuming anything. Frequent dropouts seems like an RF problem.
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Offline DanS

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Re: Total Newb - $300 budget
« Reply #19 on: November 20, 2011, 07:20:32 PM »
Bill, Ambient's WS-2080-WU-MAC-KIT includes the interface software for your MAC for a total of $179.95 (exc. shipping) which is well below the budgeted $300. With this setup you will have a station with sensors that are detachable to be placed in optimum locations ( http://www.nws.noaa.gov/om/coop/standard.htm ), a console that communicates with your MAC and can upload your data to wx sites like WeatherUnderground. No additional equipment is required such as pc interface/loggers and such. The needed interface is inside the console already. The only thing left you may have to buy is some mounting hardware like a mast which you would need with any station you buy.
If you haven't already, take a look on here at the comments members made that own these stations and compare with the comments of the other station brands. Not much complaining, if any, with these.

Offline billunger

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Re: Total Newb - $300 budget
« Reply #20 on: November 20, 2011, 07:35:41 PM »
Bill, Ambient's WS-2080-WU-MAC-KIT includes the interface software for your MAC for a total of $179.95 (exc. shipping) which is well below the budgeted $300. With this setup you will have a station with sensors that are detachable to be placed in optimum locations ( http://www.nws.noaa.gov/om/coop/standard.htm ), a console that communicates with your MAC and can upload your data to wx sites like WeatherUnderground. No additional equipment is required such as pc interface/loggers and such. The needed interface is inside the console already. The only thing left you may have to buy is some mounting hardware like a mast which you would need with any station you buy.
If you haven't already, take a look on here at the comments members made that own these stations and compare with the comments of the other station brands. Not much complaining, if any, with these.

Dan - I greatly appreciate the info!  Do you run this brand?

Offline DanS

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Re: Total Newb - $300 budget
« Reply #21 on: November 20, 2011, 07:41:47 PM »
No I don't. But if it were easily available (in Thailand, w/ shipping breaks that $300 budget) and I were starting over with a limited budget, I'd probably go with it from all the reviews I've read about it (although I've finally got the stations I'm running now how I want them).
« Last Edit: November 20, 2011, 09:04:20 PM by DanS »

Offline PaulMy

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Re: Total Newb - $300 budget
« Reply #22 on: November 20, 2011, 10:26:57 PM »
I don't have the Ambient/Fine Offset unit and have read on this and another forum of a lot of satisfied users, especially as a beginning station, but some concern on quality control http://sandaysoft.com/forum/search.php?keywords=fine+offset+quality&terms=all&author=&sc=1&sf=all&sk=t&sd=d&sr=posts&st=0&ch=300&t=0&submit=Search

If the cost of a Davis is absolutely out of the picture for you then choose another, but to your question
Quote
Which begs another question:  is there a $100 difference in quality/reliability in the Davis line vs the Ambient line?
I would ansewer: yes! and even more so if the difference is only $67 as mentioned in a previous post.

But remember the Vue is an all-in-one unit which may not be the most suitable for every user.

Paul

Offline billunger

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Re: Total Newb - $300 budget
« Reply #23 on: November 21, 2011, 01:03:30 PM »
How do any of these stations handle snowfall?  Or do they handle it?

Tia (again!),
Bill

Offline DanS

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Re: Total Newb - $300 budget
« Reply #24 on: November 21, 2011, 04:21:54 PM »
None of all the stations mentioned will measure snowfall as supplied. You would need to add a heater to the rain gauge to melt the snow as it's collected in the cone. There are threads on here with ideas that members used, small lamps, reptile cage heaters, pipe anti-freeze tape, etc. Some manufacturers have heater kits for their systems, such as NovaLynx and Davis.
« Last Edit: November 21, 2011, 04:42:34 PM by DanS »

 

anything