Author Topic: What's the best buy for under $300?  (Read 4922 times)

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Offline ampandafan

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What's the best buy for under $300?
« on: November 19, 2014, 12:25:06 PM »
I would like advice on the best basic weather station equipment I can purchase for under $300. (I know this is pretty low.) This will be a Christmas for a gift for a friend who lives in northern NM between Taos and the Taos Ski Valley at about 7800 on the west side a mountain. The weather data collected at the Taos airport, which is is several miles away and at a considerably lower altitude, is not very useful. I am looking for something that will provide basic weather data. I have no expertise in meteorology and will appreciate any suggestions anyone might have. Some additional considerations: My friend's house has wifi. Solar energy is widely used in the area and could be a good energy source. Thanks in advance to anyone with advice!

Offline SlowModem

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Re: What's the best buy for under $300?
« Reply #1 on: November 19, 2014, 12:52:06 PM »
I can't recommend anything under $300 (unless you don't want to post to the internet).  If you can find a Davis with a datalogger, or Rainwise on Ebay or used, that might be your best choice.    But I will say that you get what you pay for, especially in harsh environments.
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Offline SLOweather

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Re: What's the best buy for under $300?
« Reply #2 on: November 19, 2014, 01:47:47 PM »
Davis Vantage Vue, ~$258 plus shipping "sale" price from rainmanweather.com...

Offline Motobob

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Re: What's the best buy for under $300?
« Reply #3 on: November 20, 2014, 10:20:17 AM »
I can recommend the AcuRite Pro Color Digital Weather Station with PC Connect ... I am very pleased with it to date and everything I have is under your required price point.  Bob

See:   http://whitespider.broeking.com/?p=1956


Offline ggsteve

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Re: What's the best buy for under $300?
« Reply #4 on: November 20, 2014, 07:47:51 PM »
I can recommend the AcuRite Pro Color Digital Weather Station with PC Connect ... I am very pleased with it to date and everything I have is under your required price point.  Bob

See:   http://whitespider.broeking.com/?p=1956

That Acurite is $79 at Costco right now.  I agree with the above, Davis Vantage Vue.

Offline nincehelser

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Re: What's the best buy for under $300?
« Reply #5 on: November 20, 2014, 10:42:44 PM »
If you play the discounts right, you should be able to find an Acurite 5n1 system with their Internet Bridge for $150 or less.

A system with an Internet Bridge sends continuous updates to Acurite's servers (MyBackyardWeather.com) every 18 seconds WITHOUT the need for a dedicated PC running 24/7.  You can view your weather data via a web browser or through available smartphone apps.

Acurite can also forward your station data to wunderground at 15-minute intervals out-of-the-box.  If you want more frequent updates to wunderground, or wish to report to additional weather networks, then you have to start looking into additional hardware and/or software.  There are various approaches for doing this depending on what Acurite hardware you have (Bridge or USB-connected console) and type of computing hardware you have available or are willing to purchase.

A word of caution when comparing Acurite systems... there are basically three types of 5n1 setups ranging from zero internet ability (the supplied display console has no USB port), to needing a Windows PC 24/7 to report to the internet, to not needing a PC at all by using their stand-alone bridge.  If you find what you think might be a big bargain, study the advertised features carefully to be sure you know exactly what you're getting.

Also, be aware the features of the supplied consoles can vary greatly.  It's more than just USB connectivity and color.  For example, some of internet bridge kits don't have a very fancy console to keep the price down.  If the look of the console is important to you, research that carefully.





Offline Bushman

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Re: What's the best buy for under $300?
« Reply #6 on: November 20, 2014, 11:08:47 PM »
FWIW I am over six months into a 5n1 with internet bridge.  Two major snow events, some torrential rains and all is well.  Cost about $225 WITH Meteobridge.  If I had to replace it every two years I would be OK.  It sure ain;t no Davis, but for the price...  (speaking of which I wish there was a way to transplant the guts into a Davis shell)

Offline DoctorKnow

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Re: What's the best buy for under $300?
« Reply #7 on: November 21, 2014, 11:00:53 AM »
I have had an acurite 5 in 1 for two years. It's still working. It's pretty accurate for the price. I would say the best thing about it is the rain gauge accuracy, and the biggest flaw is the housing heating up in rising and setting suns.

You might also consider the ambient weather all in one unit. A lot of satisfied customers with this unit.


Offline Calgary Weather

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Re: What's the best buy for under $300?
« Reply #8 on: November 30, 2014, 10:43:14 AM »
I have been running a La Crosse WS2812 for 2 years now. It took a bit of tweaking at first to get everything positioned correctly so the different components would talk to each other, but other than that its been absolutely awesome. Very accurate (through our -30C Alberta winters) and very reliable. Highly recommended.
« Last Edit: November 30, 2014, 10:48:16 AM by Calgary Weather »

Offline pfletch101

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Re: What's the best buy for under $300?
« Reply #9 on: December 01, 2014, 04:57:51 PM »
I have been running a La Crosse WS2812 for 2 years now. It took a bit of tweaking at first to get everything positioned correctly so the different components would talk to each other, but other than that its been absolutely awesome. Very accurate (through our -30C Alberta winters) and very reliable. Highly recommended.

With luck like yours, you should buy a bunch of lottery tickets! Few people have your good experiences with Lacrosse hardware - I certainly didn't.
Vantage Pro 2+ with WeatherLink - data incorporated in domestic energy production (PV) and use monitoring system.

Offline cospringswx

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Re: What's the best buy for under $300?
« Reply #10 on: December 01, 2014, 06:42:04 PM »
Davis Vantage Vue, ~$258 plus shipping "sale" price from rainmanweather.com...

I agree just get a Vue.




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Offline Gulfcoast

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Re: What's the best buy for under $300?
« Reply #11 on: December 01, 2014, 06:55:41 PM »
You get what you pay for in the long run on a weather station.

I'd get the Davis Vantage Vue instead of other cheaper rigs. You'll be glad you did. 
« Last Edit: December 01, 2014, 07:09:54 PM by Gulfcoast »

Offline Calgary Weather

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Re: What's the best buy for under $300?
« Reply #12 on: December 09, 2014, 03:31:30 PM »
I have been running a La Crosse WS2812 for 2 years now. It took a bit of tweaking at first to get everything positioned correctly so the different components would talk to each other, but other than that its been absolutely awesome. Very accurate (through our -30C Alberta winters) and very reliable. Highly recommended.

With luck like yours, you should buy a bunch of lottery tickets! Few people have your good experiences with Lacrosse hardware - I certainly didn't.
I hear what you are saying. I was very reluctant to buy a La Crosse unit, due to the bad reviews but I read enough positive reviews to convince me to give it a try. It took a couple of different roof placements to get the wind sensor to communicate properly but itís now been running flawlessly for 2 years. I really like the modular design, with the wind sensor separate from the temp/humidity sensor. It means I donít have to go up on the roof to switch batteries, like you would have to with a Davis. I am really impressed with how the unit works in cold weather, I donít know how they do it , but it has worked just fine down to -30C with regular (not lithium) batteries. I am very impressed with the accuracy , when compared to other local stations. Also, the battery life is incredible. I bought the unit in the summer of 2012, I first changed the batteries in the temperature sensor in Nov 2013. I have since changed the batteries in Nov 2014, neither time was because the batteries ran out. Like I said, highly recommended.
« Last Edit: December 10, 2014, 07:57:52 AM by Calgary Weather »

Offline pfletch101

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Re: What's the best buy for under $300?
« Reply #13 on: December 10, 2014, 10:20:54 AM »
I have been running a La Crosse WS2812 for 2 years now. It took a bit of tweaking at first to get everything positioned correctly so the different components would talk to each other, but other than that its been absolutely awesome. Very accurate (through our -30C Alberta winters) and very reliable. Highly recommended.

With luck like yours, you should buy a bunch of lottery tickets! Few people have your good experiences with Lacrosse hardware - I certainly didn't.
I hear what you are saying. I was very reluctant to buy a La Crosse unit, due to the bad reviews but I read enough positive reviews to convince me to give it a try. It took a couple of different roof placements to get the wind sensor to communicate properly but itís now been running flawlessly for 2 years. I really like the modular design, with the wind sensor separate from the temp/humidity sensor. It means I donít have to go up on the roof to switch batteries, like you would have to with a Davis.

I don't know why you would say this. The Davis Vue system has a 1-piece sensor design, but their Vantage Pro systems all have remotely mountable wind units.

Quote
I am really impressed with how the unit works in cold weather, I donít know how they do it , but it has worked just fine down to -30C with regular (not lithium) batteries. I am very impressed with the accuracy , when compared to other local stations. Also, the battery life is incredible. I bought the unit in the summer of 2012, I first changed the batteries in the temperature sensor in Nov 2013. I have since changed the batteries in Nov 2014, neither time was because the batteries ran out.

All this is almost certainly true - the big issue (for me and many others who have reported bad experiences) is reliability in the medium to long term. After some problems with setup - the real world reception range is not anything like what is claimed - my system ran without problems for about 18 months, until it abruptly stopped displaying any wind information. After getting very little support from La Crosse tech support, I bought a new wind sensor unit. This didn't work either. Painstakingly following the tech support people's involved procedure to relink the components resulted in total, irretrievable loss of communication between all the external components and the indoor monitor, at which point I stopped throwing good time and money after bad and bought a Davis system.

Quote
Like I said, highly recommended.

Obviously, I can't agree.
Vantage Pro 2+ with WeatherLink - data incorporated in domestic energy production (PV) and use monitoring system.

Offline Skywatch

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Re: What's the best buy for under $300?
« Reply #14 on: December 10, 2014, 03:56:01 PM »
I have been running a La Crosse WS2812 for 2 years now. It took a bit of tweaking at first to get everything positioned correctly so the different components would talk to each other, but other than that its been absolutely awesome. Very accurate (through our -30C Alberta winters) and very reliable. Highly recommended.

With luck like yours, you should buy a bunch of lottery tickets! Few people have your good experiences with Lacrosse hardware - I certainly didn't.
I hear what you are saying. I was very reluctant to buy a La Crosse unit, due to the bad reviews but I read enough positive reviews to convince me to give it a try. It took a couple of different roof placements to get the wind sensor to communicate properly but itís now been running flawlessly for 2 years. I really like the modular design, with the wind sensor separate from the temp/humidity sensor. It means I donít have to go up on the roof to switch batteries, like you would have to with a Davis.

I don't know why you would say this. The Davis Vue system has a 1-piece sensor design, but their Vantage Pro systems all have remotely mountable wind units.

Quote
I am really impressed with how the unit works in cold weather, I donít know how they do it , but it has worked just fine down to -30C with regular (not lithium) batteries. I am very impressed with the accuracy , when compared to other local stations. Also, the battery life is incredible. I bought the unit in the summer of 2012, I first changed the batteries in the temperature sensor in Nov 2013. I have since changed the batteries in Nov 2014, neither time was because the batteries ran out.

All this is almost certainly true - the big issue (for me and many others who have reported bad experiences) is reliability in the medium to long term. After some problems with setup - the real world reception range is not anything like what is claimed - my system ran without problems for about 18 months, until it abruptly stopped displaying any wind information. After getting very little support from La Crosse tech support, I bought a new wind sensor unit. This didn't work either. Painstakingly following the tech support people's involved procedure to relink the components resulted in total, irretrievable loss of communication between all the external components and the indoor monitor, at which point I stopped throwing good time and money after bad and bought a Davis system.

Quote
Like I said, highly recommended.

Obviously, I can't agree.
I agree with you. I've gone through several Lacrosse units. Some under the name of "The Weather Channel". All have failed within a year. And customer service is nonexistent. So should something fail, you're on your own.  Seems to be the same story among the Chinese brands.
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The weather station has moved from McKinney, Texas to Plano, Texas.

Offline Bushman

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Re: What's the best buy for under $300?
« Reply #15 on: December 10, 2014, 09:45:23 PM »
At that price (and higher) they are ALL Chinese.  ;)

Offline Calgary Weather

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Re: What's the best buy for under $300?
« Reply #16 on: September 14, 2018, 11:46:31 PM »
I have been running a La Crosse WS2812 for 2 years now. It took a bit of tweaking at first to get everything positioned correctly so the different components would talk to each other, but other than that its been absolutely awesome. Very accurate (through our -30C Alberta winters) and very reliable. Highly recommended.
For what it's worth it's now 4 years after my original post. I had to replace both the thermo-hygro and wind sensors this year, but I am happy to have got 6 years of use out of both. Both sensors have been replaced and the system is up and running as before. The computer interface is great, very easy to reset max-min etc. I did try setting up the rain gauge last summer, it connected just fine but I couldn't get the readings to make sense (not a show stopper for me - I can use an old school rain gauge and it snows for half the year here). Other than that I am really impressed with this weather station.

 

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