Author Topic: Need help understanding WeatherLink. Am I missing something?  (Read 1303 times)

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Offline Hello

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Need help understanding WeatherLink. Am I missing something?
« on: January 29, 2018, 10:36:17 AM »
I'm interested in investing in a VP2 in the future and I'd like the capability to remotely monitor its data. According to Davis, all that I need to do is follow these "Five Easy Steps."

1. Purchase a VP2
2. Own a VP2 console (I'll be purchasing this + ISS together)
3. Purchase a "data logger"
4. Connect the console to my router (cable connection?)
5. View data on WeatherLink


Under "How Do You Connect?" on their website, it claims:

Use your home Wi-Fi to connect to WeatherLink Cloud with a WeatherLink IP, USB or Serial Data Logger.


(1) Where is Wi-Fi coming into the equation? I can't find anything about Wi-Fi connectivity anywhere.

(2) It appears that all you get for $295 is a dongle that can connect a VP2 to my router? Via a cable connection?


This seems awfully steep, if that's the case.

Offline wvdkuil

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Re: Need help understanding WeatherLink. Am I missing something?
« Reply #1 on: January 29, 2018, 11:27:45 AM »
I'm interested in investing in a VP2 in the future and I'd like the capability to remotely monitor its data. According to Davis, all that I need to do is follow these "Five Easy Steps."

1. Purchase a VP2
2. Own a VP2 console (I'll be purchasing this + ISS together)
3. Purchase a "data logger"
4. Connect the console to my router (cable connection?)
5. View data on WeatherLink


Under "How Do You Connect?" on their website, it claims:

Use your home Wi-Fi to connect to WeatherLink Cloud with a WeatherLink IP, USB or Serial Data Logger.


(1) Where is Wi-Fi coming into the equation? I can't find anything about Wi-Fi connectivity anywhere.

(2) It appears that all you get for $295 is a dongle that can connect a VP2 to my router? Via a cable connection?


This seems awfully steep, if that's the case.
There are basically two Davis loggers.
1. An USB one to connect to a PC/Mac/Meteobridge. That PC/Mac/Meteobridge  then has to upload the data to a website or to weatherlink.com (WLC-v2 for short)

2. An IP logger (WLIP for short) which is connected with the RJ45 cable to your LAN.
As soon as the WLIP is connected to your LAN is starts uploading to WLC-v2. So no computer needed. 
You can visit that weatherlink.com (WLC-v2) site and inspect your data.

There is no WiFi logger from Davis.
What they try to say that your phone/laptop a.s.o. can connect using the net  (Wifi) to visit weatherlink.com.
Weatherlink.com can get its data from the WLIP logger automatically or from the weatherlink program for windows (WLfW) or mac (WLfM)

Wim
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Offline VaJim

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Re: Need help understanding WeatherLink. Am I missing something?
« Reply #2 on: January 29, 2018, 12:58:54 PM »
I have the Davis Envoy.  It basically eliminates the need for a display at the router.  The Envoy picks up the data from the sensor station outside and through its logger/connection to your router (Ethernet) transfers the data to the Davis server.

Davis is in the process of changing up the WeatherLink global website.  What used to be a 'map' that you could click on or enter a city/zip is being replaced by a version (2.0) that requires anyone who wants to view your data to login (free).  You'll be given the opportunity to upgrade your WeatherLink account to Pro ($) which provides a bit more fancy data display.

Offline Hello

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Re: Need help understanding WeatherLink. Am I missing something?
« Reply #3 on: January 29, 2018, 02:34:55 PM »
Thanks for the replies. A few more clarifications...

Scenario 1

Assuming I ONLY have a VP2 ISS and want to view my data across the internet, I would have to have the Envoy ($175) + WeatherLink IP "Data Logger" ($295)?

Where does the "premium" $3.95/mo. subscription fit into the equation? Would I be able to view ALL of my data without such a subscription?

Where does the "need" for a PC fit in this scenario?

Scenario 2

Let's say I have a full-blown VP2 package, ISS + console. To view my data across the internet, I'd have to purchase the WeatherLink IP "Data Logger" ($295) & essentially tether the VP2 console to my router via RJ45?

Again, where does the "premium" $3.95/mo. subscription fit into the equation? Would I be able to view ALL of my data without such a subscription?

Again, where does the "need" for a PC fit in this scenario?






I can't help but feel like I am dealing with a company from 2003 when looking at this stuff. What they're offering seems tremendously expensive, complex, and dated for 2018. For example, I recently purchased a security camera bundle from Costco for $250. It included a 2 TB hard drive that could stream video to an app on my phone anywhere in the world at no additional cost as soon as something triggers any of the cameras. The mobile application needed some polishing, sure, but it worked fantastically well & reliably for the price.

$295 for the dongle + WeatherLink?? Another thing I don't understand. Taking the $10 (at worst) dongle out of the equation, there are far more complex applications on the market available at far less cost.

From what I've seen so far, Davis ought to be concerned, if it isn't. The # of people in the prosumer market who are willing to put up with this amount of research will continue to decline. Even understanding all of this is an unreasonable amount of work. If Acurite finally manages to release a reliable & accurate Atlas Elite with a console that basically does all of this for you via Wi-Fi, why go through the burden & cost of setting up a Davis station?

I hope someone can help me understand because I fancy what they have to offer, but I'm feeling quite turned-off by the whole thing at the moment.

Offline VaJim

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Re: Need help understanding WeatherLink. Am I missing something?
« Reply #4 on: January 29, 2018, 02:56:58 PM »
The $3.95 per month) fee is the Pro Version of the new WeatherLink (2.0) if I understand you're question.  You don't have to sign up.  The 'basic' account has plenty.  The Pro gives you a few more bells and whistles.  If you love data you might try the Pro.

PC- Although I purchased the Davis WeatherLink software (I think it came with the Envoy) I really don't use it.  You can run the Envoy with data logger straight to your router for viewing on the Davis WeatherLink cloud/website.  I say that because I don't hardly ever open the Weatherlink software on the nearby PC.  I did set it up and I believe you have to download the data onto the pc from the logger using the software.  But again, I don't use the software so I really don't know for sure if the Envoy would work (I think it would) without the software.  I went with the Envoy for I have 2 other Davis Vue consoles in other parts of the house.  Hope this helps.

Offline PaulMy

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Re: Need help understanding WeatherLink. Am I missing something?
« Reply #5 on: January 29, 2018, 04:58:55 PM »
Quote
For example, I recently purchased a security camera bundle from Costco for $250.

Quote
If Acurite finally manages to release a reliable & accurate Atlas Elite with a console that basically does all of this for you via Wi-Fi, why go through the burden & cost of setting up a Davis station?

Davis stations are good and great quality.  The primary market is not consumer/prosumer but their products are still great for hobbyists like us.  How many farmers, orchards, seasonal vacation sites, high end needs have an Acurite?  Davis offers first class support during and after warranty, Davis has the basic models such as Vue and Vantage Pro2.   They also offer additional features such as online presence, add-on sensors, etc, etc. and yes you will have to pay for that as an extra if that is what you want, but not if you don't want to have those extras.  I have never for a second questioned my Davis quality or cost as it allows me to enjoy my hobby the way I want to enjoy it.

Enjoy,
Paul
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Offline Hello

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Re: Need help understanding WeatherLink. Am I missing something?
« Reply #6 on: January 29, 2018, 05:23:19 PM »
The $3.95 per month) fee is the Pro Version of the new WeatherLink (2.0) if I understand you're question.  You don't have to sign up.  The 'basic' account has plenty.  The Pro gives you a few more bells and whistles.  If you love data you might try the Pro.

PC- Although I purchased the Davis WeatherLink software (I think it came with the Envoy) I really don't use it.  You can run the Envoy with data logger straight to your router for viewing on the Davis WeatherLink cloud/website.  I say that because I don't hardly ever open the Weatherlink software on the nearby PC.  I did set it up and I believe you have to download the data onto the pc from the logger using the software.  But again, I don't use the software so I really don't know for sure if the Envoy would work (I think it would) without the software.  I went with the Envoy for I have 2 other Davis Vue consoles in other parts of the house.  Hope this helps.

It appears that you need the subscription to enable the smartphone application? What is "Mobilize?"

https://www.davisnet.com/weatherlink/

Quote
For example, I recently purchased a security camera bundle from Costco for $250.

Quote
If Acurite finally manages to release a reliable & accurate Atlas Elite with a console that basically does all of this for you via Wi-Fi, why go through the burden & cost of setting up a Davis station?

Davis stations are good and great quality.  The primary market is not consumer/prosumer but their products are still great for hobbyists like us.  How many farmers, orchards, seasonal vacation sites, high end needs have an Acurite?  Davis offers first class support during and after warranty, Davis has the basic models such as Vue and Vantage Pro2.   They also offer additional features such as online presence, add-on sensors, etc, etc. and yes you will have to pay for that as an extra if that is what you want, but not if you don't want to have those extras.  I have never for a second questioned my Davis quality or cost as it allows me to enjoy my hobby the way I want to enjoy it.

Enjoy,
Paul

I absolutely do not question their data/reliability. What I am not sure of, however, is whether such a value proposition will remain competitive if someone else out there can replicate that aspect while also cutting out the clutter.

Seems they've picked up on this given the recent investments in the WeatherLink site... But I feel they still have some ways to go. What would instantly sell me on getting a station is a console that has internet connectivity and can simply connect to a router via Wi-Fi.

Do others not offer WeatherLink-type functionality? What's the difference between that and being able to upload your information to WU? I legitimately do not know.

Offline VaJim

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Re: Need help understanding WeatherLink. Am I missing something?
« Reply #7 on: January 29, 2018, 05:48:50 PM »
I do know that Rainwise offers their version of the Pro ($).  WU (when it works) does a decent job with data, but IMO, no where near what you get with the Davis Weatherlink Pro.  I don't even think WU is trying to out-do Rainwise or Davis who are probably just trying to keep their costs down.

Several years ago (1999) I started out using WV32 (software) to upload to my personal weather site.  Some still do this.  For me after awhile it became a drag and I was glad to see Weatherlink.

Offline sward6368

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Re: Need help understanding WeatherLink. Am I missing something?
« Reply #8 on: January 29, 2018, 06:01:09 PM »
Having just purchased and setup a VP2 with a Weatherlink IP logger, I found it very easy to do and was literally "plug and play".  I found the best price at scientificsales.com (much cheaper than the Davis site).  I agree that I wish Davis would provide a console which allows for wireless internet connectivity without the requirement for purchasing additional data loggers and hardwired connection.

You will need an ISS, Console OR Envoy (to receive the signals from the ISS) and a logger.  If use the IP Logger, you connect the IP logger to your console and connect via RJ 45 to a network port on your router or network.  No PC is required.  There are ways to connect the IP logger to a wireless bridge if you do not have an open network port near your console.

You can complete "all" the setup on weatherlink.com without installing the weatherlink software on your PC (see one note below).  I personally find the new Weatherlink.com page to be a good modern visual display and fairly customizeable but I did not have prior experience with the prior PC based software.  To view current data you do not need to purchase the premium subscription.  If you want to graph or view historical data you will need to purchase the premium subscription.

Weatherlink allows for easy uploading to WU once your data is flowing into Weatherlink.com.

You do not need the subscription to use the smartphone app.  Mobilize adds additional capabilities for agricultural users and sensors.

I will note that I did have to install the local software to change the data archive interval on the logger from the default 30 minutes.  With the defaults, graphs and historical data on the website are in 30 minute intervals.  No matter how much I researched the only way I could determine how to change the archive interval on the logger was through the local windows software.  With weatherlink.com, your page shows real time readings, but the graphs and archived data are uploaded only hourly, and the # of data points uploaded is based on the archive interval stored on the logger.

Offline Hello

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Re: Need help understanding WeatherLink. Am I missing something?
« Reply #9 on: January 29, 2018, 09:13:57 PM »
Having just purchased and setup a VP2 with a Weatherlink IP logger, I found it very easy to do and was literally "plug and play".  I found the best price at scientificsales.com (much cheaper than the Davis site).  I agree that I wish Davis would provide a console which allows for wireless internet connectivity without the requirement for purchasing additional data loggers and hardwired connection.

You will need an ISS, Console OR Envoy (to receive the signals from the ISS) and a logger.  If use the IP Logger, you connect the IP logger to your console and connect via RJ 45 to a network port on your router or network.  No PC is required.  There are ways to connect the IP logger to a wireless bridge if you do not have an open network port near your console.

You can complete "all" the setup on weatherlink.com without installing the weatherlink software on your PC (see one note below).  I personally find the new Weatherlink.com page to be a good modern visual display and fairly customizeable but I did not have prior experience with the prior PC based software.  To view current data you do not need to purchase the premium subscription.  If you want to graph or view historical data you will need to purchase the premium subscription.

Weatherlink allows for easy uploading to WU once your data is flowing into Weatherlink.com.

You do not need the subscription to use the smartphone app.  Mobilize adds additional capabilities for agricultural users and sensors.

I will note that I did have to install the local software to change the data archive interval on the logger from the default 30 minutes.  With the defaults, graphs and historical data on the website are in 30 minute intervals.  No matter how much I researched the only way I could determine how to change the archive interval on the logger was through the local windows software.  With weatherlink.com, your page shows real time readings, but the graphs and archived data are uploaded only hourly, and the # of data points uploaded is based on the archive interval stored on the logger.
Congrats on the purchase & thanks for the clear explanation, and the note about the site. I'll definitely be taking a look & keeping my eye on future developments.

Offline bchwdlks

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Re: Need help understanding WeatherLink. Am I missing something?
« Reply #10 on: January 30, 2018, 01:26:54 PM »

...
There are basically two Davis loggers.
1. An USB one to connect to a PC/Mac/Meteobridge. That PC/Mac/Meteobridge  then has to upload the data to a website or to weatherlink.com (WLC-v2 for short)

...
Wim

You should look at the USB/Meteobridge option that Wim refers to. It is a bit less money than the WLIP option. It also has the ability to send your data to multiple sites in addition to Weatherlink.

Offline Hello

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Re: Need help understanding WeatherLink. Am I missing something?
« Reply #11 on: January 30, 2018, 02:34:53 PM »

...
There are basically two Davis loggers.
1. An USB one to connect to a PC/Mac/Meteobridge. That PC/Mac/Meteobridge  then has to upload the data to a website or to weatherlink.com (WLC-v2 for short)

...
Wim

You should look at the USB/Meteobridge option that Wim refers to. It is a bit less money than the WLIP option. It also has the ability to send your data to multiple sites in addition to Weatherlink.

Thanks for pointing this out - I glossed over it the first time because I was already neck-deep trying to figure out Davis's stuff.

This actually looks like a relatively good solution to what I'm looking for:

https://www.ambientweather.com/amweatherbridgepro.html#caption

Only gotcha is that the weather station is sold separately. And it's expensive. But if I understand correctly, I could simply purchase an ISS and a WeatherBridge PRO & have everything up & running without all the "stuff?"

I'm extremely tempted to try and wait 2 - 3 years on this whole thing. I feel like there will be more developments coming... A perfect one would be a standalone ISS that can simply connect via Wi-Fi, but I imagine signal strength might be an issue for a lot of people.

Random question:

I imagine the little box generates a not-insignificant amount of heat - how does it measure indoor temperature accurately?

Offline johnd

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Re: Need help understanding WeatherLink. Am I missing something?
« Reply #12 on: January 30, 2018, 03:02:53 PM »
I'm extremely tempted to try and wait 2 - 3 years on this whole thing. I feel like there will be more developments coming...

But that's no different to any other technical product, including in a broader sense like cars. There is always something shiny and new and a step forwards around the corner and maybe 2-3 years out. Do you really want to hold off with the enjoyment and interest of running your own AWS and wait, perhaps riskily, to be an early adopter of some new generation of kit?

Quote
A perfect one would be a standalone ISS that can simply connect via Wi-Fi, but I imagine signal strength might be an issue for a lot of people.

Signal strength per se isn't really the issue. It's rather that most existing WiFi modules consume (relatively) quite a lot of power, which isn't really compatible with standalone operation off small (and therefore relatively inexpensive) solar panels and batteries. That's why most outside sensors use something like the existing Davis wireless solution, or Zigbee (as in the next-generation Davis EM models) or maybe a further evolution of Bluetooth (though whether BT will ever be quite good enough on range remains a question). And there are other wireless technologies too, though none of them really proven and established commercially as yet.

We've often speculated about this before on other threads, but my own view is that VP-next will use a wireless link like Zigbee between inside and outside, but the new console/Envoy equivalent will have WiFi built in for onward network communication. But I'm guessing (total guess with no inside info) that's 18-24 months away.

Quote
I imagine the little box generates a not-insignificant amount of heat - how does it measure indoor temperature accurately?

It's not too bad on MB Pro, but yes you're right it is a minor issue. It's always going to be better with an external probe. (But if you were to use a (wireless) Davis Envoy unit then you can connect an external probe to that.)
« Last Edit: January 30, 2018, 04:54:30 PM by johnd »
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Offline Hello

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Re: Need help understanding WeatherLink. Am I missing something?
« Reply #13 on: January 30, 2018, 03:42:08 PM »
I'm extremely tempted to try and wait 2 - 3 years on this whole thing. I feel like there will be more developments coming...

But that's no different to any other technical product, including in a broader sense like cars. There is always something around the corner and 2-3 years out. Do you really want to hold off with the enjoyment and interest of running your own AWS and wait, perhaps riskily, to be an early adopter of some new generation of kit?

Quote
A perfect one would be a standalone ISS that can simply connect via Wi-Fi, but I imagine signal strength might be an issue for a lot of people.

Signal strength per se isn't really the issue. It's rather that most existing WiFi modules consume (relatively) quite a lot of power, which isn't really compatible with standalone operation off small (and therefore relatively inexpensive) solar panels and batteries. That's why most outside sensors use something like the existing Davis wireless solution, or Zigbee (as in the next-generation Davis EM models) or maybe a further evolution of Bluetooth (though whether BT will ever be quite good enough on range remains a question). And there are other wireless technologies too, though none of them really proven and established commercially as yet.

We've often speculated about this before on other threads, but my own view is that VP-next will use a wireless link like Zigbee between inside and outside, but the new console/Envoy equivalent will have WiFi built in. But I'm guessing (total guess with no inside info) that's 18-24 months away.

Quote
I imagine the little box generates a not-insignificant amount of heat - how does it measure indoor temperature accurately?

It's not too bad on MB Pro, but yes you're right it is a minor issue. It's always going to be better with an external probe. (But if you were to use a (wireless) Davis Envoy unit then you can connect an external probe to that.)

Always valid. Successive increments usually start tapering off at some point (e.g., we're already seeing annual smartphone updates becoming less beneficial... Apple's shenanigans not included). Getting the VP2 setup was already beyond what I was planning & then finding out what I had to do to set it up for cloud reporting really put a chill on things. I think/hope they'll simplify things sometime in the near-ish future. I guess the good news is that I'll live a little longer since my wife will postpone my murder.

But, there is something to be said about the relatively "future-proof" VP2 setup. I do fancy this WeatherBridge idea, though...

Also good point on the power consumption of regular radio - I didn't consider that & could very well be why they haven't gone down this path with neither console nor ISS.

 

anything