Author Topic: Buying a new PWS, knowing what you know now  (Read 842 times)

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Offline speedlever

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Buying a new PWS, knowing what you know now
« on: May 15, 2024, 01:44:04 PM »
I've long had an interest in having a PWS and am finally getting serious about buying one, mostly for personal interest (as a retired pilot).

I have a 2 story house with a fenced back yard (north side of the house) and recently cleared a lot of trees in the back yard, but there are still many large tall trees. I plan to place the PWS on a fence post about 22 ft from the back of the house and maybe 20-30 ft from the tree line. I know the site is not ideal, but short of putting the PWS in the front yard (which I'm sure won't fly with my wife), this is my best guess for a site.

Do you guys find the lightning sensor useful? I would kinda like to have it, but if it's more or less useless, I could save a few bucks by deleting that option.

I've considered and tossed out the Tempest because it doesn't have a console and has a non replaceable battery. Ecowitt seems to provide limited options here in the USA. So I'm looking at Ambient and Davis. I'm not inclined to spend $1000 on this endeavor (yet). so the Davis VP2 is out of the running.

I have a stash of Amazon gift cards I plan to use, so am considering Ambient WS-2000 storm bundle ($380), WS-5000 storm bundle ($530), or the Davis Vantage Vue ($545). I can save $80 on  the Ambients by deleting the lightning sensor. Davis apparently doesn't offer a lightning sensor.

What do you guys think of those options in that price range ($300-$550). I've heard negative things about Ambient customer service. What has been your experience with them? How about Davis?

Attached is a pic of my planned site. Looking at a fence post on the left, maybe halfway between the gate and the back corner.
« Last Edit: May 15, 2024, 01:49:33 PM by speedlever »
Ambient WS-5000 with WH31L and solar shield (storm bundle), WH31E

Offline alanb

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Re: Buying a new PWS, knowing what you know now
« Reply #1 on: May 15, 2024, 01:58:01 PM »
I have a lightning sensor (Ambient WH31L) on my WS-2000. It works very well for me and I like having it. I did have to try a couple of different locations and lower the sensitivity switch from the default (medium high) to the medium setting to eliminate some false positives I was picking up.

Siting is almost always a compromise, especially in a typical suburban lot with mature trees. I get very accurate data with my WS-2000 on everything except wind. With wind, I get a "tunneling" effect which can alter both the direction and wind speed. I just think of it as measuring the microclimate in my back yard rather than it being meteorologically correct.
Alan - Ambient WS-2000, WH31E x5, WH31L, Ecowitt WN32(WH32E)
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Offline speedlever

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Re: Buying a new PWS, knowing what you know now
« Reply #2 on: May 15, 2024, 02:02:04 PM »
I have a lightning sensor (Ambient WH31L) on my WS-2000. It works very well for me and I like having it. I did have to try a couple of different locations and lower the sensitivity switch from the default (medium high) to the medium setting to eliminate some false positives I was picking up.

Siting is almost always a compromise, especially in a typical suburban lot with mature trees. I get very accurate data with my WS-2000 on everything except wind. With wind, I get a "tunneling" effect which can alter both the direction and wind speed. I just think of it as measuring the microclimate in my back yard rather than it being meteorologically correct.

Then I'm inclined to keep the lightning sensor option if I go with Ambient. Wish the Vantage Vue had that option at the current price.

Knowing what you know now, would you still buy the WS-2000? Go with something else?
Ambient WS-5000 with WH31L and solar shield (storm bundle), WH31E

Offline alanb

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Re: Buying a new PWS, knowing what you know now
« Reply #3 on: May 15, 2024, 02:19:35 PM »

Then I'm inclined to keep the lightning sensor option if I go with Ambient. Wish the Vantage Vue had that option at the current price.

Knowing what you know now, would you still buy the WS-2000? Go with something else?
Yes, I think I would stick with the WS-2000, although as I said in your post in the other thread, I would consider the comparable Ecowitt model because of the cost savings and additional options.

I looked at Davis (both vue and pro) when I got the WS-2000. I liked the console much better on the Ambient and couldn't really see any reason to go with the Davis Vantage Vue over the WS-2000. The Vantage Pro certainly has a great reputation, but it was more than I wanted to spend, and I didn't care for the console.
Alan - Ambient WS-2000, WH31E x5, WH31L, Ecowitt WN32(WH32E)
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Offline speedlever

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Re: Buying a new PWS, knowing what you know now
« Reply #4 on: May 15, 2024, 02:33:21 PM »

Then I'm inclined to keep the lightning sensor option if I go with Ambient. Wish the Vantage Vue had that option at the current price.

Knowing what you know now, would you still buy the WS-2000? Go with something else?
Yes, I think I would stick with the WS-2000, although as I said in your post in the other thread, I would consider the comparable Ecowitt model because of the cost savings and additional options.

I looked at Davis (both vue and pro) when I got the WS-2000. I liked the console much better on the Ambient and couldn't really see any reason to go with the Davis Vantage Vue over the WS-2000. The Vantage Pro certainly has a great reputation, but it was more than I wanted to spend, and I didn't care for the console.

I agree with your assessment of the Davis console. I don't know if the quality of the sensors or the quicker response rate is enough to overlook the other shortcomings.

Since I'm buying from Amazon, the Ecowitt equivalent of the WS-2000 or WS-5000 is not available. Amazon offers the HP2564 with the haptic rain sensor (kinda like the Tempest). I searched but did not find the HP2553 on Amazon. So I guess all else being equal, I have to decide between the WS-2000 and 5000 series... whether $150 price difference is worth it for the WS-5000.

Edit: is a 1.25 inch pipe the right diameter to mount the WS series?

For instance: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B09W2P4LYZ/ref=ox_sc_act_title_4?smid=A3690DGTTYC7T1&psc=1
« Last Edit: May 15, 2024, 02:35:45 PM by speedlever »
Ambient WS-5000 with WH31L and solar shield (storm bundle), WH31E

Offline alanb

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Re: Buying a new PWS, knowing what you know now
« Reply #5 on: May 15, 2024, 02:44:42 PM »
I have mine on a 1 1/2" pipe, but 1 1/4" should work just fine as the WS-2000 attaches to the post with a couple of U bolts.
Alan - Ambient WS-2000, WH31E x5, WH31L, Ecowitt WN32(WH32E)
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Offline speedlever

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Re: Buying a new PWS, knowing what you know now
« Reply #6 on: May 15, 2024, 03:01:50 PM »
I have mine on a 1 1/2" pipe, but 1 1/4" should work just fine as the WS-2000 attaches to the post with a couple of U bolts.

Oof. I just noticed the mount I linked is bigger than my 4x4 fence posts. I'll have to be more selective. At least those U bolts can adapt to a good range of pole sizes (within reason).
Ambient WS-5000 with WH31L and solar shield (storm bundle), WH31E

Offline alanb

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Re: Buying a new PWS, knowing what you know now
« Reply #7 on: May 15, 2024, 03:06:35 PM »
Are you planning on installing the lightning detector inside or outside? If outside, it will need some type of weather protection. I have mine mounted in a radiation shield as shown in this thread: https://www.wxforum.net/index.php?topic=42649.0
Alan - Ambient WS-2000, WH31E x5, WH31L, Ecowitt WN32(WH32E)
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Offline speedlever

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Re: Buying a new PWS, knowing what you know now
« Reply #8 on: May 15, 2024, 03:21:10 PM »
Are you planning on installing the lightning detector inside or outside? If outside, it will need some type of weather protection. I have mine mounted in a radiation shield as shown in this thread: https://www.wxforum.net/index.php?topic=42649.0

Yep, outside. I just ordered the WS-5000 storm bundle. Had about $400 in gift cards I've been saving for such a moment as this.

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0C67S11ZV/ref=ox_sc_act_title_1?smid=A2ANVX7C75D1I&psc=1
Ambient WS-5000 with WH31L and solar shield (storm bundle), WH31E

Offline alanb

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Re: Buying a new PWS, knowing what you know now
« Reply #9 on: May 15, 2024, 03:47:26 PM »
Oof. I just noticed the mount I linked is bigger than my 4x4 fence posts. I'll have to be more selective. At least those U bolts can adapt to a good range of pole sizes (within reason).
I have mine mounted on a 8' cedar 2x4 attached to my fence rails with the offset pipe attached at the top. That gets it about 9.5' above the ground. The pipe bracket flange was wider than the 2x4 so I attached a couple of 1x2 cleats on each side of the 2x4 to stabilize it. The 2 lag screws that attach the flange to the 2x4 go into the 2x4 so the cleats are just a backing. Here is a picture. [ You are not allowed to view attachments ]
Alan - Ambient WS-2000, WH31E x5, WH31L, Ecowitt WN32(WH32E)
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Offline speedlever

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Re: Buying a new PWS, knowing what you know now
« Reply #10 on: May 15, 2024, 06:38:10 PM »
I have mine mounted on a 8' cedar 2x4 attached to my fence rails with the offset pipe attached at the top. That gets it about 9.5' above the ground. The pipe bracket flange was wider than the 2x4 so I attached a couple of 1x2 cleats on each side of the 2x4 to stabilize it. The 2 lag screws that attach the flange to the 2x4 go into the 2x4 so the cleats are just a backing. Here is a picture. [ You are not allowed to view attachments ]

Good thing I posted the link to what I planned to use as a mount above. I got to looking at it again and found the dimensions are larger than a 4x4 post. So I gotta figure plan B out. Which will probably be a couple galvanized 2 hole pipe hanger straps holding a 6 or 8 ft section of conduit or similar to the side of the 4x4 post.

I went to several local stores today trying to find something to work with and struck out at Best Buy, Lowes, and Home Depot. Maybe WalMart might have something I can use.
Ambient WS-5000 with WH31L and solar shield (storm bundle), WH31E

Offline alanb

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Re: Buying a new PWS, knowing what you know now
« Reply #11 on: May 15, 2024, 07:39:55 PM »
Could you cut a block from a 2x6 or 2x8 that is the size of the flange, attach the block to the 4x4 post with some long deck screws, then attach the mount flange to the block? The flange on my mount is about 5" wide and 6" high. It is attached to the 2x4 post with two quarter inch x 1 1/2" lag bolts. It has been plenty stable through some pretty strong winds.
« Last Edit: May 15, 2024, 07:41:49 PM by alanb »
Alan - Ambient WS-2000, WH31E x5, WH31L, Ecowitt WN32(WH32E)
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Offline alanb

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Re: Buying a new PWS, knowing what you know now
« Reply #12 on: May 15, 2024, 08:10:55 PM »
As a "heads up" since you selected the WS-5000 instead of the WS-2000, be aware that it includes the Ambient version of the Ecowitt WH40 rain gauge sensor. It has a wide relatively flat funnel. Because of the funnel shape, some forum members have had problems with rain splash affecting the accuracy. You can read about this if you search the forum for WH40. Ecowitt sells an inexpensive funnel extension that helps mitigate this issue, so you might want to consider ordering that accessory.
Alan - Ambient WS-2000, WH31E x5, WH31L, Ecowitt WN32(WH32E)
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Offline speedlever

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Re: Buying a new PWS, knowing what you know now
« Reply #13 on: May 16, 2024, 04:26:50 PM »
Could you cut a block from a 2x6 or 2x8 that is the size of the flange, attach the block to the 4x4 post with some long deck screws, then attach the mount flange to the block? The flange on my mount is about 5" wide and 6" high. It is attached to the 2x4 post with two quarter inch x 1 1/2" lag bolts. It has been plenty stable through some pretty strong winds.

Yeah, I was just considering this option for another antenna mount I ordered. Else I might just pick up some 2 hole 1.5 inch pipe straps and use an existing 4 ft pole I have and return the universal mount I ordered that's too large for the 4x4.
Ambient WS-5000 with WH31L and solar shield (storm bundle), WH31E

Offline speedlever

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Re: Buying a new PWS, knowing what you know now
« Reply #14 on: May 16, 2024, 04:28:15 PM »
As a "heads up" since you selected the WS-5000 instead of the WS-2000, be aware that it includes the Ambient version of the Ecowitt WH40 rain gauge sensor. It has a wide relatively flat funnel. Because of the funnel shape, some forum members have had problems with rain splash affecting the accuracy. You can read about this if you search the forum for WH40. Ecowitt sells an inexpensive funnel extension that helps mitigate this issue, so you might want to consider ordering that accessory.

Thanks for the heads up on this. I saw where someone printed an extension.

I also ordered the bird spike kit. How does that Ecowitt extension work with the spikes?
Ambient WS-5000 with WH31L and solar shield (storm bundle), WH31E

Offline alanb

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Re: Buying a new PWS, knowing what you know now
« Reply #15 on: May 17, 2024, 07:51:17 PM »
Sounds like you've a good plan in place. Looking forward to seeing your report once you have everything in hand and installed (maybe some pictures too?). I hope you enjoy your Ambient station as much as I have.
Alan - Ambient WS-2000, WH31E x5, WH31L, Ecowitt WN32(WH32E)
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Offline speedlever

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Re: Buying a new PWS, knowing what you know now
« Reply #16 on: May 18, 2024, 12:15:05 AM »
Thanks. Got most everything in today except for the bird spike kit. Didn't have time to do anything except get a plan in mind for the installation.

Of course it's raining all weekend. Maybe I'll have a break in the weather so I can install the mount. Hope to at least get the sensor array up while waiting for the bird spike kit to arrive before putting up the rain gauge. Also waiting on the thing that holds the lightning sensor too.
Ambient WS-5000 with WH31L and solar shield (storm bundle), WH31E

Offline speedlever

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Re: Buying a new PWS, knowing what you know now
« Reply #17 on: May 18, 2024, 08:04:26 PM »
Had a few minutes today to install the mount. Then got busy with stuff around the house and vehicle maintenance. By the time I got back to the WS-5000, the rain had begun so I just setup the sensor array, the indoor temp/humidity sensor, and the lightning detector inside.

Interestingly, as I pulled the lighnting detector out of the box, I saw a red flash. Sure enough, there were a pair of Energizer Ultimate Lithium batteries already installed. The box appeared sealed and the factory screen protector was still installed. It didn't appear to be an open box or return item, best I could tell.

Also, there was no weather seal on the main sensor array battery compartment when I installed the batteries. Did they eliminate the seal?

I was going to put up the sensor array until the rain came. I'm holding off installing the WH31L until the solar radiation shield for it arrives. And I'm holding off installing the rain detector until the rain spike kit arrives so I don't have to take it down.

Here's the mount and the base I cobbled together for it.

Edit: apparently the WH31L comes with batteries. My WH32B and WH31L did not, so it made me wonder.
« Last Edit: May 25, 2024, 05:29:28 PM by speedlever »
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Offline speedlever

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Re: Buying a new PWS, knowing what you know now
« Reply #18 on: May 19, 2024, 07:29:31 PM »
Installed the main array this morning while I await the remaining parts to complete the rain gauge and the lightning sensor. Meanwhile, I got setup on the AWN network and the WU network.
Ambient WS-5000 with WH31L and solar shield (storm bundle), WH31E

Offline speedlever

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Re: Buying a new PWS, knowing what you know now
« Reply #19 on: May 21, 2024, 12:07:03 PM »
Finished up the installation today.

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