Author Topic: Average life of a PWS. What's your experience?  (Read 1909 times)

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Offline mixer

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Average life of a PWS. What's your experience?
« on: January 27, 2021, 04:50:30 PM »
Hi.  I'm hoping I can get some real-world experience here.  From reading posts in this forum and online reviews, I'm seeing a trend where people are either replacing parts or entire units on a pretty regular basis. Out of curiosity, I've called both Davis and Ambient. What I found out, was that the average life of a PWS is about three to five years, and at that point some people buy a new one or the components. I was also told that it depends on where you live. With colder climates, windier climates, and coastal climates being the worst.

I know things wear out.....but I figure I was naive thinking 10+ years was more the norm for a $300 USD PWS

If anyone wants to post here I wouldn't mind hearing what your experiences are.

Offline jimi

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Re: Average life of a PWS. What's your experience?
« Reply #1 on: January 28, 2021, 03:05:53 AM »
I have a Maplin WH1081 which has been in use since May 2012, in that time I have replaced the wind sensor. Other than that pretty much trouble free. Cost a lot less than 300 USD, under 40 in a sale IIRC
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Offline TraderGary

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Re: Average life of a PWS. What's your experience?
« Reply #2 on: January 28, 2021, 03:44:58 AM »
I'm on my 3rd weather station.
I've had two Ambient Weather stations that averaged 1.5 years each before failure.
Since the Ambient Weather were all-in-one stations, any component failure meant total replacement.

For my 3rd WS I decided to go with a more expensive Davis separate component system.
I've had the Davis Vantage Pro2 Plus since Aug, 2020 and happy so far.   :thumbsup:
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Offline johnd

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Re: Average life of a PWS. What's your experience?
« Reply #3 on: January 28, 2021, 03:57:42 AM »
Can only really comment for Davis stations, but 10 years service life is  perhaps about par for the course, though I know of several that are still going strong at 20 and even 25 years (older model types obviously).

Given that most Davis  stations are typically configured with sensors outdoors and console/logger indoors, it's the outdoor parts that tend to show cosmetic degradation and other more serious issues first. Some sensor elements have only a finite service life, especially the temp/hum sensor (maybe up to 5 years, though it varies with circumstances) and the 6410 anemometer, maybe 5 years on average though can usually be easily fixed in the current design with an inexpensive new wind speed cartridge.

Often, a station may get replaced not because of failure but because after eg 10-12 years, the technology has moved on significantly. Although the Davis model names and broad design remain the same for some years, there are many detailed enhancements to the design over time, especially for sensors. So it's commonplace for users to replace the outside sensor assembly (but not necessarily the parts indoors) after 10-15 years in order to get the latest production parts.

And, for Davis, is does depend which model you're talking about. The Vue does not have replaceable sensor elements so a serious fault usually requires replacement of the outside sensor assembly (the ISS), which is certainly available separately. The VP2 model is much more amenable to replacement of individual sensors - it costs more upfront, but the in service costs are typically less so overall it's potentially a more cost-effective station long-term. The VP2 was introduced as a general model designation in 2004/5 and there are still multiple examples of the original station design going strong (albeit with sensor repairs as required).

After-sales support is another aspect to consider. Davis, through the factory and resellers worldwide, typically provide good support for the lifetime of the station. For cheap stations support may well be much more patchy, though of course you didn't pay so much for the station in the first place.

Overall, the maxim that you get what you pay for applies to weather stations as much as many other things in life.
« Last Edit: January 28, 2021, 06:23:00 AM by johnd »
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Offline box

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Re: Average life of a PWS. What's your experience?
« Reply #4 on: January 28, 2021, 05:12:23 AM »
I'm on my 3rd weather station.
I've had two Ambient Weather stations that averaged 1.5 years each before failure.
Since the Ambient Weather were all-in-one stations, any component failure meant total replacement.

For my 3rd WS I decided to go with a more expensive Davis separate component system.
I've had the Davis Vantage Pro2 Plus since Aug, 2020 and happy so far.   :thumbsup:

That comes though pretty consistently in these forums, thats why I went for a component system
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Offline weather34

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Re: Average life of a PWS. What's your experience?
« Reply #5 on: January 28, 2021, 06:33:04 AM »
Hi.  I'm hoping I can get some real-world experience here.  From reading posts in this forum and online reviews, I'm seeing a trend where people are either replacing parts or entire units on a pretty regular basis. Out of curiosity, I've called both Davis and Ambient. What I found out, was that the average life of a PWS is about three to five years, and at that point some people buy a new one or the components. I was also told that it depends on where you live. With colder climates, windier climates, and coastal climates being the worst.

I know things wear out.....but I figure I was naive thinking 10+ years was more the norm for a $300 USD PWS

If anyone wants to post here I wouldn't mind hearing what your experiences are.

also consider your climate and location , myself exposed to long dry summers persistent high uv for months , living near the sea front exposed to strong winds all year round , saltwater corrosion, dense fog where dew finds its way in the smallest of openings. in the past i owned ambient,oregon neither went beyond a year without some form of internal component repair, ambient wind vane basically crumbled under the long high uv summer , the casing originally a dull white turn a moldy yellow  ,saltwater corrosion on the thermistor board and bearings. high uv especially long periods plays havoc with low cost plastic designs though many manufacturers claim to use uv resistant methods the tell tell sign is the white turning yellow .

having dumped those to the dumpster cupboard and gave up i took the jump and purchased a davis vp2 in late 2017 never once had to repair anything and neither replace anything and it gets a regular 3 month service so i always have the chance to look for the tell tell signs but in 3 years not one. all i did last week was replace the CR123A battery though it didnt need it just a piece of mind .for me durability is one of the key factors when waying up cost the other availability of replacement parts if ever needed . third buy from a trusted reputable dealer dont be swayed by over generous online discounts you might not be in safe hands when you might need a part or an upgrade , ive seen 20-30% difference in davis weatherstations prices from various online sources the cheaper ones very rarely offer the parts availability.. a Davis VP2 offers a friendly upgrade path to add on extras yourself so its not always necessary to buy the full kit i.e VP2 plus you can upgrade as when funds permit.

if i get 10 years out of mine its money well spent i think.

my nearest neighbor has some fine offset rebranded similar to ecowitt model but the uv sensor is terrible it reads 3-4 points to high i believe it is not actually measuring uv it is using some formula as solar,uv is a single combined light sensor . correct me if im wrong but on inspection all i see is a single light source. the wind direction sensor is a bit erratic it bounces around like a yo-yo when the wind picks up think it could benefit from a diy weighted method to make it a bit stable in windy conditions. that said she paid considerably a lot less than I did and apart from the UV readings she is happy . end of the day its your budget , your hard earned money buy a Davis if you can justify you will struggle to find better in the consumer range.
« Last Edit: January 28, 2021, 06:46:15 AM by weather34 »



Offline chief-david

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Re: Average life of a PWS. What's your experience?
« Reply #6 on: January 28, 2021, 08:42:05 AM »
The good thing with Davis is that if things go wonky, you can send it in for a refurb.

at the minimum you can get replacement parts easily.



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Offline miraculon

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Re: Average life of a PWS. What's your experience?
« Reply #7 on: January 28, 2021, 08:44:46 AM »
My Davis VP2 was originally installed in 2011, and was taken down and moved. It was out of service for a few weeks in 2014 due to the move.

I had a problem with the humidity sensor, replaced under warranty back in 2011.

I have added sensors, DFARS, T/H station, consoles, Envoys, etc. The only other items that were actually replaced on the basic ISS were the "Aero Cone" and the tipping spoon rain sensor. These were an upgrade, and were still serviceable and did not need to be replaced. I still use the regular cone in the winter, but this one is not the original. Again, not due to any kind of failure, just to "upgrade" (whether it was needed or not).

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Offline Mandrake

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Re: Average life of a PWS. What's your experience?
« Reply #8 on: January 28, 2021, 09:02:37 AM »
Its horses for courses and how deep your pockets are:

My original fine offset station (Maplin branded) lasted 10 years before transmission became erratic.

The newer fine Offset stations (ecowitt) are light years better and now modular so its easy to swap out bits or upgrade as you want. Of course the price has somewhat increased as well but they are substantially cheaper still than a Davis. Support for these are also excellent so don't let that put you off either.

If you have the money however no one will dispute how good the Davis stations are.
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Offline mixer

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Re: Average life of a PWS. What's your experience?
« Reply #9 on: January 28, 2021, 09:10:01 AM »
Excellent.  Thanks for taking time time to add some opinion and factual details. This is a great topic. 

Offline PacoJavi

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Re: Average life of a PWS. What's your experience?
« Reply #10 on: January 28, 2021, 05:14:19 PM »
I've had my VP2 for 4 years now, and I can't report a single issue during these years (touch wood). The sun has taken its toll on the temp/hum plastic shield, but nothing to worry about for the moment.

There are also some guys here in Spain who own an old fine offset model and they have had them running for 8-10 years with no issues.
I'm actually pretty interested to see how long the new models can last for. If they last an average of 5-7 years, Davis might have to reconsider their prices, specially for the Vantage Vue which is like the expensive version of the fine offset models

Offline mixer

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Re: Average life of a PWS. What's your experience?
« Reply #11 on: January 28, 2021, 05:27:46 PM »
@pacojavi
Thanks for your observations and information. 

Offline CW2274

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Re: Average life of a PWS. What's your experience?
« Reply #12 on: January 28, 2021, 05:31:59 PM »
VP2 has spent 14+ years in the AZ sun, had to replace the two bowls over the fan and the solar door cover three years ago, they were shot, about $30. The rest of the shield is still like new. All the electronics (super-cap as well) are still not missing a beat. That includes my remote anny TX as well (it's about 8 years old). That said, I no longer use the stock fan and tipper, and haven't in years, so can't really comment there.

Offline Intheswamp

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Re: Average life of a PWS. What's your experience?
« Reply #13 on: January 28, 2021, 10:12:37 PM »
mixer, I installed my VP2 (eventually a "plus" #-o) in May of 2013.  In the last 7-1/2 years I've:

Replaced the anemometer cartridge 2-3 years ago.

Needed to replace the humidity sensor for a couple of years but I keep procrastinating doing it...I'll get around to it one year.  :roll:

I replaced (upgraded, actually) the rain bucket several years ago with one of the newer ones with bird spikes.  (And by the way that was a TERRIFIC UPGRADE!!!!

And just a few months ago I replaced the ISS battery...well over seven years out of that battery.  Who'd of thunk it!!!!  :lol:

Some other things:
*I will say that the little plastic clip thing that holds the solar panel/cover on the ISS broke several years ago.  I haven't done anything to it to repair it but it slides down and seals just fine. 
*The solar panel is really dull and flaky-looking.  But, it's still working fine so....let'er roll!!!!!  ;)
*I literally never clean the rain bucket out.  It just doesn't get junk in it...and I'm in a hayfield with a pine forest at the edges and a too-big clump of vitex negundo (big tall bushy plant) near by.
*The mocking birds and bluebirds love to ride the anemometer like a carnival ride on occasion.
*I really don't pay the ISS much attention.  It just sits out there doing its thing.  I might check it every couple of months.  It just works.

It is getting a little long-toothed but I'm very satisfied with the performance and durability of my Davis VP2.

Best wishes on whatever you decide on!
Ed

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Nope, I still haven't replaced that humidity sensor... DONE!<grin>

Offline mixer

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Re: Average life of a PWS. What's your experience?
« Reply #14 on: January 29, 2021, 02:42:58 PM »
@Intheswamp  Thanks for the detailed comments.  You ought to be in sales for Davis....maybe parts and support? Ha.
@CW2274  Thumbs up for the AZ sun.  Brutal for a lot of things.  Your summer temps make mine feel cool (95765)

Incredible information and experience in this topic.  Thanks to everyone that has posted their PWS experience in the various climates.

Offline Intheswamp

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Re: Average life of a PWS. What's your experience?
« Reply #15 on: March 26, 2021, 03:59:54 PM »
Just curious.  Did you get a Davis?

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Nope, I still haven't replaced that humidity sensor... DONE!<grin>

Offline ocala

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Re: Average life of a PWS. What's your experience?
« Reply #16 on: March 26, 2021, 04:55:21 PM »
10 years here with a Davis.
A refurb in 18 and a anny cartridge last year.
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Offline TrugWX

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Re: Average life of a PWS. What's your experience?
« Reply #17 on: March 26, 2021, 06:20:58 PM »
11+ years from my Lacrosse WS2355 and still all original sensors, although I didn't install the anemometer when we moved 4 years ago.
« Last Edit: March 27, 2021, 06:24:13 PM by TrugWX »
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Offline Intheswamp

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Re: Average life of a PWS. What's your experience?
« Reply #18 on: March 27, 2021, 10:37:10 AM »
My anemometer had also quit working a few days ago.  I finally found a nicked place in the cable so yesterday I cut that section out and spliced the wires back together.  Yellow wire nuts are a bit of overkill, but....I did use some putty I use to seal ham radio antenna connections with and then wrapped it all in electrical tape so maybe it'll hold for a few years (if not I'll re-do it!  ;) ).  So, after getting that done and feeling like I was on a roll I replaced (finally) my temperature/humidity sensor.  But, it had been needing it for several years and I've just been lazy.  :-P 

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Today's weather beats no weather at all!
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Nope, I still haven't replaced that humidity sensor... DONE!<grin>

Offline LeeWx

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Re: Average life of a PWS. What's your experience?
« Reply #19 on: April 10, 2021, 08:04:49 PM »
I've had 3 Lacrosse Stations; 2310/7 years, 2317/ 2 years and a 2813 2 years and still in service. Also, a Vantage Vue ; 4 years then barometer failed as did humidity sensor. Temp and wind still works after 10 years.
     I now have 2 Logias ;5 in 1 and a 7 in one. Both WiFi. 2 months with these so far and working great. The 5 has a bit of a fault with solar shielding as it runs about 3 f high during a sunny day. 7 in one is accurate. Right up there with Davis I dare say.

Offline WeatherHost

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Re: Average life of a PWS. What's your experience?
« Reply #20 on: April 11, 2021, 01:32:29 AM »
$100 or more every three to five years is why I stopped buying them.  Davis is entirely out of the question for me for several reasons and the consumer level models haven't been durable enough to keep spending money on.


For my purposes of curiosity, I decided a $10 thermometer outside the window would suffice.
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Offline josecmorales

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Re: Average life of a PWS. What's your experience?
« Reply #21 on: April 22, 2021, 01:39:09 PM »
My Davis VP2 plus pro was installed in 2012, i bought few weeks ago a kit to make an overhaul, because here in Venezuela the uv are high and destroy all kind of plastics.

Since it was installed dont have any issue with it.
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Offline broadstairs

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Re: Average life of a PWS. What's your experience?
« Reply #22 on: April 22, 2021, 05:00:48 PM »
I was lucky enough to be given a Davis VP1 back in 2005 by my wife as a present. I've only just retired it at the start of 2021 because it had just started to fail. Not bad considering we live near the sea, about 800 yards as the crow flies OK not close enough for spray but the air is quite salty at times. Now I'm retired I have replaced it with a GW1003 which hopefully will last a reasonable time.

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Offline lakelaurashawn

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Re: Average life of a PWS. What's your experience?
« Reply #23 on: May 09, 2021, 05:51:49 PM »
I have had my Davis Vantage Pro for 16 years.  Sent it in 3-years ago for a rebuild. 

Would definitely buy another one. 

Offline racenet

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Re: Average life of a PWS. What's your experience?
« Reply #24 on: May 09, 2021, 07:44:28 PM »
My Davis VP1 went into service January 2004. I've sent it in 3 times since then for a check-up/rebuild. Each time, it checked out fine. Just two weeks ago, finally had to replace the anemometer. It's still going strong.
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