Author Topic: Need advice or guidance for new weather station.  (Read 1164 times)

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Offline Adrian23

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Need advice or guidance for new weather station.
« on: February 14, 2019, 01:45:43 PM »
Hi folks i have not posted on this forum for sometime but needed some advice on my next weather station. I used to have a 5-1 from acurite which i truly loved but now moving to a new home i would like to upgrade to a better station still in my 300-350$ price range or less if i could. First things first i am interested in learning a bit more about weatherflow its look i love BUT not liking at all the vibration problems it has causing false rainfall so that iffy unless that has been fixed by the company. Also the acurite Atlas looks sweet and non expensive option and probably does not have the vibration issues but now i am reading that it cant report to WU because they are discontinuing the access hub i think its called i could be wrong. So how will the station work or how can i report to WU ext? Reporting to WU is important to me. I dont like davis due to its ugly receiver or display. I am wind kinda guy and like getting the gusts in t-storms and collecting that rainfall data.  Any advice or guidance will be greatly appreciated! In the end i want to do something like this in my back yard but the poll not so long so it does not swing. Thanks so much for taking the time to read this. PS! I really like the new Atlas

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« Last Edit: February 14, 2019, 01:57:54 PM by Adrian23 »

Offline nincehelser

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Re: Need advice or guidance for new weather station.
« Reply #1 on: February 14, 2019, 01:58:30 PM »
Also the acurite Atlas looks sweet and non expensive option and probably does not have the vibration issues but now i am reading that it cant report to WU because they are discontinuing the access hub i think its called i could be wrong.

That is incorrect.  It's the support for the older SmartHUB that is being discontinued.  It has been replaced by the Access.

Offline Adrian23

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Re: Need advice or guidance for new weather station.
« Reply #2 on: February 14, 2019, 02:03:28 PM »
So nincehelser does the access still report to WU? Also what are your thoughts on my original post about which weather station. Thanks!

Offline nincehelser

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Re: Need advice or guidance for new weather station.
« Reply #3 on: February 14, 2019, 02:19:48 PM »
So nincehelser does the access still report to WU? Also what are your thoughts on my original post about which weather station. Thanks!

Yes.  The Access reports to wunderground.

The Atlas is probably the best way to go.  While I like my weatherflow over-all, the accuracy just doesn't seem to be there yet.

Offline Adrian23

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Re: Need advice or guidance for new weather station.
« Reply #4 on: February 14, 2019, 04:17:43 PM »
So nincehelser does the access still report to WU? Also what are your thoughts on my original post about which weather station. Thanks!

Yes.  The Access reports to wunderground.

The Atlas is probably the best way to go.  While I like my weatherflow over-all, the accuracy just doesn't seem to be there yet.

Great thanks! I was leaning towards the Atlas either way and my acurite 5-1 was always very reliable while i had it setup. Even though weatherflow looks nice i will pass on the weather data not being accurate.

Offline jjh92

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Re: Need advice or guidance for new weather station.
« Reply #5 on: February 14, 2019, 04:42:40 PM »
I also am in market for a PWS.  My assessment from lots of reading and research:

1. Lots of WiFi issues reported with both Acurite and Ambient at distances less than 100'.  I have a 130' distance for my site location.  Davis is best for ensuring you don't have WiFi connection issues.
2. HW quality/durability issues reported with both Acurite an Ambient, not made to last,  Davis is best for long life of PWS, circuit boards are coated.
3. Ambient and both Davis are very good for out-of-box setup reviews.  Atlas continues to have out-of-box quality issues as indicated by Amazon buyer reviews

I've talked myself into spending the extra money on Davis. I want this to be a 1-time purchase and then enjoy the hobby rather than fighting setup, Wifi connection and HW durability issues.

Offline Adrian23

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Re: Need advice or guidance for new weather station.
« Reply #6 on: February 14, 2019, 05:17:44 PM »
I also am in market for a PWS.  My assessment from lots of reading and research:

1. Lots of WiFi issues reported with both Acurite and Ambient at distances less than 100'.  I have a 130' distance for my site location.  Davis is best for ensuring you don't have WiFi connection issues.
2. HW quality/durability issues reported with both Acurite an Ambient, not made to last,  Davis is best for long life of PWS, circuit boards are coated.
3. Ambient and both Davis are very good for out-of-box setup reviews.  Atlas continues to have out-of-box quality issues as indicated by Amazon buyer reviews

I've talked myself into spending the extra money on Davis. I want this to be a 1-time purchase and then enjoy the hobby rather than fighting setup, Wifi connection and HW durability issues.

I never had any WiFi issues with my 5-1 from acurite I guess it depends on how far your station Is from your local WiFi. I hear ya about Davis but there monitor screens to view the data are so ugly it could be improved big time. When you say Davis you mean these?

https://www.davisinstruments.com/weather-monitoring/

Offline galfert

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Re: Need advice or guidance for new weather station.
« Reply #7 on: February 14, 2019, 07:25:07 PM »
I'd like correct some points.

I also am in market for a PWS.  My assessment from lots of reading and research:

1. Lots of WiFi issues reported with both Acurite and Ambient at distances less than 100'.  I have a 130' distance for my site location.  Davis is best for ensuring you don't have WiFi connection issues.

These aren't WiFi issues. These are RF (Radio Frequency) issues. The console receives an RF signal from the outdoor sensor array.  WiFi is inly used between console and your network WiFi router.

With Ambient stations distance RF reception issues have been solved by industrious DIY'ers

All you need is a 915 MHz yagi antenna. $18
https://www.amazon.com/Phonetone-Outdoor-Directional-Antenna-Connector/dp/B00EC804SO

Pictures and results good.
https://www.wxforum.net/index.php?topic=35470.msg366723#msg366723

Quote

2. HW quality/durability issues reported with both Acurite an Ambient, not made to last,  Davis is best for long life of PWS, circuit boards are coated.


The newest Ambient (Fine Offset) stations based on the Osprey sensor array have not had any indication of durability or quality issues. These newest Ambient stations have been out for almost 2 years and they are a huge improvement over the older generation. Just look at the Amazon reviews and you see almost 1,000 reviews and 4.5 star rating and Amazon Choice Award and the #1 best selling weather station. The newest generation uses the same series of Sensirion SHT3x sensors that Acurite and Davis use. In fact it is Davis that has had issues with their implementation of the SHT31 sensor. It is going to take some time to break the quality / durability stigma, so I'm just doing my part to let people know the new stuff is not like the old stuff so let's not lump it all together. I'm not saying that the Ambient will perform in every category as well as a Davis as the Davis has things like better wind gust performance and higher wind speed rating and stuff like that. But the Ambient is an incredible value and more than good enough for a first station. Especially when there isn't a best at the moment. It's about weighing the pros and cons.

« Last Edit: February 15, 2019, 10:11:11 AM by galfert »
WS-2000 & WS-2902A | Ecowitt GW1000 | WeatherBridge (Meteobridge)
WU: KFLWINTE111  |  PWSweather: KFLWINTE111
CWOP: FW3708  |  AWEKAS: 14814
Windy: pws-f075acbe
Tele-Pole flag pole is here (not installed yet)

Offline TheWarrant

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Re: Need advice or guidance for new weather station.
« Reply #8 on: February 17, 2019, 08:30:18 PM »
Long Post - apologies up front.

I was in very much the same situation around January of this year. My good old Davis Vantage Pro (not Pro 2) had finally bitten the dust and was no longer reliable. It had been online since February 2003 with the 2 instances of shipping it off to California for refurbishment, repair, and general going over and replacement of parts that needed it. Each of those trips cast me about $140 ($115-$120 for bench fee, plus shipping and insurance). I didn't mind - it was a ROBUST and well design semi-professional level weather station. I didn't push the wifi range capabilities as my console was always less than 100 feet from the sensor suite. I utilized an old data logger cable with a USB to RS-232 9-pin adaptor for my desktop computer, later a dedicated laptop computer. I used Virtual Weather Station (VWS) for my software to upload to the internet and was uploading in Rapid Fire mode to WUnderground and PWS sites. Late last year, the remote sensor suite would die during the evening and reading online, I realized the capacitor had failed, the magnetic reed switch for the rainfall detector had also failed. I contacted Davis and was told, "We don't service that model anymore, but we can give you specs on the parts you'll need for replacement." Well - I ordered the parts, replaced them and the station worked again - for about a week, then 'something else' broke. I looked at a new Davis set up - with a new data logger cable, and was looking at a price of around $600. I'm retired now (since 2015) and while not 'broke', I just couldn't justify $600 for a weather station that I had to send the console in for firmware updates (DST changes require that), and be forced to have the console sit next to my laptop, and run an additional program for uploads to the internet, AND worry about updates to VWS, AND Windows and hope that nothing went wrong.

----- So I started looking around AFTER I thought about these important guidelines or purchasing factors. 1. The Davis console is very '80's' in nature - backlit LCD screen with a '2nd function' button to view additional data. 2. It has to be near a laptop and connected via a data logging cable 3. If Windows hiccups or there's a power outage, my system goes down and upon power restoration, it may or may not restart, reboot, reload correctly and find the wifi signal and commence uploading to the internet again. 4. The only way I can see my weather station is to look on the laptop, the console (local in-house), or go to WUnderground and see if my system in uploading. 5. My console sits out in my hobby room, with the laptop and isn't easily viewable - especially at night. And to top it all off, since 2003, my interest in a lot of DATA coming in, to be analyzed and studied on charts via VWS has waned. I just want the weather, on a console I can see easily, and at a single glance get all of my data in a nice aesthetically pleasing manner. I do NOT want to be tied to a laptop, I don't want to pay for a data logger cable ($140), and I'm not all that anal about data accuracy (down to 0.01 inches of rain in a 24-hour period of time - I live in Florida - it rains a LOT, 0.01 inches doesn't mean anything to me when we'll get a 2-inch downpour in 30-minutes sometimes).

So I started searching - and I came across the Ambient WS-2000 system. I looked at the specs, read the reviews, and THEN I contacted "Ed" at their customer/user support email address and asked this question - "Is this as good as my Davis Vantage Pro?" - I got an answer within 12-hours - and he said: "This system is not as 'robust' as the Davis Vantage Pro, or their Pro 2 model but it's accurate while it's working." That made sense to me because the WS-2000 cost about 40% of what the Davis Vantage Pro2 costs. AND if there is a problem outside the warranty period, 'plug & play' replacement parts are available - and if it's REALLY broken - the entire sensor suite can be replaced - for $80!! Wow!! - So what I would spend to send my sensor suite off to California for service, I can REPLACE my Ambient WS-2000 sensor suite - TWICE.
I got the unit - and was THRILLEd with the console - Color screen, high resolution, everything I need to see in one place without having to touch it.

The sensor suite feels almost 'toy-like' when compared to the Davis Vantage Pro2 - BUT it has additional sensors at no cost of UV and "Sunlight Strength" (my words) to let you know the watts/meter (squared) currently being felt. I replaced the Davis sensor suite with the WS-2000 and put the console in my den where everyone can see it and my signal strength is fine - about 100-feet. The Davis console indoor temperature, humidity, and barometric pressures are sensed BY the console. That's good if your console is where you sit and live most of the time - mine was in the hobby room because of the accessory laptop requirements. The WS-2000 has a separate sensor for temp/humidity/pressure that you can put anywhere in the house and it communicates with the console. The outdoor sensor suite has the rest of the data coming to the console - and HERE is where there was better news for me - you can buy additional 'sensors that will communicate with the console - up to 8 additional sensors! They're available for just over $8 EACH ........ the console will 'cycle' through them, or you can leave it on any of them and then cycle through yourself. I put an additional sensor in my attic, and one on the enclosed/covered back porch - good to know if you want to sit out there - and in Florida, the 'in the shade temperature' is MUCH different from the 'in the sun' temperature.

Connectivity - the console has it's own wifi receiver that you connect to your home network. It uploads immediately to Ambient, and if you punch in your WUnderground information (station ID, etc.) it uploads to WUnderground - and the WUnderground icon is seen on the console - easy!!
Firmware updates are available as a file from Ambient - you download it, transfer it to a MicroSD card, power down the console, plug the card in and turn the console back on - it conducts a firmware update right then and there. If you want to collect data - you do NOT need a computer and a data logger cable - you need a MicroSD card - plug it in and it records all the data to the card - continuously. You can pull it out and it's in a /CSV format so you can drop it into Excel and have at it. Not concerned about power outages, restoration cycles anymore - the console plugs into the wall and there's no 'stream of units/programs' that need to power back up as well. The unit comes on - finds the wifi and starts uploading again to WUnderground, Ambient, and PWS (I have accounts at all three places).

Customer support - holy cow - I joined the Ambient Weather Facebook page and there's a VERY active group there that INCLUDES the folks from Customer Support and Service. Ed is always answering questions and providing links to help you with any issues you might have. I've seen people make VERY good suggestions about enhancements to the system and there's a firmware update a few days later - it's an active, well-read group and the tech support folks LISTEN and ACT in a large majority of the cases - it's pretty amazing.

SOOOOO - in conclusion - I was a Davis Vantage Pro user for 16 continuous years and moved to an Ambient WS-2000 for 40% of the cost of a new Davis system, got rid of the laptop, moved the beautiful color console to the den where we can all see it, have continuous updates to WU and Ambient, can do firmware updates very simply, and collect data should I want to do any storm analysis. I have additional sensors outside my home, and I know that if I have a problem, customer support is THERE, as well as a very knowledgeable user support group AND Ambient has a KILLER app for iPhone and Android that will display more information in text, data form, AND charts for you. I can look at the console and tell immediately if it's uploading and maintaining good comms with my wifi router.

Honestly - I should have made the move years ago ................ It's actually FUN to have a weather station again.

Offline galfert

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Re: Need advice or guidance for new weather station.
« Reply #9 on: February 17, 2019, 09:44:12 PM »
TheWarrant,
I read every word. Nice story. Thanks for sharing. I really like my WS-2000 as well.
WS-2000 & WS-2902A | Ecowitt GW1000 | WeatherBridge (Meteobridge)
WU: KFLWINTE111  |  PWSweather: KFLWINTE111
CWOP: FW3708  |  AWEKAS: 14814
Windy: pws-f075acbe
Tele-Pole flag pole is here (not installed yet)

Offline stormtracker

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Re: Need advice or guidance for new weather station.
« Reply #10 on: February 20, 2019, 04:00:16 PM »
TheWarrant,
I read every word. Nice story. Thanks for sharing. I really like my WS-2000 as well.

I also read the post, in it's entirety, and can certainly concur with the author's findings.  I too am a long term Davis user who has been waiting (impatiently) for several years to see if Davis would upgrade that terribly outdated console display.  As of this time, they have not.  I am going to go the Ambient route because of the overall technical advantages and options they offer.  I feel that Davis, much like Maximum, is stuck in the previous generation of weather instrumentation.  Ed is really good to hop onto their facebook page and help users with issues.  I know that he is probably tired of my endless questions and promise to buy his product, but I feel that the time is now.

Offline Jim_S

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Re: Need advice or guidance for new weather station.
« Reply #11 on: February 20, 2019, 08:11:57 PM »
I am a somewhat satisfied Acurite 5 in 1 user. I say "somewhat" because like many I was not thrilled to have to replace my perfectly fine smart hub (that supports 10 sensors) with the new Access that only supports 7. Acurite kind of shot themselves in the foot there, I had 7 sensors on the smart hub and was planing to buy more and max it out. Not happening now.

When it comes time to upgrade I might still consider Acurite if they have an exceptional unit at a great price but they won't be my first choice. Right now the Atlas and the Ambient 2902 seem roughly comparable. When you factor in the ability to share with many sites other than WU, better tech support and the 'bad will' Acurite earned with the smart hub mess I know I'd go with Ambient. After reading TheWarrant's excellent story I don't think Davis would be on the list either, at least not with their current offerings.

Offline NMLKDave

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Re: Need advice or guidance for new weather station.
« Reply #12 on: March 01, 2019, 07:18:55 AM »
Look in to the Ecowitt systems as well. They have a couple of new pieces of equipment that lets you build a “modular” system. I’ve been happy with mine so far.

Offline SevenTrees

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Re: Need advice or guidance for new weather station.
« Reply #13 on: March 05, 2019, 12:34:15 PM »
Thanks for the review of your Ambient station.

I'm broke as hell and so is my smarthub now. I just couldn't see spending more money on the access when everything worked fine as is, not to mention I didn't realize Acurite was going to cut off data entirely, not just tech support for the smarthub.

My 5-in-1 is still sending to wunderground, but it's time for me to start shopping for a replacement. Ambient sounds like a good place to start.

Online Bushman

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Re: Need advice or guidance for new weather station.
« Reply #14 on: March 05, 2019, 04:10:59 PM »
Or just a Pi (or Pi Zero) to your existing system.