Author Topic: WS-2902A Setup Tips - Plus a Secret Function  (Read 94 times)

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Online galfert

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WS-2902A Setup Tips - Plus a Secret Function
« on: August 13, 2018, 01:39:16 AM »
These are some setup tips for the WS-2902A with a secret function at the end of this write-up

What is the difference between a WS-2902 and a WS-2902A?
No physical difference. The difference is just the firmware version. You need to use the new app called awnet to update to the A version. You should be running version 4.0.0 or greater. As of today the newest is 4.0.2. So yes you can change a WS-2902 into a WS-2902A. Then stop using and uninstall the old Ambient Osprey Tool app. I recommend you download the manual for the WS-2902A to familiarize yourself with the new setup procedure. There actually is a reason to upgrade to the WS-2902A even if your WS-2902 is already configured and working. That is part of the secret function.

I'll discussing the following setting up procedure with the newer awnet app. This will not be 100% applicable for those still using the older app. So use the new awnet app. Also my experience in doing the following is with Android. I don't know if the secret function is available with iOS.

When you first run awnet to set up your WS-2902A it will prompt you for 4 different online accounts. (Yup, they only talk about 3 services if you read the marketing material and the manual). They are all optional and you don't need to set them all up. Or you can set none of them up if you just want your display console to be online just to keep the clock in sync. You can just click Next and and skip any of them if you are not interested in.

SETUP TIP 1: Set up all online service accounts you want to use before setting up your WS-2902A's connection to WiFi. You can set just one of these up or two or three or all of them. But do that first!

SETUP TIP 2: If you have already connected your WS-2902A to WiFi and you skipped adding some of the online accounts you can add them later (except for one special account, I'll explain that below). To add the account that you missed during setup you just open the awnet app and select your station and add the one you skipped during first setup* …except for the 4th option…because it wont let you. I'll explain below.

1. is the first account option. There are no credentials to set up. Every WS-2902A will apparently connect to and send data even if you don't yet have an account configured (unless you turn it off in the app). The only option here is to change how frequently your data is sent. You can select No Upload but the default is 1 minute. Click Save if you change your update interval before clicking Next. This service is a good option to see indoor temperature and indoor humidity and you can buy additional Ambient Weather sensors and they show up under the same account. By default the account is private and not shared. You can make it public and then share a link to it with anyone you wish.

2. Weather Underground is the second option, just called Wunderground in the app. I highly recommend you set up your WU account using a computer first. It is much easier to add your station and then write down your station credentials that you will be prompted for when connecting to WiFi. Weather Underground is one online setup I would recommend not skipping. It is probably the oldest, most popular online service. Your site and data will be public with this service. WU does not display indoor temperature nor humidity. Remember to click Save before clicking Next.

WU TIP: If you are upgrading and changing station hardware you don't need to create a new weather station ID. Just use the old credentials and you will keep your data history. Just remember to turn off your old device so that both aren't sending. Setting up a new station ID at the same location is a bad idea for the map. Older WU stations at certain map zoom levels have precedence and end up on top of new stations. You don't want to loose that status of a seasoned station. It can be annoying to have that neighbor down the street covering your wind vane icon because they are too close to you. You want to be on top. So keep your old station ID in use. If you are moving to a new location then you will need to create a new station ID.

3. WeatherCloud is the third option. WeatherCloud is a newer service. It has some screens that still display "beta" as parts are in development. But most of it works great. Not extremely popular but fun to have. I mean why not. Offers a different way of looking at your data. And you share with a different crowd. If read that if you have a particular brand of irrigation controller (forgot which brand) that some only connect to WeatherCloud stations. So you could be helping out a nearby neighbor that wants your data or maybe you yourself have that need. Enter your WeatherCloud credentials. Remember to click Save before clicking Next.

*** The Secret Function ***
4. Met Office WOW (the UK's Weather Observations Website). This 4th option is secret! It think it is there by accident. But you wont see it if you have already configured your device on WiFi. So its almost hidden but not totally. Don't let the name fool you. Yes it is run by the UK government. Sort of like the US NOAA NWS. But anyone can use it from any country! Just another way of looking at your data and sharing with other people that may use that service. So the way to set this up is to press WIND and PRESSURE buttons for 5 seconds on the display console and redo the WiFi setup. You'll then connect your device to the display consoles MiFi access point signal and complete the setup. Pay close attention to the 4th account setup screen as this is your only chance, that is the WOW service. I highly recommend you have had the account set up on a computer prior to starting the WiFi connection setup.

Met Office WOW website. Go here to set up your account:

Have your credentials ready and written down. The site ID is long and you have to type it in just right. It is posted on the right side under the map between parenthesis and is actually not really labeled to what that long alphanumeric number is. Don't confuse it with the user ID number nor with the Observation ID. You don't use those IDs in the app, just the site ID and password you entered when configuring the site on the account. You can find the password by clicking "Edit Site" and looking at Authentication Key. Totally different from the password to login to the website. Remember to click Save before clicking Next.

I believe that the Met Office WOW service is there by accident. Because of the following reasons.
- The WS-2902A is not marketed as connecting to WOW.
- The WS-2902A user manual (printed and newest download version) do not mention WOW.
- The awnet app does not present the option to add WOW if you skipped it during setup, and even if you didn't skip it you can not reconfigure it later.
- The WS-2902 (prior version) with the Ambient Osprey Tool app did not have the option to configure the WOW service. You can if you want use this old app with the new WS-2902A and the option will be missing during setup. But I don't see why you would want to use the old app.

So I think the the Met Office WOW was meant to be excluded from the WS-2902A. I think the reason it is there during first setup is by accident and they forgot to remove it. See our WS-2902A are a product from another company called Fine Offset in China. What Ambient Weather does is rebrand and sell, support, and warranty their version. Ambient Weather also have heavily invested in service and that is something that is not available to other branded clones of our weather station. With these other branded clones they pitch connecting to Weather Underground, WeatherCloud, and WOW (those that are sold in Europe and maybe Australia and elsewhere but not sure). I think that Ambient Weather chose to remove WOW for a few reasons. First is simplifies their support for the product. I think WOW is the hardest service to set up because it asks you more questions that you just don't know what to answer unless you read the Wiki for the service as to learn how to properly set up the service. Also the default measurements with WOW are metric. You can change them to Imperial units but you have to do it every time online. Being that the site is in the UK sometimes the Internet connection across the Atlantic is not so fast and can lock up. It isn't popular in the US to use this service. For a product sold in the US it doesn't make a whole lot of sense to have WOW functionality. But if you like to tinker and play it can be fun. But realize you will be on your own to make this work.

Hopefully this WOW connectivity functionality is not removed in a future firmware update....I would be willing to bet that it may disappear and that the device will lose this function in the future. I'm sharing this knowledge because of a few reasons. I think our devices should be allowed to keep WOW. I think Ambient should just have it there but not advertise it and not support it. If they are contacted there should be a canned response that it isn't officially supported and that is why it wasn't marketed as having this functionality. The second reason I'm sharing this is because I'm hoping it catches on and that people help other people via this forum and by friends helping friends. Maybe Ambient Weather (if they read this thread) when they realize they missed removing WOW from initial setup wizard they will decided to keep it and add it back to the WiFi configured device menu options. And lastly worst case I'm not terribly worried to lose WOW because it isn't a great service compared to Weather Underground so no big loss. But I do kinda like having my data in more places. But I'm also not worried because I have a Meteobridge that connects to the WS-2902A via an ObserverIP. The Meteobridge fully supports WOW. So at least I won't be losing the function if Ambient Weather decides to remove it in future firmware. But I do hope others without a Meteobridge are allowed to keep it.

Bonus TIP: Want to add even more services to your WS-2902A? All you need is to add the ObserverIP device and a Meteobridge. With the Meteobridge you can add over 20 services and do even more cool stuff. You can make your own Meteobridge or you can buy a ready made one called a Weatherbridge. But remember you need the ObserverIP for the Meteobridge to work. You set up your ObserverIP as connecting to a WS-1600-IP.  The WS-1600-IP is a fictional device that has never been sold. It is just the name in the ObserverIP to connect to your outdoor array. You could say together they make a WS-1600-IP.  Sort of like an upgraded version of a WS-1400-IP. You also need to add the WS-1000-BTH device with this setup to get temperature, humidity, and barometer as the ObserverIP does't do those functions that the display console does.
« Last Edit: August 13, 2018, 02:46:58 AM by galfert »

Online galfert

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Re: WS-2902A Setup Tips - Plus a Secret Function
« Reply #1 on: August 13, 2018, 02:56:10 AM »
When setting up your Met Office WOW weather site the most confusing part is what to answer in the section that asks about Site Location Attributes. You see these drop down options sometimes with letters and numbers. There doesn't seem to be an explanation as to what each means or what to select.

Well here below is the knowledge base link to answer those questions. Depending on how you have sited your weather station will determine the correct attribute for your site. The title to the knowledge base is called "Site Ratings" because how you answer these questions (honestly) will determine your sites rating, with a 1 to 5 star rating. Having a 2 or 3 rating is not bad if that is what you have. The point is to be honest about your location. It doesn't mean your data is bad if you have 2 or 3 stars. It just means that there are location constraints or that is just the nature of the environment you are in. Even if you have a 1 star site you can still earn a yearly Gold Star award. The Gold Star is awarded if your site has reported for at least 350 days of the year. Silver is 330 days of reporting, and Bronze is 300 days.

The section about selecting Exposure is also confusing. There is a mention of 10h and 5h and 2h. At first you may think what unit of measure is this h they are talking about? The h represents a ratio and the h stands for height. So they are referring to how high your station sensor is compared to the the nearest obstruction and at what distance. Basically a distance to height ratio (difference between your station and a nearby obstruction - house or tree or whatever) So you take the distance of the nearest obstruction (house or tree) and then you divide by the height difference of the station sensor. What ever number you end up after doing that calculation is your h number. For example. If your weather station is 50 feet from your house in your back yard and your house is 25 feet tall but the weather station anemometer is 20 feet up a pole. Then you subtract 25 from 20 and get 5 feet difference. Then you take the 50 feet distance and divide that by the 5 feet difference in height of the two. You end up with 50 / 5 = 10. So then you can give yourself a 5 rating for Exposure because that is what the Site Ratings page says for a 10h ratio. If on the other hand your house is 25 feet tall but your station is 26 feet from the house and at a lower height of 15 feet. Then you divide 26 / 10 because the difference in height between the house and the station is 10 feet (25 - 15), and you need to divide the distance by that difference of 10. So you get 26 / 10 = 2.6 and that becomes 2.6h which means your Exposure score is a 3 or 2 (you need to read the site rating explanation to choose between 2 or 3 for some other details). This exposure number relates to not just a building or house but to trees. Whatever is around.

A neat thing about this h ratio stuff is that the units you measure don't matter as long as they are the same unit. You can't measure distance in feet and height in inches. You have to use the same units. If you wanted to measure in meters you can do that and the ratio you come up with is totally valid.

If you want a better explanation of this and whole lot lot more. I recommend reading The Weather Observers Handbook by Stephen Burt. Available in hardcover or paperback or electronic. Get a good used copy. Great reference.
« Last Edit: August 13, 2018, 03:50:28 AM by galfert »