Author Topic: Acurite, Ambient, Davis - Model Comparison  (Read 2589 times)

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Online galfert

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Acurite, Ambient, Davis - Model Comparison
« on: July 12, 2019, 06:11:32 AM »
This was a difficult comparison to make. After spending a few years on this forum these are the main brand/model choices that most people go with. There are other brands and other models, but these are the most popular. There are so many exceptions to these basic attributes that I almost did not post this. This is an important point. For example with Acurite Atlas Access I list it as not offering a WiFi capability but if you wanted you could add a WiFi bridge from 3rd party router manufacturer. There are sometimes ways around some issues. Please feel free to point out any mistakes.

I initially did this for myself but I've decided to share it. This comparison has a focus on what you'll miss or what are some major differences.

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This comparison was done in an attempt to show that there is no best weather station that checks all the boxes for everyone at any price. They all fall short. Even Davis VP2 a major drawback is the price premium and dated black and white LCD display. Many will say that the price is worth the years of service. But Davis temperature and humidity sensors on average last 18 months (give or take with some exceptions) and then they need replaced at ~$50. For many people though the Davis humidity sensors have lasted 5 or 6 years. But the rest of the unit is a tank. Unfortunately the Davis Vue does not have a cost effective replacement temperature and humidity sensor as you are practically replacing the entire outdoor unit at a much more expensive price upwards of $160. The Vue is the only one of these I would not recommend, I'd say you are best in the Ambient (Ecowitt) and Acurite range or go full boat with a VP2. The Vue is sort of the middle range that eh, in the long term not worth it, for a bit more you can have a VP2 without UV and without solar (like the Vue since it doesn't have those features).

This thread is not intended to start any fanyboy wars. This sort of information should be easily available. It is not uncommon for technical publications to make product comparison Pros and Cons. Let's add to the conversation with meaningful analysis and solutions. Every manufacturer could learn a thing or two from the other companies and do things better. Acurite could learn that people shouldn't have to jump through hoops (intercepting network data and running Linux) to get at the data locally to publish the data to other online services, personal websites and 3rd party programs for analysis. Ambient could learn to put better sensors instead of lowly SHT30 that work well in most climates unless you are in a dry weather region. I already mentioned Davis with their dated display but something else they could do is change their sensors to be I2C compatible so that we could replace sensors for better models like SHT35 / SHT85. There are many more things they can all learn...these are just some examples to show that they all fall short. These are things that are not in this initial basic comparison.

It is important to also realize that there is personal choice. Nothing should be compared just at face value. Different things represent value to different people. For example for me an important feature may be ease of data acquisition for other 3rd party software, but for someone else having better wind sensors may be more important, or product durability, or maybe they just prefer to support an American company. My point is that there are many more things to keep in mind. For some they just may prefer myAcurite.com over Ambientweather.net or Weatherlink.com which are each perspective companies cloud service.

I thought of adding a long list of Pros and Cons to each. But maybe that can be done by all of use with follow up posts.

We all win if these companies continue to learn and put out new products when they see that all of these things matter to us.

If you are an undecided user to this forum and are buying your first or next weather station hopefully this thread will help and not turn into some crazy war.

« Last Edit: July 13, 2019, 02:13:12 PM by galfert »
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Online galfert

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Re: Acurite, Ambient, Davis - Model Comparison
« Reply #1 on: July 12, 2019, 06:30:27 AM »
Instead of coming out and defending your product of choice, since you are an expert with your current weather station why don't you share what frustrates you the most which are things that others not experienced with your brand/model would not know.

I'll start...

Ambient Weather could do the following things better:

- replace SHT30 for at least a SHT31
- offer other consoles like the GW1000 without needing to go to Ecowitt for it which is compatible but not an obvious choice for someone just looking at Ambient Weather's website.
- Offer a model with separate components instead of all-in-one design (Ecowitt has this)
- perhaps offer something that does not feel so cheaply made (my one year old WS-2902-ARRAY has yellowed badly).
- provide a wind sensor that reads higher than 100 mph
- Add a lightning sensor
- add more sensors like pool sensor

There is more but that is a good start.

In some ways I should probably have mentioned Ecowitt in the initial comparison. They are a Fine Offset clone reseller like Ambient. But I think most people soon realize that when they can't buy an Ambient in their country an alternative reseller is available for seemingly the same product. Ecowitt will sell you a complete weather station. They have a cloud service much like Ambientweather.net. Which is Ecowitt.net. Ecowitt is relatively a new reseller but proving to be an excellent solution provider with great customer service. They will ship world wide which Ambient doesn't do. So keep them in mind. I've mentioned these wants to Ecowitt and since they are a close partner to Fine Offset they have already delivered on many shortcomings of Ambient for example with the GW1000 console and other sensors and software feature updates like customized server for data and a local API.

It's okay to mention the Pros of any brand/model

Ambient Weather Pros:
- Doesn't break the bank, especially for those starting off.
- ease of getting the data locally into 3rd party programs especially with the GW1000. Which means you can easily upload data to any online service or your own website.
- Nice looking outdoor unit (at least compared to the older generation)
- Very nice fully featured color LCD display on the WS-2000 or Ecowitt HP2551
- Extra temperature and humidity sensors (up to 8 additional)
- PM2.5 sensor
- Ambientweather.net has nice look and offers Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant compatibility to your data
- Ambientweather.net has API to send your data to personal website without need for 3rd party software
- Upload to several online services offered for all models: Weather Underground, PWSweather, WeatherCloud. (PWSweather upload done via Ambientweather.net, WeatherCloud upload configured using awnet or WS View mobile app)

« Last Edit: July 12, 2019, 07:31:26 AM by galfert »
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Offline gwminor48

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Re: Acurite, Ambient, Davis - Model Comparison
« Reply #2 on: July 12, 2019, 07:21:58 AM »
I have a Davis Vantage Vue that I like, hopefully lasts longer than 18 months. As many have noted before the black&white console seems behind the times and the Weatherlink software looks very dated so I don't have much use for it. No doubt your post will create lively discussion. I appreciate the work you put into doing this.
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Offline Greg_M

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Re: Acurite, Ambient, Davis - Model Comparison
« Reply #3 on: July 12, 2019, 11:21:13 AM »
Just get a VP2 and you'll be happy.
I am.
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Offline BeaverMeadow

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Re: Acurite, Ambient, Davis - Model Comparison
« Reply #4 on: July 12, 2019, 11:27:35 AM »
Just get a VP2 and you'll be happy.
I am.

Do you need to change your temp/humidity sensor aprox. every 18 months to maintain accuracy?

Offline Greg_M

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Re: Acurite, Ambient, Davis - Model Comparison
« Reply #5 on: July 12, 2019, 11:28:52 AM »
Not so far
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Re: Acurite, Ambient, Davis - Model Comparison
« Reply #6 on: July 12, 2019, 12:11:30 PM »
The only problem with this sheet is the price. Price can be a big influence in ones decision.
You can buy a Vue for about 250 to 270 dollars new.

----
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Re: Acurite, Ambient, Davis - Model Comparison
« Reply #7 on: July 12, 2019, 12:12:15 PM »
Just get a VP2 and you'll be happy.
I am.

Do you need to change your temp/humidity sensor aprox. every 18 months to maintain accuracy?


Thats a big no :)
« Last Edit: July 12, 2019, 12:27:34 PM by txweather.org »

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Online galfert

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Re: Acurite, Ambient, Davis - Model Comparison
« Reply #8 on: July 12, 2019, 12:19:40 PM »
The only problem with this sheet is the price. Price can be a big influence in ones decision.
You can buy a Vue for about 250 to 270 dollars new.

That doesn't include a logger. My comparison clearly states that this is an average price for a typical configuration.
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Offline Bushman

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Re: Acurite, Ambient, Davis - Model Comparison
« Reply #9 on: July 12, 2019, 12:21:26 PM »
My only comment is that ~300 ft fir Acurite is, IME, wildly overstated.
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Online galfert

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Re: Acurite, Ambient, Davis - Model Comparison
« Reply #10 on: July 12, 2019, 12:23:25 PM »
My only comment is that ~300 ft fir Acurite is, IME, wildly overstated.

What should it be Acurite then? Ambient advertises 300 ft but typical performance is only 100 ft which I why I went with 100 ft for the Ambient.
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Offline weather34

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Re: Acurite, Ambient, Davis - Model Comparison
« Reply #11 on: July 12, 2019, 12:39:17 PM »
my 2 pence worth

i chose the vp2 for long term durability, upgrades and add on additions as time and funds will permit, since purchasing ive added the uv sensor,just about to order a single rain tipper ,bought a spare temp sensor , i like this idea you can build around this product , most importantly the vast array of regular spares in the event nature plays it card ,or something fails . lessons learnt with fine offset as you quote poor cheap manufactured materials used , the yellow color turning highlights a serious lack of attention to uv damage eventually it will crumble as i discovered after 8 months ... davis vp2 comes at a price above all but its a great product to build upon . long term durability is always at forefront on my thoughts.

nice comparison but i beg to differ on the sht31 problem i live 150 meters  from the seafront the spread this year has been  9%(rare south easterly winds) to 100%(dense fog) , i wouldn’t  expect to go lower in terms of humidity being this close to the sea front but summer is not over yet so who knows..

edit..forgot too add console if they did release a more modern one you could safely bet it will be backwards compatible so my faith in this product grows knowing how the release of additional upgrades always seem to be backwards compatible and surprisingly plug and play in most cases..

will follow with interest..brian
« Last Edit: July 12, 2019, 12:49:51 PM by weather34 »
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Offline txweather.org

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Re: Acurite, Ambient, Davis - Model Comparison
« Reply #12 on: July 12, 2019, 12:42:12 PM »
The only problem with this sheet is the price. Price can be a big influence in ones decision.
You can buy a Vue for about 250 to 270 dollars new.

That doesn't include a logger. My comparison clearly states that this is an average price for a typical configuration.

That should be broken down for clarity of others (new comers to the hobby). This was not clear to me. A typical configuration does not include a logger and should be clear and separated. Also you are speaking of personal experience.... I have never had to replace my temp/hum sensor on my vue. 6yrs in now. This needs to be said. Its is more common for the wind speed cartridge than the temp/hum sensor to go bad on a vue.

You need to be clear about this points when trying to help others, Dont poison the well (Indirectly). Be neutral and let the end user decide, Do not speak as if IT IS FACT Users can take that as good data and regret it at the end. This goes for everything... Not just this scenario.

Take this as constructive criticism. :)

----
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Re: Acurite, Ambient, Davis - Model Comparison
« Reply #13 on: July 12, 2019, 12:45:50 PM »
my 2 pence worth

i chose the vp2 for long term durability, upgrades and add on additions as time and funds will permit, since purchasing ive added the uv sensor,just about to order a single rain tipper ,bought a spare temp sensor , i like this idea you can build around this product , most importantly the vast array of regular spares in the event nature plays it card ,or something fails . lessons learnt with fine offset as you quote poor cheap manufactured materials used , the yellow color turning highlights a serious lack of attention to uv damage eventually it will crumble as i discovered after 8 months ... davis vp2 comes at a price above all but its a great product to build upon . long term durability is always at forefront on my thoughts.

nice comparison but i beg to differ on the sht31 problem i live 150 meters  from the seafront the spread this year has been  9%(rare south easterly winds) to 100%(dense fog) , i wouldn’t  expect to go lower in terms of humidity being this close to the sea front but summer is not over yet so who knows..

will follow with interest..brian

This is a excellent example of why it should be pointed that the user is speaking of personal experience. Specially in the weather hobby.... Some just work better for others due to the surroundings. Maybe Ambien sucks in Istanbul but could do well in a Tropical climate due to less exposure to "something" LOL

And agreed 100% with what you said Brian.

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Online galfert

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Re: Acurite, Ambient, Davis - Model Comparison
« Reply #14 on: July 12, 2019, 01:25:37 PM »
Good point being brought up. Which you can see adds to my reluctance of having put this information up to begin with. But I felt that I don't need to be the sole provider of the information. We can all contribute. Its going well. This is good stuff.

To the SHT31 problem of the Davis units I'm going by the history of the massive SHT31 thread that is now a year old and still going. I also have personal experience in dealing with several Davis units that belong to neighbors and to people that I've helped out identifying the problem world wide on the CWOP network and on AWEKAS. Many Davis owners don't even realize they have a humidity (dew point) problem where their sensors get stuck at a certain limit sometimes 94% some times 87% or just about anywhere around there, then if ignored for long enough the crash (go down really low or to 0% and then bounce back when the RH drops and they temporarily recover). Sometimes the problem is also high middle range bias of the humidity sensor. Climate and luck seem to play a part. The 18 month is a statement by many users on the massive SHT31 thread. This problem is the Davis has not been forthcoming with information regarding this very real issue and if it has been resolved with the newest replacement sensors. The unfortunate part of this is that Davis uses an LSS (Legacy Sensirion Bus) with their SHT31 sensor so in that respect they are very different than the SHT30 and SHT31 that Ambient and Acurite use. That posses some challenges in attempting DIY changes with other stuff (read the Massive SHT31 thread for more info). Some Davis users have perfectly working humidity sensors but they max out at 94% or 96%...I see soooo soooo many of these...they are everywhere. This is a real issue. The VP2 is still a wonderful product and among the best that you can buy when money is no object. I just wouldn't say it is perfect.

Massive SHT31 thread:
https://www.wxforum.net/index.php?topic=34658.0

Here is a neighboring VP2 with failed sensor, they are everywhere. Yet another one that I've offered to fix. It is a school near me (WeatherSTEM system). It is my kids school. It is almost 2 years old.
https://www.wunderground.com/dashboard/pws/KFLOVIED48
« Last Edit: July 12, 2019, 01:32:16 PM by galfert »
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Online galfert

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Re: Acurite, Ambient, Davis - Model Comparison
« Reply #15 on: July 12, 2019, 01:37:57 PM »

You need to be clear about this points when trying to help others, Dont poison the well (Indirectly). Be neutral and let the end user decide, Do not speak as if IT IS FACT Users can take that as good data and regret it at the end. This goes for everything... Not just this scenario.

Take this as constructive criticism. :)

I'm trying to be clear with as many aspects as I can. I stated that I want you all to participate to clear up any points. All the information doesn't need to come from me. I'll fix the OP if needed. The fact that you have a perfectly working humidity sensor for several years is testament to what I said....it doesn't happen to everyone and some fair better and some fair worse. I am being factual and not biased. I'm an Ambient owner but I recognize all the faults. I wish for a Davis VP3 and an Acurite Elite to come out and be stellar and tackles all these issues. I don't think I'm poisoning anything. I want to be as much of a fan and supporter of all the brands discussed. If we don't raise these points then the next version or model will come out and these issues will not be resolved.
« Last Edit: July 12, 2019, 01:42:15 PM by galfert »
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Offline Bushman

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Re: Acurite, Ambient, Davis - Model Comparison
« Reply #16 on: July 12, 2019, 02:21:49 PM »
My only comment is that ~300 ft fir Acurite is, IME, wildly overstated.

What should it be Acurite then? Ambient advertises 300 ft but typical performance is only 100 ft which I why I went with 100 ft for the Ambient.
Maybe change the current row name to "Mfg. Stated Range" and add a second "Real World Range"; and I'd say 100 ft is about right.  I have LOS 25 feet away and I get 2-3 of 4 bars.  A sensor in the garage 40 feet away gets 1-2.  Nothing unusual for 433mHz
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Re: Acurite, Ambient, Davis - Model Comparison
« Reply #17 on: July 12, 2019, 02:29:01 PM »
To the SHT31 problem of the Davis units I'm going by the history of the massive SHT31 thread that is now a year old and still going.

It may be a massive thread, but with relatively few contributors. How relevant it is to an individual user depends hugely on their climate and how they prioritise RH readings. I'd say two things from a UK perspective:

1. RH is the least important of all weather parameters to most users. Complaints get raised about everything else, especially wind speed & rainfall accuracy - though this is often eg a siting rather than a sensor issue - but RH is last on the list IME.

2. I'd place the average life of an SHT31 sensor at 4-6 years. Yes, they do need replacing after an extended period, but typically not for eg 5 years.
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Offline floodcaster

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Re: Acurite, Ambient, Davis - Model Comparison
« Reply #18 on: July 12, 2019, 03:01:21 PM »
For me, one of the most important comparisons is stated accuracy.
Bill


Offline CW2274

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Re: Acurite, Ambient, Davis - Model Comparison
« Reply #19 on: July 12, 2019, 03:35:10 PM »
Ambient could learn to put better sensors instead of lowly SHT30 that work well in most climates unless you are in a dry weather region.
Don't blame the SHT30, it has a full 0-100% range. Blame Ambient for not allowing it to do it's job under 10%, which is frankly IMO, cheap.

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Re: Acurite, Ambient, Davis - Model Comparison
« Reply #20 on: July 12, 2019, 03:40:45 PM »
Whether Davis has addressed this problem or not I have no idea, but put a more reliable and stronger fan in it. Also allow for an a/c option for a fan (pretty sure they use to).

Online galfert

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Re: Acurite, Ambient, Davis - Model Comparison
« Reply #21 on: July 12, 2019, 03:59:50 PM »
My only comment is that ~300 ft fir Acurite is, IME, wildly overstated.

What should it be Acurite then? Ambient advertises 300 ft but typical performance is only 100 ft which I why I went with 100 ft for the Ambient.
Maybe change the current row name to "Mfg. Stated Range" and add a second "Real World Range"; and I'd say 100 ft is about right.  I have LOS 25 feet away and I get 2-3 of 4 bars.  A sensor in the garage 40 feet away gets 1-2.  Nothing unusual for 433mHz

Good idea. Done.  What is the Real World RF Range for a Davis?
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Re: Acurite, Ambient, Davis - Model Comparison
« Reply #22 on: July 12, 2019, 04:04:36 PM »
I've amended my OP to state that for some the failure of the Davis SHT31 is 18 months give or take and for some it has lasted 5 or 6 years. I agree. I guess there are variables and information that are out of our reach....like what Davis has done to address this issue, and how prevalent it is and how different climates affect the durability of the SHT31.
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Re: Acurite, Ambient, Davis - Model Comparison
« Reply #23 on: July 12, 2019, 04:33:15 PM »
Good idea. Done.  What is the Real World RF Range for a Davis?

You've got to put some qualifications on it, eg what's the height of transmit & receive antennas, is it genuinely clear line of sight etc. I'd say the Davis figure of 300m/1000ft is a pretty good central estimate for antennas at eg 5-6 ft and with good LoS with no obstructions. But it's better over water for instance where you might still see an RSSI of upper 20's at anything up to 400-500m, provided the antennas were reasonably elevated.
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Re: Acurite, Ambient, Davis - Model Comparison
« Reply #24 on: July 12, 2019, 04:37:54 PM »
I guess there are variables and information that are out of our reach....like what Davis has done to address this issue, and how prevalent it is and how different climates affect the durability of the SHT31.
IF Davis has addressed the 31 issue (which folks here rightly blame them for AFAIC), they'll never admit it because they never did in the first place, and that would make them culpable for potential fraud. The only way we'll know is to buy new ones and see how it performs across the board. My new 31 is performing better than I ever expected, but still have to see more of the wet side for any true conclusion (still waiting for the monsoon :sad:).