Wireless weather station suggestions?

I’m about to move house and I’m not sure how easy it will be at the new house to install the cabling for my Huger WM918 station. I’m debating whether to ‘upgrade’ to a wireless station. I’d appreciate some recommendations of suitable equipment and particularly info about the following questions for specific stations:

  1. Do many wireless stations use solar rechargeable cells? I think I’d prefer solar charging, but how well does this work in non-sunny climates like the UK! If normal batteries are used, what kind of life do they give…I don’t want to have to get a ladder out once a week to install new batteries!

  2. What is the normal range for wireless units? I’m guessing that I could mount the sensors within 60-70 feet (20-25m for metric talkers) of the PC, but there will be a wall or two for the signal to get through.

  3. The Davis Vantage Pro range seems to feature an optional Weather Envoy (?) unit? If I’ve understood the blurb properly this allows you to connect the VP sensors to a PC without having a console. Two questions really…does WD support the Weather Envoy and is it possible to have a Weather Envoy AND a console, i.e. have the Envoy connected to my PC to feed WD and also have the console elsewhere in the house for checking on the weather away from my PC?

  4. Have I missed any important questions?

It goes without saying that the equipment must interface with WD! I’d want as a minimum the same features as the WM918 (rain gauge, internal/external temp/humidity, wind speed/direction), but that doesn’t mean I wouldn’t consider other sensors. The ability to add optional sensors might also be useful.

I’d prefer to buy from a UK based source for support, but if there are big savings to be made I could be persuaded to purchase from other countries, but this might be tricky as I’m pretty sure that the frequencies used, for example, in US and UK models differ.

Hi Chris,

You may like to look at this page for weather station information.
http://www.weatherwatchers.org/wxstation/

BTW, I like lithium cells in remote sensors as a backup battery. Lithium cells have a long shelf life and work well in the cold.

This page
http://www3.sympatico.ca/komljanec/wmr918.htm
gives an option to upgrade a WM918 station solar panel.

As far as the Vantage Pro goes, I’ve had one for 18 months now and am overall very happy with a couple caveats.

I’ve had to replace key components several times. I’m on my fourth console, second anemometer, and third ISS Sensor Interface Module. On the plus side, Davis sends replacements out right away without question, and the warranty period question never comes up. Transmission range seems quite variable - in the US, cordless phones are a major source of interference; this may be less an issue with the UK given the frequency used there by Davis. I haven’t seen many complaints on transmission range from UK users, but every installation is different. 20 meters or so shouldn’t be a problem, but only way to know for sure is to try, unfortunately.

The VP uses a lithium battery that seems to have very good life expectancy. The solar panel charges a capacitor that normally runs the remote sensor suite, and it only draws from the lithium cell if the capacitor runs out of juice, which should rarely happen. Users in far northern areas and places with lots of dark periods (like Alaska) seem to have no problems. Davis claims a life of 2 years+ on the battery and from my experience, that seems sound.

You can run your VP with the remote sensors and just an Envoy, just a console, or an Envoy and 10 consoles if you wish. Weather Display (or any other software) won’t know the difference - Weather Display gets its info from the datalogger, and the Envoy uses the exact same datalogger as the console.

I’ve got my gripes about the VP, but I’d buy one again. The features and accuracy for the price, in my humble opinion, can’t be beat, especially if you want the convenience and flexibility of a wireless station.

Wow, in my opinion, Gary/VA’s post is shocking. 7 failed components in 18 months? Most of the other notes about Davis are extremely positive. I can’t imagine why he’d buy one again, unless other brands are even worse.

One of the reasons I’m interested in the VP2 (I don’t yet own any station) is because of its published range of 1000 feet. This should cover me no matter how many walls the signal has to go through. But Gary/VA suggests that he’s seen some problems, so it would be interesting to know if his unit is far from the receiver.

GaryGo

A lot can change in 4 years :wink:

Dohh, sorry, I wasn’t paying attention to the dates. The positive comments about Davis are much more recent, thanks for pointing that out.

Gary

yes, they have improved things alot with the instrument housing from the VP to the VP 2 :wink:
also Davis have top notch customer support :wink:

Davis also created a retrofit kit for the original VP’s to convert them to a sealed housing design, and provided that kit to users who had failures with the original stations.

I was surprised to see that Chris was moving :lol: Maybe we could lock very old threads?

The Envoy is a Console without a display.
Unfortunately they don’t sell the system with an Envoy instead of a Console.
You could buy a replacement ISS and an Envoy separately,
but I think that will probably cost more than the equivalent standard system.
The Envoy is handy to connect to the computer if you want to place the Console elsewhere in the house.

The only thing other than the price that I don’t like about the Davis is that there is a gap in the wind direction indication. anything within (i think) ± 5 degrees of north will show north. Probably nitpicking.

Steve

I thought about that, too, but I imagine that it’s not really possible to have one weather station and live totally without the console, even if your focus in on WD or web uploads. By the time a Davis customer fills the shopping cart with accessories like Envoy, even at a discount place like Provantage, it’s a thousand bucks. But the consistent comments on this forum are that Davis is the best.

As a former Envoy owner I suggest it’s far better to have a (second) console instead. It’s very difficult to troubleshoot the envoy/PC connection with no local display or possibility to set it up except from the computer.

I was reading through the Davis application notes, because the best locations for anemometer, rainfall, and temp are in 3 different places. I discovered that the anemometer transmitter as well as the temperature-humidity station has a complete SIM module in it. That means you can attach temperature-humidity, rainfall, solar and anemometer to them. You don’t HAVE to buy an ISS to get the entire functionality. Hmm, and the Rainwise bucket has the same tip size and is considerably more accurate.

I am not sure if this helps me or not, but it gives me considerably more flexibility in figuring out what to do, and it is not intuitively obvious from the description “Anemomenter Transmiter”.

Steve

the temperature on the rainwise station only updates every minute or two only…makes for jumpy temperature plot

Although the anemometer transmitter and temp/hum station may use the same circuit board as the ISS, it’s my understanding that they are configured/programmed differently and will only accept the associated sensors. They will not function in place of an ISS. If you can point to documentation that states differently then please provide the link.

What’s your source for stating that the rainwise gauge is “is considerably more accurate”?

What's your source for stating that the rainwise gauge is "is considerably more accurate"?
i would like to know that too

I think you were getting these two diagrames mixed up. I am also on the understanding that the Anemometer transmiter will only work with the wind sensors.


Picture 4.jpg

Picture 5.jpg

Anemometer transmitter:

On the Davis site, under support → Weather Support → Application Notes,
(http://www.davisnet.com/support/weather/support_docs.asp?dtype=3)

in the application note titled:
Alternate System Configurations
it says:

For specialty applications, the standard package may differ from your needs. The following sections will cover these applications. In most cases, the Anemometer Transmitter Kit (since it has all the sensor jacks and a solar panel) can be used as a substitute for the ISS. For most situations, it will be more economical to use an ISS as your primary station. Use the following optional guidelines only if you have specific requirements that make using an ISS inappropriate.

It goes on to show examples of adding additional sensors to both the Anemometer Transmitter and the Temperature-Humidity station. From the descriptions provided with these examples, it would seem that they all have the same board in them, and you indicate which ID is the ISS in the console.

It would seem that you indicate the functionality of the station corresponding to the ID in the console:

  • ISS: all sensors read. temp to .1 degree
  • wind: reads only anemometer sensor. replaces ISS anemometer
  • temp: reads only temp/humidity sensor. Temp to .1 degree only from ISS

Only one station can be specified ans an ISS.
Only one station can be specified as wind.
Eight stations can be specified as temperature, but only the ISS will read to .1 degree.

So in a way you are right, you can’t put anemometer and solar on one station and rain and temp to .1 on another.
Also the only way to get the tremp-humidity sensor is in an ISS or the Temp-humidity station.
But you can assemble full functionality, although at more expense, without buying an all-in-one ISS, if that configuration is not suitable for your location.

Steve

Rainwise:

In one of the on-line comparison charts, it stated the Davis rain sensor accuracy was 4%, and the Rainwise was 1%.
(their precision is both .01 in )
I cannot find that chart now, I’ll see if I have it bookmarked at home.

However, on the Davis site at:
http://www.davisnet.com/news/d_vs_c.asp
in:
Davis vs. the Competition: Specifications (33k PDF)

It quotes Davis at 4% and Rainwise at 2% for rainfall accuracy.

Steve

My siting options for good solar cell illumination and proper temperature readings are about 20 feet appart.
To get temperature to .1 degree, you have to use the temperature sensor in the ISS.
If I put the ISS on the roof where it will get good sun, it is right above a flat roof that becomes a skillet in the summer. If I put it in the back yard, it will be in the shade most of the time.

Does anybody know if I extended the temperature sensor wiring by about 20 feet, whether it will affect the readings?

Steve

Good research!

The solar has quite a long cable (and you can easily extend it) so it can be mounted separately, the best location is often somewhere other than at the ISS.