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Discussion Starter #1
By way of background, I've had a home weather station since the 80s, and have been putting my data on the Internet since 1998. (SLOweather.com) I'm an admin at WxForum.net, a weather forum similar to this one. Over the years, I've installed well over a dozen Davis weather stations, in such remote locations as mountain tops, light houses, orchards, and a 350 acre ranch with 5 stations.

My home station includes a Davis Vantage Pro 2 Plus (with solar and UV sensors), 2 consoles, 2 temperature stations (spa water, and cabin/wine cellar interior), 2 temperature/humidity stations (down in the woods and at the foot of the vineyard slope), a soil moisture/temperature station in the vineyard, and a leaf wetness/temperature station that measures leaf wetness and the internal temperature of the compost pile.

In the interest of full disclosure, I'm not a weather station reseller, although I can recommend the best places to buy them. I am the developer of WeatherElement.com, a way to put personal weather station data on the web without running a computer 24/7. Currently we're testing a new solar/cellular weather station that can be placed almost anywhere.

So if you have any interest in installing your own home, cabin, farm, orchard, or vineyard weather station, ask away...

I'm sure Mark/Ohio will chime in too. He's also a member of WxForum.net, and invited me to join MyTractorForum when this weather board started up.

Mark, maybe this could be made sticky if it takes off.

Chris
 

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I am so happy that I can read your weather post, wait 5 days and know what to expect in Virginia.

That system is 3X more accurate than the local TV stations!! :dunno:

I barely keep the batteries fresh in the digital thermometer, I would be unable to manage more equipment.

The old Indian Rock method is as accurate as any for our location. We never know if Virginia will get the weather from the south, or the west.

It can change in an hour.


:drunkie:
 

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I have a LaCrosse Technology model Ws-1510-IT. Had it about 5 years.
Wind, Temp, Rainfall, WC. Wind speed is close to being correct, but my rain gauge stopped working 2 years ago. Have changed and reinstalled batteries numerous times and it just won't send a signal to the Unit. All other signals work fine. Got any ideas as to why it won't work? Maybe corroded battery terminals in the gage? :dunno:
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Not real familiar with La Crosse. However, most rain gauges are similar.

Does it look like this?



Then inside, it probably looks like this:



There should be a small bar magnet on the bottom of the tipping bucket, the teeter totter like thingy.

The gizmo on the little circuit board is a reed switch. It should click once every time the bucket tips.

Check all that out. The switch may be damaged, the magnet might be missing, a wire might be broken.

Your indicator should increment once for each tip. You could use a piece of wire to short across the switch to see if the switch is bad.
 

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Thanks, that is what my gauge looks like. Have to check those parts out.
Kevin, my weather station cost me about $100. It does about all I need it to.
Got it at Wally World.
weather.jpg
 

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Discussion Starter #7
So what would it cost to build a modest home weather station?
What parts would we need?
Where would you buy them?
What would you recommend ?
As noted above, you can get a basic station for ~$100.

However, I see a lot of people on WxForum who, for one reason or another (reliability/lack of support, expandability, etc.) get discouraged and look to buy a better station. I would recommend that you first sit down and figure out a few things:

What do you want to accomplish with your station?
Basic weather data on a console in your house
indoor/outdoor temperature and humidity
wind speed and direction
rain
barometric pressure

More advanced data (solar, UV, Evapotranspiration, etc)

Download to a computer for history or future analysis

Upload to a website, or WeatherUnderground etc.

Add more sensors like
temperature (for a pool, outbuilding),
temperature/humidity (for another area on your property)
soil moisture (irrigation decisions)
leaf wetness (spraying decisions)

How much distance do you need between the outdoor station(s) and the console? Reliable ranges vary from less than 100' to 1,000' and can go 10s of thousands with the right brand station and their repeaters.

And also, figure out a budget, ow much you want to spend. A basic station can cost as little as $100 or so, or as much $800-$1000. Higher price in general equates to better quality and support.

Then cruise sites like rainmanweather.com to see what they have and what the costs are.

One tip... Never pay website price for a station without either registering on the site or calling. Some manufacturers like Davis Instruments have a minimum advertised price policy. However, while the dealers can advertise lower, they can sell lower.

As to what I recommend, it's mainly Davis Instruments. You can get a Vantage Vue station for ~$260. If you want expandability, the wireless Vantage Pro 2. There are less expensive stations, and more expensive stations, but Davis hits the mark for me for excellent US based support, excellent parts availability, and great repair service. Being out in the elements, weather stations take a beating. Davis will refurb a complete station for a flat $100 +$12 return shipping. I've sent totally thrashed ones on and they have not only fixed everything, they made is like new, including updating firmware and replacing sensors that were still working but obsolete with new ones.

You asked a couple of kinda leading questions, too. If you are a total electronic hobbyist, there are lots of 1-wire parts and Arduino/Raspberry Pi station instructions and kits out there. I just don't have the time to dink with them anymore. :)
 

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Back in the day those were darn good weather stations. My first weather station was a HeathKit ID-1290 with electric analog gauges I bought and assembled in the middle 1980s which is probably about the vintage of that one.

That one is console only so it does not have any of the outdoor sensors (wind speed and direction, temperature). Heathkit has been out of business for some time now and parts are getting hard to find. However there are some guys out there with new old stock units setting around they have never assembled. One such fellow recently posted over in WXforum.net I talked with had a closet full of them some un-assembled, others assembled and working others not working.

Some day I would like to get my old one running again. All it really needs is the bearings and reed switches replaced in the wind gauges. I liked the instantaneous wind speed reading it gave compared to the 2 second or more time lag of most of the modern digital units. Downside though with it was lack of data recording capability. The only way you knew the peak wind gusts of a thunderstorm was to stand there and watch it through the storm. The readings in my signature come from a 2002 Davis Vantage Pro wireless. Only two repairs have been made to it in 11 years. The wind gauge had a stuck reed switch which was replaced under warranty within the first year and in 2007 I had to replace/upgrade the RF transmitter board in the outdoor sensor unit due to corrosion on the PCB around the transmitter surface mount IC.
 

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Any discount sites for people "in the biz"? Wife is a met..... but we don't have a home station.
 

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Discussion Starter #11

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I have a LaCrosse Technology model Ws-1510-IT. Had it about 5 years.
Wind, Temp, Rainfall, WC. Wind speed is close to being correct, but my rain gauge stopped working 2 years ago. Have changed and reinstalled batteries numerous times and it just won't send a signal to the Unit. All other signals work fine. Got any ideas as to why it won't work? Maybe corroded battery terminals in the gage? :dunno:
It could be the internal radio transmitter has failed. You might be able to get this unit to work with your console as it looks like they are compatible to any 915 Mhz systems.
http://www.lacrossetechnology.com/tx24/index.php#specs



I have the rainguage only version model 9005 (The Weather Channel)

It also uses the TX24U-IT guage. The circuit board slides out through the battery door that contains the reed switch and radio transmitter. Unless you find a cracked solder connection there is not much your going to be able to do to fix it.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
The market is already steeply discounted if you know where to look or how to ask. For instance, Davis Instruments (my preferred station brand) has a Minimized Advertised Price policy with their dealers, prices below MSRP set by Davis below which the dealer cannot advertise. However, the dealers are allowed to sell at whatever price they want.

This leads to most Davis dealers having some way for you to see their "secret" pricing. Some require you to register on their site, some may have you send an email to an autoresponder which will send you a link to their below-MAP pricing page. Just about all of them will give you the special pricing by phone if you ask for it.

The standard discount might be 10% off MSRP, while the below MAP price can be as much as 35%. That saves almost $210 off of a $595 MSRP station.


Not that I'm personally aware of. If she could purchase it through her employer from a wholesale distributor she might save a few dollars over paying retail.
 

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I bought an Oregon Scientific WMR 100..... I think it was/Is....
Worked pretty good but it was a pain to hook the lastest at that time of Windows 7. Now I have the Win 8.1 ....Hate it but stuck with it . I haven`t bothered trying to hook the WX station up to it.
Thinking about a different brand since Or Sci hasn`t bothered to upgrade their software....even on their new stuff. Only real problem with the OS was spiders would get in the Rainguage and tie the tipper down with their web. Pretty well fixed that with a couple strands of fishing line glued across the drain ports. And the Historical data on my `puter would dump all the data every so often...for no reason I could find.

Anyway looking for medium priced station that has Win 8 compatible....or at least 7...I may dump the 8 if I can do it cheap.
Any Help ???
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Hi Pat,

And that's why I use or recommend only Davis Instruments stations...

What's "medium priced"?

You can get an all-in-one Davis Vantage Vue from rainmanweather.com for about $257 non-advertised price. Call Rob and ask, or register on the site to see the non-advertisable pricing.

Or, you can get the expandable wireless Vantage Pro 2 for $386.

With either, to connect to your computer, yuo'll need the serial or USB Weather link interface and software, $118.

And what's cheap for a Win 7 computer. I work for an IT company and can get you a good deal on a name brand.

Chris
 

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I believe I gave about 200 for the Oregon ...in that range is what I`d like I use it mostly for personal ....rainfall humidity barometer..etc . I like to be able to see how much rain for garden stuff. It has worked pretty good but was a bit of a pain initially and the data dumping for no reason was aggravating. .

my old puter died and I needed one fairly fast so I bought a cheap 300$ hp laptop ( needed replacing anyway) at wallyworld to shop for new desktop. Wanted one with more than the standard Ram and found an HP with 10 gig ram for 560$. Wish it didn`t have the win8.1 stuff...Pain in the butt ! Laptop has the win 8 too and is surprisingly good little puter. I just use it mostly when travelling.
Thanks for the info Chris. The Davis Stuff may be a little high to justify for what I do. but not out of range really. Just wanting something that will work with win 8 easily. How does the other better brands stand up ?? lacrosse etc ?
 

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Discussion Starter #18
I don't have a lot of direct experience with LaCrosse et al. However, from being a member/admin of the WxForum.net forum, I can say that, as you have experienced, all of the inexpensive stations seem to have one or more issues: poor quality, flaky wireless reception, poor or no support, lack of spare parts, etc.

If you are interested, lurk or join WxForum.net and ask around.

RE: Win 8. what are your complaints? If it's just the new look and user interface, google windows 8 classic mode or similar and you will find how to make it more familiar,
 

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I got a La Crosse weather station for Christmas last year. The rain gauge quit after about 6 months. I fiddled with it and got it running again, only to have it fail a few weeks later. The anemometer and temperature/pressure sensors all work, but the interface of the provided Heavy Weather software leaves a lot to be desired. The wireless computer interface is iffy as well.

The good news: I got a grant to fund a Davis Vantage Pro for my high school. I am just waiting for the weather to improve so the head of maintenance can get on the roof and install a pole. I think he is more excited than I am!
 
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