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Help Me Pick A Weather Station

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  • I have been very happy with a Davis Vantage Pro 2 Plus for some years now.

    Mounted at the 10 meter height standard for weather stations, and with a bird spike strip mounted around the edge of the rain bucket, I have found no debris collecting in the rain bucket.


    • Great idea Automated! have me remembering a pigeon problem one day in a multi-story bank parking lot in the 1990's. The pigeons just wouldn't leave.

      It got so bad that many employees would get soiled on just walking from their parked cars to the elevators.

      Then one day I saw bird spikes everywhere literally probably some thousands of them in the 4 story parking lot.

      It did work to keep the pigeons away....
      Last edited by Pete; July 19th, 2013, 09:44 PM.
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      • I only just now noticed that Oregon Scientific recently announced the Wmr-300, and they're claiming it has triple the wireless range of their previous flagship, the wmr-200. It will operate at close to 915Mhz, so in that respect it's very different from all its prior weather stations. Although I'm not sure it really means as much as it might sound like, they're claiming its sensors can be NIST traceable.
        Last edited by NeverDie; July 20th, 2013, 11:04 AM.


        • Originally posted by Automated View Post
          I have been very happy with a Davis Vantage Pro 2 Plus for some years now.

          Mounted at the 10 meter height standard for weather stations, and with a bird spike strip mounted around the edge of the rain bucket, I have found no debris collecting in the rain bucket.
          This is very good information.

          On the topic of mounting height, when I was reading a performance review of the WMR-300 on a weather enthusiasts website (, aweatherguy in reply #54 claimed:

          "1. You want the anemometer either 10' or 30' AGL.

          2. The temperature s/b measured about 5 feet AGL.

          3. The rain bucket should be much closer to the ground -- like 12 to 24 inches AGL.

          At least that's what the official standards are saying."

          It makes sense there would be official standards. I'm wondering now which official standards are the most accepted and commonly used? If the standards say that instruments should be at very different heights, as implied above, then many of the packaged weather stations, where the instruments are more or less designed to be mounted together, would not comply. In that case, it would be interesting to know what (and how much) the likely bias imputed into the measurements would be. For some people, the option to be standards compliant might also affect which weather station they pick.


          • Well I think I'll be joining this crowd soon as I've picked up a Vantage Pro 2 w/ UV sensor

            So is the common route to hook it up to Cumulus... then how do you bring the data from Cumulus to HS?
            Last edited by LeoS; July 20th, 2013, 01:17 PM.
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            • Adam wrote a Cumulus plugin for Homeseer. It picks up the data either directly from the dynamic text generated by Cumulus (realtime.txt?) or same data uploaded to the internet. Additionally he wrote a second version of the same plugin for two Cumulus weather stations geographically in two locations.

              The Davis Vantage Pro line is the stock weather station actually better than the Vantage Vue line. It is worth the price difference.

              Personally here I am running the Cumulus software on separate computers. I am uploading data to the internet with the two computers and downloading it with Adam's Homeseer Cumulus Plugin(s). Its been running great now for over 2 years or so.

              Many folks also run the Cumulus software concurrent with Homeseer on the same box with no issues.

              The Davis wireless Weather Station range to Console is great! I first purchased a serial connection (3rd party for $30 USD) for my connectivity to the Cumulus server. While testing and not having assembled or mounted my Davis Weather Station I utilized data from a local Davis weather station nearby. I looked in small subdivision and never did find the "other" Davis weather station so it must have been outside of the subdivision some where. Reception and signal strength was excellent.

              BTW the Davis Weather console is on the second floor of my home and connected to a Quatech serial server which connects to a W2003 server in the basement "comm" closet/rack.

              Best deals on Davis Weather stations and you will get personal email responses from the owner is this place:


              I highly recommend this Davis Weather Station vendor.

              Pushing on the Cumulus software with multiple FTP uploading to internet web site, CWOP, NOAA stuff and WUN these days all occurring every few minutes. Personally like the CWOP(& APRS) more than WUN. It does utilizes a combination of internet uploaded data and amateur radio uploaded data.

              CWOP members send their weather data by internet alone or internet-wireless combination to the findU server and then every five minutes, the data are sent from the findU server to the NOAA MADIS server. The data undergo quality checking and then are distributed to users. There are over 800 different organizations using CWOP mesonet data. Here is a partial list:

              NWS Weather Forecast Offices
              National Center for Environmental Prediction
              National Ocean Service
              National Transportation Safety Board
              National Center for Atmospheric Research
              Department of Homeland Security
              Denver Urban Drainage and Flood Control District
              Colorado Avalanche Information Center
              Kennedy Space Center
              NASA Marshall Space Flight Center
              University Corporation for Atmospheric Research
              Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University
              MIT Lincoln Laboratories
              University of Utah
              Penn State University
              Mississippi State University
              University of Alaska
              University of North Dakota
              Hampton University
              Texas A&M University
              University of Hawaii
              Florida State University
              Weather Underground
              The second weather station is using a Fine Offset. It is currently down as I burned up the AP radio chip a couple of weeks ago and need to replace the AP. Mistake here was not hard wiring the Cumulus server to the network. I put it on a last gen IBM Thinkpad, stuck it on a shelf in some closet (literally) and connected it wirelessly to the network.

              Homeseer data variables picture attached which is about 1/3 view of all of the all of the data from one weather station.

              The author of wintel Cumulus doesn't charge for the software. That said I did monetarily support his endeavor and do participate on his forum.

              Amazing gentlemen; even when sick or hospitalized (and had issues with vision) continued to support his excellent application.


              There is a similiar (kind of) Linux based software which works fine with the Davis Vantage Vue (tested it a while ago on a seagate dockstar for fun). It also works with the Fine Offset weather stations connected via USB. Writing about this now has me maybe considering using the Linux software whatever for the Fine Offset weather station in Florida.


              JPG's attached are:

              1 - Adam's HS2 Cumulus plugin variables (which also integrate today into WeatherXML stuff)
              2 - Cumulus software console (running on a wintel box today)
              3 - WView that runs on Linux (tested it on a seagate dockstar and ran just fine).
              Attached Files
              Last edited by Pete; July 21st, 2013, 10:45 PM.
              - Pete

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              X10, UPB, Zigbee, ZWave and Wifi MQTT automation.


              • Is anyone finding their UV sensor to be useful? I had thought maybe people were using it as a proxy for solar radiation, but after digging deeper into it I've been reading from people who have both a UV and a solar radiation sensor that one isn't a good proxy for the other (hence, I guess, the reason Davis offers both sensors, not just one). My interest is in finding a good solar radiation sensor/datastream to feed into an ET calculation for watering.

                I haven't read any complaints about Davis's solar radiation sensor. I have read some whining about the Fine Offset luminosity sensor (not sure what to make of the whining). Other than that, I haven't found any solar radiation sensors that are less costly to configure than the Davis one.

                If one doesn't have a Davis weather station, what are the options for getting good solar radiation data? The possible options I've uncovered are:
                1. A homemade device that consists of a temperature probe in a jar. Is this accurate enough?
                2. Find a nearby weather station on weatherunderground that has a solar radiation sensor, and somehow pull that sensor data into your irrigation software. I guess weatherxml can do this, and I'm getting some confirmation that mcsSprinklers can do it.
                3. There's an arduino device a company sells that can directly read Davis sensors, including the solar radiation sensor, and give the data to you via RS-245 or Modbus.
                4. Various homemade devices that sound like science projects: a regular lux meter gets overpowered if put in direct sunlight, but some people are using pinhole lenses to project a reduced amount onto the lux sensor. I once saw a total solar eclipse by looking through "special" mylar sunglasses, so maybe that's another way to dim the range. Anyhow, no matter how the dimming is done, I'm unsure whether a lux meter is a good enough proxy for solar radiation. Anyone know?

                For those who do their watering based on weather data like ET, what are you finding works best? Since a lot of personal weather stations can't provide ET or solar radiation info directly from their regular sensors, I hope this is a fair "supplemental" question to ask about what weather station to get.


                • Is anyone finding their UV sensor to be useful?
                  I utilize(d) the value only for calculation of ET. I do not pay attention relating to covering up or protection while outside. I am in the midwest. That said I have been to places closer to the equator and have been burned by the sun outside when its been cloudy and not even known of it until afterwards. Your climate in Texas is different though than mine in the midwest (or Florida).

                  I have played a bit with these values; pulling the values from NOAA or WUN or EPA.

                  Michael from MCS has played with these values since the early 2000's; such that he did put much time and effort relating to the calculation of the ET values for his sprinkler application. That said ET values are used nationally by farmers etc and really do provide best analytics for this kind of stuff. That said too you can probably do a DIY to calculate your own ET values using the variables generated by your weather station and or internet weather station values.

                  EPA - UV "forecast" for today is 5. This is a predicted value.
                  NOAA - UV "forecast" for today is 5. This is a predicted value.
                  WUN - UV "forecast" for today is 5. This is a predicted value thinking it comes from the EPA.

                  Today my solar values are computed from UV. The UV value is coming from a local weather station via WU (Davis) - not mine. Personally best mechanism is from your weather station / and / or some apparatus to get the values. A while ago I tried using just a light sensor and created a calculation which was almost the same values that I saw dynamically via the internet. Some folks have created a ping pong ball 1-wire light sensor, other have purchased a device (expensive).

                  - One of the better values I got was from using a 1-wire temperature sensor in a sealed glass jar. Why? Because it is at your home and you do get changes when its sunny or cloudy locally. My personal light values worked OK but not great as my light sensor was mounted on the side of the home rather than the top for full sun exposure (the original 1-wire light sensor was mounted on the roof and went bad after a few months a few years ago). The second one I installed also went out within a year; such that I gave up installing it on the roof as it's not an easy up and down these days. I mean its easy to get up but I have to slide down the roof to get down (2nd story).

                  - nearby WUN weather station - not dependable all of the time.

                  - arduino device - DIY - here I purchased a serial cable for my Davis intrument and pull the data from the weather console - you can do this now with windows or linux applications. On an embedded anything these days. It is using the value (which is OK) created by a davis instrument plugged into the console.

                  Personally my only interest in the value is for calculation of ET. Easiest is the temperature sensor in the jar. Best locally would be a purchased instrument (which is today very expensive- but beta testing one particular one just a couple of years ago was some $75 USD. It worked so well that the guys went commercial with it and now its like $300 and used by both national and international weather stations. Next best is just one attached to the Davis weather station.

                  This past summer and because our water rates went up some 400% percent; I used the values but controlled my sprinklers such that I did not water based on ET values nor scheduling; but best guess relating to weather, rain etc. Guessing here that if I had used the ET values then my last month's water bill would have been some $500-$700 (way different from say just a couple of years ago where it would have been just around $100 or even less).

                  I like to see the green grass in the back yard. Artificial tinted plastic grass looks to be the direction that I may go in the future or may just use a genetically altered grass that doesn't need much watering or any watering....funny though that our town has multiple wells; self sustaining; but maybe they are drying up or maybe just telling creating a cap (no demographic changes in a stagnating environment) on the influx (there has been none) of the population to our town? IE: there are more people leaving than coming....

                  BTW I am at negative values for my %'s having only watered once in the last 30 days. My grass is not brown and still green (with one - two days of rain in the last two weeks).
                  Last edited by Pete; September 26th, 2013, 07:39 AM.
                  - Pete

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                  • Great info. It sounds like you've already explored nearly every option. It's giving me pause that even after all that, ET and scheduling still wasn't good enough.

                    As you probably already know, weather station ET numbers are based on assumptions that presuppose vast, uniform open fields where the weather station was properly sited in the target environment. However, when I look at ET siting recommendations (see excerpt below), it's unlikely they will be met by anyone who doesn't live on a ranch. This has nagged me from the beginning, and I've been hoping that there might be a mathematical constant I could apply to the ET number to get me a "good enough" number for the purpose of home watering. That's been a leap of faith on my part, but after reading your report I'm beginning to wonder where I'll actually land after leaping.

                    I'm now wondering whether, for residential landscapes, a device like an ETgage, which physically simulates evapotranspiration in the target environment (it's located just one meter off the ground), might do a better job of expressing the true watering requirements?

                    Who would have guessed that watering the grass would get so complicated?


                    Siting Weather Stations
                    Proper siting is essential if the weather station is to provide the data necessary to estimate ETO in a consistent and reliable manner. One should always remember the weather variables used in the ETO computation when seeking a weather station site. Solar radiation, for example, is an extremely important variable in the Penman and Penman Monteith procedures. A weather station must therefore be placed in a location where no shading can occur. It is important to remember that shade patterns vary with the season due to changes in earth-sun geometry. It is therefore best to place the station well away from large obstacles if possible.

                    The final two parameters in the ET
                    O O values than stations centrally located within a large expanse of well-watered turfgrass. It is important to note that most Penman/Penman Monteith procedures were developed using weather data collected over a large expanse of well-watered vegetation. Failure to place the weather station over a similar surface will result in overestimation of ETO. Research conducted by the authors indicates the surface characteristics adjacent to a weather station can affect ETO values by as much as 20%.
                    The previous paragraphs clearly show that station siting is not to be taken lightly. The ideal situation would be to centrally locate the station in a large, well-watered turf area that is a considerable distance from objects that might disrupt wind flow or shade the station. The terrain surrounding the weather station should be relatively level if possible. If such a site is not available and a compromise site must be selected, we would recommend sites that 1) avoid shade and 2) have a limited number of large obstacles and some form of irrigated surface in the predominate upwind direction during the daylight hours.


                    • It actually was good for me and I used ET along with everything else. I do also have a water meter on the sprinkler main out lines and right now a manual shut off such that I can go to the number of gallons water add to the timed watering.

                      That all did change though with the cost of water in general such that I still utilize the numbers but try to best guess the times I water using the data I get and a little bit of me deciding the time to water such that my grass doesn't go brown / dormant or dead after an extended period of time when there is no rain and it is hot. I could thought set the % numbers to some other value but have always kept them at 35% for watering.

                      Yup today you can put all of the little calculations in some little device and just utilize that device. It's yet a far from perfect science; but its way better than it was many years go.

                      Here its more hobby than functional or a necessity (less so now though); automation in general; most folks in the little subdivision I live in just had a sprinkler service install their stuff on the regular timers around 10 years ago. They will most likely never change that and their systems will remain the same probably for the next 10 years. There is around 100 homes and I would venture to say that I am the only one doing this in my subdivision.

                      Basically with bringing the timer automation from a sprinkler controller over to Homeseer is really a neat thing to do. It does allow for more granularity to your automating of the sprinkler system; adding more data variables even makes it better or more efficient which is a good thing.

                      Still do recall the WAF (similiar to "why automate a light switch question?"); what is wrong with the "XX thousand dollar installation of the sprinkler system and timerbox in the garage that you had to rip it all out anyways?"
                      Last edited by Pete; September 26th, 2013, 12:23 PM.
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                      • Fine Offset / Davis Vantage Vue Update 2011-2013

                        Fine Offset weather station

                        July, 2013

                        Fine Offset weather station quit providing data to the Cumulus weather station software (which HS was using).

                        The topology of the wireless connectivity from the weather station to the server to the internet is as follows:

                        Weather station = = > wirelessly connected to console = => Console was USB connected to an older IBM laptop = = > laptop running Cumulus software wirelessly connected to a DD-WRT Access point ==> Verizon combo FIOS router/AP/switch/Firewall = = > Internet = = > Cumulus Plugin

                        Found that the radio on the DD-WRT router quit working. Replaced AP with same. After replacement data from weather station radio to console was fine; for a couple of days; then quit. About a week later it worked. As of October, 2013 it is working fine.

                        I am impressed with the weather station as it is relatively close to water and has been exposed to some bad weather and running fine after a couple of years. Noticed though that RF to console has been spotty in the last two months. IE: works for a couple of weeks then off. I need to change battery. (two years same battery). As the weather station is mounted on the OTA antenna mast and high up; its difficult as I need to climb a ladder (to the top) and free hand the battery changeover which is a PITA. What is good though is that the batteries are in the temperature sensor part of the weather station which is mounted lower than the rest of the weather station. There is no solar panel charging the batteries.

                        Davis Vantage Vue Weather Station

                        11th October, 2013

                        In the spring two wind speed cups "broke off". Thinking it was a bird maybe? (there are hawks in the area). Pretty much doubt that it was a bird or even wind that broke the cups off. Thinking about this if Davis made a device for the weather; the wind cups should be able to withstand most weather.

                        Lost the rain measuring on the Davis Vantage Vue a few weeks back. This weekend took down the weather station to check it out.

                        Found no obstructions in the rain tipping cup apparatus. Took the weather station apart and found also that it was not signaling the console.

                        The topology of the wireless connectivity from the weather station to the server to the internet is as follows:

                        Weather station = = > wireless to Console = = > serially connected to Quatech Serial server = = > Cumulus software on Wintel box = = > intenet = = > Homeseer Cumulus plugin

                        Battery is fine (solar charger on the battery).

                        Thoughts - might move the Davis Vantage Vue to Florida and purchase a Davis Vantage Pro II for the midwest. That said may also mount a POE IP HD camera on side of weather mast for weather view soon. (it'll be either an Ubiquiti Aircam or Grandstream HD IP camera). The camera will be mounted under the eave facing the water but protected a bit from the weather.
                        Last edited by Pete; October 29th, 2013, 09:53 AM.
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                        • Good info. That Fine Offset is hanging in there. Not bad at all for the price point. I'm still interested in this project so hopefully I can proceed once we've settled in here.
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                          • Yup; relating to the Fine Offset I would recommend that you get one with the little solar panel on it.

                            Relating to its accuracy; its a guess right now that its OK as I have only local weather stations to compare it to and there are really none in the vicinity where its sitting today.

                            Relating to the Davis Vantage Vue; thinking something ate / bit the two wind cups I lost.

                            The Davis CS person told me that they have redesigned the Vantage Vue and he is sending a newly updated one.

                            It did look like either the reed switch quite working (which I doubt) or the motherboard rain tipping functions quit?

                            My preference though was a whole update to the weather station rather than a DIY piecemeal fix.
                            Last edited by Pete; October 13th, 2013, 12:38 PM.
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                            • Just a quickie note follow up to my Davis Vantage Vue console and ISS.

                              Previously I had mentioned that I was sending it back for a replacement ISS.

                              This morning I updated the firmware on my console and tested out the Davis Vantage Vue ISS.

                              It worked fine.

                              I did prior to testing find out that there might have been a glitch in the console firmware where it would randomly connect / lock on to another Davis weather station.

                              I am thinking that is what happened as a test connection this morning shows me that the other Davis weather station that I am using has no rain tipping bucket.

                              Meanwhile playing with a backup tipping bucket thing for the Cumulus software.

                              The RG-11 "tipping bucket" and "its raining" modes are documented on the Cumulus software site for secondary connectivity to the software. That and I am thinking of utilizing the old Dallas tipping bucket as a secondary. I do have the three other devices outside and they were connected to different devices.

                              1 - RG-11 #1 tipping bucket mode was connected to Cumulus via a second serial port connection.
                              2 - RG-11 #2 tipping bucket mode was connected to a 1-wire dual counter connected to one one wire network.
                              3 - Dallas 1-wire Tipping bucket was connected to another 1-wire network

                              In an effort now at consolidation; moving one RG-11 or two to the Cumulus software. I can connect the two RG-11's to one serial port for data. I was not ever really happy looking at the rain totals though on the RG-11 such that I may instead configure the Rain Tipping bucket to a secondary connection to the cumulus software (its all on the network anyways).
                              - Pete

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                              • Originally posted by sooty View Post
                                That's how I do it here in the UK. I have the Oregon WMR928NX 433MHz weather station, RFXCom receiver and the RFXCom Homeseer plug-in.

                                Getting set up with the RFXCom receiver and an appropriate Homeseer plug-in can be quite expensive but once you have it, you can keep adding more sensors.

                                The sensors can be purchased individually here, but I wanted the rain, wind and barometer as well, so I got the whole package with console for just a little more than the cost of the individual sensors.

                                Prior to getting the full weather station, I had an Oregon THGR122NX sensor mounted outside under a weatherproof hood.

                                Attached are pics of the solar powered outdoor temp / humidity sensor and a screenshot showing it in my homeseer status screen.

                                Do you know about latest versions of the solar powered outdoor temp/humidity sensor.. I am looking to get one for my home so please share some information