When lightning struck a year ago this month, one of the things that gave up the ghost was my Davis Vantage Pro 2 weather station. I hesitated replacing it for such a long time because I just couldn’t justify the cost.
But on again/off again research has yielded what I believe will be an economical replacement – an Ambient Weather WS1090. No sacrifice in accuracy and almost 1/4 the price of the Davis model ($150 vs. almost $600).
The ’1090 arrived yesterday afternoon and took a bit under an hour to complete the indoor part of the assembly…mounting the anenometer to a mounting arm, wind vane to the other end, temp & humidity sensors into their housing, etc. A small Philips screwdriver is all that is needed.
The assembly process is where it becomes clear as to why there is a price difference between the Davis model & this one – hardware is adequate for my anticipated usage whereas the Davis is over-engineered for reliable performance in extreme environments.
After assembly, the manual recommends running the weather station for a day or two to ensure the reliability of its wireless communication with the indoor display unit so I took the housing containing the sensors outside near where they’ll be mounted and was happy to see consistent reports to the display.
A major difference between this unit and the Davis:
The Davis does not come with a “data logger” – the component that connects (and adapts levels) of the weather station with a computer’s USB requirements. It also does not come with software that enables the computer to upload weather data to a personal website or Wunderground.com. Those items aren’t cheap and add significantly to the cost of any Davis unit.
The WS1090 includes data logging capability and a USB cable to allow graphing & data storage. For uploading to the internet, free software compatible with the WS1090 is freely available for download from Sandaysoft.
Once I had verified that temp/humidity data from the oudoor sensors was consistently being received by the indoor console, my next step was to install the software that came with the unit to allow stand-alone computer logging of the data. This is what separates units like this from simpler weather monitors that only display current conditions – having data over time going into a computer allows trends to be displayed and old values/conditions of past dates recalled, either by date or parameter. Extremes (highest temp, lowest barometric pressure, highest wind, etc) can be displayed simply by clicking on what you want to see.
Software installation was a simple 2-minute deal on my Windows computer.
Once this was done, I downloaded Cumulus software, installed it and ran the program…all of 2 more minutes. Once the program was opened, I told it what kind of weather station I had and immediately all the fields populated with relevent data. The next step was to enable uploading of the data.
Since I already have an account at Wunderground.com, all I had to do was type in my account name and password into Cumulus. No ftp address, data rate, etc. Data immediately began to be uploaded – you can see it here.
The whole process went much more smoothly than with the Davis…and for much less coin.
All that’s left to do is permanantly mount the outdoor units.