HOW TO CHOOSE AND INSTALL A HOME WEATHER STATION
Most of the effort in installing a weather station is figuring out how to support it. The installation details are intended as guidelines you can adapt to suit your own needs.
I selected the Davis Vantage view station; most models in the same price range have roughly the same features. But the wireless stations are much easier to install. Vantage view had very good reviews and had a wireless range up to 1,000 feet that were three times that of some of the cheaper models. The range is important because my weather station is at the rear edge of my property to minimize my house’s effect on the wind speed measurements and the display unit is in the front bedroom of my house. The display is between the two monitors.
HERE ARE SOME WEATHER STATION CAVEATS
Before buying a weather station, consider how serious you really are about very accurate weather monitoring and how much you’re willing to pay for a home weather station. The vantage view is a moderately priced unit. It uses the single temperature sensor which is in the unit mounted five to seven feet above the ground. It’s to the left of the pole and below the unit, and it’s surrounded by a passive radiation shield to prevent sunlight heating. This may result in temperature readings that are slightly too high when direct sunlight strikes the Vantage view.
More expensive units have a fan aspirated radiation shield to prevent radiation heating. Also, the temperature is at ground level. When there is no wind at night, can easily be 4 degrees less than the readings from the vantage view, which is mounted 5 to 7 feet above the ground. Any weather instrument that doesn’t have a ground-level temperature sensor has this problem. You may get frost and frozen plants even though the vantage view reports a low temperature of 36 degrees or so.
My guideline is; if I’m going to bed and the Vantage view set outside temperature is 38 degrees or lower, I go cover the plants.
WHERE TO BUY WIRELESS WEATHER STATION
In most areas, you’ll have to order your weather station on the Internet. Local electronics don’t carry the middle or high-end station models. Compare prices, but be sure to check the reviews for the store you’re about to order from.
ASSEMBLING THE STATION
The vantage view assembly is very simple and the instructions are very good. Basically, you have to attach the anemometer cups, the weather vane, and the rain measuring device which is just to the right of the pole on the bottom of the weather station. Then you have to mount the weather station on some sort of a pole, and you have to install the backup batteries on the unit outside and the backup batteries in the display unit.
MY INSTALLATION DETAILS
Hopefully, many of the steps will save you some time and the other steps can be adapted to suit your particular situation. The weather station needs to be mounted between 5 and 7 feet up from the ground on a pole and needs to be reasonably far from any buildings that would give heat and any large asphalt surfaces that would give off heat.
You have to purchase your own pipe, and I purchased a galvanized one-inch conduit that was about eight feet long and then drove two feet of it into the ground for support. My best location was right on the edge of my property line and that did cause some problems. Because of the length of that skinny pipe, it needs to be supported against the wind pushing it sideways. So what I did was attach two guy wires to a conduit strap, on the pipe near the top, and stake the other end of the wires in the ground with tent stakes available at the hardware store. My problem is was on sandy soil so the stakes really don’t hold very well, and I may eventually replace them with half-inch galvanized pipes that are driven into the ground. Much further than those stakes will go.
As I mentioned earlier, I had to put the weather station at the edge of my property so I can’t put a stakeout on that side. I had to use rigid support that goes toward the house from the weather station. For the rigid support I purchased, it’s basically a green pole used for supporting plants and I bent an L bracket to a 45-degree angle.
The L bracket is bolted to the pole, and one of the bolts serves a dual purpose. It prevents the conduit strap that is attached to the guy wires from sliding up and down the pole. Because that type of conduit strap will not tighten up enough to keep it from sliding. The pole attached to the weather station is hollow, which I discovered when I cut it to the proper length. To be able to attach it, what I had to do was cut a deal of the proper diameter to about two inches long. file it a little bit until it would hammer into the hollow plant support, put a threaded rod through it with a with the nut on each end, coated it with epoxy, then shoved the dowel into the pipe and let it harden.
A threaded rod projecting from the end of the dowel is how it attaches to the weather station pole. To support the other end of the plant’s rod, I found a one and a half foot galvanized pipe and coupler by trial and error. That’s the plant rod would show through the coupler but stops when it hit the pipe.
I drove the pipe into the ground.
Shoved the coupler in.
Drill the hole through the coupler and the plant rod and
Put a boat through it to prevent the plant rod from pulling out of the coupler.
To prevent the pipe from loosening up and pulling out of the ground, I took a tent stake with a hook on the side bent the hook. So it would go over the plant rod but would not go over the coupler. It’s driven down where the plant rod goes into the coupler, and it prevents the coupler and Pike from being pulled out of the ground should the wind push the weather station in that direction.
I may eventually replace the tent stakes on the property line with small galvanized pipes that I drive into the ground, and get them much longer than the tent stakes. The sandy soil really doesn’t hold the tent stakes very well.
I may also install turnbuckles in the tube guide wires so that I can adjust them to the proper tension. They’re fairly well tensioned as I install them. What I used was a number twelve-gauge solid utility wire, but I think it would be better if I had a turn installed on each of the guide wires.
Also, if you can avoid installing the weather station on your property edge you’ll be much better off. You can use four guide wires, and remember I used a conduit strap for two of the guy wires. You could use two conduit straps at right angles to each other. For four guide wires, it would make the insulation a lot simpler.
That concludes the insulation notes, but I have to mention an unexpected chuckle I got from the weather station the day after I installed it. It rained very hard where I live. I immediately headed to the weather station to see what it said. As I expected it said the current rain rate was about three inches an hour. It didn’t rain very long, but it also displayed the message it’s raining cats and dogs. The message appears when it’s raining harder than 0.3 inches per hour. I chuckled over that one for an hour or so. Right now, I’m wondering what kind of message it would show me if it got really hot or cold.