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 the 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 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 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.
9 BEST WEATHER STATIONS
1 LACROSSE VERTICAL CALIBRATES
If you want an option that will learn the ins and outs of local weather as reliably as the old man at the coffee shop, lacrosse vertical calibrates is for you. Its barometer over time to generate your own personal forecast without long-winded stories about the good old days. It automatically updates for daylight savings time. However you have to press a button to see the display, and it takes up quite a bit of space.
2 POCKET-SIZED KESTRELS 4500
If you need to have accurate readings while sailing camping or hunting, the pocket-sized Kestrel 4500 can be your solution. It has a rugged case that can stand up to the most intense activities, and it will float if you drop it in water. It automatically logs your data and can track crosswinds, but it doesn’t pair well with iPhones.
3 THE ACCURATE 00589
This is an affordable choice that can stand upright for table-top use or be wall-mounted if space is limited. It uses a patented self-calibrating technology, to give you the most accurate and up-to-the-minute readings, and forecasts for your specific location. It features a display with an adjustable dimmer and customizable time frames. However, it’s not good at tracking wind speeds.
4 OPTION FROM OREGON SCIENTIFIC
Is a fine budget-friendly choice if you’re mainly concerned with basic weather information. It’s not going to stand up to harsh conditions and adjusting it can be a pain, but it’ll give you reliable accurate readings at a great price. It features an LCD monitor with large numbers. So it’s good for other users. However, the display isn’t easy to read at night off-ramp.
5 THE AMBIENT WEATHER WS2801
If you’re fanatical about accuracy, the ambient weather ws2 801 gives you three remotes to place in different areas, ensuring you get a representative sample of the conditions. It syncs with the US atomic clock as well. So you’ll always know the exact time. It doesn’t tear through batteries and is good bang for your buck, but it’s too small to be seen from a distance.
6 THE DAVIS INSTRUMENTS VANTAGE PRO 2 FEATURES
A versatile sensor configuration at an easy to install design. It updates weather information every two-and-a-half seconds and has various alarm tone options for specific weather conditions, ensuring you’re always informed of changes in time. It boasts a 1,000 foot wireless range, a solar powered sensor unit, and instructions that are clear and helpful.
7 THE ACCURATE 01512
If you follow weather patterns like other people track sports scores, the accurate 01512 has a ticker that streams real-time climate news. It even includes information on indoor comfort levels, so you can be reminded of how cozy you were before you got up to check the ticker. It’s good for areas prone to harsh storms and tracks historical records. It comes with an extremely bright colour display.
8 THE AMBIENT WEATHER WS 2902
If you need the absolute latest weather conditions, the ambient weather WS 2902 has Wi-Fi capabilities, allowing it to constantly upload data to the app or reporting service of your choice. It’s like having your own personal meteorologist on your phone or tablet and it takes accurate rainfall measurements and setup is simple and intuitive. It also works well with Alexa.
9 THE DAVIS INSTRUMENTS VANTAGE
The Davis instruments Vantage has everything you could ask for in one of these devices, including forecasts moon phase information and sunrise and sunset times. It costs more than other options but it delivers more, and it will last for years. It features sensors with radiation shields, a glow-in-the-dark keypad and graphs weather changes over time.
HOW TO CHANGE OUT THE TRANSMITTER BOARD OF YOUR WIRELESS VANTAGE PRO 2
If for whatever reason you’re having problems with your weather station, and tech support beams. It’s necessary to replace it. You’ll have to remove the original transmitter board and replace it with the new one. It’s a little bit difficult to get the box on and off and once you get the enclosure with the transmitter in it, the first thing you want to do is to remove the cone, the ring collector cone, because it’s a lot easier to get to the enclosure.
And also you should remove the shelter door. When you’re removing the door, you want to make sure that you be careful of the solar panel wire in there, and just remove that from its terminal, then what you’ll want to do on them on the backside.
The shelter is a tab that slides in and locks the shelter onto the rain collector base, and that’s what you’re going to have to pull out to remove the shelter. Before you do that though, you want to make sure that you unplug all the sensor cables, and remove the foam in the cable hole. You need to grab the small foam with your fingers or use some needle nose pliers, then unplug each of these sensor cables once they’re removed.
You can unlock the box, and then pull the cables out. Once you have the box off, you want to be careful of the tabs on the phone jacks. When you pull them through the hole, they’re breakable, be very careful. so on the backside of the shelter there is a locking tab, and I think the easiest way to do it once you have the ring collector cone off; is to put the palm of your hand on top of the shelter key your fingers under the edge of the top of the tab, and just pull and it’ll make a popping sound.
It’s a bit tight, you’re not going to break anything, but you’re basically pulling out these little locking triangles that are down in the insert there. Once you have that off, the shelter comes off and you take note of how it was on there. When you put it back on, you’ll get it back in then you want to remove the cables.
The easiest way if you look in the slot where the cables came through, there’s a larger opening and a narrower side on the larger side is where you want to start pulling the phone jacks out. Make sure you have as much large opening as possible and leaving the other cables out of the way. When you remove the shelter from your ISS, you want to make sure to remove the battery from the transmitter, and you want to also take all four of the switches and move them to the up position.
That’s going to do two things, moving the first three switches to the up position will set it to ID number eight and therefore, it won’t be active in your system. And also by putting the switch in the position, you’ll turn on the small green flashing light that will use up any residual voltage, electricity in the transmitter board.
There’s a large capacitor in there even though you don’t have the solar panel or the battery plugged in. There’s a large capacitor that will still power the system for almost 12 hours on some occasions. By turning that light on, it’ll help discharge that capacitor quicker; if it’s still transmitting then you want to get your replacement box.
how to slide that on put the box back on one thing to keep in mind when you’re putting it on is; there’s a nice little ridges on the back of the shelter, these should rest on the black plastic of the rain base that helps you get it aligned. It goes underneath and then helps you get in the line, and have the shelter vertical when you’re trying to insert the tab, and you can hear it snap into place.
When you’re locking this on, the main locking mechanisms are the tabs sticking out of the shelter. They go into the grooves on the tab, and that’s what’s going to lock it on. So in order to align it properly, you get oval underneath the black rain collector base, and you put the plastic ledges on top of the black plastic and that gets it resting in the right position.
It’s important to have this very vertical in a line or else when you put the tab in, it won’t it snap in place. So you slide the tab down in the hole of the black plastic, lean it up against the shelter, get the shelter tabs in the grooves of it, and you slide it in, and it locks on.
Get the cables plugged in and the foam back in. So you just feed the cables through. Now place the foam back in the opening and then each cable is labelled. You just find the wind and plug it into the wind slot. The rain will go into the rain and the temp um cable will go into the first slot labelled 10th. Make sure they all snap in there good.
Now, you want to check the switches, the dip switches on your new transmitter. They should match what your other one was before you switch them all to eight. Normally they’ll be all down which will be address number one. And then once you make sure everything is good, the batteries in, and then the next step would be to just put the cover back on. When you take the cover, you want to make sure you plug the solar panel back on. That’s important.
It’s 2 pins there at the top left, and to get that cover on easily and properly. At the top, there’s a raised edge of plastic and there’s a corresponding raised edge there. If you match those up, you’ll be able to fit the teeth of the shelter into the teeth of the door.
If you match that up, then you get the teeth through each other and you can slide it down. It’s very important to slide it down all the way and to hear it click towards the bottom of the shelter.
Another thing to check once you’ve slid the door all the way down is the top edge of the door is flush and on top of the shelter. Otherwise you don’t have the door all the way down and you could get water leaking inside and that would be bad.
Lastly, put the rain collector code on. You’re all set to go.