Choosing a home weather station becomes a daunting task in overwhelming presence of different brands and types of home weather stations in the market, however, their are a very few and simple considerations that one need to take care of while deciding to buy a weather station for personal/family use. Below mentioned are a few points that one must ponder over while deciding to buy a home weather station:
- Purpose vs. Cost
The most important question you have to ask before you buy a weather station is: What is the purpose of my weather station? You probably already know the answer but really everything depends on your preferences and wishes. Next you have to allocate the funds for the weather station (don’t forget the installation works and maintenance). Who will install the weather station? Who will be able to repair if something goes wrong? Of course costs often determine the reliability of the weather station so bare that in mind.Would you like to present your data on the internet? Or show the measure data inside let’s say shop? All this things you have to consider before deciding on a particular weather station. Get this part right and you may have a great new widget which can bring more safety to your family or draw more tourists to your destination.
- Wireless or Cabled Weather station
First and most obvious – best wireless weather stations offer the easier installation because you don’t need any fixing of the cables outside and inside the buildings. This lowers your costs when installing and maintenance since you don’t have to worry about cable plugs, oxidation, corrosion of the cables and running cables through the walls, ground… The cables should be protected from rain, wind and weather. If the cables go through water or the ground you better use thicker cables. Wireless stations also make it easier to add additional sensors as cabled models have usually limited connections. But wireless weather stations also have their disadvantages with wireless reception as the first and the biggest. The data usually can’t be transmitted more than 1000 feet (more often 330 feet) and solid walls and metal obstacles can have influence on the quality of the signal. You can use repeaters but this could be one more thing prone to failure. Because of the nature of wireless transfer sometimes the loss of reception can occur.
Wireless Weather Station Pro’s:-Easy installation, easy and convenient to use .
Wireless Weather Station Con’s:- Signal Transmission interference if there are many obstacles from sensors to the main unit.
Cabled weather station Pro’s:- Usually cheaper, Data integrity,- Longer data transfer range without interference.
Cabled weather station Con’s:- Cumbersome installation, high maintenance because of cables, portability is an issue.
The most important thing which will determine whether you will receive usable data is siting of your weather station. This means where you will position your station. Do not take this lightly as bad position of your weather station will provide bad data even with an expensive station. Sitting of your station will have impact on the quality of your data much more than the accuracy of the sensors. The most common error is misplacing the temperature sensor. Temperature is defined as the temperature in the shade with plenty of ventilation. So find a place which is not exposed to the sun (eventually you can get screens, housings to prevent direct sunlight or radiation shields). It should not be on the ground or roof, so place it at least 5 feet above or 50 feet from paved surface. Look for places like under your roof. Next check how many sensors your station will have and where you are planning to position them. For instance to get good readings from the wind sensor, you have to provide an obstacle free space around the wind sensor because the obstacles will break the normal wind flow or create turbulences and consequently give you poor data. Also pole or flagpole will have to be stable enough to withstand the possible heavy wind and rain. Usually a safe bet would be on a roof top or a pole. Please take a look at the picture of sample installation of home weather station.
4. Central Unit
The central unit should be in a safe & dry place with nearby electricity (wall socket). If you want to transfer / show your data on the internet you need a cable to your PC or a telephone line (depending on the model of your weather station).Usually weather station will connect to the sensors by itself and please follow the manufacturer’s guidance when installing in order to do it correctly.
Choosing a Weather Station
Today you can get many different types of weather stations from different manufacturers. Prices start from $50 (or more reasonably $100) but you can also get high tech stations for more than $3000. Usually people tend to buy for less than $100. Again keep in mind that cheaper versions will most probably have weaker parts and lower reliability. Take some time and check the pictures and parts and try to imagine how and where you will install your station. Some time and planning beforehand can provide you with more satisfaction later on.