How’s the Weather?

My History of Weather Stations.

Over the years I have purchased about four different weather stations. The first one I purchased was a simple one that told me what the temperature was inside and outside and how much rain we had.  Unfortunately, I had to be sitting in my office to find that out. But that’s not too bad because you really don’t need that information very often anyway and it was cheap. It also beat the rain gauge we had for years sitting on the back fence because the electronic one always recorded how much rain had and never got too full to be of any use.

The Next Two.

The second and third one I purchased were one step up in quality and measurements. They recorded the indoor and outdoor temperatures, the rainfall, the wind speed and direction, the humidity inside and out and the barometric pressure.  In addition, they made some vague predictions about what was likely to happen next.  As you would expect without the processing power of the Bureau of Meteorology, they rarely got the predictions right, but since I purchased it for the other functions, that didn’t matter.

Like the first one, they had an indoor unit and an outdoor unit and wirelessly connected the two together. The indoor unit had a USB port for connecting to a computer and some software was supplied that worked adequately on a PC. As I had a Mac, that didn’t help, so I purchased Weather Snoop software which gave a more logical display, and worked well.

The Problems.

The second one worked well for around 2 years but over time, more and more bits stopped working on the outdoor. One of the wind vanes fell off the anemometer so the wind speed went missing. I could buy a replacement wind vane but the price was just too much. Unfortunately the bearing that was part of the mounting for the wind direction pointer got rather stiff so any likelihood of it working well had gone missing. I continued to use that unit for another 12 months and ignored the wind readings altogether. They really weren’t of much use anyway because the wind direction and speed in my backyard were all over the place due to the trees in the yard. Then it stopped transmitting reliably to the indoor unit, so I purchased a replacement unit which I though was identical to the first one under the theory that I could use the parts to get one working at least. That turned out to be correct for the physical parts but the outdoor transmitter used a different frequency so the old indoor unit was never able to receive the information from the new outdoor unit.

Software Problems.

Although Weather snoop was able to communicate with Wunderground, (an internet repository for weather station readings) it had to be running in the background for 24 hours per day to play a meaningful part in producing a weather record. I did think of buying a cheap PC for that purpose but the threat of hacking and viruses made me think again – especially since my Windows 10 computer gets hacked after its been on for about ½ hour. So I didn’t connect very often with Wunderground.  When the third weather station began to produce similar problems to the second one – with bits stopping and the rain gauge sticking, I decided to upgrade again.

The Current Station.

This time I wanted one that could communicate directly with Wunderground all by itself (via my Wifi router of course). There was one from the Fine Offset company – the HP1000 –  and it was available on eBay but it was a bit expensive. It’s available in two types – one with WiFi and the other without. After watching the prices for about 6 months, I purchased one for less than $200. It was the only one below $250 until recently when another company now sells WiFi connected weather stations (even one that looks exactly the same). This are available for around $180.

So now when I’m travelling, or in the toilet or bedroom I can see how much rain we have had at anytime I choose simply by looking at Wunderground. I can check the temperature in my backyard from London or SanFrancisco or wherever I am if I have internet access. I haven’t yet got a system of switching the sprinklers on or off remotely in response to the rain or lack of it but I’m sure that is coming.

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