Personal Weather Stations
Keeping Track of Weather at the Farm
We installed our Acurite 1025 Personal Weather Station about 18 months ago and got about a year of reliable service until it started dropping the signal to the internet connection. Random stuff yes, but now we were used to checking the weather regularly and never knew when we would have a signal.
All is fine again now but it made me think this would be a good opportunity to talk about weather stations and why they may be useful. For about $150 you can install a system to monitor wind speed, wind direction, temperature, humidity, and rainfall. Most systems in this range come with some sort of remote monitoring app so the weather can be checked from anywhere. Among other things the console of ours also extrapolates the wind and temperature for windchill, handy for what blanket Tess the wonder horse should be wearing. Our system also allows us to monitor three sensors so we have the main station and one in the basement and one in the low tunnel.
Installation is easy. We have our main station, named “paddock” installed on natural gas piping at the corner of the paddock at a height of about ten feet. The connection to the console is simple: install batteries on both the sensor and console, and stand back.
The internet connection is another story however. It should be as simple as editing a few settings in the software and connecting the base station to the internet router, but we found it somewhat perplexing. The signal strength to the “internet bridge” base station is extremely sensitive. Ours is line of sight, maybe 35 yards, well within the limits of the unit. However, the unit was dropping the signal to the internet or not connecting at all. The support line suggested moving the base station for a clearer signal from the sensor and until we moved the unit off the floor about two feet it was a frustrating experience. Once we did that we were home free. If you look to the right on this page you will see the current weather at Clean Slate Farm.
Additionally you can connect your Personal Weather Station to Weatherunderground to share your station with the world. Currently there are about 60,000 weather stations connected and when you view your weather station you will see others in your area. It’s interesting to see the conditions at locations near you for more insight to what may be coming weather wise.
Our personal weather station is made by Acurite but there are others available. Some stations are more expensive, some less. I imagine you get what you pay for in quality and support. Acurite support is very good and responsive. I am guessing the more a unit costs, the more robust the equipment. It pays to shop around also. I saw a unit from Oregon Scientific on Amazon for $129.95 but a check at the Oregon website had the unit on sale for $99.95 with free shipping.
Here is a partial list of manufacturers for you to examine. It seems all manufacturers could use some upgrades into user interface and ease of use for set up. When you choose a system make sure it meets your needs for remote monitoring and expandability.
Do you have a personal weather station and how does it help you?