("Professional") Weather Stations and the Mac

For years I have been thinking back and forth in buying a weather station and setting it up.

I am not talking about something like the Netatmo stuff (I am not ok with their lack of accuracy). I am thinking more about a semi-professional solution like the DAVIS products. If you do not know about their products, you can find them at https://www.davisnet.com/weather-monitoring/

There is only one issue with those stations: they seem to rock-solid when it comes down to provide you with reliable data, but they are not really good working natively with your Mac.

My ideal use case scenario would be a solution that is uploading the weather data in real time to the cloud. It should be available there in all its glory like something like this:
http://yr.hveem.no

Apart from that, I want to have all the weather data being stored and archived locally (for databases and/or spreadsheets).

Has anybody here in this really awesome community any first-hand experience with a DAVIS weather station and their Mac?

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Jason Snell has a post on Six Colors about his weather station.

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Thank you! I will definitely check it out!

I have a DAVIS Vantage Pro 2 (a newer version of the weather station that Jason is using). The hardware has indeed been solid for the last decade+ although it needs very regular cleaning in my treed Pacific Northwest location.

I have the USB interface cable/data logger for it. That’s been a less positive experience. It requires a third party serial to USB driver that seems to require updating for each major macOS version. Data logging hasn’t been reliable (not sure if that’s a hardware or software issue and I haven’t had a chance to look into the latest failure). The DAVIS weather station software that came with it is unusable. I don’t think they’re even pretending to update it anymore. Overall the combination of the weather station/console/USB interface/macOS software feels like it’s strung together with bubble gum. The more recent IP-based interface sounds like a better choice despite the added cost but I haven’t been able to justify the additional expense yet for hardware that’s this old.

The WeatherCat software that Jason mentions in his article has mostly worked well and is regularly updated.

Despite the generally good experience I’ve had with the weather station hardware itself I don’t think that I would invest in this model again. The console is a significant part of the hardware complexity/cost and it feels like a dinosaur compared to running something like WeatherCat on your Mac. Also I’m most interested in tracking rain (that PNW thing) and the citizen science rain network that I participate in (CoCoRaHS) won’t take data from backyard tipping bucket automated weather station because of concerns about inaccuracies. So I use a manual gauge instead. CoCoRaHS claims that personal weather stations undercount rain by “sometimes 25% or more.” That’s been my experience in limited comparisons against the Vantage Pro 2. An automated weather station also can’t count snow. So I’m back to the weather equivalent of paper and pencil there.

It sounds a station like this one might be a better match for your needs (at least with the right interface and hopefully more modular hardware options) but it doesn’t really work for me anymore.

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I’m interested in a low cost indoor-outdoor temperature sensor that I can get to via wi-fi. I don’t need elaborate weather station data, simply temperature data that I can view from a remote location.

Any recommendations on simple solutions for this? Thanks — jay

I use Netatmo and it works quite nicely. As a bonus it connects to Carrot weather so when I’m at home it’s literally checking the weather outside of my bedroom window!

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I’ve been using Wireless Sensor Tags. I bought a five-pack and monitor indoor temp, outdoor temp, fridge, freezer, and (most important) crawlspace in my Maine house that I am often away from for two or three weeks in the winter. Temps here can drop as low as -20˚F (sometimes even lower – and wind chills far below that) so I like to monitor things. It’s very reassuring.

They’re small and unobtrusive. The simplest ones monitor temperature, humidity, and motion. I don’t bother with the motion. They are directly compatible with Nest and a few others. They talk to IFTTT so if you have a thermostat or whatever that they cannot control directly just use IFTTT.

I use them to turn on the propane heat if the crawl space (or the interior) get too cold, since the propane has a duct that warms the crawl pace. Otherwise, I run a minisplit that keeps everything in the living area at 50˚F

@Quahog thanks for the response. Intriguing solution. Your use is very similar to mine. I appreciate the idea.

Neatatmo looks interesting, but I’m not interested in spending that much.

My biggest issue (with any weather station, probably) is where to put it. The Netatmo outdoor module (at least the old one I have) shouldn’t be in direct sunlight and needs to be protected from the elements. I couldn’t find a good spot aside from on my front porch alcove, which probably gets heat from the house and throws off the temperature reading. I actually thought about buying a birdhouse or something to put it in.

Ours is outside our bedroom window. It’s not optimal, it occasionally gets direct sunlight, but we live in an apartment and don’t have a balcony so there’s not a lot of choice. Is it perfect? No, but it’s accurate enough.

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Hi Rose! Are you still happy with this? I’m looking into a weather station and Carrot Weather integration is one of my requirements :slight_smile:

Thanks!

It works great for us! The V3 Netatmo has direct HomeKit integration too.

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Fantastic - thank you!