When my previous weather station ( LaCrosse WS2316) started dying, I didn’t have to think long about what to get as a replacement. I friend had recently received a Davis Vantage Vue, and loved it. So with money in hand (bank account), and ordered it, and the serial weatherlink interface from the cheapest place I could find online at that time, Ambient Weather. Total cost, including shipping, was ~$410. I also liked that they were in the west (faster shipping). In interesting bit, and of great credit to them, I found a cheaper price through Scientific Sales, INC, and emailed Ambient Weather. Within an hour, even well after their business hours, I had a refund for the difference of about $36 through PayPal. So, huge credit to Ambient Weather, I will certainly buy from them again.
The unit arrived a few days later, and I have to say, I was a bit surprised at the size. The sensor suite is a bit bigger than I thought (though I understand the Vantage Pro sensor cluster is REALLY big). Anyway, the console looked great (more on that later), and the sensor unit required some minor assembly. Sadly, the unit arrived on a Thursday, so I had to wait a couple days to install… I did do the assembly, and set the unit on a table, and then plug the console into a computer to test the data transmission. Documentation all says 1000ft line of sight with wind every 2.5 seconds, and then other data every 10 seconds. After hooking it all up with the Davis Weatherlink Serial, to a Keyspan USA-19HS, and grabbing the data with WeatherCat, after a couple days on my Macbook Air, I was seeing about 1 CRC error for every 10,000 good packets. Not too shabby. One note is that the console comes from the factory with insanely low contrast (which kind of made me think it was broken). To adjust, you just hit “2nd” then the up arrow multiple times to get it to where you want it.
On the following Saturday, got up on the roof and removed my old LaCrosse Anemometer, and PVC mast from the chimney straps, and went about installing the Davis. The first thing I realized was that the 10′ steel mast I had was too damn cumbersome to deal with, especially since I’ll have to take the unit down once a year for a backup battery change, and cleaning. So a hack-sawed the mast in half, and flipped it around to make, basically, two 5′ masts. This should make maintenance much easier in the future since I can just remove the top 5′ mast. The unit itself clamps to the mast with a U-bolt, which seemed a bit weird, but hey, installation of a wireless single piece unit was SO easy compared to my LaCrosse unit. I don’t look forward to the maintenance, but hey, it’s not too bad.
So install went great, and the unit talks to the console perfectly. About 1 CRC error in 10,000 good records. According to what I’ve seen online, this seems to be almost unavoidable with the US Console, regardless of the Weatherlink style. Ah well… 0.01% error isn’t too shabby.
And after a week of using the weather station, I can say I’m extremely happy with it. The console is easy to use (though I rarely do), the software I have used for years (WeatherCat, formerly Lightsoft Weather Center) works great as well (not surprising since the author uses Davis units). Really my only complaint is the cost of the Weatherlink. While I ended up getting it for just over $100, that’s still a lot to pay for a serial connection to a console. There are 3rd party ones through wxforum, and here. But given the wxforum ones are $75 or so, and the second doesn’t have logging (as well doesn’t work with console firmware 3.0 (which specifically seemed to address 3rd party adapters)), I figured I’d just get the real thing. It would just work, and warranty would apply should it die.