I have played with several cheap wireless weather stations from Water & Stanton, Martin Lynch and Maplin, but they have proven to be just that; cheap. Accuracy has been a problem with all stations reporting figures wildly out of kilter with other local weather stations and those produced by the nearby Crosby Coast Guard centre on the Mersey.
I had all but given up on running a weather station without having to resort to an expensive station like those produced by Davis until I came across the Netatmo hardware (pictured).
Looking like a naked beer and coke can, devoid of any colour or branding, the two sensors supplied with this station report outdoor and indoor readings to the on-line Netatmo system via my Broadband connection. The only time the devices were connected to any computers was when I setup the WiFi connection and preferences on the indoor unit. That unit the handles the data collection from the outdoor unit and communicates with ‘HQ’ over the Internet.
I then installed the Netatmo app on my iPad and started to view the data being transmitted. It collects the data from Netatmo over the Internet, so I should be able to interrogate the station from anywhere in the world. The system promises to send my iPad alerts of various weather states so that I can take some sort of reaction.
The data collected by the indoor can includes environmental data, so I can tell if there is excess CO2 (Carbon-Dioxide) in the air and open a window to make us all more comfortable. It also measures the ambient noise and alerts me as to whether it is within comfort levels. This is ‘a well-being’ monitor as well as a weather station. Useful weather measurements include outdoor temperature, humidity and pressure, though that is measured indoors.
Of course, only time will tell whether this is a worthwhile system to purchase, but it’s £130 purchase price compares favourably with the cheap weather stations I have been experimenting with over the last few years. Yes, I’m missing rainfall and wind speed data, but I understand the artistically designed modules to measure these variables are on the way; the rain gauge in March, whilst the wind gauge is rumoured but, as of yet, unannounced.
The system seems well built and was up and running in less than half an hour. The station is already broadcasting its data on the Netatmo World Map and is in-line with the measurements taken by other nearby stations. The specifications promise accuracy figures on around +/- 0.3 deg C, +/- 3% humidity and +/- 1mbar. So I’d expect to see these result reflected in the map and, so far, they are spot on.
If you’d like to become a guest of my station and view it’s data in more detail, please email me and I will happily send you an invite. Once you’ve accepted it you’ll be able to see exactly what the conditions are here at G7LFC Towers.
Have a look at the weather conditions here in Ormskirk.
You do see a lot of mention of using an iPhone/iPad to view the data whilst mobile. However, there are excellent apps for Android devices and a web-based interface in addition to those for the Apple mobile phones and tablets. So the answer is no, buy with confidence and you’ll be able to view your data far from home regardless of how you want to access it.
One complain about the Netatmo weather station si the lack of documentation. To be honest, I found it so intuitive to install and setup that the lack of a manual didn’t bother me too much. However, I have a found a manual on the Internet that is actually a compilation of the FAQs from the user account you setup during the installation. It’s worth a read.