on November 20, 2010
If you want to learn how to operate a home weather station, you should buy this one before moving up to more expensive systems.
The unit comes with a very small solar radiation shield. However, in most circumstances, you will need to do one of the following to have more accurate temperature readings: (1) buy the SRS100 or SRS100LX solar radiation shield (the LX has two more middle plates). (2) move the thermometer unit to a shaded area (you may need to buy an extension cable if the shaded area is far away; manufacturer says that maximum is 50 feet).
I suggest mounting the thermometer on a separate location unless your mounting pole is very stable. In strong wind conditions, vibration of the pole can cause inaccurate reading of wind speed, direction, and rain fall (which may mistake vibration for wind fall). Obviously, reducing the amount of weight attached to one pole can minimize vibrations.
I connect an old netbook to the weather station and publish data to Weather Underground. It is a cheaper solution than buying the overpriced IP Ethernet server from Ambient Weather.
WS-1090 uses Cumulus software to publish to internet. Virtual Weather Station software is not supported (VWS mainly support Davis, Oregon Scientific, and La Crosse products)
Lithium batteries are recommended if outdoor temperatures drop below 30F.
A color version of the manual can be found at:
Some useful tips for beginners:
(1) to have accurate wind reading, a rule of thumb is that the minimum distance between the wind vane and the nearest building/obstruction should be 4 times the height of the building/obstruction.
(2) Anemometer measures the wind speed. Wind vane measures the wind direction. Hygrometer measures humidity.
on April 16, 2012
I've been using this unit since December and have gotten it to be mostly reliable without intervention, but that comes with quirks.
I live in Chicago, and yes I know they don't call it the Windy City because of the wind, but the name does stick for a reason. As I write this, I'm logging sustained winds of 30 MPH and gusts of 54 MPH, and this happens fairly often where I am. I have it mounted above my 14th floor roof line without any nearby obstructions, so this unit is truly seeing the brunt of accurate Chicago weather.
The rain sensor totally goes wack when I receive heavy winds. Today alone it has logged 17.5" of rain so far, which is probably about 15" more than it has actually rained. I've read that pole vibration can cause this, but my pole is stable--it's certainly not giving the appearance of moving around even when it's receiving these heavy winds. I didn't use the Ambient Weather pole mount but rather just used a 10' 1" rigid electrical conduit, mounted to a side brick wall at 3 points, with the pole sticking above the roof line about 4'. At the end of the electrical conduit, I used a screw-mounted connector that would normally be used to screw two conduits together, took out the short screw and bought a longer screw, and slipped the Ambient mount right inside and then secured it tight with the longer replacement screw (about $12 in parts at the Depot, including conduit). Looking at the construction of the actual Ambient Weather pole kit, I would actually think the 1' offset from the wall on their mount would cause it to be a bit less stable in high wind, I have no reason to think their mount is any better or more solid. The only actual difference in the end is their mount gives you an offset from the wall you're mounting it to, which in some cases would improve temperature sensor readings, but in my case the sensors are well above the roof line so I'm not going to be getting a false reading from having the sensor adjacent to the wall.
I run the latest Cumulus software (free) to upload my weather data to Weather Underground (Google Kilchica113 for a current status of my weather from this unit) as well as a few other sites including Weatherbug Backyard; I would prefer the wireless data be accessible directly over IP, but that's another $200 Linux server they sell you, so I run the software on an old laptop. As far as I'm concerned, the reliance on USB hardware physically connected to your computer is a downfall of the overall setup, but that's also likely why it's less expensive than other solutions. I've gotten the software/USB/wireless link to be stable without intervention for weeks, that hasn't really been my issue with reliability, so I'm quite happy with that aspect for now.
When I initially mounted the device, I put all 3 sensors on the pole. Any time we got the slightest amount of precipitation, the wireless link would die. And then it got to the point where it didn't matter whether or not there was precipitation, the wireless link to the control sensor was just not establishing itself. I found that the cause of this was actually that water was getting through the solar shield and into the temperature sensor, which is also the main control unit that transmits back to the USB receiver. They advertise 350', I was having issues getting it to communicate 15'--the transmitter was shorting out. It turns out, the temperature sensor is not very well designed at all to keep the weather out, and is not weather proof at all, so it was shorting out. Ironic. I let it sit in a bag of rice for a few days and the problem resolved itself. They do sell tar pads on their site to cover all of your sensor connections holes to keep water out, but based off of my observations you would have to cover the temperature probe holes themselves as well to fully waterproof this, and at that point you'd have invalid readings from that sensor. Not to mention, black tar attracts and retains heat, so I'd have to wonder how that might alter the temp reading if said tar is on the temp probe.
If you are going to have this unit mounted in an area that experiences both moderate winds and precipitation, I wouldn't go without the tar pads knowing that the sensor is not at all water-proof and will short out. Or I would actually consider a dab of clear silicone caulk over each sensor connect.
I didn't mess with the tar pads and instead just moved the sensor to be not pole mounted, out of the elements lower down the wall, also out of the sun. To extend this, I used two 25' telephone wires and two couplers (they sell on their site, or they're just standard 2 and 4 wire telephone extension cables) to move my temperature probe out of the elements and haven't had a problem since. I would have preferred not to have done this, but really I would've actually preferred to not have to use a coupler. I had to use extension cables that connected to their already very long sensor cables, which then gave me a ball of 5-6" of wires that I had to zip tie. The better solution would be factory cords that are able to be disconnected from the rain and wind sensor, and not having to extend the factory cables, you end up with a ton of excess wire you may not need. Of course they probably opted to solder the cables direct to the sensor in order to avoid any water penetration issues, but there's got to be a way they can make a port that is waterproof (as say...my outdoor wireless router has).
Aside of the transmitter not being water proof and the frequent inaccuracy of the water sensor there are a few other quirks that happen rarely. Once I had the actual anemometer (wind) sensor freeze and it wasn't able to move; this happened after some really quick freezing rain moved in with relatively low or no winds, and a really quick temperature drop, so the sensor wasn't moving and just froze. And then there are some days where I'll just get a random sensor reading saying it's 190 MPH winds out, or 90 degrees warmer than it actually is. This has happened maybe twice in the past 3 months and not of huge concern, but it does cause the online sites receiving the information to also then have incorrect weather data.
My only other initial concern was the fact that it's battery powered at the pole, not solar. According to their specifications the battery on the device should last a year or longer between chanegs. I use Lithium batteries, which are recommended for cold weather situations and easy to find at the local store. The device only sends the sensor readings once a minute and it doesn't seem to do any error checking so it's minimal wireless communication as far as battery use is concerned.
The parts are all easily replaceable and no single part is too expensive (the most expensive part to replace being the USB/wireless receiver at $45, the transmitter is $30 to replace), so if something breaks and it's out of warranty you have reasonable options to fix it yourself.
Also, FYI the difference between 1080 and 1090 is the 1090 has an atomic clock built in and uses 915 MHZ instead of 433 MHZ, but according to Ambient Weather the range in either case is the same.
All in all, I'd say it's a great product for the price, but comes with its own quirks.
on December 28, 2010
I got this for my husband for Christmas. He is the tech geek in the family and he loves it. We placed it on the pole that comes with the kit on our back porch. We are near the airport, so we compared our wind readings to the airports and we were pretty close, so the accuracy seems good. We placed it the day before a HUGE blizzard that dropped almost two feet of snow. The wind alarm kept going off. My husband loves that it hooks into his computer (he loves anything that hooks into his computer.) After the blizzad we did lose the little solar cover that came with it, but as suggested we purchased the larger solar shield, so it wasn't a big loss. We have only had it a week, but it was easy to set up and he really likes it.
on April 7, 2012
I'll keep it short. You get a nice little weather system with confusing documentation. I cannot seem to figure out the RF Clock for the correct time and the explanation of how to do this has not worked. Everything is plastic. Right off the bat I can tell you in the sun, the provided temp sensor is highly inaccurate. They offer an upgrade for the radiant/thermal shield. Why not just include this in the package if you know the one you provide does not do the job>?
Assembly was pretty straight forward. I was excited when I got it up and running and was publishing live updates of my data to Wunderground.
Then: I wake up in the morning and no data is being received. I went down stairs to the indoor display that sends data to your PC via usb (not wireless) and there is no outdoor data. I tried walking outside closer to the station and no luck. I pulled the batteries and that worked, for about 10 minutes. My station is mounted on a fence post 47 feet from my door. 300 Foot range??? Needless to say no matter what I have tried the station continuously loses connection with the indoor receiver. I'd spend the extra hundred or 2 to get a more reliable solution, Otherwise, you'll spend more time trouble shooting than you want.
UPDATE: After several more disconnects I decided to move the indoor receiver to a window that is now exactly 36 feet from the station that apparently can transmit 330 feet. Still no love. Frequent disconnects of the outdoor readings. Pulling batteries is becoming a ritual.
UPDATE-2: Put recommended lithium batteries in the station itself, issues continue. If it's the 5 times a day loss of connection to the indoor display/pc then its the PC not getting data from the unit. My day consist of coming home, pulling batteries, pulling the USB, and restarting. Works for about 1 hour after. WISH my Wife didn't get rid of the box or this would be back to Amazon.
on August 11, 2011
This is our third home weather station and by far the nicest. Living on the high planes of Colorado the weather can change drastically throughout the day. The temp, wind and rain are very different from the closest internet weather station, Weather Underground. Set up was easy and fast. You can set alarms for high wind, temperatures, and just about anything else. Nice feature! The outside unit looks and feels sturdy and built to last. The inside unit is pleasing to the eye, large and easy to read. The touch screen is very cool. The USB connect to a computer is also a nice feature.
It's only been up and running for two days now. I will be surprised if we don't get years of use from this unit.
The only thing I can say bad about the unit, the cords that connect the wind and temp censor could be a lot shorter. I just wrapped the slack around the pole and used one of the zip ties included with the unit.
We feel extremely satisfied with our purchase of this weather station.
on October 28, 2011
I had toyed with the idea of getting a weather station for a while, and after exhaustive review, settled on WS-1090 based mostly on the highly positive reviews I found here.
I can confirm that the positive reviews this product has received are well-deserved. Setup was simple and straight-forward (though some of the cords are inexplicably long). I had noticed some reviewers had expressed concern with the "line-of-sight" requirements for signal transmission, somehow implying that if the station isn't visible to the receiver, it won't work. That's just not the case. My station is mounted at the apex of my roof (obviously outside) and there have been zero issues with signal strength or transmission. The signal goes through the roof, my attic, a ceiling and a few walls and it's just fine.
The receiver itself is pretty intuitive, though despite my best efforts to modify the contrast settings, I think it's rather faint (and yes, I was using brand-new batteries). Also, the interface requiring the user to cycle through various settings with annoying beeps is a little clunky. The software that comes with the device is decent. By connecting your receiver via USB cable to your computer, the software allows you to tinker with all the settings on the receiver without having to deal with the touch-screen clunkiness. It also inlcudes neat graphing and other modeling capabilities to note trends over time.
But I was eager to not only set up the weather station, but also to upload data to weatherunderground. Thanks to "Ed" at Ambientweather's customer service, who responded to my email within 12 hours with helpful information, I downloaded and installed a free program called "Cumulus." It has GREAT documentation, by the way, very helpful). Using this program, which setup in minutes, I'm now able to upload my weather data to weatherunderground. I should mention that the interface it uses to depict weather on my roof, I believe, surpasses that which comes with the WS-1090 (which as I said, isn't half bad to start with).
Ultimately, this is a great product at a great price, and though I'm still in my first week, I'm delighted with the purchase.