La Crosse Technology WA-1140U Weather Direct 4-Day Talking Internet-Powered Wireless Forecaster
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- Talking wireless weather station with a personalized forecast greeting, atomic time, and temp gauges
- Weather forecast for select location; can also announce world, entertainment, and sports news
- 4-day readout with specific forecasts for morning, afternoon, evening, and night
- Atomic clock; date display; alarm with snooze; sunrise/sunset; remote conditions
- Requires high-speed Internet, a PC, and a wireless router; takes 2 AA and 2 C batteries; 1-year warranty
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It's a weather stations with a voiceÂ¿ "Good morning John (Put Your Own Message Here), here's the forecast for Madison, Wednesday, July 15thÂ¿" Create your own custom message and it will say it before the forecastÂ¿"Wake Up! Today's the Big Game Day!" or "Good Morning" (Your Name Here)". The audio forecast button plays the current forecast and the A/B/C speaker buttons play information that you select. It's more than weather... listen to your choice of news headlines, enterainment, sports and more. Wake up to the information that you want to hear. Weather Direct by La Crosse Technology gives you easy access to the same quality weather as meteorolgists 24 hours-a-day without turning on a TV or computer! It works without Wi-Fi, there is NO software to install, and the forecasts are totally FREE. NO subscription required. Choose the forecast information that you want from a list of over 60,000 locations in the United States and Canada including your hometown, golf courses, parks, sports venues and more. Visit www.weatherdirect.com/places for a full list of forecast locations. Now it's easier to plan your day... receive forecasts for each morning, afternoon, evening and night for today, tomorrow, day 3 and day 4. You'll know to pack your umbrella for an afternoon shower, or bring a jacket for a cool evening at the game. The wireless display also features automatic time and date, time alarm with snooze and forecasts for the daily high and low temperature. The bottom LCD line scrolls your wireless outdoor temperature, selected city name, sun rise/set and forecast. The weather gateway connects to your network router with the included LAN cable to send secure wireless forecasts to the display - 24 ours a day without turning on a TV or computer. A wireless range of 330 feet allows you to put the display device almost anywhere you want. A PC is only required for one-time easy set-up or to customize features. High-speed Internet and network router are required.
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1) The kind that comes with its own sensors and attempts to develop a forecast based on their readings. The drawback of this type is that inexpensive models come with flimsy and inaccurate sensors, and no matter how pricey the unit, the forecast really isn't that great.
2) MSN-Direct models. These models have you select a location, and they use the MSN-Direct wireless service to obtain a forecast. This involves pretty much zero setup, but many users have reported problems with reception.
3) The Weather Direct units. Instead of relying on the MSN-Direct unit, you plug a small transmitter into your home network, and it obtains the forecast information over the internet. This enables the unit to pull down a wide range of information, and it gives you a lot more flexibility as to where in the house the unit can be placed.
Following the included directions, I had little trouble setting up the unit. It worked exactly as advertised on the first try, and the website was pretty self-explanatory. For the price I paid (about 1/3rd of list), it is worth it. The list of available forecast locations is large, there are many options as to how you want the forecast set up, and since almost all the configuration is done from the website, you don't have to wade through piles of obscure button presses to get anything done.
Some things I would change about the unit if I were LaCrosse:
1) The spoken forecast is too short if you choose the basic forecast, and too long if you choose the detailed. The detailed has the right amount of detail, but instead of "flowing" from one part of the day to another, it breaks them up which takes too much time.
2) More customization of the scrolling forecast. It displays the sunrise and sunset every time, and leaves off the wind speed, which is only available in the detailed spoken forecast. You can't get the temperature forecast over time via the scrolling display.
3) Re-configure the picture forecast. I would like to vary the pictured forecast between the 4-day, and the next four 6-hour forecast sections. Right now, if you hit some buttons, you can get the precipitation forecast for the rest of the day, but you can't get the temperature forecast. (That's only available in the spoken detailed forecast.)
4) The warnings setup needs some work. I need to set it up so that during the night when I'm sleeping, the unit will only wake me up for tornados. Otherwise, I don't want it to even beep. During the day, I DO want the unit to gently let me know of other severe weather conditions. Right now, all you can do is pick what action you want for each kind of warning, but it won't change that during the night. (For instance, I want to know about a flood warning during the day, but at night I don't care, as I live on high ground.)
In summary: If you can get this for a good price, go ahead, but I wouldn't pay anywhere near list for this device until they clean it up some.
Also, you get 1 location to monitor that is free (you must fill out quite a form on the computer), but there is a yearly fee for any of the additional 4 locations it can monitor. I felt that the description was not clear on that.
There have also been a number of times the recording seems "broken" for lack of a better word. It will repeat several words of the greeting, then stop completely; never giving the weather. Sometimes nothing happens when you press the button and you assume it is broken. But the next day it is working fine!
It is basically impossible to speak with anyone at the website, although a number is given. I have sent a message asking for a call back and never received it. Very poor customer support.
Someone who has lots of time to "fiddle" with it and can see would probably do okay.
Well I thought what are the chances to get another bad unit, and bought this one from Amazon. Configuration was easy and it connected right away to the service. I subscribed to severe weather alert warnings and checked almost all warning options (except for tsunami warnings, because tsunamis are not very common in North Texas). The nearest weather station is located about 4 miles from our address.
Last weekend, the device forecast was predicting a sunny day "with a little chance of precipitation". Interestingly, radio and TV station interrupted their programming and broadcasted severe weather warnings including tornadoes and severe thunderstorm with hail, while weatherdirect.com still insisted on a sunny day. I thought that my unit has not been updated, because that only happens every 6 hours, or so. I forced my unit to update weather information by pushing the "snooze" button until it beeps. Meanwhile, we had a tornado on the ground just about 15 miles away and it was pouring rain where we live. But my weather station still enjoyed a sunny day and predicted 4 more sunny days to come. The next morning, the broadcasters again sent out severe thunderstorm alerts, including hail. My weather station was still telling me that it would be a sunny day without a chance of precipitation. This minute a severe thunderstorm hit us with strong winds, heavy rain and hail. If you like happy-pills, live in a bunker and never go outside, you would love this forecast. Well I don't.
My only hope is that Amazon.com will take this unit back for refund. Sure, technically the device is working (still predicting a lot of sunny days), all other weather services are predicting thunderstorms for today again. Since the unit can only be connected to weatherdirect.com and not to another weather service provider I can only rate the bundle, and would give it a minus-5 star rating if that was possible.