Can I Just Use the Weather Underground Instead?
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RELEASE DATE: 10/08/2020. This firmware is only for Wireless Vantage Pro2 Consoles manufactured April 2006 or later (product code of #6312.
This will not work on a 6312C Cabled Console). The Inside Temp, Inside Hum, and Barometer readings will not appear if version 3.88 firmware is installed on consoles manufactured before April 2006. Firmware version 3.88. Improved evapotranspiration (ET) calculation.
Firmware version 3.80. Modified heat index table to better support high temp and high humidity environments. Firmware version 3.65. Restored "Receiving From" from initial boot screen for easier setup configuration. Firmware version 3.62. Minor improvements to allow use of new (or alternate)Temp/Hum and Barometer. Added additional support for international radio frequencies.
There are many uses for historical weather information, but your desktop console often does not store more than a few hours of past data for review. This is where personal weather station software comes in, and why we recommend that you install it yourself to get the most out of your investment. If you’re only using your personal weather station to find out the current weather conditions, you’re not using your station to its fullest potential.
You can forecast and analyse much more by looking at weather trends over the longer term versus just observing whatever is happening at any given moment. For example, seeing how a shift in wind direction affects weather conditions and temperature over several hours may provide clues as to what the weather may do in the near future. Also, reviewing weather observations for an extended period of time may help you better decide whether you might need to water your garden more as a result of overall drier weather to ensure optimal growth, and so on. Most weather stations come with software in the box.
There are a few stations—most notably the Davis Vantage Pro2 and Davis Vantage Vue—where you’ll need to purchase some type of attachment or dongle to connect it to a software program, but those are few and far between. There are also third-party software options available if the included software doesn’t meet your needs, which we’ll cover later. While typically these are “shareware,” meaning you can download them for free to try but must pay for a license if you plan to continue to use them, a few options are available at no cost. Generally, the free weather software options are limited and often lack reliable customer support. We think the included software options will be sufficient for most, although your specific situation might require a software application that is more robust.
Additionally, Mac users might run into compatibility issues, as most manufacturers only produce software for the Windows platform and not the macOS.
In this case, your only software option may be a third-party application. Modern personal weather stations offer internet connectivity, which in turn allows the station to upload data to the Internet. A popular destination for sharing weather data over the Internet is Weather Underground, which is the world’s largest database of live personal weather stations. If merely sharing your weather data to the world is your biggest goal, then just uploading it to the service will be sufficient. The Weather Underground has its limitations.
The service is ideal for displaying up-to-the-minute data from your station. However, its historical data options are limited.
Because of the sheer amount of data the Weather Underground must process due to the thousands of stations on its network, it only captures data about every 10 minutes. Additionally, its display options for historical data are limited, so if you are looking for specific weather data (say a graph of a select number of days), you’re restricted in how it is displayed. It's, for this reason, we instead recommend you install a software package to analyze historical data versus relying on a service like Weather Underground.
A Software suite gives you much more control over how your data is displayed, as well as giving you the option to store data as frequently or infrequently as you’d like. What software is the best to use? Here are our recommendations. WeatherLink (Windows and Mac): If you’re a Davis weather station owner, you don’t have much of a choice other than to purchase the WeatherLink software—regardless of whether you use it or not.
This is because the software itself is bundled with a special dongle that is necessary to connect your Vantage Vue or Vantage Pro2 to your computer. While the software itself is a bit dated, it offers a high degree of customizability on how you can view your data. It also allows you to upload your weather data to the Internet, either through the Weather Underground or to your own website. AmbientWeather.net (Web): Ambient Weather's cloud based service is one of the most-recently developed personal weather station software options. The interface is intuitive and user-friendly because it is both a cloud and web-based service that it will run on any device with a web browser. Compatible with a wide variety of manufacturers either directly or with the addition of the Ambient Weather WeatherBridge. What catches our eye here is the IFTTT support, which allows you to use your weather data to trigger events on your smart devices and the Amazon Alexa support which allows you to ask Alexa for a report on the current conditions or for a report about a specific day, month or year.
Our Weather Station Software Recommendations
Cumulus (Windows/Mac/Linux): A free option—as long as you're willing to deal with outdated software—is Sandaysoft's Cumulus. Its interface reminds us a lot of WeatherLink. Dated, but incredibly powerful. We'd even argue Cumulus does graphs better. Sandaysoft says the software should work with Davis stations with the dongle, in addition to some Oregon Scientific, Fine Offset, and La Crosse models. Check their site to confirm your station is compatible.
WeatherSnoop (Mac): For Mac users, WeatherSnoop is the best option for broad compatibility. A companion iOS app allows you to also view data from your iPhone and iPad when you’re not at home. The Lite version is focused solely on getting your weather data online, so we’d recommend the Pro version of the software to get the analytical features that we consider a ‘must have’ when considering weather station software.
WeeWX (Mac/Linux): Feeling a bit daring and adventurous? If you have some tech and computer smarts, WeeWX might be a worthwhile option. It’s completely free and open source and allows you to customize how it outputs data to organize web pages better. It can even upload your data to Weather Underground too. We do caution however that you must be comfortable with Linux, as it operates off the command line, and doesn’t have a friendly graphical user interface. But because it’s such a small and nimble program, you can run it on a Raspberry Pi, negating the need to leave your main computer on all of the time. Weather Display (Windows/Mac/Linux): One of the leading software packages to get the most from your weather station that was first released in the year 2000 and is still continually upgraded by the developer.
Weather Display includes features such as real time data display, graph history, FTP transfer of the weather data to your own web page, email/text notifications of extreme conditions and data transfer to Weather Underground.
The software is compatible with a wide range of stations from manufacturers including Davis, AcuRite, La Crosse and Oregon Scientific. A lifetime license with free updates will set you back $60. WxSwitchLink is fully compatible with the Weatherlink datalogger. We support Serial, USB and IP data loggers. If for any reason the WxSwitchLink process stops during a few hours or days, once it reconnects again to the data logger it will retrieve old values so that you will not have blank periods in your data. Starting with version 3.0, WxSwitchLink is now fully compatible with WeatherLink software and you can run WxSwitchLink and WeatherLink at the same time. All Vantage Pro 2 stations consist of two main parts: the outside sensor assembly and the display console.
The sensor assembly obviously sits outside in the weather, while the console is usually placed indoors where its LCD display screen can easily be read to see the very latest weather readings. The main features of the VP2 range include:. Measures all of the following as standard: wind speed & direction; air temperature & humidity; pressure and rainfall. Many other readings such as windchill temperature, rainfall rate, sunrise and sunset times are calculated by the console.
Sunshine and UV intensity sensors are options for all VP2 stations. The anemometer is separate from the main ISS sensor assembly, giving the key benefit that the anemometer can be mounted up high to measure maximum wind speeds, with other readings being measured more accurately closer to ground level.
|Virtual Weather Station||Ambient Weather||www.ambientweather.com||Forum||Win32|
|Weather Display||Brian Hamilton||wwwweather-display.com||Forum||Win32, Mac, Linux|
|WeatherTracker||AfterTen||www.afterten.com||Not Known||Mac OSX|
Where Can I Get Free Weather Station Software?
Fan-aspirated shields are available as an option to improve temperature accuracy. Large impressive LCD display on the console. Easy installation with screw & U-bolt fixings (excluding pole) and fully detailed installation manuals included.
More details on Davis web site: Davis Vantage Pro 2. The Davis Vantage Vue weather station is aimed at providing all the well-known Davis qualities of reliability and accuracy in a lower cost, compact and easy-to-use wireless-only package. Key features of the Vue include:. Wind speed & direction, with updates every 2.5 seconds allowing the display of true wind gust data.
- Air temperature. The Vantage Vue station consists of just two components: the display console shown here and a single all-in-one outside sensor assembly (referred to - by analogy with the VP2 systems - as the Vue ISS or Integrated Sensor Suite) - see picture below.
- Essentially all that's required to install a Vue station is to attach the ISS to a suitable pole or mast by means of a single U-bolt and within wireless range of the display console, and to power up the system.
- More details on Davis web site: Davis Vantage vue.
Real-time web-page programs
This is a specific category of add-on program that allows web pages to display genuinely real-time weather data with updates, in principle, as often as every 2-3 seconds, thereby being able to show individual wind gusts on a public web page. Traditional (D)HTML-only web pages are not suitable for such high-frequency updates and so special web-page technology using Flash or Silverlight is needed. A bonus of using Flash/Silverlight is that cosmetically very attractive web page presentations can be designed, so not only do do these displays update frequently but they also look great too. It’s well worth taking a look at some example of what these real-time programs can deliver – the web page results can be very impressive.
There are currently three different real-time webpage programs available. In every example to date, the task of generating these displays is split between two different programs. The real-time display program takes care only of the final graphic display in the user’s web browser and relies on a feed of pre-processed weather data in a specific format from a ‘parent’ program, which is one from among the alternative programs listed above. So, for example, Weather Display Live (WDL) is the Flash real-time program that accepts a data feed from the well-known Weather Display (WD) program.
To be clear, WDL and WD are completely separate programs, written in fact by two different people in different countries – it’s just that WDL is designed to understand the stream of weather data that WD can output. There is, as yet, no agreed standard format for passing data between the parent program and the real-time display generator and consequently each real-time program can only be used in harness with its own intended parent program. Also, it’s a fact that Davis have not seen fit to provide a suitable feed of processed data from their Weatherlink program and so there is no generally available real-time display program that can be run together with Weatherlink (although there is at least one private prototype of such a display). So the only way to run such a real-time webpage display is also to run the appropriate paired parent program. The available programs are:
- Weather Display Live (for Weather Display)
- WeatherFlash (for Virtual Weather Station)
- Cumulus Realtime (for Cumulus)
This is a small group of utilities that are described as offline because they don’t integrate with their parent application in processing live weather data. We’ll probably limit this category to add-on utilities for the Weatherlink program itself – there will also be add-ons available only intended for use with other major alternative programs like Weather Display, but it’s difficult for us to keep any listing of these properly up-to-date, so it’s better to look in the main resource pages for the program in question, for example for Weather Display itself, the main website or forums. There are three examples to date here:
- WXSIM: WXSIM is a unique software package for forecasting weather. Although the primary role for automatic weather stations is to measure and log current weather conditions, it is also possible to use the trends identifiable in weather readings as a basis for forecasting future weather by computer program. While there are limitations to this approach, WXSIM does very much represent the state of the art in how well such a PC program can perform. By using an ancillary program (WXSIMATE) WXSIM can read data files produced by the Weatherlink program (and also by certain other VP-compatible programs such as Weather Display) then use these to identify and input current trend data into the main WXSIM program;
- Weatherlink archive file editor: The Weatherlink program provides for some editing of existing archive records (for example if a spurious sensor reading has been logged and is distorting long-term records of highs & lows) but it quite limited in what it can do. The utility linked to here provides more powerful editing features;
- Weatherlink Reporter – Monthly Edition (WLR-ME): This is a utility intended to provide a powerful tool for generating attractive PDF monthly reports of weather data. There is a minimal report generator included within Weatherlink (NOAA Reports), but this is very limited in what it can produce. Please note that WLR-ME is currently only available as an early beta with some known bugs, but may be of interest for preliminary evaluation. A more complete version is planned for release by Q2 2010;
To be clear, all Vantage family stations – ie original Vantage Pro 1, the more recent Vantage Pro 2 and the latest Vantage Vue models – use the same set of data loggers, most commonly the 6510USB or 6510SER loggers. And whichever station model is used to generate the raw data, the output format from the logger is essentially** identical. So VP-compatible software should in general be compatible with any of the the main current types of Vantage station, ie VP1, VP2 and Vue.
** Strictly speaking, the precise data output format can vary in one or two details with the console firmware version. It’s also obviously essential that the linked PC is matched appropriately to the logger’s output interface type (ie USB or Serial or Ethernet). So in practice the PC configuration may need tweaking to achieve 100% compatibility of software with the particular station and logger types, but this should be readily possible to achieve in the vast majority of cases.