About Me

About My Personal Weather Station

By: swix, 1:13 PM GMT on January 13, 2013

My family thought it would be amusing to get me a weather station for Christmas. The amusing part is the fact that I work in the weather industry. I am a software programmer and have worked with various weather data including real AWOS systems installed at airports. I am very passionate about my work and always showing my family my new exciting developments.

They purchased a Thermor 265NC, otherwise labeled "National Geographic". I think they bought it at Coscto for $100. From what I could gather, it is a first generation system that has been modestly revamped and repackaged over the years. This system has a few deficiencies which I have been able to overcome and another which I have yet to try.

The software that comes with this system, EasyWeather, is only useful for configuring the system. It has a terrible visualizer. Also, it is not capable of transmitting to the web. So, I happened upon the Cumulus software and it 'just works'. It immediately recognizes the system in Fine-Offset mode.

In my honest opinion unit does not properly average the winds, because they still bounce around too closely to the instantaneous winds. Thankfully the Cumulus software has a mode for 10-minute average which compensates nicely for this which I recommend should be enabled. If transmitting to wunderground, then a second option to send that average should also be checked.

The second limitation was that I had to buy a pair of really good lithium energizer batteries for the transmitter outdoors. The first very cold evening (-20C) and the signal got too weak.

Next, the receiving unit indoors receives best when mounted upright on the wall rather than laying flat on the desk. It has a decent range.

Next the windchill calculation built into the unit doesn't seem right. The Cumulus software has an option to override the windchill calculation.

The default relative pressure (MSLP) programmed into the unit needs to be changed for your elevation. The Instructions that come with this system to not begin to explain why and how to do this. IMHO, The easiest way is to wait for a steady calm day and set it the same as your local airport. Or it could be calculated using an MSLP online calculation if you know your elevation. Likewise your elevation can be approximated by using the MSLP calculator at your current pressure and temperature and plug in different elevations until the MSLP matches the local airport.

The last issue I haven't yet had time to deal with is that when direct sunlight hits the unit the temperature reading can be about a degree Celsius or so too high. My plan is to modify the shield with a coat of white spray paint. There is a paint with ceramics in it which has automotive uses to shield against extreme heat and flame. Secondly I am going to use neoprene foam to shield any exposed wires to reduce conductive heat from reaching the temperature unit. I'll follow up to report how this worked out.

In conclusion, it is a good unit with the proper modifications and a great value. I feel this could perform as well as systems that cost magnitudes more money.

Updated: 3:01 PM GMT on January 23, 2013


About Me

About swix

I'm software programmer for 16 years, and in the weather industry for over 3. I speak METAR to say the least, and I've worked with true AWOS systems.