Wednesday, December 26, 2012

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Davis Vantage Pro 2 Envoy, Vantage VUE, and USB Weatherlink Unboxing

I decided to take the plunge and buy a Davis Vantage VUE weather station for my house. I wanted a quality unit that I wouldn't have to mess around with that reported reliable results. I also didn't want to pay a fortune for what is really a hobby. I planned this to be the perfect compliment to the McHenry Illinois radar weather that shows on my family website.
ISS Sensors (big brown box - back), Weather Envoy (white box - left), and USB datalogger and software

After talking with application specialist at Davis Instruments I came to the conclusion that to meet my needs I needed:
  1. Vantage Vue Wireless ISS (Integrated Sensor Suite) -6357
  2. Vantage Pro2 Weather Envoy  - 6316 
  3. USB data logger with WeatherLink software - 6510USB
For me this made sense, since I wanted:
  • To measure a variety of outside parameters
  • Publish frequent measurements to the web (always available anywhere from my smartphone) and measure long term weather trends
  • Convenience of wireless transmission from the sensors to my computer
  • Clean installation. I didn't want or need the traditional LCD console (plenty of computers, phones and tablets in my house)
  • Ability to easily publish weather station data to 3rd party websites to help the community

What follows is a review of the products and the assembly of the system.
Davis 6357 Vantage ISS
Davis 6357 Vantage ISS Instructions, Wind Direction, and Wind Speed Sensor
Davis 6357 Vantage ISS sensor array, rain sensor, and mounting hardware
Davis 6357 Vantage ISS - all parts from the box
Wind Speed cups up close
Solar panel - minimizes battery use by the sensors
Level bubble (top) helps assure level sensor mounting
The solar panel is a pretty neat design. With it facing southern sunlight you are supposed to be able to get greater than 2 years from the CR-123 lithium battery. Eventually I want to mount ours on our roof and getting up there to change a battery to frequently would be a real pain. The battery is rated at 8 months with no sunlight.
Bottom of Davis 6357 Vantage ISS with nothing installed
Top of Davis 6357 Vantage ISS with nothing installed
Small parts and hardware for ISS
The sensor assembly had good quality components and everything I needed included.
First step - securing the wind speed cups onto the sensor array with the supplied hex wrench
Slotted shaft where the wind direction vane mounts on the bottom of the ISS
Tightening the wind direction sensor with the included allen wrench
Tipping Bucket Rain Gauge (7345.280) assembly - before installation
The rain collector assembly is real easy to fit into the housing. It also seems like it would be easy to replace if it were ever to have a problem. It's a tipping spoon type with 0.01" resolution.
Bottom of Davis 6357 Vantage ISS showing where the Rain Gauge is installed
Davis 6357 Vantage ISS Rain Gauge installs with a thumb screw
Installing the little black plastic debris shield for the rain gauge collector
Inserted the battery and the sensor array LED began blinking green
Once the unit is powered up it needs at least 10 minutes to connect up with the Envoy (or the console). The two units need to be at least 10 feet away from each other while their locating each other. Since I only had one sensor and Envoy, the defaults were great and found each other with no hassles.
Installed the stainless steel mounting hardware (1 u-bolt, 2 washers, 2 nuts, and a bar)
Next part of the unboxing is the Vantage Pro2 Weather Envoy 6316 and the USB datalogger and WeatherLink software. I also have some pictures of the final sensor assembly.

You can see the data reported by this station at:

Please note that the software I'm running is an wview open source weather software and not the Windows WeatherLink software. I prefer more flexible software that will integrate with my websites easier and run my 24/7 Linux servers.
Weather Underground PWS KAZFOUNT19