AcuRite 5 in 1 Weather Station

AcuRite 5-1 Weather Station

Since my astronomy work is being limited by my weather I thought I would turn my attention to the weather.  A fellow space/weather person recommended AcuRite as a cheaper and viable competitor to my Davis Vantage Vue so I decided to see if the 5-1 Weather Station could compete against my tried and true Davis V.V.  I bought one direct from AcuRite and received my unit in good shape and without a delay.  Packaging was good and all parts were there.  Off to a good start.

The weather station requires 4 AA batteries to operate and it is recommended and I agree that you use lithium batteries if you are in a cold winter climate as they will not drain as quickly.  There is a solar cell on board you have to face south, but that only runs a small fan inside to protect the ambient temperature readings from being influenced by heat buildup.  The unit is easy to mount with metal piping or wood mdowels.  A short plastic pipe is included for mounting on the side of a house or a railing.  The color console requires 3 AA batteries for backup, but the unit comes with an AC adapter for use with electric inside of a house.  The color console is easy to set up just follow directions.

My Davis Vantage Vue has been with me for 7-8 years and has performed flawlessly.  I have the older version of WeatherLink software and I can't share the info because I run everything wireless and with my version you need an ethernet connection.  I was anxious to share data on Weather Underground from my AcuRite which is one reason I wanted to try it.

I like the colorization.  I guess I was tired of always seeing orange hue on my V.V.  The ticker tape idea at the bottom of the console is a neat idea as it scrolls info across the screen.  My AcuRite station is at the front of my house and the Davis is in the rear.  The Davis wind readings are always off when the wind is South- Northwest because of the house blocking the way.  North to South is no problem.  The AcuRite is just the opposite problem so this way I now have it all covered.  All readings were within a degree or 1% of each other so the accuracy of the AcuRite is comparable to the Davis(air pressure not withstanding.  More on that later) and both were within allowable limits when compared to my local NWS station located about 6 miles away.  In my estimation the AcuRite was a very pleasant surprise when comparing the hardware to my old faithful Davis.  The biggest and most frustrating problem was with the computer software.

My method of hookup was through something called PC Connect which is a direct connect to your PC.  The unit has the ability to add more sensors to other places and if you do that you would use a Smart Hub.  I wasn't doing that at this time although I may yet add at least one sensor, but for right now I was satisfied with just seeing readings and sharing them on a network.  Here is where the story goes awry.

I downloaded the program from the AcuRite website and proceeded to allow sharing both to AcuRite(your readings go to them then to your dashboard from what was explained to me) and to Weather Underground.  To make a long story as short as possible absolutely no readings showed up on my dashboard for hours.  My WU readings were the readings from my console.  I tried everything to to get something and nothing worked.  When readings finally started showing up they were nowhere near the present readings on my console.  After working on everything i could think of to rectify the situation and since it was Friday night I waited and called the tech support on Monday.  I started out as #14 in line and waited on line till I was #8.  I decided to take advantage of the call back which held your place in line.  I hung up and went about my business waiting for my call back.  IT NEVER HAPPENED!  I called again and found out I was now #21.  Now I am a tiny bit upset.  So I asked for a call back and to hold my place in line and hung up and immediately called back to see what I would get.  To my surprise I was #7.  I stayed on.  After about 30 min. I get a lady and although I was upset I stayed calm and explained, first, the phone problem.  She said they were having trouble with the phones and never to use the call back.  I will remember that.  After explaining my computer problem she put me on hold and checked something and said that my problem could not be handled by her and I would have to a level 2/tech 2.  I said "Okay, transfer me"  She said that she couldn't and I would have to call another number to talk to them.  Really, really.  I got the number and called and found I was #7 so I stayed on.  The next lady heard my problem and checked something and said that it looked like my readings were frozen or really behind and she would have to put in a request to the tech guys that they fix it from behind and that she couldn't do it.  She said it would take about 24 hours.  I said ok again and proceeded to wait 3 days.  When nothing changed I called again(#3).  I waited.  This lady told me that there was an overload of new accounts like me and it was bogging down the system and that it would correct itself in time.  TIME.....that was the correct word to use.  It took time.  Exactly 3 weeks and 2 days from my first phone call.  This past Sunday they caught up.  Now that that's over here is the rest of the take on this unit.

I still haven't figured out how to calibrate the unit. On line instructions tell you where, but not how and what I try doesn't work.  The pressure reading is off compared to my Davis, but the funny thing is my dashboard(the name given to the readings on the computer) is not the same as my console and the dashboard is more in line with my Davis.  Also, you can check a box that will not let your computer go into sleep mode, but that doesn't work for me either.  

Final thoughts....I like the hardware and its look compared to the my Davis and the readings are comparable except for air pressure which my be correctable if I ever figure out how.  The computer program however is far and away outdone by my older version of WeatherLink.  I also prefer the WeatherLink look on my computer with the gauges and pressure graph.  I do not like the dashboard in its look and I definitely do not like the computer program in setting up or in operation.  These are my thoughts from personal experience and your experience might be totally different.  I will probably be uninstalling the program and using my console in my office to get readings and will have to add .2 to the barometer because that is the difference between the Davis and the AcuRite. The plus is that now I have windspeed/direction covered totally.  If you can live with not so subtle problems and adapt or if your experience is better than mine then the biggest difference will favor the AcuRite because it costs a lot less.  The choice is yours.  I make no recommendations.

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