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Old 21-11-2013, 20:32   #1
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Weather Instrumentation

I was actually hoping to put this in a non-electronics sub-forum as I thought there ought to be good analog solutions, but looking through the various on-line vendors offerings it looks like the solution might have to be electronic.

We have the incredibly expensive ($300-400 ea.) Williams & Plath porthole instruments for cabin temperature, time and barometric pressure. They might be pretty but they are not precision instruments, the clock doesn't even have a second hand.

So, what might be a good alternative if I want reasonably good timekeeping (off a second per day or so at most), barometric pressure, humidity and temperature ?

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Old 21-11-2013, 23:29   #2
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Re: Weather instrumentation

Have you checked out this site?

Best Weather Stations: Home Weather Stations, Professional Weather Stations, Wireless Weather Stations, Wireless Weather Instruments, Scientific Weather Stations, Forecast Weather Stations, Digital Weather Stations, Electronic Weather Stations, Perso
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Old 22-11-2013, 07:40   #3
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Re: Weather instrumentation

Thanks for the link. I had not looked at that site yet but will see what they have to offer.



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Old 22-11-2013, 08:36   #4
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Re: Weather instrumentation

There are some shipboard weather stations also but they look very expensive. Although this one may not be to bad.

WEATHERPAK® | Shipboard Weather Stations | Other Weather Instruments | Coastal Environmental Systems
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Old 22-11-2013, 09:06   #5
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Re: Weather instrumentation

Sven,
If you have access to a Walmart or can have them ship to you, you might consider something like this: La Crosse Technology WS-8418U-IT Atomic Wall Clock - Walmart.com
These are inexpensive clocks that are updated from the WWV radio signals and provide cabin temperature. The only limitation (can't tell from the web page) may be limitation to continental US time zones, which should not be a problem as long as you are coastal cruising North and South America.
If this satisfies your need for time and temperature, then all you need is a barometer. If you want an accurate barometer I'm afraid there are no inexpensive choices.

John
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Old 22-11-2013, 10:07   #6
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Re: Weather instrumentation

I would look for a LaCrosse weather station that provides these functions. I think it is more important to have barometric history to predict weather tendencies than an absolutely accurate barometer.

This is what we have. It works fairly well. It does not show seconds but I have a good clock for that.

WS-8025AL by La Crosse Technology - Tomorrow's Weather Today
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Old 22-11-2013, 10:59   #7
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Re: Weather instrumentation

We had an older LaCrosse weather station that was high quality and very good. After 13yrs, the remote sensors gave up the ghost and were no longer made. No complaints - it served us well.

We then bought a new equivalent model of LaCrosse ($300 http://www.lacrossetechnology.com/2815/index.php ). It was a piece of crap. VERY cheap quality. The display was DOA. Dealing with LaCrosse customer support to get a replacement was on par with dealing with Xantrex - certainly one of the worst customer experiences I have had. It may have been the worst.

Got a new display after fighting with them for a month. Then the rain gauge died within a month. The remote humidity sensor died a month later, followed by the temperature sensor a few weeks after that. After 6 months, the wind sensor died and we were left with a weather station whose only remaining functions were time and date. It never did keep time - being 5-15 minutes off every few days.

The date always worked perfectly though.

LaCrosse wouldn't accept any responsibility even though this was all under warranty. They basically told me to pound dirt because I used it in Panama and they only warranty it for use in the US and Canada (note that I was not asking them to pay for shipping, etc - just provide warranty replacement to a US address).

Look at on-line reviews and you will see lots of people complaining about the new LaCrosse gear. A lot of people like me who had excellent gear and support from them in the past who are now appalled at the quality of the products being sold currently.

I would stay away from LaCrosse.

We replaced it with a Davis weather station which so far has been without trouble.

Mark
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Old 22-11-2013, 11:23   #8
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Re: Weather instrumentation

Mark, good info. Mine is an older unit that they do not make any more.
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Old 22-11-2013, 12:08   #9
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Re: Weather instrumentation

Just for timekeeping, Casio (and prob others) makes several inexpensive wristwatches that are updated by satellite daily. Not sure if any offshore limitations...

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Old 22-11-2013, 13:06   #10
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Re: Weather instrumentation

Heck, they make watches with barometric pressure and temperature also!

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Old 22-11-2013, 13:45   #11
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Re: Weather instrumentation

Quote:
Originally Posted by colemj View Post
Heck, they make watches with barometric pressure and temperature also!
Yeah, but the temp is always 98.6 F

Re "chronographs", I've got a few cheap Timex and Casio digital watches that are +/- maybe a couple of seconds a year.

Weather is a chaotic system, which is the sort of thing I don't 'get' easily. But I know there are many decent electronic air-pressure sensors available, so I'm surprised there aren't more marine electronic barometers around. It wouldn't be hard to add memory for storing a few days of pressure history, and sounding an alarm if the pressure is dropping at a concerning rate.
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Old 22-11-2013, 14:15   #12
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Re: Weather instrumentation

"... so I'm surprised there aren't more marine electronic barometers around. It wouldn't be hard to add memory for storing a few days of pressure history, and sounding an alarm if the pressure is dropping at a concerning rate. "

I purchased an electronic recording barometer 4 or 5 years ago (Upgraded Electronics). This unit is still working very well, but the company appears to have gone belly up. That may be the problem with this tiny market - the manufacturers can't make any money making a quality product so they either go out of business or cheapen the product as Mark experienced.

John
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Old 22-11-2013, 15:10   #13
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Look at ASI. They make electronic barometers for boats. I have a DBX1. It has a day graph and a week graph. Very accurate.

http://www.buyabarometer.com/
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Old 22-11-2013, 16:43   #14
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NASA Marine do a nice reasonable unit


http://www.nasamarine.com/proddetail.php?prod=MeteoMan

Dave
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Old 23-11-2013, 03:29   #15
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Re: Weather instrumentation

For time, get it off your GPS. It is precise to small fractions of a second. Transfer the time from GPS to whatever timepiece you like from time to time. I have a WWII-era Chelsea mechanical clock from a US Navy destroyer for displaying the time on the bulkhead. I had it overhauled, and it keeps amazingly good time for such a medieval device (seemingly within a minute a month), but when you have GPS on board, the time-keeping properties of such devices is not really all that important.

For wind, outside temp, humidity, barometric pressure, I use the Maretron WSO100 at the masthead with a DSM250 display. The weather screen displays ground wind speed and direction on a compass rose, 24 hours of barometric pressure as a barograph trace, sunrise, sunset, temperature, humidity, moon phase, etc. It's really good, although I don't like the fact that you can't configure a graph to show wind speed and direction trends over some past period. It's really extremely useful to have all this information at the nav table.

I also have a cheap generic freestanding weather-station type display inherited from the previous owner. This is also useful! Inside temperature and humidity and a good barograph, plus time, moon phase, etc., which doesn't need the instruments to be powered up to work.
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