Review of WS2080 as posted at amazon.com
10 Jan 2012
when we purchased the ws2080 it was going for around $160 on amazon (oct2011). now (jan2012) it is available at $120.
this is a great station if you are just getting into weather monitoring. a davis might last longer, but then again you could just buy another WS2080 in two years and still be out less money than you would have paid for a davis.
these mid-range weather stations are manufactured by FineOffset then resold by ambient weather and others. the 2080 has a fairly comprehensive feature set. the 1080 has larger console, touchscreen, and requires more batteries. the 3080 has uv/sunlight sensors.
below are the PROs, CONs, and a few NOTEs about the WS2080 based on use on an island in mid-coast maine.
- inexpensive. you can get 3 of these (or 2 stations with 2 extra consoles) for the price of a single davis.
- reasonably accurate.
- trivial to set up.
- wireless range is decent, but not great.
- batteries (use lithium!) last a long time even in cold weather. requires 2 AA for the sensor and 2 AA for the console.
- multiple consoles can be used with a single instrument station. the console is WS-2080-C and can be ordered directly from ambient weather for about $40.
- console can be powered via the USB port.
- update interval is every 45 seconds or so (davis is every 2 seconds). as a result you'll miss a lot of wind gusts. not a big deal for the other data.
- no option for uv/sunlight.
- instruments are made of rather brittle, cheap plastic. they work, and they last at least a year or two, but they are cheap.
- no heater in the rain collector, nor is there an option to purchase one. easy enough to build your own, but beware that without it your rain collection data will be off when it snows.
- contrast in the display console is not great. for example, the wind direction indicator is difficult to read. the view angle for all readouts is rather limited.
- the backlight is splotchy - the diffuser is horrible.
- the instrument battery level is not reported to the console (nor is it accessible programmatically, for that matter).
- no access to the wireless protocols this device uses, so there is (not yet?) any way to use zigbee or other wireless device to collect data - must plug in to the console usb port, and that makes for a less aesthetically pleasing configuration.
- no external antenna port on the sensors for adding larger antenna or booster. no external antenna port on console either.
- the console buttons are not very well-designed. they work well enough for configuring the console the first time, but they are not very convenient for getting to the weather history data or for quickly changing the display (e.g. from F to C and back).
- we have two consoles communicating to a sensor cluster 200 ft away, with wood and brick walls between. in this configuration communication is lost about 30% of the time, but re-establishes itself. with direct line-of-site and 200 ft the connection is never lost.
- be sure to keep the temperature/humidity sensor out of direct sunlight. if you must place it in direct sunlight, then build a shield (plywood or styrene will work) or purchase the $40 shield from ambient.
- you do not have to mount all of the sensors on the mast. there are 3 parts: temperature/humidity, rain gauge, and wind speed/direction. these are connected by 2- and 4-conductor phone wire with RJ11 connectors, so you can extend the distance between sensors with some standard phone wire and connectors.
- the rain collector has no guard around its collection surface. if the collector is in a windy location, the readings will be low as most of the water will blow out of the collection dish. you might want to build a vertical wall around the collector to block the wind.
- the rain collector does not have enough surface area to read low rainfall amounts very well. build a funnel-like bowl around the collector to improve low-rainfall readings, but if you do this you will have to recalibrate the sensor.
- the console is not great for browsing historical data or even quickly changing between F and C. it is much better to hook up a data logger then display the data on a tablet or phone or computer for detailed analysis and manipulation.
Copyright © 2012 Matthew Wall, all rights reserved