Weather Instruments

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Weather Stations

Written by Nicholas Kamuda
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Home weather stations do everything that you might expect them to--often better than you may expect them to. They measure and record complex weather data, take indoor temperature and humidity readings, and even forecast the weather. They are compact, convenient, comprehensive tools for understanding the weather around us.

Most home weather stations come in two parts. First, there is the console unit, which is the base "weather station." These units are usually no larger than eight or ten inches in one direction, and no more than an inch or so thick. On the console unit is the display window, commonly in the form of a large LCD window with easy-to-read data displayed in alphanumerics, charts, graphs, or a combination of all three.

All of the weather data is measured by an array of sensors often called a sensor suite. Though many sensor suites are customizable, most basic sensor suites contain an outdoor thermometer, a barometer, and maybe even a hygrometer (used for measuring water vapor in the air). More specialized sensors such as anemometers and UV sensors are also available for most home weather stations.

The Rising Popularity of Weather Stations

With the advent of inexpensive digital technology, it has become possible for powerful weather analysis centers to be shrunk and made available to the public at affordable costs. Improvements in the engineering of sensory devices have aided in improving the popularity of home weather stations, and recent advancements in wireless technology have also undoubtedly helped as well. With current models of digital weather station, it is possible to have completely cable-free systems up and running in no time at all--the sensor suites receive their power from photovoltaic cells, and the base station operates on a few small batteries.

It's no secret that the Internet has helped many niche technologies gain stronger footing, and weather stations are no different. Weather enthusiasts all over the world form massive online networks, some containing thousands of members, to log, exchange, and share weather data. By banding together, enthusiasts have been able to make their collective voice heard, bringing about improvements in product design, usability, and features. In exchange, they promote well-engineered weather stations with an unmatchable zeal.

Because of the passion involved, weather enthusiasts' sites make great places for potential customers to research information on weather related products. You can often find in-depth product reviews, and there are usually forums where newcomers can pose questions to those in the know. Finding trustworthy opinions on niche products such as weather stations can normally be very difficult, but gathering opinions from weather product experts can be as easy as a quick, curious post on a weather website.

Purchasing A Weather Station

There are other great places to do online research into the world of weather stations. Home electronics review sites often feature popular products, and their casual, anecdote-based tone is a good way to glean information and discover what features you are really looking for in a weather station. Technology sites or "gadget-guy" sites are also good places to look, the information they have online is usually a little more in-depth than home electronics sites, and such sites regularly feature multiple consumer reviews of a single product. Consumers who submit reviews for tech or gadget sites are usually very careful to outline exactly which features they do and do not like, which can be wonderfully informative for first-time consumers.

Some weather station manufacturers will directly sell their products, and some will sell only through established retail portals. Online sites are worth looking at, as online vendors will usually offer perks beyond what manufacturers offer. For example, most online stores will offer free shipping and satisfaction guarantees, and some will even throw in free batteries.


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