Home Weather Station? DIY?

I've been wanting to get(or build) myself a weather station for use at home
I know you can buy various weather station units...what I don't know is which ones are good & which are junk.
Cost is obviously a big factor, I don't want to spend allot (ideally keeping it well under $100), but at the same time I also don't want something where the outdoor sensors are going to end up in pieces on the first hailstorm it sees(which is not a matter of 'if' but 'when' we will get hail here), same for wind, if it can't handle a 100+ mph gust its only a matter of time...

I also really like the thought of building my own, using an Audrino or Raspberry Pi as the 'brain'. This would be my preferred choice, but not sure how practical/easy it is (I know at one time there was a kit available to schools, but not the general public, because I looked around on google & it seems everything points back to that)

I guess my questions are:
Anyone here ever try using a Pi & doing their own weather station?
In my case the Pi needs to stay safely inside, I don't want to mess around with weather-resistant cases for it (as it looks like those kits had). I'm fine with running a wire up to the roof for a wind sensor (& any others that could be placed there). But is it truly safe to do so? You now have an electrified(though low voltage) device(s) up past the highest point of the house...should it then need a lightning rod? I know a temperature sensor should be located closer to the ground & running a wire out to the yard wouldn't be very easy/practical, so some sorta wireless like the little in/out-door thermometer things they sell in stores? Where's the best place to put a rain gauge? be fine on the roof? Is there such thing as a lightning sensor?

And say I wanted to 'take the easy way', just buy a pre-made unit, with what I mentioned above about costs & the 'abuse' it might take: What should I look for? Avoid? etc?

Oh and a final thing...whether DIY, or pre-made, I don't want anything that requires an internet connection to operate!
 
Cost is obviously a big factor, I don't want to spend allot (ideally keeping it well under $100),

If this is true, then you can stop there. You simply cannot get quality meteorological measurements for so cheap unless you can procure the individual components (sensors, mounts, etc.) yourself at reduced cost and assemble the instrument on your own. Meteorological instrumentation has its own branch of the science.
 
I bought an Ambient Weater Station 2902a. It's $170, but I LOVE it. It was the closest thing I could find for quality and good reviews that wouldn't cost me as much as a Davis weather station. WiFi enabled, has it's own app and website so you can see weather conditions at your home from anywhere. If you can pay the little bit extra, it's worth it. Every other weather station I've had below $100 has been crap.
 
@Jeff Duda:
I'd be totally ok with getting individual components & putting it all together :) (though that'd probably be allot of work .lol. ) I have a feeling what you say "you can stop there" is right as far as limiting it to $100. I may have to give up the idea...


@JeremyS:
That one looks pretty nice, and nice to hear its better quality & has good reviews. I also like that its solar powered.
Does it need internet connection to work? In my case I'd really rather keep it offline.
One of my biggest worries about the 'cheap' units I've seen at local stores is how well they'd hold up to the 'abuse' they may end up taking. Where I'm at its only a matter of time before we get hail or high winds.


@Russell Jones:
Nice...looks like a pro-quality system? I deff like the flexibility that one offers. Would _love_ to have something like that! (but sadly far out of my $ limit)
 
I bought an Ambient Weater Station 2902a. It's $170, but I LOVE it. It was the closest thing I could find for quality and good reviews that wouldn't cost me as much as a Davis weather station. WiFi enabled, has it's own app and website so you can see weather conditions at your home from anywhere. If you can pay the little bit extra, it's worth it. Every other weather station I've had below $100 has been crap.
Jeremy do you happen to know how often the wind gets measured? I've had my eye on this. I currently own an Acurite 5 in 1 that only measures once every 17 seconds which misses the majority of strong wind gusts. Drove me NUTS. Oh and the hygrometer has failed after about 3 years! It was a nice intro PWS but I need to move on.
 
Jeremy do you happen to know how often the wind gets measured? I've had my eye on this. I currently own an Acurite 5 in 1 that only measures once every 17 seconds which misses the majority of strong wind gusts. Drove me NUTS. Oh and the hygrometer has failed after about 3 years! It was a nice intro PWS but I need to move on.

Steve- it does only do every 16 seconds which I agree is a bit annoying. For myself, while I would like to have accurate wind measurements, I didn't really have a good place to put my weather station where I would get accurate measurements anyway. I have a 2 story house and didn't want to mount it to the roof where I am risking death every time I need to access the unit. I just mounted it to the fence in my backyard so it is affected by the other houses around me anyway.
 
@James K
Here's a nice review of everything. You don't have to set it up to your internet, but you're missing out on some of the nice features of course. I haven't had any big hail yet, but have had winds up to 55 mph with no problems.
 
I've had my eyes on this setup for awhile. Amazon.com: AcuRite 01007M Atlas Weather Station with HD Touchscreen Display, Remote Monitoring and Lightning Detection: Home & Kitchen Wind measurements every 11 seconds, lightning detection, great HD display.

However, the reviews are really not good for the most part. The lightning detector records phantom strikes, there are connection issues beyond 50 feet when they claim 300 and customer service is non-existant. It seems like they rolled out a Beta model without regard to thoroughly testing it. I'm reading the issues are known well known and have been for quite awhile now so I'm hoping they correct their issues soon. I think this is what I'm looking for but will wait til it's right.
 
@Robert Tarling:
I've seen the Davis stations mentioned as being good! - on other sites (not even weather sites)


@Tom Stefanac:
Oooh I'll have to check out your vid sometime later.
(currently uploading something to YouTube, & don't have the bandwith/speed to watch vids while uploading)


@Steve LaBelle:
The 'sample rate' for wind speed is something I wouldn't have thought about


@JeremyS:
I just don't trust whatever spyware might be in it. I have a second WiFi router/network thats always kept offline (and used only during holiday season - I have a Raspberry Pi & some controllers for my Christmas lights .. being able grab a tablet or laptop & WiFi into that system anywhere in (or near) the house sure is nice. I wouldn't mind leaving that router on all year & connecting a weather station to it :) )

Where I'm at can easily get gusts up to 80mph in the winter - just the nature of living near the mountains in CO. In all the time I've lived here I can remember once where they said the gusts were 100+ .. I can honestly say I've never felt wind that strong .LOL. when one of those hits, you better either have something to hold on to, or sit down, because there's no way you'd remain standing. Feeling it in the floor & some of the creaking noises the house made were a but creepy too.
There's been a couple times have had hail bad enough that it meant getting the roof re-shingled (luckily that doesn't happen often!). Small hail - up to pea-size is a given that you'll get atleast a bit of pretty much every year
Nice to hear yours has been fine with 55mph gusts - so we know it can take 'normal' weather!

For me, best place would be on the roof...problem with the backyard would be finding a spot where it wouldn't have trees overhanging and/or be sprayed by the sprinklers.

That review was good to read. The newer WS-2000 model looks interesting too.

I might have to just wait/reconsider my $100 limit, & think more in the $200 range.


@Steve LaBelle:
lightning detection??! That would be nice if it worked..
 
@Tom Stefanac:
Checked out your vid today (before launching another upload to YouTube)
That honestly looks like a really nice setup, and I like those in/near ground moisture sensors!
 
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