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Backpacker Magazine – Online Exclusive

Gear Review: Acu-Rite Wireless Weather Station and Weather Station Forecaster

Rainshell or fleece? Know at a glance with this wireless weather station.

by: Joel Nyquist

Wireless Weather Station Forecaster (Courtesy Photo)
Wireless Weather Station Forecaster (Courtesy Photo)

The Specs:
Price
Weather Station Forecaster - $50
Wireless Weather Station - $120
Weight
Weather Station Forecaster is 15 oz. with batteries.
chaneyinstruments.com

Weather. It can turn a short dayhike into a rainy, soggy mess, and many backcountry tragedies can be blamed on it. I’ve always been interested in weather, and while satellite forecasting and weather-at-your fingertips mobile apps are available when you’re online, I love being able to feel like a weatherman anytime I want without turning on my computer or scrolling through menus.

I tried out two indoor/outdoor weather stations from Acu-Rite, the basic Weather Station Forecaster, and the more advanced Wireless Weather Station, and found myself constantly checking the temperature, how the barometer was faring, and what my immediate local forecast was. Both models are entirely wireless, and include an outdoor sensor which reports temperature, humidity, barometric pressure, and a forecasting function which was surprisingly accurate. The more sophisticated Wireless Weather Station comes equipped with an anemometer to measure wind speed and shows trend lines for each measurement so you can see for yourself how quickly the pressure is falling and how bad the storm might be.

Installing the sensor for each unit took about two minutes each, which included the time to find my hammer. The sensor for the Forecaster is about the size of a pager and hangs off a single nail like a picture frame. Take care with your sensor location; it’s a little like searching for Goldilocks’ perfect porridge. You don’t want direct sunlight on a hot porch, but don’t mount it next to a drain spout where cold water pools, either. If you opt for the more complex Weather Station you can mount the sensor with spinning anemometer on a pole (not included) for accurate wind speed measurements, or screw it to the top of a fencepost like I did. The 433 MHz frequency has a range of 300 feet in a field and about 100 feet through your house. I didn’t have any problems with the sensor in my backyard reaching the front door.

Once you get the sensor installed outside, setting up the receiver couldn’t be easier. Simply insert the batteries, set the time, and you’re up and running. The station processes information from the last 14 days to produce the 12-to-24 hour forecasts depending on your local weather trends, which makes them very precise. In fact, one Sunday evening I glanced at it before heading to bed and was surprised to see it indicating that we were in for snow. This seemed odd, since the day had been clear, but when I woke up the next morning we had a few inches of the white stuff and a two-hour delay for work. Score!

With a weather station installed at your house you’ll be able to know at a glance if you need a hat for your run, or if you should bring an umbrella to work. And while these stations are intended for home use, since both the sensor and receiver are wireless, you can even bring them along on your next trip and know just how cold it was overnight or if you should leave the campsite with a rainshell or a sunhat.



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Reader Rating: -

READERS COMMENTS

Star
Bill
Dec 04, 2012

Hope what they ship you works, the customer server is really bad. 2 weeks afer I ordered it I had to call to find out where it was and they said, oh, that is back ordered will not be until Jan that you get. I asked for my money back and I get an email the next day that my unit had shipped.
Well it arrived today, used, scratched up, no manual, USB cable, software, or power supply.

I fired it up on batteries and after 8 hours the indoor humidity reads 5-6 higher than outside, which might be fine if one of them was actually outside, they are in the same room (was making sure it worked). Temp is only one degree off which is reasonable.

Hurricane Sandy wiped out my old weather station, so I tried the AcuRite 01525, nice looking unit, reasonable reviews, but it looks like I got refurbished junk.

If you buy one get it from somewhere like Amazon where you do not need to rely on Chaney Instruments customer support or their return policy or if you need any support at all.

So now I get to spend another week of emails with their horrible support to get my money back, hopefully it will be resolved by Christmas so I can buy another brand.

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George
Feb 01, 2011

I've had an Accurite with wireless sensor for many years and have found the range is only about 10 feet even with new batteries.

Steve
Feb 01, 2011

Is this a backpacking magazine or a home gadget magazine ??

Ranger Robb
Feb 01, 2011

Right on BOB! I use my Weather Station Forecaster every day. I still have a thermometer mounted on the porch, but it is much easier to walk by and glance at the indoor display. Except for the great ice storm of two years ago I find my usage of the Weather Station to be a matter of convenience rather than dependence. After all, as another Bob said, "You don't need a weather man to know which way the wind blows."

BOB the Timeslicer
Feb 01, 2011

I wonder what was bothering grumpy in the first comment?? I find it very interesting/helpful to check on the local weather stats around my home.

John
Jan 27, 2011

What a joke. We are becoming too dependent on electronics.

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