Setting up Personal Weather Station to integrate with rachio (gen 2) directly from internet


#1

I have been reading these threads and am a bit confused about selecting a personal weather station and installing the same such that it will not require my Mac to be operating 24/7 for the purpose of accessing weather data from my PWS (once I acquire it). I already have a Davis Vantage Vue weather station, but from my research I do not believe that there are good solutions to accomplish my objectives with the Davis Vantage Vue.

My principle requirements would be to do the following:

  1. Purchase a reliable PWS of good quality that has relatively easy integration with the Rachio (Gen 2).

  2. I do not necessarily want or need to download weather data to my iMac for historical purposes.

  3. I do want the PWS to report and be accessible from Rachio app for the primary purpose of rainfall tracking to shut off irrigation when there is substantial rainfall.

  4. I definitely want the PWS to be connected to the internet through my router or wireless connection (again without having my iMac running) so that the info is accessible to Rachio app. FYI, I have a Apple Airport Time Capsule as my router.

  5. My Davis Vantage Vue reports reliably to the console even though there is not direct line of sight as my Davis unit is about 30 feet from my stone house and the console is in my basement rec room about 30 feet away from the outside stone wall so my Davis outside sensor is about 60 feet from my indoor console with a 15 inch stone wall in between and I have never had transmission issues).

Now I have looked at different weather stations online such as Rainwise and some Accurite stations which state that they come with a smart hub and can connect directly to internet through Weather Underground, but some who have provided reviews state that the Accurite stations will only last about 2 years so they do not sound very durable.

When I reviewed Rachio instructions on setting up a PWS with Rachio. It talks about purchasing Meteobridge and a DLINK DIR-505L. It then suggests purchasing an Accurite 5-in-1 PWS with an internet bridge and be certain that once installed that it is updating to the Acurite cloud server one of their apps or server. It then talks about flashing the DLink 505 L with new firmware from Meteobridge and setting up the Wifi on the Meteobridge so that it is a client in WLAN mode on my Wifii network. It then says once this is all working pug in the Acurite PWS internet bridge ethernet cable into the ethernet port on the Meteobridge. It goes on from there. All very complex and confusing to me.

Is the process explained in the Rachio support page necessary or is there an easier more direct way of doing this?

Can someone give me some good options for the purchase of a PWS and other apparatus necessary to have it connect to my rachio app and explain the process they used, assuming that it is easier than as described in the Rachio support pages.

Thanks.

Frank


#2

@fmarino82 - In doing a quick search I think what you might need may just be the WeatherLinkIP™ for Vantage Stations Product number: 6555 from Davis directly connected to your Apple Airport Time Capsule Ethernet port. While pricey at $295 it is less than a new weather station. After setting up the WeatherLink site, I believe one can forward data to CWOP which Rachio can use directly. One can also forward to WeatherUnderground and then use the WUFYI site that @Gene built to get the data over to PWSWeather which Aeris pulls from to provide to Rachio.


#3

As @DLane rightfully pointed out, WeatherLinkIP is one of the better options to use your Davis PWS with Rachio. As an alternative, you could purchase USB weather(link) adapter and use it with Meteobridge, but that would not be any cheaper in practical terms.

Overall you are looking at the investment of about $300 just to upload the data from your Davis Vue, a functionality which would ideally come included with your PWS. In my opinion, it’s not a good deal.

Personally I’m using a 5-in-1 weather station from Acurite. While it may not last as long as Davis on paper, at about $120 for weather station, screen and standalone uplink module, it is a steal. Even if you have to replace everything every two years, it would still take 6 years just to break even with the WeatherLink purchase, or more if anything breaks with your Davis weather station.

I’ve setup wufyi.com to make it easy and free to transfer data from weather underground, which is supported by most of the personal weather stations, to pwsweather, which is supported by Rachio. I’d say keep your Davis as a double check and get a 5-in-1 for data upload to the internet. There is a nice rain calibration procedure (link) for the 5-in-1, so if you see it disagree with your Davis station, you could quickly re-calibrate it.

Cheers,
Gene


#4

Thank you for your reply and advice. I will pursue with Davis further.


#5

Oh, I forgot. Davis is currently having issues with CWOP data upload, more on this here (link). Basically they are sending rain data at 4x the size.

You may end up needing to use wufyi.com anyway, like @WokingWounded had to do, even if you go with the Davis uplink.


#6

After some further thought, I realized there is one more option worth considering: you can look for a wunderground station nearby which would show similar rain readings to your Davis. If such station exists, you could use data from it for free, while making sure it is accurate relative to your personal Davis pws.


#7

If your not in a hurry, research Weatherflow.
$209 + shipping.
All components you need including a bridge with native WU connectivity.
A solid state system that should last many many years, I’ve already installed my roof mount and I’m waiting for that.


#8

I’m keeping my fingers crossed that Weatherflow is going to be as nice as it could potentially be, one thing I’m cautious about is their ability to measure wind gusts and account for effect of wind on the rain data.

Because they record the vibrations induced by rainfall to deduce the rain measurement, they are essentially dealing with kinetic energy. All the drops are falling down at the terminal velocity, but relative to a stationary sensor, any wind speed will be added to the terminal velocity of the drop. Failure to properly account for that may result in the small drops during the high wind impacting the sensor with the same kinetic energy as a large drops during the low wind.

Overall I’m sure such accountability can be improved with time and firmware updates, so I’m looking forward when their product will ship / prove itself reliable.

Cheers,
Gene


#9

I’m not a big risk taker with my $ so this is my first fund me purchase, but It looks like they’ve been in the weather business for quite a while so I’m being optimistic :wink: I’m also looking forward to using your WU to PWSW hack Gene, THANK YOU!


#10

Why do you need a personal weather station if you have internet weather from Rachio, which does not require any computers to be running? It is unlikely that any home weather station will be more reliable or accurate, on average, than internet weather reports from a nearby commercial weather station.

Usually the fine tuning that is needed is not more accurate weather information, but an adjustment to the initial settings calculated by Rachio according to your specified input parameters. If you do some soil sampling just prior to a watering cycle is due, you can see the state of moisture in the soil about to be watered and determine if it is “too dry” or not. If you sample right after a watering cycle, you can determine if the moisture level is going deep enough to reach the roots of the plants in that area. If moisture depth is too shallow, then you can increase the watering times. If the soil is too dry just before the next watering cycle, you can increase the moisture level that triggers the watering to a higher level.

Also, checking for uniform watering distribution by observing the spray heads in operation to ensure adequate overlap and function. This is very easy to do with manual operation of each zone from a smart phone.

These activities will likely give you a more satisfying result than additional weather information.


#11

I have a Davis Vantage Pro2 Wireless at our home. It’s been recording data since 2006 with no problems and is linked to Weather Underground so we can see our weather station data and wx cam from wherever we are via the Internet (and so can anyone else). We recently replaced two of our old Hunter controllers with two 16-station Rachio units. I wanted to link my Rachio to my weather station, but as mentioned elsewhere the complexity and cost made me look at other options. What I settled on was the suggestion you made, linking to another Davis wx sta that is four miles from our place. While not ideal, “most” of the time it is accurate as to rainfall, temp, wind, etc. I say most because we live in Texas and it can be raining cats and dogs across the highway, and nada at our house. Meanwhile, I’m hooked up to the neighbor. As @MarkSanDiego mentioned, one could hook up to the local weather station, but that doesn’t work at all in our part of the country. Weather temps, winds, etc., can be so different 30 minutes apart that they are useless. And, many of the wx sta now made for home use are very sophisticated and accurate, certainly enough so to monitor landscape irrigation needs.


#12

@AnnieM - if you’re already pushing data from your Davis Vantage Pro2 to Weather Underground follow @Gene 's link above to his WUFYI.com site and you can hook your weather station up to your Rachio’s for nada.


#13

Weather stations for home use can be very accurate. However, the reliability factor involves whether the homeowner will recognize his weather station is not working properly and will fix it promptly.

A rachio user relying on a neighbor’s weather station would have to have to spend some time verifying it was continuing to work correctly, because the neighbor’s motivate to fix problems promptly cannot be known. Some people put up a weather station just to satisfy their curiosity and not necessary to interface with an irrigation system that depends upon accurate information.

Rachio only checks the weather once per day, and the time between checking and watering your landscape may be several hours depending upon what type of schedule you have set up.

One thing you can depend upon is that a commercial station is more likely to be monitored for continued normal operation and promptly repaired should an anomaly be noted. This is one less thing a Rachio user has to worry about.

An even more accurate watering schedule could be envisioned based on expected chance of rain, rather than rainfall already recorded. Would you want to water today if weather report was for showers tonight? This is where user intervention can save a few gallons and be even smarter than the computer.

While it is always possible that it could rain AFTER Rachio checked the weather but before the irrigation cycle started, this has to be a relatively rare event, even in Texas. Also, Texas is not known for requiring extreme water conservation becuase of the frequency of rainstorms.


#14

My guess is that anyone willing to sink the dough into their own weather station has an interest in meteorology beyond simply hooking it up to to their sprinkler system. If you live in a fairly densely populated area, there are surely plenty of nearby weather stations you could link to. But where’s the fun in that? I want to know the nitty gritty details of the weather in my very own backyard. I think it’d be fun, and I hope to eventually have a weather station of my own soon.

My opinion would be to stick with Davis Instruments. Their Vantage Vue system is highly regarded, and the WeatherLink IP sounds like it’s just what you’re looking for.

Coincidentally, I was corresponding with Clark Anderson, Davis Instruments’ Technical Sales Manger, earlier today. (Their support seems very responsive!) You might drop him an email with any specific questions or concerns you have: ClarkA@davisnet.com.

My advice for anyone shopping for a weather station is to stay away from AcuRite. Pure junk. I got an AcuRite 01036 for Christmas one year. Unbelievably bad, and the support wasn’t much better. So I’m saving my shekels for a Davis Vantage Vue 6250. The best deal I can currently find on a Vantage Vue and WeatherLink IP bundle is $469.99 at Scientific Sales: https://www.scientificsales.com/Bundle-Deal-Model-6250-Vantage-Vue-and-6555-Weat-p/6250-6555.htm

Cheers!

-Ray


#15

Mark, I respectfully disagree. I currently linked my rachio to a PWS 2 miles to the south of me. Today that station reported .2" of rain. The station 2 miles to the east of me reported .5" of rain. A difference of .3 inches. Reviewing the radar map I saw where I was on the south end of the storm traveling due east. Through my observation of rachio, with current weather the daily evaporation rate is between .1 and .15 daily. So the .3 difference is 2 to 3 days worth of watering. The nearest “commercial” station is 5 miles away and it doesn’t report precipitation. I used to spend nearly $1000 a year on watering with a dumb system. There’s no doubt in my mind that the rachio with an accurate local PWS will pay for themselves over just a few years. I’m currently waiting for my Weatherflow PWS to come in. I only purchased it for my rachio, no meteorology interest beyond that . I’m looking forward to it.


#16

Ray, since you’re still saving, research the Weatherflow. A solid state system for only $209 + shipping.


#17

Thanks for the suggestion, Bill. Weatherflow does look rather intriguing. Quite cutting edge, while much of Davis Instruments’ gear looks like it was designed in the mid-90s, especially the console. Plus, the cost of the WeatherLink IP to get your data online is rather prohibitive. Like buying a whole nuther weather station. But the proof is in the pudding – the Vantage Vue has been tried and tested. Not sure I have the cojones to pony up $209 for a sight-unseen product. I’m a little gun-shy after being a beta tester for the BloomSky weather stations. I spent several frustrating weeks trying to get that thing working, but I never did get it up and running. And that was free. I’d be kicking myself till Monday if I’d shelled out over $200 and had a similar experience. :confused:


#18

@MarkSanDiego Regarding your question about why a personal weather station, I can provide a situation where the local weather station isn’t accurate. In my case, I live in San Francisco. The nearest weather station is the San Francisco airport. As some may know, SF has microclimates (which I know sounds a little pompous), but is actually a real thing. In the same 7 miles x 7 miles, the temperature can be 10 degrees different due to the topology (those hills!), as can the precipitation due to fog, or lack thereof.


#19

Well Ray, I understand. If your not in a hurry, I’ll keep you updated on my experience.


#20

Bill, please do. I really like the design of the Weatherflow, and it has features (like UV and lightning detection) that I have not seen on other units. I’m just a bit of a tightwad and reluctant to gamble that amount of money. (I usually study Amazon reviews for any purchase over $10. :wink: ) I would very much appreciate your review once you’ve received your unit, in what, September some time? I hope it’s everything we both hope it is.