My AcuRite Weather Station – Review

My AcuRite PRO 5-in-1 Weather Station
Company: AcuRite
Price: $150

The Color Weather Station Display and 5-in-1 Weather System with My AcuRite is a weather and home environment monitoring system. Using the My AcuRite platform, the system measures temperature, humidity, rainfall, wind speed and direction, and barometric pressure that can be displayed on a color display, a smartphone, tablet or computer. My AcuRite also provides alerts, historical and trend data, and Rapid Fire updates to Weather Underground, the largest community of personal weather station (PWS) users.

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The AcuRite Pro 5-in-1 Weather Station

The Pro 5-in-1 Weather Station reports current weather conditions and provides reliable 12 to 24-hour forecasts that are specific to your location. This system has a color display that provides precision indoor and outdoor measurements of various weather and environmental conditions. In addition, you can connect a computer via PC Connect, to store, track, and share your weather data. The AcuRite app provides the current status of the sensors from a smartphone, tablet, or computer.

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Setup and Activate smartHUB

The AcuRite Weather Station has a smartHUB that requires at least one AcuRite sensor, a network router with an available Ethernet port, and an “always-on” Internet connection. You will need to write down the smartHUB device ID that is printed on the bottom of the device. The device ID is required to add the smartHUB to your account.  The next step is to flip up the smartHub antenna then connect the provided Ethernet cable to the smartHUB and your network router. Upon plugging in the power adapter the smartHUB will startup illuminating blue status lights. After powering the smartHUB, you may have to wait up to 30 minutes to connect to the AcuRite servers and down load any available firmware updates. During the updates, the blue lights will flash. After the lights stop flashing, you can activate the device by pressing and holding the ACTIVATE button located on the bottom of the smartHUB for five seconds. You now have the opportunity to create an account and register the smartHUB at the AcuRite website or the AcuRite app. It may take up to 10 minutes for the smartHUB to communicate to the My AcuRite servers.

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5-in-1 PRO Color Display and Weather Sensor Setup

The 5-in-1 Color Display setup requires setting the A-B-C switch inside the battery compartment to the same letter as the weather sensor. You should document the 12 digit device ID of the display as needed for online connectivity functions. Backup batteries (3 AA batteries) should be installed to preserve data during a power outage. Plug in the power adapter for full functionality of the 5-in-1 PRO Color Display and Weather Sensor Setup. Configurations that can be set on the color display are the date, time, and units for temperature, wind speed, rainfall, and pressure. The display has a ticker display that can be set to your choice of language, speed, or to set up PC connect select mode 3. PC connect also requires downloading the software to a computer. Finally the backlight setting of the display can be set to a brightness of High (100%), Medium (60%) and Low (30%). You can also manually change the brightness by pressing the bulb icon on the display. An “AUTO DIM” mode is entered by pressing the bulb icon three times. This feature automatically adjusts display brightness based on time of day and year.

To configure the 5-in-1 PRO Weather Sensor the A-B-C switch inside the battery compartment must be set to the same letter that was chosen for the display unit. Batteries must be installed for the sensor to operate. Removal of the rain gauge stabilizer taped to the bottom is the sensor is required or the rain gauge will not function. Placement of the weather sensor is important for maximum accuracy because of the sensitivity of the sensors to the surrounding environmental conditions. It is designed to remain outdoors all year. Choose a location that is within 330 feet of the display unit and at least five feet off the ground in an open area. Brackets are provided and designed to be attached to 2”x 4” wooden posts or surfaces but can be mounted to a 3/4” steel pipe. The only other requirements are to make sure the sensor is level for accurate wind and rain measurements and to install the sensor with the solar cell facing the south, in order to orient wind direction and receive the most sun as possible. The 5-in-1 sensor will synchronize with the display within a few minutes.

Other Sensors

I received additional sensors to monitor indoor temperature and humidity, temperature of the soil, and detect water leaks. Set up required installing batteries and setting the A-B-C switch inside the battery compartment to match that of the display unit. There is also an AcuRite Lightning Detector available but not included in my package, providing information about lightning strikes within a 25 mile radius.

5-in-1 PRO Color Display and Weather Sensor Operation

The AcuRite Weather Sensor has a learning mode that utilizes a self-calibrating forecasting algorithm to determine the altitude by analyzing changes in pressure over a time period of 14 days. After the calibration has completed, the unit is ready for weather predictions. The 5-in-1 sensor saves battery life by utilizing solar panels to power an internal fan to draw in ambient air for an accurate temperature measurement. In addition to temperature, AcuRite’s high-precision 5-in-1 weather sensor measures the following outdoor conditions: humidity, wind speed, wind direction, and rainfall. The sensors work by collecting weather or home environment data and wirelessly transmitting that information to the color display. The display combines the sensor data with the information from the weather prediction algorithm to generate an accurate forecast for your location. This data can also be uploaded to Weather Underground via Rapid Fire, a feature that enables PWS owners to upload real-time weather data providing up-to-the minute conditions. Alternately, you can configure My AcuRite to stream Rapid Fire updates to Weather Underground in 18-36 seconds intervals. Considering all these features and low cost, this is an impressive product for the home user.

The color display allows you to display information such as wind chill, heat index, feels like, and days since last recorded rainfall by selecting the “Weather Select” category on the front of the display. The current barometric pressure is displayed with an arrow icon indicating whether the pressure trend is falling, steady, or rising. Rainfall data is accumulated and can be reviewed by pressing the “RAINFALL” button. Historical data can be viewed by selecting the rewind icon. The weather ticker crawler at the bottom of the screen flashes real-time weather information and alerts. You can also view this data on the AcuRite app or website.

My User Experience

This is my first experience with an integrated weather and home environment monitoring system. The installation was easy in that once the smartHUB was activated and the sensors and display were configured to broadcast on the same signal, I was up and running. In addition, the instructions for each component was clearly documented. The only issue I have with the product is that the weather sensor required attachment outside. I was not thrilled about attaching it to to my house and I definitely didn’t want to install a pole in the yard. The positive is that it only had to be five feet off the ground, so it could be easily hidden from view if desired. My weather sensor was attached to the balcony in the front of my house which may affect rainfall collection leading to inaccurate rainfall data. However this would not be an issue for the targeted customer base.

The bottom line is, what is the utility of this product? I can see the value in having sensors that alert you to water leakage. I installed that sensor in my laundry room. This, as well as the humidity sensor, is a great monitor for a basement. The soil temperature sensor is a great way to determine when to plant your garden. Even the weather sensor has value in that rainfall predictions can be helpful in determining if it’s okay to water the grass or wash the car. Though weather predictions can be provided by watching your local weather forecast on TV or the web, it will  not be as specific to your location as AcuRite. In addition, the targeted customer base should find the price point, ease of installation and use extremely attractive. That being said, I found the My AcuRite PRO 5-in-1 Weather Station to be a lot of fun and it should be a great holiday stocking stuffer for the weather enthusiast on your holiday shopping list.

MyMac Review Rating is 8 out of 10.

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About Vicki Stokes

Vicki is a IT professional working in the Silicon Valley. Listen to her podcast, 3 Geeky Ladies, co-hosted with Suzé Gilbert and Elisa Pacelli.

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