Let me guess. You got a weather station and now you’re banging your head trying to figure out how it works. You don’t know whether it’s malfunctioning or you just don’t know how to operate the darn thing. Whatever the case may be, take a deep breath! Everything is going to be okay. Just remember this: a weather station is not just a single piece of equipment, it is many pieces of equipment packed into one unit. For that reason, weather stations require a bit of technical prowess to operate, but don’t worry; you don’t need to be Albert Einstein. Let’s break it down.
The typical weather station consists of a sensor array and a console. The sensor array is mounted outside and transmits weather information to the console, which is kept inside. From the console, users are able to view the information, interpret it and perform a number of other functions. When one of the many components that make up a weather station malfunctions or is not properly calibrated, the user will run into problems.
Most of the times, such problems can be fixed by the user with a simple calibration or settings adjustment. You don’t want your weather station be down for too long because it can hamper the accuracy of your data, especially if you’re collecting data over time to analyze. The user must have good knowledge of the problems that a weather station might encounter and one must also know how to fix those.See More About this Ambient Weather WS-2902A Smart WiFi Weather Station
So, here are some of the most common issues weather stations can have and the best solutions.
Console display becomes blank
Sometimes even when the console is switched on, it may not display anything or the screen is extremely dark (see image on the right).
Cause: This can occur if the console is not being supplied with adequate power. The power cable might be loose.
Solution: Check the power supply and the cable connection. Make sure that the power supply is plugged securely into the power outlet. Next, make sure that the cable tip is fully inserted into the console and that the connection is tight. If the console is still displays blank, lightly wiggle the chord where it connects to the console. Does the screen flicker? If not, then try leaving the console plugged in for a few hours to charge the battery if, in fact, the unit has a rechargeable battery. Otherwise, contact the manufacturer.
Console Displays Dashes
At times, the screen of the console might not show any data. Instead, it might show dashes.
Cause: This is likely due to the sensor array not being able to transmit data to the console. Either the sensor array has run out of power or there is an obstruction preventing the signal from reaching the console. It can also occur if the console itself is unable to receive the data or if the data storage capacity on the console has been exceeded.
Solution: The sensor unit should be checked thoroughly. Has it run out of battery life or is there something obstructing the solar panels (if it has any)? If there are any metal objects anywhere between the sensor array and the console, remove them. Also make sure there are no dirt obstructions, such as mounds or hills. If there are, you’ll need to move the sensor array to a different location. Try experimenting with the position of the sensor array by moving it around. You may need to move it closer. If the issue isn’t with the sensor array, then you should check if the storage has been exceeded on the console.
Console is Sluggish
Console operation becomes sluggish and the screen might not be clear.
Cause: This is almost always because the temperature around the console is too low. The components are unable to function properly due to extreme cold. This is common if you keep your console outdoors.
Solution: A separate temperature sensor can be installed near your console to check the temperatures regularly. Make sure it’s a wireless thermometer so you can monitor it from indoors. If the temperature keeps dropping below operational level, you may just need to install the console indoors.
Sometimes the display of the console can get locked up and won’t work even when the keys are pressed.
Cause: This is usually due to a power surge, which causes the software to malfunction and freeze.
Solution: The console needs to be reset. The batteries and the power supply need to be removed and then the power must be restored to make the console work normally again. To avoid this problem, always use a surge protector when powering your console.
Odd Values are Displayed
This problem occurs mostly with weather stations that are capable of connecting to the internet or a computer network. The console might display odd values or might miss some values.
Cause: This issue may be encountered if the console gets synchronized with another weather station nearby.
Solution: The transmission and reception IDs must be changed for preventing further unnecessary synchronization.
Display’s Contrast Becomes Weak
The contrast and brightness of the console display can become weak over time.
Cause: More often than not, the batteries in the console have become weak, causing the display to malfunction.
Solution: The console batteries must be changed. If your console has a built-in rechargeable battery, check the manual to find out what type it requires. In some cases, the new battery will need to be purchased through the manufacturer.
Temperature Reading Issues
High Outdoor Temperature Reading
In some cases, your weather station will report an outdoor temperature reading that is clearly not correct.
Cause: This can happen if there is any material near the sensor array that is radiating heat. It may also be due to a calibration issue.
Solution: Remove any heat sources near the sensor array or relocate it. The temperature sensor should be installed and adjusted properly. If that doesn’t work, refer to your manual to recalibrate the temperature sensor.
Low Outdoor Temperature Reading
You may find that your weather staton is reporting a temperature reading that is too low.
Cause: This issue is caused either by the calibration settings or if the radiation shield is being hit by sprinklers.
Solution: Check the calibration of the temperature sensor or move it away from any nearby sprinklers.
High Indoor Temperature Reading
The console displays a high indoor temperature reading even when the room is not hot.
Cause: This occurs if the extra indoor sensor suit is installed somewhere which that gets direct contact with heat. This could be caused by a vent, a stove, or direct sunlight. Also, If the indoor sensors are attached to the console itself and the backlight is on, then it may transfer heat to the sensors.
Solution: The indoor sensor unit must be relocated if it is being exposed to a heat source. If the indoor sensors are attached to the console itself, then it should be kept away from sunlight and another heat sources. Also, check for warm spots on the wall that the sensor is mounted on. Warm spots are produced by hot water pipes and air ducts. If the sensors are on the console, keep the backlight off when not using it. Also try recalibrating the sensor.
Low Indoor Temperature Reading
The console displays a low indoor temperature reading even when the room is not cold.
Cause: This can have 2 causes: 1) the temperature sensor is near a drafty window or 2) the temperature sensor is near a cool air vent.
Solution: Move the sensor to an area where the temperature is stable. You may also want to recalibrate it.
Incorrect sunrise and sunset time
The console might sometimes display incorrect time of sunrise and sunset.
Cause: This usually occurs when the time settings are incorrect.
Solution: Check one or all of the following: time zone, latitude, longitude, and daylight savings.
Wind Direction Data is Dashed
Sometimes the console is unable to display wind direction. Instead, it shows dash sign.
Cause: If the weather station is wireless, this might be due to signal transmission failure. If the unit is cabled, then it might be due to a faulty cable. In some cases, the anemometer itself may also be the cause.
Solution: For wireless units, check the reception. If the unit is wired, then trying replacing the cable. If those steps do not work, then the issue is most likely with the anemometer and you should contact the manufacturer.
Inaccurate Heat Index Reading
The console might display a heat index reading that is too low or too high.
Cause: This may occur due to a calibration issue or problems with the temperature or humidity sensors.
Solution: Your temperature reading is also probably inaccurate. Follow the steps above for troubleshooting the temperature sensor. Also make sure that the humidity sensor is from from any humidifiers or dehumidifiers. Recalibrate both sensors.
Inaccurate Wind Chill Reading
Sometimes the wind chill reading on the console display might be too high or too low.
Cause: The issue is with either the temperature sensor or the anemometer.
Solution: Your temperature reading may also be inaccurate. Follow the steps above for troubleshooting the temperature sensor. Next, examine the anemometer. Is it fully intact? Check the wind speed data. If the wind speed data is also inaccurate, then you may want to contact the manufacturer to get a replacement part.
Here are the key takeaways for keeping your weather station readings as accurate as possible;
- The weather station sensor suit must not be installed near metal or a heat source.
- The console should be always kept in the range of transmission of the sensor suit.
- The calibration numbers should be checked routinely.
- Batteries must be changed timely whenever necessary.
- Watch out for heat sources, cold air sources, humidifiers and dehumidifiers.
The job of a weather station is to be sensitive to its environment, so a little mistake in the settings or the placement of one of the sensors can easily throw the whole unit off. Most of the times, issues are resolved fairly easily. When all troubleshooting attempts fail, contact your weather station’s manufacturer. You may also find our article on weather station maintenance helpful.