The weather is quite varied these days, you may have noticed! Keeping on top of what the weather is doing is achievable through a variety of methods, be it looking out of the window, actually going outside, using a forecast app or using the Archos Weather Station (other weather stations may be available).
Archos have recently reduced the price of their Weather Station to £79.99 and they sent us one to have a play with, it doesn’t just monitor the weather it also has an indoor sensor and a soil sensor. Read on to find out more.
Key Points about the Archos Weather Station:
- Application available on Android (4.0+) and iOS(6.0+).
- Indoor : Noise, CO², Temperature, Humidity, Atmospheric pressure.
- Outdoor : Temperature, Humidity.
- Soil : Soil Temperature, Soil Humidity.
The Archos Weather Station is a collection of three parts, an indoor sensor, an outdoor sensor and a soil sensor. The main and largest orb is the central controller and indoor sensor, the smaller orb is the outdoor sensor and the thing that looks like a large lollipop is the soil sensor.
The large indoor sensor is about …… inches across and is mains powered, the top of the sensor has an LED light in it to show different pairing states and also it lights up if you put your hand near it. The indoor sensor has a plastic stand to keep the whole unit steady. The underside of the stand has a reset button.
The slightly smaller outdoor sensor is about …… inches across and is battery powered (AA batteries), again the top of the sensor has an LED in it. The outdoor sensor splits into two parts, the bottom half is basically just the stand and when it is removed you get access to the battery compartment, next to this is the reset button.
The soil sensor is about ……. inches long and again is battery powered (CR2032 batteries), the long metal spike is put into the soil and obviously has a sensor in it which connects to the brain in the top plastic section. Next to the battery compartment is the reset button.
Overall the design is quite nice and non obtrusive, I could easily live with a couple of these things around my house and garden.
As with all “Internet of things” type devices they need setting up, I am pleased to say that the Archos Weather Station was quite easy to setup. You basically scan a QR code on the box on either your Android device or your iPhone and install the relevant app. Once you have the app installed you need to be connected to the same WiFi network that you plan to connect the Weather Station to and all of the sensors need powering up. The app will connect to the WiFi network and then detect all of the sensors and then it will display the readings from each unit. From then onwards it’s just a matter of running the app and checking on the stats. Oh and trying to decide whether to take an umbrella out with you.
The app itself is pretty basic, when you open it up either via mobile data or WiFi it will sync and display the latest live readings. It is split into 4 sections a 3 day weather forecast, an indoor sensor readout, an outdoor sensor readout and a soil sensor readout. If you click either of these you’ll get a more detailed view of the sensor and you have the option to drill down on the stats from a week up to the last few hours.
The settings for the app are pretty basic with only really the units of measure that may need amending, most problems or errors seem to be fixed by removing the batteries of the sensor or hitting the reset button. Further sensors or stations can be added to the network if you want to extend the system, where it would be a good idea to name things in a sensible way, i.e East Wing Sensors or West Wing Sensors. The soil and outdoor sensors both monitor Temperature and Humidity.
The indoor sensor does also check on pressure, air quality, noise and humidity, which is quite intriguing. The idea being that you can see when you need to open a window and let some fresh air in.
The forecast section of the app is pretty basic and you just scroll through day by day to see what Archos think the weather is going to do.
Overall I found the whole system quite intuitive to use and the app made sense thanks to the minimal interface.
Overall I felt the Archos Weather Station was a handy piece of kit to own, but I did feel at times a bit odd checking the temperature at home during the day. If it gets too cold my thermostat attached to the boiler will turn the heating on, it isn’t some sort of fancy home automation system that could do that for me. The soil sensor also felt strange checking on it, in my mundane domestic setting the soil gets dry some days and wet on other days, life goes on. I’m certainly not going to intervene in that cycle.
The one thing that got me though is the potential that the Archos Weather Station has, connected to the Archos Home Automation centre you could create custom alerts for temperature or rain at home. Which could be useful to some, but as a stand alone device it just doesn’t really have a purpose. Maybe a 2nd generation device combined into a 2nd generation Archos Home Automation system.
Another slight niggle was how I felt when checking the stats, I could see the tempature outside but I would never make a decision on what to wear based on that, I’d look out of the window in a traditional kind of way instead. Maybe it is just me I don’t know.
If you fancy one of these head over to the Archos website here where you can pick one up for £79.99 plus postage.
For something you can use out in the field, you can get rugged and waterproof environmental meters from Kestrel.