What’s the Weather
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Whatever the season, you can guarantee that the weather will be changeable as it does its best to thwart your best laid plans for any outdoor activities. You could opt to place your trust in professional weather forecasters (a bit like buying a single ticket for the lottery and expecting to hit the jackpot first time of asking), believe in various old-wives’ tales, or giving technology a chance with a product such as Oregon Scientific Solar Weather Station which is the subject of this review.
The Solar Weather Station consists of the main Station unit and a smaller remote sensor. Despite the “Solar” reference in the product’s title, the main unit does require battery power with the solar facility acting as an environmentally friendly method of providing addition support to the basic battery power. The remote unit relies entirely on battery power. Four batteries are supplied and the Station takes three of these AA batteries leaving just one for the remote sensor. Inserting the batteries does not require the removal of any screws although you do need to press the Reset option whenever you insert and change the batteries on both devices.
Dominating the front of the 160 x 94 x 46mm Station is a monochrome LCD display. This provides feedback regarding the indoor and outdoor temperature shown in either Centigrade or Fahrenheit depending upon your preference. You also get the indoor humidity shown as a percentage plus the current time. In addition there is an icon representing one of the five possible weather forecasts covering the next 12 to 24 hours for an area within a 30 to 50km radius. The five types of weather categories are Sunny, Partially Cloudy, Cloudy, Rainy and Snowy. There is also an ice warning feature but due to the vagaries’ of the British climate I was unable to test this particular aspect of the product.
Positioned just below the LCD are various controls. You can manually set the clock or you can allow this setting to be carried out automatically as it synchronising with one of the atomic clocks. The automatic setting does take a while before the correct time is displayed. There is a button to turn on a backlight for five seconds plus others for checking the minimum and maximum temperature recorded by the unit. You will also need to use some of these controls in order to initiate the initial setting up of the link between the station and the remote sensor.
The Station unit can be placed anywhere within the home where it will be visible for providing its information. It can be positioned upright on a flat surface or wall mounted using a small mount hole on the back of the unit. However due to the shape of the unit with rear facing protrusions at the top and bottom of the station, it will not lay flat against a wall and, as a result, will need a fairly lengthy attachment sticking out from the wall. If possible the station should be placed with access to direct sunlight that can reach the unit’s top mounted solar panel to help support the battery power.
The multi-lingual User Manual recommends that the remote sensor be placed on an external wall of the home. It should be placed at a height of not more than 1.5m so that it is shielded from direct sunlight or wet conditions. However during the review process I decided to place the remote control within the house near a window looking out on to the main road. While this did not give a completely accurate reading of the outside temperature, it was close enough for my needs and make for an easier set up.
Capable of accepting data from three different remote sensors, each set to a specific channel, the Solar Weather Station is priced at £59.99. During testing it provided basic information regarding the weather but no more than you could get from stepping out-of-doors or looking out of a window for a few minutes. Personally I found the clock feature to be more useful.
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