Review by Arnie P
Oregon Scientific Weather@Home Weather Station
Oregon Scientific provided the Weather@Home Bluetooth Weather Station for review purposes.
My first job out of engineering school involved accurate temperature control. Over the last fifty one years I have bought a lot of different types of temperature measuring devices. Enough of that as I could go on forever. There is something about knowing the temperature that has always fascinated me, so I am very interested in knowing what Weather @ Home Bluetooth Weather Station can do.
What’s in the package
Main unit BAR218HG
Sensor unit THGN132N
Warranty registration sheet
Quick start guide
Protective plastic template for LCD readout
Model comparison card
List price : $59.99
Weather @ Home model BAR218HG
Bluetooth transmission range 55 yards
height: 7.32 in
width: 3.7 in
thickness: 2.13 in
weight: 10.5 oz with batteries
temperature range 23 F to 122 F
signal frequency 455 Mhz
humidity range: 25% to 95%
power 3 x (AA) 1.5 V batteries
Remote unit THGN132N
height: 3.78 in
width: 1.97 in
thickness: 0.87 in
weight: 2.6 oz with battery
transmission range 98 unobstructed
temperature range -4 F to 140 F
humidity range: 25% to 95%
power 1 x (AA) 1.5 V batteries
Data available from main unit and Bluetooth device running appropriate App
Acquire data indoor and outdoors for temperature, humidity, and trends for up to 5 wireless devices
7 day logger, part of main unit
Daily hi/lo memory for in/outdoor temperature and humidity
12 hr plus weather forecast with pressure trends and barometric readings
Weather warning messages for wind, storms, fog, ice, frost, and high temperature
Transmission range up to 150 feet
Smart App available in IOS and Android systems
Items of interest
The sensor that is shipped with the unit is a temperature/humidity sensor and as such has to be set for channel 1only. The main unit can accommodate up to 5 channels.
The unit is black with a gray front. The LCD readout has large alpha numerics and icons which are easy to read. The main unit had a pedestal so it can put on a flat surface for reading. The unit is small enough for being hand held. The main unit is a bit to large to hold comfortably it in my hand for more than 10 minutes. The remote unit can sit on a flat surface or be mounted vertically by merely inserting a small headed nail or tack into a vertical surface.
I started with the quick start guide. This consisted if 6 steps labeled from A to F
A- Identity of units
B- Set-up wireless sensor which included installing the battery and resetting the unit. The point of a ball point pen was suggested but the points on my pens were too large. I used my smallest screw driver which is a 1 mm
C- Set-up main unit. Installing the batteries . I did a reset although it was not mentioned. The Bluetooth connection symbol is mentioned here. I used the protective template to help me identify the Bluetooth connection icon. I was not connecting as my Bluetooth device was not turned on.
D- Sync with Bluetooth for the first time. By pressing the up arrow at the bottom right on the main unit. The BLE connection icon should start flashing. I had to hold it for about 1-2 seconds before the BLE icon would start flashing. This action pairs the Bluetooth devices.
E- Describes placing sensor unit outside. I found the diagram confusing as it appears the unit should not be placed higher than 5 feet but shows the unit under the eaves and protected from the weather. I mounted mine about 5 inches from the eaves.
F- Frequently asked questions
I did refer to the user manual when I thought I had problems.
Trying it out
I started by turning on my iPod Touch 5th generation. I installed the free app from the online App store. I turned on Bluetooth on my iPod and was soon paired with the main unit. Coming from the PC world I am not proficient with the Apple products. Some of the function involving data collection will probably start working when there is sufficient data. At this point the unit searches for 30 seconds and returns a no data found.
Details on initial pairing
The initial pairing takes the more time and is a bit more involved. I start by taking the device I am going to pair close to the main device. In my case it was my iPod Touch. I locate Bluetooth under settings and turn it on. I open the App and click connect. Then I press the up arrow on the main device making sure sensor 1 is still being monitored. Sometimes pressing the up arrow also changes the sensor channel. I noticed I had to press the up arrow long enough so that the BLE icon blinks. When the blinking BLE icon stops blinking the units are paired. The pairings should get easier after the first pairing.
In my next report I will be taking a deeper dive into the operation using the following, iPad WiFi, iPod touch 5th and 2nd generation. I like the readability of the main device, and the color on my iPod is fantastic. The connections time is about 30 seconds and that can be annoying. Please check back in about a month when I will have more to say about the Oregon Scientific Weather @ Home Bluetooth Weather Station.
The testing of the Weather @ Home Bluetooth Weather Station is interesting as well as one requiring some patience. I will go more into these details later. The sensor is located outside my house under the protective eaves above the side entrance of my house. This entrance is on the north side so temperatures are not affected by the sun. I will divide my discussion into what worked, what I had problems with and what I would like to see.
Using the iPod touch generation 5
The pairing of the devices has been tricky each time I try pairing them. Since both devices are battery operated they they keep the search time short to minimize battery drain, because searching for a device requires more energy from the battery. The iPod I have needs to be charged more often if I leave Bluetooth or WiFi on. I tend to turn them on only when I need them. The pairing process takes about 30 seconds and I almost never get a pairing on my first attempt. Each device searches for about 30 seconds. Unlike my other devices the pairing process for the Weather @ Home Bluetooth Weather Station occurs from the app. I have the highest success when I get the app running on the iPod and then start the search on the Weather @ Home Bluetooth Weather Station. I often get the “device not found” on my iPod. Once the devices find each other it takes more time to actually connect. Once I see the devices connecting, several seconds later the connection is established. If I press a parameter tat I want to read it takes about 30 seconds to get a reading. Then I see “no data found”. However if I wait(about 15 seconds) the next thing I know a graph appears showing the data I requestered for the last 24 hours. If I go into history I can get a list of data or a graph of data for the last week or the last 175 hours.
Using the iPad
The operation of the iPad is almost identical to the iPod touch except the screen is much larger. The major difference the iPad displays in portrait mode only. I have my iPad in a case containing a keyboard and landscape is the usual mode for this configuration. I would suspect the app was designed mainly for smart phones where portrait mode is mostly used. The connection problems are for all practical purposes identical. I could not detect any differences in connection or pairing speeds.
Using the Weather @ Home Bluetooth Weather Station
This model measures barometric pressure, temperature and humidity at the home location and at the location of the remote sensor. The app is designed to also accept rainfall and wind speed sensors which are not available for this unit. My use has been with looking at the remote temperature and humidity. I have an outdoor thermometer which is located near the remote sensor. The Weather @ Home Bluetooth Weather Station showed that the readings on my personal thermometer were a little low. I have many thermometers and decided I was not going to find the most accurate one. Unless you can easily stick a thermometer in a glass of ice water or in a boiling pot of water calibration is difficult. I was surprised to find a major difference in humidity levels between the outside and the inside of my house. Most of the time the outside humidity is higher but I suspect this will change in the colder weather. Barometric pressure has been a straight line since I started using this unit. Since the only way to read barometric pressure is with the app running and it is a lot quicker to check the reading on the Internet when my computer is running. Sometimes I think we have too many choices on obtaining weather information.
I have not said much about the weather forecasting capabilities of the Weather @ Home Bluetooth Weather Station. The difficulty in looking at the weather icons and seeing a condition that is different from the current position is knowing when the weather will change. The weather in New england changes often and where I live is no exception. I drive 3 miles to the gym almost daily and sometimes I will go from dry to rain and back to rain upon arriving at the gym. When I resort to using the Internet as a check I get a better idea when the weather change will occur. I have also not said anything about moon phase. There is an icon for this purpose, it is one of the smallest ones on the device. I have never had the need to use moon phase so I have not really looked at it. When I do look at it, I have to refer to the manual for interpretation most of the time.
Please check back in about a month when I will have more to say about the Weather @ Home Bluetooth Weather Station.
A last look 11-23-14
About a month has passed and it’s time to take a last look at the Weather @ Home weather station. As mentioned in my last report I did move the remote sensor to my cellar about 10 feet from my wood pellet stove. Initially I was surprised but it did not take me long to figure what was happening. I will get into this soon. I will get into humidity readings and what I hope to learn about the insulating properties of my house with the aid of the Weather @ Home weather station.
Very soon after this test period started I was running my pellet stove. The cellar is probably not the best place to locate a pellet stove. I located the stove near an outside wall but in a place about 12 feet from the stairs leading to the second floor. I soon found out it was best to keep the cellar door closed until the room where the stove is located has reached about 75 F. I figured this was a good use for the Weather @ Home weather station. Since I already had a digital thermometer in the room with the pellet stove, I added another digital thermometer, the main and remote for the Weather @ Home weather station. This is where I had my first surprise. All the thermometers read differently. Since 3 of them came from other parts of the house I expected to see temperature differences. I returned in 15 minutes and they were closer but still not believable. I came back in 2 hours and now the differences were about 3 degrees. It was late and I went to bed and returned in the morning and all readings were within a degree. This was acceptable to me. I started the stove and found out the reaction time was different for all the thermometers. My explanation of why this happens has to do with the location of the temperature sensor within the individual thermometers. Since I was not about to take apart the devices I can only speculate that the ones that react faster are either more sensitive or are placed where they interact with the surrounding air quicker. My real reason for doing this was to open my cellar door when the temperature in the cellar reached about 75 F and I decided that when the reading for the remote reached about 72 F I could open the cellar door. This has worked well for me. It seemed that if I opened my cellar door too soon the there was a higher chance of the stove shutting off.
Occasionally the stove will shut down. This stove has many safety features and a false event will shut the stove down. With the Weather @ Home weather station I can check the history and get an approximate idea when the stove shut down by looking at the temperature readings from the history. Any information I can gather is helpful in determining possible reasons why my pellet stove shut down.
Humidity and temperature
By looking over the data on humidity and temperature over the past 24 hours I can quickly see the relation of humidity and temperature. When I first started monitoring the cellar the humidity would decrease with an increase of temperature. As I used my pellet stove more often the humidity decreased and so did changes with temperature but the changes in humidity were a lot smaller.
I am interested in knowing how fast the temperature falls when the heat is turned off. With the Weather @ Home weather station I can look back over the last 24 hours and get a visual graph of the variations in temperature and humidity. This device is limited to one remote with temperature and humidity capabilities. When I add insulation or do something that should keep my house warmer then I can look at the data and see if the temperature fall was reduced. The beauty of this it shows a graphical view of temperature and humidity. This is a lot quicker than comparing one heating season to another.
With the Weather @ Home weather station I was able to learn about the relationship between temperature and humidity. I can look back at the last 24 hours and follow trends in temperature and humidity. It does take time for an App to mate with the main unit unless I leave them connected all the time, which is something I don’t like to do with battery operated devices. I think this product could be a lot more useful if it could be accessed remotely via the Internet. The device appears to be well made and has been consistent in what it does.
I wish to thank 4alloutdoors.org and Weather @ Home for the opportunity to test their weather station.