This is an initial review of the AcuRite Professional Weather Center model 02032C. The review will cover the build quality, installation and configuration of this weather station. There will be updates to this review as information becomes available.
Based on my experience with the last inexpensive weather station that I purchased, I decided to spend the money on either the Ambient Weather WS-1001 or the Davis Vantage Vue system. The Ambient Weather station seems to be the best deal, money for value. So what happened? Walking through Costco I found the AcuRite system for $79.99, and by the time I purchased it, it was on sale for $59.99. Unlike the La Crosse Technology system, this one is a all-in-one sensor, and there are no subscription costs. And if it doesn’t work out, I can always return it.
The sensor unit appears, at least initially, to be of very good build quality. It’s definitely better than the La Crosse. And since there is only one sensor to interface, it’s much easier to configure. The display unit is typical for something at this price-point, not too bad, but it is made of cheap plastic. The battery cover feels like it might snap in two when installing the batteries. See the internals with the cutaway view (from AcuRite’s website).
Following the instructions, the installation went smoothly. The sensor was discovered immediately (unlike the La Crosse) and data was being collected. The base was fastened to a post, plumed and leveled before attaching the sensor. Using a compass app, I located south and pointed the device in that direction as per the directions.
The next step was the installation and configuration of the software, web dashboard and optional Weather Underground interface. This step can be eliminated if you only plan to use the display unit. If you want to retrieve data, use the app or upload to Weather Underground, the software has to be installed.
PC Connect can be found here. Once installed it will display the information gathered by the display. Looking at the text window, the reader software was created by Valley Information Systems, going there will reveal a newer version of the reader, v4.0. It appears to be quite powerful, giving you full control over the data collected. I’ve not installed that version, nor do I have the display in mode 4 as recommend. A future project….
The Weather Underground interface comes via the My Backyard Weather page via aculink.com. Obviously you need to have configured a WU account before attempting the configuration. If you are created the WU account when configuring the device, it takes about a day before you can link up.
So far so good… there are more pros than cons at this point. The only major drawback is for the online data to be updated, the display must be connected to a computer via USB, and the computer must remain on and running the PC Connect software. If you have the display in kitchen, as I do, that could be an issue. I’m going to get around that issue by using a USB extender and running the software on my NAS that’s in the basement.
Also worth mentioning that the weather data on the home page is displayed using a WordPress widget called WX Weather.
Place of Purchase: Costco
Technical Support: 877-221-1252
UPDATE 02JAN15: The included Duracell alkaline batteries were replaced with Energizer Lithium batteries (per AcuRite’s recommendation). Almost immediately there were loss of signal issues. After a couple days of battling that issues, the original Duracell batteries were installed and in twelve hours, no loss of signal was detected.
UPDATE 04JAN15: Yesterday the display unit and sensor lost connectivity dozens of times, finally remaining disconnected. When this happens, it will not reconnect on its own, and must be power-cycled to fix. Submitting a request via AcuRite’s user forum.
UPDATE 28DEC15: Last January I put lithium AA batteries in the weather station and it has worked without issue for almost a year (that addressed the intermittent connectivity issues). Still using the same configuration, the VIS reader software running on a dedicated computer.