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Watson W8686 Clone of HP2550 Fine-Offset


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Posted
  • Location: West Sussex, UK
  • Location: West Sussex, UK

i thought i might provide some info / update on my new Weather station i have just received today (29th May 2020)

I spent a few days doing a lot of research and had some great advice and links to information from members on another forum.
And certainly was seriously considering the Davis Plus Pro2 but for various reason , Position , Price I stopped that, maybe if i get hooked in the future £1500
So i decided on the Watson W8686 , a clone of the HP 2550 from Fine-offset / Ecowitt
Ordered the Watson W8686 from nevada Thursday 28th May around 10pm


And it arrived today around 2pm (although expectations were set it may take 2-3 days given covid situation).

Wiped down, and cleaned all the box/weather station and took out the weather station today , rather then leave in quarantine for a day or 2 which we are doing

I will be honest first impressions, were not that great as it seemed a bit cheap and plastically with a display screen much smaller than i had expected. BUT that's because i had been looking at £1500 worth of kit on youtube etc, i had watched a youtube video on the HP2550 and for some reason had an impression the screen was larger.

The unit went together very well, once i got a magnify glass out to make sure i got the wind direction vane aligned.
The mounting bracket is inserted into some small plastic lugs, which jaybe a weak point and these were pointed out on the youtube video.
I also added some washers, nylon locking nuts and also used tie-wraps so if the thing does break away its at least tithed to the pole.

Added the batteries to the sensor array, and I immediately got the flashing LED and then pulsing every 16 secs, (the sensor update time 16 seconds to console ) the indoor sensor gives 3 readings on its own display and worked immediately
The console display I thought had battery backup , but it does not.

Powered up the console and immediately started to get a reading from the outside array and then a few minutes later received the indoor sensor. The indoor sensor updates the console every 60 seconds
All worked straight away, I have NOT tested the rain sensor yet, will do that tomorrow.

Entered into the console setup and started entering the parameters I wanted , longitude/latitude had difficulty setting that as every website seemed to quote a - number, but sorted out in the end with help from google.
connected to the wifi straight away, internet time etc , so very easy to set-up.

looking at the manual, i can also add additional sensors , Soil moisture WH51, air quality PM2.5 WH41 & additional Temp/humidity sensors WH31
and shows where on the display those items would appear, However, those extra sensors do not appear to be available in UK and shipping to UK is very expensive at the moment according to Ecowitt. Hopefully, Navada will get some in on their next shipment. I have emailed Ecowitt directly to get an idea of cost and availability.

Really pleased with Weather Station, now its all up and running,
Put the inside sensor in the garden in the shade and the difference in temp was 0.1C between it and the sensor array 4.5 metres up  in the sky.

Wind direction is great and also shows a 10min average pointer and reading.

Not sure what timescale the Hpa weather forecast differeence reads, its seems to be the difference from a maximum and was making sense compared to the MAX for the day , but now its changed , so will have to look into that further, Well it appears to compare the reading with 2hrs previously , still working on it , But that appears to be what it does , shows difference from about 2 hours.

I will have a play over the coming days and see how it all works and then connect the unti to some websites and see how that all goes

I have attached a couple of images, one where it is now on a pole in centre of garden for testing
and then hopefully attached to a 6' 4x4 post about 2m above the conservator, should be rigid and the pole is in parts so i can remove for maintenance

I may put some pins around the rain trap to stop birds sitting on it, or tirewraps / fishing wire , have to look into that tomorrow too.

Some images of where th esensor is at the moment, where I plan to put it and the console display , which was one of the factors in buying as my wife like the easy to red dispoly and colour circles

Anyway , I may post more to this thread as time goes by , hope it may help others thinking of buying a clone HP2550 or getting into Weather stations

I may still end up down the Davis Pro2 Plus route some time in the future, once we see a benefit and i can locate the sensors in more appropriate places 

WeatherSt-Console.JPG

WeatherSt-pos.jpg

WeatherSt.jpg

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Posted
  • Location: West Sussex, UK
  • Location: West Sussex, UK

i have added the unit to ecowitt.net, very very simple to do 

WWW.ECOWITT.NET

But you need to register an account to see the info, even though set to public, which i did not expect, hoped that just with the URL and ID irt would display

I will have another play today 

Indoor sensor is in the fridge , its very slow to respond been in for 50mins and still going down 

I will test the rain meter

Also put the indoor sensor in various location

Re-site the sensors to hopefully their final position

Screenshot 2020-05-30 at 06.57.18.png

Edited by etaf
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Posted
  • Location: West Sussex, UK
  • Location: West Sussex, UK

The Unit is now in position, not as high as i planned as the post moved a lot as did the pole, so i need rethink that , about 2m lower than planned.

I cleared all the history / max-min settings
Deleted the device from ecowitt.net
and reset all up

https://www.ecowitt.net/home/index?id=19826
 

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Posted
  • Location: West Sussex, UK
  • Location: West Sussex, UK

i have Now fixed the unit in its final (hopefully) position.

cleared all the data and started again on the Web server sites

Also managed to connect it to ecowitt.net & weathercloud 

PWS
Ecowitt.net https://tinyurl.com/ydhbdqhv
Weathercloud https://tinyurl.com/yatfdmx7

need to create a free account to view the data on Ecowitt.

The Wunderground site just reports the unit as offline , not sure why 

And WOW met office site, wont let me login , site seems to be down.

E-Witt-W8686-ETAF

the indoor temp gauge is very slow to respond, i have trie dout in fridge and also had the unit in a fridge in the garage about 50m away and it never lost connection, so very good 

I have a BBQ 4x & weber instant thermometer which i'm comparing to

 

PWS-Pos1.jpeg

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Posted
  • Location: West Sussex, UK
  • Location: West Sussex, UK

Today , I setup the barometer correctly with a lot of help from another forum

So my server updates for pressure should now be correct , based on METAR from goodwood airfield & my elivation of 6m based on various websites to get the correct REL prssure

good fun so far m and unit has met all y expectations no limitations so far

now reporting to the following servers , quite easy to setup

I also have the ability to set a custom server to another service , so just looking at those

PWS
Ecowitt.net:https://www.ecowitt.net/home/index?id=19826
Weathercloud:https://www.wunderground.com/dashboard/pws/ICHICH51
WOW:https://wow.metoffice.gov.uk/observations/details?site_id=feda8d77-15a3-ea11-8b71-0003ff59b0d7
https://app.weathercloud.net/d3476715338

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Posted
  • Location: West Sussex, UK
  • Location: West Sussex, UK

I reported on another forum at 08:44 it was not working, by 11:55 it was online , tried manythings, but

I changed the interval to 5mins and that seemed to let it burst into life after about 20/30 mins

The ID is all capitals

and the Key is case sensitive

Is it working ok to ecowitt.net ?

 

 

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Posted
  • Location: West Sussex, UK
  • Location: West Sussex, UK

updated the firmware, really easy to do 

Wifi EasyWeather V1.5.0

Firmware PRO_V1.6.0

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  • 4 months later...
Posted
  • Location: Rayleigh, Essex
  • Location: Rayleigh, Essex

Just ordered one of these from Nevada Radio too. My old Maplin weather station I got for £50 about 10 years ago is really playing up these days! Can't wait to start playing with this :)

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Posted
  • Location: Rayleigh, Essex
  • Location: Rayleigh, Essex
On 02/11/2020 at 21:12, SteveCoops said:

Just ordered one of these from Nevada Radio too. My old Maplin weather station I got for £50 about 10 years ago is really playing up these days! Can't wait to start playing with this

It just turned up so it's a quick enough service from Nevada Radio! Hopefully I'll get a chance to play with it in the next couple of days.

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Posted
  • Location: Guildford, Surrey, UK
  • Location: Guildford, Surrey, UK
22 hours ago, SteveCoops said:

It just turned up so it's a quick enough service from Nevada Radio! Hopefully I'll get a chance to play with it in the next couple of days.

Enjoy...

These are fine weather stations and greatly expandable.

If you want extra sensors a local source is via Froggit in Germany who will happily ship. Alternatively buy direct from the manufacture at www.ecowitt.com but will take longer as its shipping from China but always have the latest kit.

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  • 2 weeks later...
Posted
  • Location: Rayleigh, Essex
  • Location: Rayleigh, Essex

So I'm enjoying this but I want to add a couple extra sensors - the model I have says 868Mhz, where do I get a WH31 that works on 868MHz? There's this 

WWW.AMAZON.CO.UK

Great prices on your favourite Gardening brands, and free delivery on eligible orders.

 but its delivery is  Jan 7 - 25.

 

Edit found this on Amazon  and one review states "works great with my watson 8686 station" so I'll try it

WWW.AMAZON.CO.UK

Great prices on your favourite Gardening brands, and free delivery on eligible orders.

 

Edited by SteveCoops
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Posted
  • Location: Rayleigh, Essex
  • Location: Rayleigh, Essex

It just turned up, put batteries in, left switch on back set to 1 (can be 1, 2 or 3) and immediately it appeared on the console screen and on the Ecowitt site!

 

Cheers,

Steve

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  • 1 month later...
Posted
  • Location: Suffolk, UK
  • Location: Suffolk, UK

I'm interested in ordering the Watson W8686 (from Navada Radio), though have a technical question regarding its ability to save history data to an (optional) SD card - that I hope you guys can answer!..

From reading a manual I found online I'm none the wiser on a few important points...

1. it appears the display unit already has 16MB of internal memory?

2. what is the interval it automatically saves data to its internal memory data?

3. how long does the internal memory lasts before history data is overwritten and lost - weeks / months? (I'm assuming it doesn't automatically write to the SD card)

4. so assuming the SD card is not written to automatically, and the process of saving internal history to SD memory is a manual process, how does this work? - is all the history dumped to the SD card on demand? or what?

...I'm sure there's a simple answer to the above but I can't find it.

/

Already many thanks to all those above, as you've homed me into the WS I'll probably be ordering.  My search was for a WS that has real-time WiFi internet display (WeatherCloud) and a SD card, but this was surprisingly difficult! This Watson W8686 seems to fit the bill, just need to know how the history and the SD card works.

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Posted
  • Location: Suffolk, UK
  • Location: Suffolk, UK
19 minutes ago, SteveCoops said:

Afraid I'm not using the SD card feature. I upload to ecowitt.net and weatherunderground - I'm kind of hoping they keep the data for me forever

I'm not so keen on Wunderground - how they changed their API and I believe the ability to download CSV files... and while I'm at it their interface seems buggy, messy and sprayed with ads! - so I'll be using WeatherCloud. Anyway when there's the worst weather here (read the best!) there's often power outages, which means missing data online. Also I like to use CSV files to make my own graphs and calculations based on comparing last year to this over the same week etc, so having all the data close at hand reliably on an SD card works for me.

I'll wait to hear if 'etaf' chimes in about my questions above, about the SD card, as that's important to me.

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Posted
  • Location: Tamworth, Staffordshire
  • Weather Preferences: Thunderstorms and Snow. https://www.tamworthweather.co.uk
  • Location: Tamworth, Staffordshire

I have this station, you can backup data manually to sd in the settings of the console. I think its recommended not to have a sd card larger than 4gb, this can then be used to update firmware.

If you want more control of the data, i added the GW1000 to my station which then gives you more options and allows you to connect your station to weather software like weather display or cumulus.

I use weather display and have that send and archive all the data to my website (see sig) using saratoga weather template. 

The station is 868mhz, and i got the froggit version of the GW1000 from them which is the DP1500 Wi-Fi Weather Server USB Dongle. DP1500,

 

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Posted
  • Location: Suffolk, UK
  • Location: Suffolk, UK

I see the duration between data samples when downloading a month from Ecowitt is quite long : 4 hours, a week is better at 30 mins, but downloading 24 weeks to cover 6 months is not ideal!

WeatherCloud's free account has a duration between samples of 10 minutes (which is fine), but it's info does not mention if that's carried through to downloading a month's worth of data (or if the duration between samples again increases).

* Hence I'd really like to know from anyone here what is the capacity of the internal memory of the Watson/Froggit base unit (the downloadable manual gives no mention of this). How much data can it hold, 2 days, weeks, months, a year? - before current data overwrites old data.

 

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Posted
  • Location: Tamworth, Staffordshire
  • Weather Preferences: Thunderstorms and Snow. https://www.tamworthweather.co.uk
  • Location: Tamworth, Staffordshire

Internal memory is 16mb, just checked the console. To give you an idea, my station has been in operation since June 1st last year logging data at 5min intervals.

Console says it still has 6mb free, so can easily store 6 months data on the internal storage.

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Posted
  • Location: Suffolk, UK
  • Location: Suffolk, UK
2 hours ago, Morning Rain said:

Internal memory is 16mb, just checked the console. To give you an idea, my station has been in operation since June 1st last year logging data at 5min intervals.

Console says it still has 6mb free, so can easily store 6 months data on the internal storage.

...fantastic, real info, many thanks for going to the trouble of investigating your base station!

I've been swaying between ordering the Watson W8686 and the slightly more pricey Youshiko YC9391 (has a new 'Davis looking' outdoor array unit) which I think will have more accurate and perhaps more robust sensors (and has internal batteries in case of power failure) but it has no internal memory and no access to Ecowitt or the soil sensor etc, so I'm now getting closer to the W8686.

I checked your PWS dashboard, a great look, I particularly like the graphing options available. To do something like that I presume it needs to be hosted on one's own personal website.

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Posted
  • Location: Tamworth, Staffordshire
  • Weather Preferences: Thunderstorms and Snow. https://www.tamworthweather.co.uk
  • Location: Tamworth, Staffordshire

Yes just basic shared hosting i use for the websites, about £4 a month. 

I have been very pleased with the Watson station, had no issues since it was installed. Nice to have the option of adding additional sensors too.

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Posted
  • Location: Suffolk, UK
  • Location: Suffolk, UK

The W8686 is arriving tomorrow. I'm wondering if I should update the firmware (after I've tested it all works out of the box). Though I've been reading over on the wxforum that the Ecowitt v1.6.9 firmware (for their HP2551, single arm array) may cause a problem...

WWW.WXFORUM.NET

HP2551 Firmware Update

...I have downloaded this along with the one from the Froggit site v1.6.7 (HP1000SE Pro, Y-shape array) as shown under the Documents tab here...

any advice? is the Ecowitt firmware worth the risk (-if there is a risk).

+ does anyone use a small UPS with these base-stations, if so any recommendations? - the smaller the better - and 99.99% safe (not a potential fire hazard).

+ does anyone know where I can get a soil moisture sensor in the UK (868MHz), as I just emailed Froggit but they are no longer shipping to the UK due to Brexit tax complications. I really wanted the soil sensor!! ( - and I'd even give the lightening sensor a go if easily available, but I don't want to order direct from China - as I hear that can take many months to arrive, if at all).

Many thanks in advance!

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Posted
  • Location: Suffolk, UK
  • Location: Suffolk, UK

I drew a blank on the additional sensors, so I emailed Ecowitt and a response came back the next day - with a smily  - 'It may takes 3-4 weeks to prepare the order and 2-4 weeks to deliver.'

As they seem to be 'on it' in terms of shipping (they are outside of the EU so nothing has changed in terms of delivery to the UK), I think I'll make the order - and be patient!

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