Smart home connections are now almost universal, and instrumentation and sensors are far more precise than they ever were.
Ambient Weather’s home weather stations have consistently ranked high in the value category in the past. They were not the cheapest stations on the market, but they were still on the value end of the range, with superior accuracy and durability than the competition.
The first model developed under new ownership is the Ambient Weather WS-5000 ultrasonic weather station. In 2019, Nielsen-Kellerman purchased Ambient Weather. The award-winning Kestrel handheld weather meters and RainWise, a high-end professional weather station brand used in education and business deployments, are both produced by Nielsen-Kellerman.
Along the way, it gains a few improvements, including a revamped sensor suite, a sonic anemometer, and a vastly improved console. Is the enhanced build and functionality of the WS-5000, however, merely window dressing? Is Ambient Weather up to the task of competing with higher-end stations? Tune in to learn more!
- A feature set that is unrivaled in the industry
- Numerous sensors available as options
- Smart home connectivity (IFTTT, Alexa, Google Assistant)
- Easy installation
- Display is stunning and has a broad viewing angle
- A fantastic full-color console
- Improved rainfall accuracy and barometer accuracy (from WS-2902 series)
- Sensors that penetrate walls
- Dashboard that is accessible through the internet
- Can detect contaminants in the air
- SD card is optional
- Time-consuming to set up
- To connect to the console, some sensors had to be reset.
- Some problems with the barometer
- Readings are not always accurate
Setting it up
The additional sensors of Ambient Weather are as follows:
- Indoor PM2.5 Air Quality Sensor
- Outdoor PM2.5 Air Quality Sensor
- Soil Moisture Sensor
- Lightning Detector
- Waterproof temperature
- Leak Detector
- Soil Moisture Sensor
As long as you have a mast or mounting solution, much of the station is already completed, so there isn’t much to put together. Just in case the “AA” batteries aren’t included in the delivery, have more on hand. To get things up and running, you’ll need about 30 minutes.
Our setup, on the other hand, was not without issues. We were slowed considerably because the rain gauge and the inside temperature, humidity, and barometer sensor wouldn’t connect immediately. The issue was resolved thanks to a support article from Ambient Weather, which allowed the sensors to connect. I didn’t have the same issue with the other sensors I tried, so I’m not sure what’s causing it.
The WS-5000 was then connected to your Wi-Fi and the Internet. This allows you to access your data from anywhere using AmbientWeather.net or third-party services such as Weather Underground.
It also has integrations with Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, and IFTTT, among other smart home services. It only took a few minutes. All we had to do was enter our console’s MAC address (on the back), and the station was online and reporting to the cloud in two or three minutes.
If I had to pick something, it would be the on-console portion of the setup procedure, because the WS-5000 lacks a “setup wizard” on either the console or the app to walk you through those first stages, forcing you to wade through the console menus, which was inconvenient.
While the upgraded sensor suite is a major improvement over previous generations, the console is the most important enhancement. The console on previous versions of the WS-2902 had a limited viewing angle and was difficult to read in direct sunlight. While subsequent revisions have addressed those difficulties in some way, it is still an LCD screen.
The WS-5000 has the same excellent TFT Full-color display as the WS-2000 but in a smaller package. It can be viewed from a variety of angles and performs admirably even in direct sunshine. Although you don’t have to use it, the terminal UI is simple to learn as most data is available right from the home screen.
The premium display console has a large enough home screen to fit a lot of information, and it’s easy to see from different angles. The ability to see and chart past data immediately on the console was a big plus for us.
The app or a companion website are usually the only places where you may get detailed history data. With so much information on the home screen, you’ll be able to see everything that’s going on outside in a single glance.
However, when more sensors are added, the home screen becomes congested. While some people appreciate having everything at their fingertips, we favor a simpler interface.
It would’ve been better though if the console has a touchscreen. To navigate around menus on the current console, utilize the buttons at the bottom. It was a nuisance at times, and the navigation buttons were occasionally difficult to understand and didn’t feel as intuitive as they should.
Capability to upgrade
In terms of upgradability, the Ambient WS-5000 home weather station exceeds prior models. The Ambient WS-5000 kit has a superb sensor array, but there are many extra sensors available for purchase. These allow you to add a lot more weather data to your home weather station.
An extra SD card can also be used to enhance the console. This allows you to save your weather data locally, allowing the gadget to function even if the power or internet goes out.
The aforementioned heater is another addition you may make to the weather station to improve its efficiency. It aids in the removal of ice and snow from the sonic anemometer and rain gauge, which can lead to erroneous readings.
Most Ambient Weather air quality monitors only detect PM2.5, the most prevalent size for airborne contaminants. The Ambient WS-5000, on the other hand, allows you to add devices that can measure PM10 particulate matter levels.
AmbientWeather.net and internet connectivity
Before we get into the WS-5000’s connectivity features, let’s take a look at some major updates to AmbientWeather.net, the company’s online cloud reporting platform. Until recently, the site served as a virtual dashboard for any of Ambient Weather’s internet-connected stations, allowing users to see and exchange data.
Connect your station to AmbientWeather.net to send data to the cloud and take advantage of smart home features.
Following the Nielsen-Kellerman merger last year, this altered. The dashboard functionality of AmbientWeather.net has been preserved, but the site is now open to the public, allowing you to share your data without having to do anything. You may still send data to Weather Underground or Weathercloud, but this is an interesting new function.
In addition to sharing, the WS-5000, like the WS-2000 and WS-2902 series stations, supports IFTTT, Amazon Alexa, and Google Assistant, making it a great option for smart home enthusiasts. Once you’ve set up WiFi on your console, there’s nothing else you need to do to exchange data.
As you add new sensors, they are immediately transmitted to the AmbientWeather.net cloud. Both the app and the website have a similar user interface, so it’s not difficult to navigate, and changes are automatically transmitted to your devices every 60 seconds without the need to refresh.
IFTTT, Amazon Alexa, and Google Assistant are all included in Ambient Weather’s WS-5000 Ultrasonic station. To activate the system, connect it to other smart devices such as your sprinklers or thermostat. Adjust the settings so that if the weather station detects rain, the sprinkler will switch off.
Many users disregard voice assistants, but I believe it is necessary to have this option nowadays. In the information age, we want to be able to access data whether we’re driving, farming, or doing anything else. You may also use Alexa and Google Assistant to issue voice instructions. Simply inquire about the weather for today, yesterday, or any other day, and they will respond.
By introducing the ability to ask for specific factors, the brand may boost its Alexa and Google Assistant performance. I’d like to be able to ask solely about rainfall or humidity measurements.
It’s also simple to share data. Set up your console’s WiFi connection and create a Wunderground account, and you’re ready to go. When you add more sensors to your station, the readings appear in the cloud automatically.
The user can easily obtain the highest and lowest weather data from the LCD. The data also includes a time stamp, and all previous data can be exported to an SD card. During a severe rainstorm, the large rain cup ensures accurate rain measurements. Furthermore, the top lid may be removed for easy cleaning. The sensor range can be mounted on a pole with a diameter of 1.25′′ or 2.0′′.
WS-5000, WS-2000, and WS-2902C
Most extra sensors sold by Ambient Weather are compatible with both the WS-2000 and WS-5000, and the consoles are nearly identical. However, there are significant differences in the sensor suite and update frequency.
The WS-2000 and WS-2902C send values from the outdoor sensor array to the console every 16 seconds, whereas the WS-5000 sends readings every 4.9 seconds. This is a substantial improvement, as it resolves a major issue with Ambient Weather’s consoles in general. The WS-5000 competes with consoles like the Davis Vantage Vue and the top-of-the-line Davis Vantage Pro 2 because of its fast update interval.
The rain gauge of the WS-5000 is a separate wireless unit, unlike the WS-2000 and WS-2902C, which share the same sensor array. Because you can better regulate the positioning of the rain gauge when it’s independent, rainfall measurements are more precise, and it’s also easier to clean the unit.
Install the rain gauge at a height of 4-6 feet above the ground in an open area free of any impediments such as towering structures or trees for the most precise measurements. Because your anemometer should be placed 33 feet above the ground, it makes sense to include a rain gauge as a stand-alone sensor in the kit.
The rain gauge funnel is substantially bigger, which dramatically improves rainfall capture. Rain spikes are also offered as an option to assist keep birds out. Except for wind speed, the stations are identical in terms of accuracy. The typical anemometer on the WS-2000, a cup and vane configuration, has a 10% margin of error which is the average for personal weather stations. The WS-5000’s sonic anemometer, according to our tests and specs, is significantly more accurate.
With no moving parts, the sonic anemometer measures wind conditions, saving maintenance and enhancing reliability. In wind speeds less than 22 mph, the business claims accuracy to within one mph, and 5% in wind speeds equal to or greater than 22 mph. Although the WS-5000 has a reduced maximum speed of 89 mph vs. 100 mph in the WS-2000, even the heaviest thunderstorms rarely surpass this speed, so it shouldn’t be a concern.
Things we adore
We are ecstatic that Ambient Weather has reduced the update frequency to 4.9 seconds and separated the rain gauge from the outdoor array. The WS-5000’s larger funnel is now within frequently recognized rain gauge opening criteria. 4″ or more is suggested, the WS-5000’s funnel size is roughly 6″. Finally, the sonic anemometer, which has shown to be a significantly more precise technique of measuring wind speed and direction, is a welcome addition.
Things we didn’t like as much
The WS-5000 has the same issues as the WS-2000, therefore it’s a matter of personal preference. For our opinion, the console’s home screen is a little too cluttered. It would be wonderful to have a simpler UI that only shows the essentials. Aside than that, it’s a fantastic station.
Other weather station brands may find the WS-5000 Ultrasonic to be a significant upgrade. However, before purchasing the sensor suite, ask yourself these questions.
What measurements does your lifestyle require?
Indoor and outdoor thermometers, a hygrometer sensor, a barometer sensor, a light sensor, and an anemometer are among the most basic weather station models. Choose a complete or upgradable weather sensor if you want to measure other factors using optional sensors.
Wind vanes, a rain gauge, a sun sensor, and dew point sensors are included in the advanced versions of this weather station adviser. If you’re growing crops or using the station to teach, these measurements are critical. For industrial application, professional weather stations should meet meteorological criteria.
What is your set budget?
A weather station, like other gadgets, can be costly. Consider what you need from a weather instrument and which models are within your price range. For a low price, you might sacrifice a few features, but nothing beats the dependability of a premium station.
Although some low-cost weather stations do not provide a wide range of data, they may be sufficient if you simply require basic information. For novices, I also don’t advocate purchasing a comprehensive weather station. Rather, invest in a basic but upgradeable model.
What level of accuracy do you need?
The accuracy of weather readings relates to how near they are to actual measurements. Choose a weather station with a small margin of error, particularly for variables you need to track. The accuracy of your values is also affected by the update interval.
The figures displayed on your console could be a few seconds out of sync, giving you incorrect readings. Weather stations should update every 2 to 30 seconds at the very least. The range, resolution, and positioning are all elements that influence accuracy. Getting an all-in-one sensor entails sacrificing your anemometer’s height.
Does it come with a software?
A weather station with internet access is a no-brainer during these times. On third-party services like Weather Underground or WeatherCloud, you should be able to import, store, and distribute data. This will make it easier for you to study the reports. Weather station brands with cloud services, on the other hand, are a superior option.
On your smartphone, you may remotely monitor the weather and receive notifications for worrisome measurements. Smart home connectivity is also supported by some weather stations. Use Amazon Alexa to control it and connect it to other smart devices.
Do you know of any better models?
The WS-5000 is quite competitive with other similarly priced models on the market at this price point. We prefer the WS-5000’s regular rain gauge to the WeatherFlow Tempest‘s haptic rain sensor. However, we are confident in stating that the Davis Vantage Vue and Vantage Pro 2 stations continue to be at the top of the list in terms of sensor quality and long-term durability.
Davis’s lead, however, may not last much longer. The performance gap between Davis and its competitors is rapidly narrowing. The WS-5000 is one of the Davis alternatives that offers appealing functionality, particularly in the areas of remote monitoring and smart home networking, which Davis is only now beginning to focus on.
Is the Ambient Weather WS-5000 the right choice for you?
This home weather system, with extra-large rain gauge cups for precise readings, is worth considering if it falls within your budget. When designing a wireless home weather system, there are a plethora of extra sensor alternatives. The ultrasonic architecture of the weather station gives it an advantage over other similar-priced equipment. To measure wind speed and direction, there are no moving parts.
The Home Weather System’s lifespan is extended thanks to this feature. The installation of exterior sensors using the proper pole is simple. In addition, the location of the LCD should be considered for a strong RF and WIFI signal.
Last update on 2022-08-08 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API