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Reviews Categories | Weather Stations | Davis Vantage VUE Help


Reviews Summary for Davis Vantage VUE
Davis Vantage VUE Reviews: 37 Average rating: 4.1/5 MSRP: $$350
Description: Davis' wireless Vantage Vue weather station combines Davis' accuracy and durability into a compact station that's easy to set up and use. Perfect for home, school, or business.
Product is in production.
More info: http://www.davisnet.com/
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W6LBV Rating: 4/5 Sep 4, 2014 12:43 Send this review to a friend
Weather, or not?  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
This is about as complex and difficult a product review as I have ever done. The Davis Vantage Vue weather station has some exceedingly good attributes along with some existing and potential product liabilities.

My new Vue replaced an earlier (wired) Davis Weather Monitor II, which was not (IMHO) a successful product. The Monitor II was highly susceptible to nearby RF; every time I transmitted the outdoor temperature read 150 F. After finishing my QSOs I would have to manually edit and correct the stored weather records. To “fix” this problem, Davis customer support recommended purchase of additional accessories, which I did. Later, I later discovered that Davis knew that these products were ineffective at the time of their recommendation! Then outdoor transducers quit over the course of time. Even when it was working, some parameter readings often became very erratic for no apparent reason and then spontaneously stabilized themselves again. Customer support had only one response for every problem: “send us the station, enclose a check, and we’ll see what we can find, but no promises!” After twelve years of this, I gave up. A new weather station was needed.

I wanted an “advanced home weather station,” rather than an inexpensive toy for casual use. I wanted continuous readout of all common weather measurements, the capability for storage of the records for later analysis, the ability to communicate with the “outside world,” and above all accuracy. This performance level of consumer products is relatively rare, and choices are few.

With much study and an equivalent amount of trepidation, I bought the new Vantage Vue. It is now installed and has been operating (perfectly) for two months.

THE GOOD (IMHO) Davis “got it right!” The Vue system has a nearly flawless functional design. It can do everything, make every measurement, derive every result that a non-professional weather observer might want! It’s hard to see, functionally, how it could be further improved upon. The single-platform outdoor transducer unit provides for a very easy installation, and its on-board photovoltaic power system means minimal trips to the roof. The wireless digital data link at 902 MHz leaves the Vue generally RF-tolerant (at least, no problems for me) save for those who wish to operate on the 902-928 MHz unlicensed band. It also permits the battery-operated Vue console to be moved around the house or apartment as needed. The Vue’s readings, when compared with those from an airport AWOS two miles away, track very accurately and well.

THE BAD 1) Long term reliability, especially with the outdoor transducer (single-unit) package. Little is known about the long-term survivability of the transducers. They appear to be not particularly rugged, but they are protected from the weather by a sturdy plastic case. E-ham review pages are filled with reports about transducer failures of relatively new units (raising questions about manufacturing quality control), and it appears that scheduled maintenance of the outdoor unit will be required. Long-term survivability may be the Achilles Heel of this product.

2) External data communications and storage. This optional capability is expensive and not particularly well implemented. I do not have the “WiFi to router” wireless communications module and cannot comment upon it. I do have the wired console to computer USB “Data Logger.” This product that consists of two components, and it transmits current data records via a USB link to a PC or Mac for long-term storage and presentation. The physical USB link module installed easily and worked without any problems. The Davis data presentation software failed on installation.

The Data Logger package is too expensive for the purpose that it serves. Unfortunately the USB module is “sole source,” and there is no way around that. The “WeatherLink” presentation software, as many others have commented, is abominable. An earlier version of this same application was included with my Monitor II, and Davis has not seen fit to improve upon it in the last twenty years! The application is crudely done, does not represent current programming practice, and my installed copy would not communicate with my Vue. The CD-ROM should be tossed in the trash, unopened, within five minutes of receipt and replaced with one of the free or low-cost general weather records storage applications available from the Web; the “Cumulus” package works well for me.

3) Customer support (see above). I have had variable experience with this from Davis. This is understandable if one looks at the size and scope of the entire company (www.davisnet.com). Home weather instruments are a very small part of this large manufacturer’s product line. Prior to purchasing the Vue, I did e-mail customer support with a list of questions, and to their credit I received a timely and accurate response.

THE UGLY The monochrome LCD display used on the Vue console is representative of the technology used in 1990s era watches and calculators. It does, however, have good pixel resolution, and the switchable backlighting is very effective. Nevertheless, very good quality color LCD display screens are now being produced, and although including a color display would add some additional cost, it would present a more pleasing image.

The Vantage Vue has a great amount of market potential as an advanced home weather system. Over the long term it could prove to be very successful. Or it could become a prominent failure. There is no practical way of predicting which outcome will occur.

If the Vue should prove to be unsuccessful for my needs, expensive professional gear may be in my future.
 
KK4FLI Rating: 1/5 Aug 11, 2014 13:44 Send this review to a friend
Humidity Senor failed twice in under 1.5 years.  Time owned: more than 12 months
Had a Davis Vantage Vue for 1.5 years. In 7-8 months the Humidity sensor failed. It was fixed under warranty. 7-8 months later it happened again, so I contacted them and 4 hours of phone tag, they said they don't know what is happening and blamed me for it. I can't pay $125 every 7-8 months to get this thing fix.
 
K3ICH Rating: 5/5 Jul 28, 2014 06:06 Send this review to a friend
Super Cap NOT the Battery  Time owned: more than 12 months
I've had a few years experience with this unit. As I understand it, the "battery" problem is not a battery problem at all, but the failure of an internal Super-Capacitor and/or corrosion on the PC board near it. This info is prolific on the internet as well as step-by-step How-To fixes. The cap can be ordered from Mouser at under ten bucks.
 
W3HKK Rating: 4/5 Jul 26, 2014 18:49 Send this review to a friend
Very Good  Time owned: more than 12 months
Frequent Maintenance Tips:
1. Low battery voltage alarm indicates time to take the solar cell out, use soap and water to clean the dirt/film from the panel, and from both sides of the plastic window. This will boost the cells output and charge the battery to higher/normal levels. Dead batteries may well be due to dirty "windows" on your solar cell. My battery is now 3 yrs old and going strong. I need to clean the windows about 2x/yr.
2. Rain Gage has bird problems. Mockingbirds here are potty-trained. They love to sit on the rain gage funnel edge, and plug up the small opening at the interior of the funnel. In summer, I go out every week to clean out their "residue."
3. Play with the buttons, arrows and +- signs to discover all the features this unit has. ie rainfall over the past 1 day, 2-3-4-5-6-7-etc days. I leave it on 7 days since 1" /week is recommended rainfall. So when it's been a dry week, time to unroll the hoses and water critical plants/shrubs.
4. Due to the need for frequent access, use a mast that is easy to put up and take down. Mine is 4 ft sections of 1.5" mil surplus fiberglas mast sections sitting on a rebar. Tape the joints with pvc black tape to keep it from rotating away from true North. I can lower the wx station, clean out the rain gage bird poo, and put it back up in about 3 minutes.
 
WB9KPT Rating: 5/5 Jul 26, 2014 15:46 Send this review to a friend
Good System and Service  Time owned: 6 to 12 months
I have had my system for just less than a year and it has worked well. I'm located at 7200 feet elevation in Evergreen, CO - so we get some cold and snowy winter weather.

The only issue with the system was the LED did not light up on the ISS when it was supposed to - but the system worked fine anyway. About 2 months ago, I had the dreaded "low battery" message problem (many owners are familiar with this issue). I replaced the battery, waited a day and still got the message. So I called their service line and after explaining the two problems, they agreed to send me a replacement unit under warranty. Of course, the next day my original unit decided that the new battery was fine.. so I didn't really need the replacement unit after all.

When the replacement unit arrive I installed it anyway, since the LED worked properly. Everything has been fine since...
 
N5CSU Rating: 2/5 Jan 22, 2014 08:57 Send this review to a friend
Battery Problems  Time owned: more than 12 months
I liked this unit but had consistent problems with the lithium battery in the wireless unit running down every few weeks. Firmware upgrades and hardware changeouts from Davis did not help. I'm not the only one that has reported this (Google Davis Vantage battery problems).
I ended up giving this to a friend to play with, and went back to my Davis Vantage Pro Wireless, which has given me over 10 years of flawless performance.
 
AE5X Rating: 5/5 Dec 6, 2013 14:15 Send this review to a friend
Couldn't be happier  Time owned: 6 to 12 months
I've owned my VV for 11 months now and love it.

I had 2 initial concerns that turned out to be non-issues:

First, that there would be a trade-off in either temperature or wind accuracy since the entire sensor suite is in one package. Ideally, the wind sensors would be mounted in an open area and the temp sensor would be in a shady location. With the VV, they are necessarily in the same location. Accuracy is not a problem as measured and compared by MESONET - in fact, accuracy of all the sensors is absolutely stellar.

Second - did I mention that my VV is mounted high and in the clear - only 3 feet from the driven element of my HF Yagi way up on the tower. Three feet from a kilowatt and absolutely no issues whatsoever. That was a big concern initially - that there was no way this thing could function so close to so much RF. Wrong!

Battery life...after 11 months, I'm still on the original battery though I plan to replace it next month at the one-year point.

As the title says, I couldn't be happier with it. Money well spent.
 
N5GE Rating: 0/5 Sep 30, 2013 06:56 Send this review to a friend
RF Sensitive, Battery lasts only a week  Time owned: 3 to 6 months
I purchased a Vantage View in June of 2013.

1. The first thing I found wrong with it was it's sensitivity to RF. When transmitting SSB or CW on frequencies below 5 MHz the wind speed would be reported as something between 50 and 130 MPH.

I tried all sorts of remedies to alleviate the RF problem including Ferrite beads and tin-foil, but nothing worked.

2. The 3V battery that came with it lasted 3 weeks, so I purchased another, thinking the supplied battery may have suffered from storage weakness, but the new battery lasted about the same length of time.

I tried using rechargeable batteries, but they would only last one day. An email to Davis revealed that unlike my previous WX station the solar panel on the unit will not charge batteries.

3. The software (WeatherLink) performs poorly when used on a Windows 7 system, but improved some when I set it to run in XP mode.

4. I have spent too much time trying to improve it's performance and the warranty has run out, so I can't return it.

Summary:

If you are a ham and have antennae on your property, don't get one of these units.
 
KG4RUL Rating: 5/5 Sep 19, 2013 20:38 Send this review to a friend
100% satisfied  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
My Wife picked this unit as a replacement for a Lacrosse station that had it's humidity senor fail.
 
WX4AR Rating: 5/5 Aug 14, 2013 11:08 Send this review to a friend
Fantastic Work Horse  Time owned: more than 12 months
I have owned my Davis Vantage Vue for just shy of three years. I am very happy to say I have had zero problems with it and it’s still going strong. This month I finally had to replace the three-volt battery in the ISS. I can’t complain about changing a battery every thirty-four months. I highly recommend this weather station if you’re in the market. Oh bye the way, the ISS stood up to Super Storm Sandy working flawlessly through the storm with winds of eighty MPH plus.
 
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