Netatmo Weather Modules
Netatmo Weather Module Review
My Netatmo weather station has been running for several years and does a great job of telling me about the weather in my backyard, a much more local view than one derived from weather stations around the area.
Several years later, Netatmo sent some additional Netatmo Weather modules, including a Smart Rain Guage and Smart Anemometer and a Smart Indoor Air Quality Module. The sensors sat on my office floor for over a year. I could not get them to connect to my personal weather station. I placed them on the floor and moved on to other devices that were easier to evaluate.
Then after updates to my Xfinity Wi-Fi, and I hoped, firmware to my Weather Station base module and the app, I decided to try again. I’m not sure what worked, but after about an hour of trying again, the weather station and the modules recognized each other.
I jaunted to the garage to craft my Netatmo Weather module stand, for which I had purchased materials just after receiving the modules. They have been sitting in my garage ever since. I thrust a chunk of 4×4 into a large metal spike to act as the base and bolted it into immobility. I sawed through a fence plank to shorten it, and then drilled holes to accommodate the 1/4-20 threaded screws I bought to secure the modules to the board.
I trudged to the backyard and dug a hole as deep as my shovel, and my rather rocky soil would allow. I inserted the spike into the hole. It didn’t go down much more than an inch or two more, leaving a rather large portion of what was clearly intended to go underground above the surface. I wasn’t securing a tree house, so I pushed the dirt back around the base and used a rubber mallet to pack it down.
I then realized the 1/4-20 screws I purchased were too short, so I shuffled through my draws of nuts and bolts and found two suitable bolts, but this time a bit too long. So, I also employed several washers. Eventually, I ratcheted the bolts into the module bases.
I worked quickly. After all the waiting, dust gathering, carpentry, digging, and new hope, I didn’t want the modules to lose their connection to the weather station.
Looking down at my phone, I saw the modules remained connected. As they still do.
It rained that afternoon. The rain fall recorded in the app.
The rain gauge and anemometer are UB-resistant. They work in temps ranging from 0° to 50°C/32° to 112°F, which means my current Seattle foothills winter has pushed them beyond their specification as we hit less than 22°F several times in the last week.
The third module, the Smart Indoor Module, never found its way to the main Netatmo app, and I’m not sure it was designed to, but the documentation isn’t clear if it is one of the modules that works with the Weather Station base, or if it is intended to be standalone. It did connect to the Apple Home App, and it provides insight on the air quality, temperature, and noise in my home.
I’ll never be sure how accurate the Netatmo Weather Modules are, as I have no control to go by, but that’s okay. The modules give me some indication of the severity of the weather, if not trusted, precise measurements of its quantity or force. And they do so if I’m home or not. That’s important as my home sits about 500 feet above sea level. If I’m out, the weather I’m experiencing just a mile or two away may be very different than what’s happening at my home.
Sensing the world virtually, remotely, and directly will only become more common. Extending my senses now helps prepare me for a future filled with sensors. Some day a virtual me may well find his hair blown back by a gust of wind recorded at my Netatmo sensor, realized against a backdrop of manifest bits.
Beyond the Netatmo app, I introduced the Netatmo skill to my Amazon Echo and its Alexa smart assistant. The family can now ask for the outside temperature without me bringing up the app (when it’s working; I have experienced Netatmo service outages, however).
The Netatmo Weather Station
The older module and base weather station cover temperature, humidity, air quality, and sound in the home.
The exterior module measures temperature, humidity, air quality, and barometric pressure and taps into coordinated weather forecasts.
What could be improved
I would probably have had more patience with the failed connections had resetting the devices been easier. The anemometer and the rain gauge only work outside, which means their electronics must be protected from the elements they are intended to measure. And that’s the design flaw. To reset the devices, the batteries must be removed. The problem is the batteries on the outdoor modules sit behind several screws, tightened down to make the weatherproof seal work. Like all connected devices, the window for connection only works for a few minutes.
Sensing the world virtually, remotely, and directly will only become more common. Extending my senses now helps prepare me for a future filled with sensors.
Place the batteries, replace the cover, and tighten the screws. The clock starts ticking. When they first arrived, I spent several hours trying to get the modules connected. Nothing worked. I pushed the top of my weather station, putting it in pairing mode with a noticeable blink. No recognition by the app, despite the devices sitting less than six inches from each other.
Although I finally got them to work, the onboarding process should be much easier. Resetting the devices requires elaborate deconstruction. There must be a more elegant way to reset the modules—and a more distinctive visual way to communicate their connection state. Fortunately, once connected, the modules remained connected.
The older Netatmo weather module that has acted as the anchor to my system for several years isn’t always accurate now that I removed some bushes that once obscured it from direct sunlight. The other day it reported 50 degrees Fahrenheit when the ambient temperature was closer to freezing. My working theory suggests the aluminum enclosure soaked up some of the bright direct sun and reported an inaccurate reading.
As for the indoor modules, with home building regulations that increasingly require CO2 meters, I would like to see the indoor units become more active, meaning visual and auditory alerts from the devices should CO2 concentrations reach dangerous levels.
Netatmo Weather Module: The Bottom Line
The Netatmo Weather Sensors and Weather Station offer a high-quality wireless weather monitoring system. Less expensive versions are available, but they don’t offer the quality build of the Netatmo products. But like many wireless home products, the sensors suffer from a lack of 5gHz support and often perform poorly on mixed networks like Xfinity’s mesh.
I’m not a meteorologist, but I do love tracking the weather. And I like doing it with the most connected technology available. I am very happy that my modules have found their proper use and now offer valuable information rather than being an obstacle in front of my filing cabinet.
Netatmo provided the Netatmo Weather Modules, including the Smart Indoor Air Quality Module, the Smart Anemometer, and the Smart Rain Gauge for review. Images courtesy of Netatmo unless otherwise noted. Netatmo is a Legrand company.
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