Are Capricorn Weather Stations a Good Choice for Home Use?
Capricorn Weather Stations are designed for long and reliable service in agriculture, industry and emergency services. Consequently, they are not an obvious choice for a first home weather station, but, like similar stations produced by
Texas Weather Instruments,
may be just what's needed when
the time comes for an upgrade.
Why might that be? Well the cost of a weather station
depends on a number of factors, just like anything else.
Some of the more critical matters are the reliability and
useful life of the components - if the market demands
reliability combined with low maintenance programs then
that comes at a price, either in money or in time spent
in setting up.
So if a manufacturer such as Columbia Weather Systems,
the manufacturer of
Capricorn Weather Stations,
the industrial and commercial market, the ideal product
is likely to be a little more robust, and costly, than a
weather station designed for home use.
Manufacturers dealing with the commercial and industrial
market also recognise that large amounts of data may need
to be automatically stored in the system, and that
facilities for downloading data to a remote office may be
necessary. Many clients will probably want some
customisation of their station - drop the barometer but
add two more soil moisture sensors, and so on.
All this needs to be built into the product. It adds to
the primary cost, and limits opportunities for price
reductions from economies of scale in large production
And one more thing. Commercial users may not be prepared
to take the time to make sure that radio transmissions of
data from sensors is free of interference. As a result,
Capricorn weather stations and similar systems choose to
use cable connections.
So at a recommended price of $2049.00 for the Capricorn
2000, a cable weather station which includes Weather View
32 software, most first time buyers of home weather stations
would be looking elsewhere. Particularly when a rain gauge
adds another $315.00 to the price.
But the story may be different if you are looking to
upgrade your weather station.
Maybe radio transmission is unreliable because of interference
or signal blocking. Maybe you have a sideline in orchid
propagation and want to set up a fully automated system to
control temperature, humidity and watering in your orchid
That may be the time to check out Capricorn Weather Stations,
or some of their competitor's stations, certainly including
the options offered by the
Davis Vantage Pro2
But before leaving the Capricorn weather stations, let's take
a quick look at the real strengths of this equipment.
Weather stations are not just for fixed home use. Vehicle
mounted or portable weather stations can be critical tools
in situations such as firefighting, construction, and all
manner of emergencies, particularly including spills of
hazardous materials. And it is here that Columbia Weather
Systems has focused much of its efforts.
Both the Capricorn 2000 and 2000EX, with a
more sensitive and reliable wind recording system, are
also available as fully integrated
Vehicle Mounted Capricorn Weather Stations
The Pegasus Portable Weather Station
is a rugged self contained
system designed for rapid deployment in emergency
situations. It also comes with remote capability through
wireless tranceivers with a two mile range.
And just recently the
Orion Weather Station
was added to
Columbia's range - a full weather station without any
moving parts. Rainfall is calculated from a pressure
sensitive pad, while wind speed and direction are
determined from three ultrasonic sensors, and everything is
contained in a single integrated package.
The Orion won't come cheap - I'm waiting for a price - and
a similar research system from Vaisala runs into five
figures. But provided the price is not ridiculous, I am
sure there will be a lot of interest - no freezing of
anemometers, no leaves in the rain gauge, and hardly
Who knows - it could be the start of the next revolution in
affordable, effective home weather stations.
The real conclusion here is that, like most things in
life, you usually get what you pay for. So while the heavy
duty, often cable connected models, including the
Capricorn Weather Stations, may not be the best choice in
the early days of observing weather with a home weather
station, as your requirements become clearer other
options will become worth considering.
It all gets back to a little thought prior to selecting
your first or next home weather station. Most of the
general questions are discussed in articles on
in general, and tips about
setting them up