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Home & Office Instrumentation: The Netatmo Weather Station

We have quite a lot of IoT stuff hereabouts. One device that’s hardly had any mention is the Netatmo Weather Station. I honestly can’t recall how long we’ve had it. Perhaps as much as five years? I think it was a Christmas gift, since it does not appear in my Amazon order history. I’ve been pretty happy with it. It pretty much just works.

Netatmo Weather Station

The basic kit includes on outdoor module (House) and the main indoor unit. I really like being able to know the precise local conditions, not the exaggerated conditions local broadcasters report from northern counties or down in Galveston near the gulf. They always go for the more dramatic presentation.

I added a second indoor module to track the home office. My Amazon order history reveals the rain gauge in the back yard was added in September 2019.

Netatmo Rain GaugeIntegrations

The Netatmo weather station integrates with IFTTT. So, when a reading crested a certain level I had it trigger an IFTTT event that would that fact in a Google Sheet. I collected such measurements for a period of several months.

Earlier this year, in my initial tinkering with Home Assistant, I was able to get the system linked to the Netatmo weather data. This involved setting up an API key to allow HA to fetch info from the Netatmo servers. The process is quite straightforward.

Unfortunately, something about this integration broke some weeks back. It was reported by a number of Home Assistant users. Most seem to be able to remedy the trouble by revisiting the integration setup. I’ve not yet been able to resolve this. I do admit that I haven’t put much time into it.

Applications

I’ve done silly things with the weather station. One of the things that initially piqued my interest it was the fact that it tracks ambient noise levels. It records the ambient level every five minutes, in db A-weighted. In 2017 I took advantage of this when creating a small kit to document the ambient noise level at a nearby outdoor concern venue. It was part of an effort by neighbors to track compliance with the local noise ordinance.

Most recently, I put the House module in the little bar fridge in my office. This way I was able to track the actual temperature in the fridge for the few days that it held our fresh Thanksgiving turkey. Stella wanted it at not more than 40 F, but not frozen, which is possible giving the crude temperature control in the small appliance. After a couple of initial adjustments, I managed to keep the turkey at a steady 39 F.

Troubles

When something just works its easy to ignore it. So it was that I did not notice the battery status of the outdoor module was degrading. It uses a pair of non-rechargeable AAA batteries. By the time I got around to replacing them the old batteries has leaked a bit, corroding the internal contacts. I have been struggling to get it working reliably.

I have tried cleaning the contacts with cotton swabs and a mild solvent. That seemed to help at first, but the unit then ate a pair of Energizer Ultimate Lithium cells in just a week or so. I’ve also found a reddit thread that asserts the outdoor module suffers damp & humidity poorly over time.

I’d be willing to replace the module outright, if the company will sell that unit separately. I’ve reached out to them for guidance.

Alternatives?

If I can’t repair or replace the outdoor module I’d be open to seeking an alternative weather station. There must be other, comparable devices I could try. Do you have a local weather station that you like?

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