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NetAtmo Weather Station

Basic review of the NetAtmo Weather Station.

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You can never have too much information, right? Even if you’re not sure what to do with that information...it may, at some point, become useful. Probably. Here’s a thing though - imagine that if your brain only held a finite amount of information, and for everything you learned today, something else had to be un-learned. As if it fell out for example.

I suppose in some ways that would be OK if only irrelevant stuff fell out - like the fact that the number 34 bus goes past my area. A useless fact for me given that I’d rather eat my own shoes than catch a bus. I’d be OK with that information falling out. What about if it were important stuff though - like how to breathe, or walk? You’d look a bit silly if somebody told you some inane fact and you instantly forgot how to stand.

Fortunately though, that’s not how things work. I, for one, am pleased about this - mainly because I love stupid information providing gadgets like the
Netatmo WeatherStation.

So, what is it? Well it’s a small device that monitors the temperature, humidity, noise levels and air quality inside your house. It also comes with an external monitor however that only appears to monitor temperature and humidity, with air quality being ascertained off an Internet source. More on the external unit in a minute. The units look like this - not at all unattractive, so easy to hide away in your house somewhere:

WeatherStation

The internal one is mains powered (Well, via USB and an adapter) whereas the external one is battery powered. The external one is an interesting conundrum - it’s not really weather proof - go figure. So you have to find somewhere outside of direct sunlight and somewhere that won’t get sodden with rain. A weather station that can’t take the weather.

You can also see forecasts too on the main screen - I believe these are provided for by
MeteoGroup.

The main unit connects via your WiFi and uploads stats via your own account to the NetAtmo WebSite. These stats are then made available to your mobile devices - there’s apps for your iPhone/iPad as well as Android I believe. I’ve tried the Apple ones - and they work well enough. You can also view the stuff on a web site portal however I find that less information rich than the mobile clients - you can’t drill down in to the graphs so easily for example.

The information provided inside your home is fairly interesting - in a kind of ‘don’t mind if I then immediately forget it’ kind of way. Let’s have a look at mine for example. The top screen shows the actual read-outs, the bottom shows the layout of the screen.

FrontRoomDisplay
FrontRoomDisplayLayout

So the main display shows the current internal environment including:

  • Temperature - minimum & maximum
  • Humidity
  • Pressure
  • CO2 levels
  • Noise levels

The top part shows the environment from the outside sensor, including:

  • Temperature - minimum & maximum
  • Humidity
  • ‘Feels like’ temperature
  • Pollutant information

The pollutant information is an interesting one - hit the button and it shows you the background pollutants as well as traffic pollutants. Quite vaguely interesting stuff.

You can also configure alerts - for example high CO2 levels in your house may prompt you to ventilate to take the levels down. Is this good for you to do that....? I’m not sure! With background CO2 levels approaching 400 in the atmosphere (probably all down to my stupid V8), having levels around the 1000-1200ppm in your house won’t be unusual, and yet the units alert by default at 1000ppm. Try that in your bedroom and you’ll hit those figures in no time.

You can also see accumulated information via graphs for temperature, humidity, pressure, CO2 and Sound levels. The below for example shows history of CO2 levels:

CO2Levels

Setting up the units is an absolute doodle - plug in to laptop, set it up for your WiFi, and it’s good to go. You do need an account on the NetAtMo Website though, as that’s where it sends all its info for you to then consume on your various devices.

One thing this unit has made me more interested in is the levels of pollution. What I’d not really appreciated before is that how quickly pollution escalates closer to main roads. I know this sounds obvious - but let me explain a little. I live in a very populated part of London, however the nearest big main road is a good distance away. The air around me seems to be - while not country clean - far less polluted than I thought. Moving closer to the main road however the CO2 and pollutants escalate very quickly. I’d not really appreciated before how quickly pollutant levels rise in relation to distance. I know it sounds an obvious one - but I’m talking less than a mile distance here, not 10s of miles.

You can also export all the information out to CSV files if you want to do finer stat analysis (you should probably get out more if you do).

So what’s the verdict? What I was definitely lacking in life was another pointless obsession - and I’ve found a brilliant one. Do you need it? Hell no. Will you find yourself fiddling with your phone even more to see what’s occurring back at the Man Cave? Oh yes. I thought it so pointless I went out and bought another monitor for my bedroom.

£140 quid for the station isn’t cheap either, so it is very much a luxury toy/information device, but if you have any vague interest in such things...then feed your interest, I don’t think you’ll be disappointed....but on the other hand, what does this unit achieve that sticking your head out of the window doesn’t? Well.....air quality, and historical tracking I suppose.

I think I know who’s going to buy one of these.....


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