WeatherLink Live Review: A Great Addition to Any Davis Station

WeatherLink Live
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Davis Instruments

All Davis weather stations suffer from one massive issue right out of the box: there’s no way to get your weather data on the internet. It seems especially odd these days, considering many AcuRite and Ambient Weather stations (among others) do. That’s where Davis’ WeatherLink Live comes in.

While Davis offers weather station packages for both the Vantage Vue and Vantage Pro2, including the WeatherLink Live base station, current Davis weather station owners can purchase the device separately to add to their preexisting setup. Once set up, the WeatherLink Live base station offers several great features that bring your setup into the 21st Century, with few issues.

For years, Davis relied on a dongle installed in your console to connect your weather station to your network, which also, in turn, required an Ethernet connection to work. That’s no longer the case with WeatherLink Live. The device connects to your network by Wi-Fi, allowing you to place it wherever you need to.

While WeatherLink Live is no cheaper than its predecessor, you get a whole lot more. Since it handles the communication between your sensor suite and the internet, you’re now able to watch real-time conditions right from the WeatherLink smartphone app.

It also makes any Davis station expandable. Previously, only the Davis Vantage Pro2 offered any expandability beyond its core set of sensors. That’s now changed: as long as the sensor you’re using is WeatherLink Live compatible, you can add it to your setup.

Setting up the Davis WeatherLink Live

You couldn’t ask for a simpler setup than what WeatherLink Live offers. The entire setup is performed through the app. We were able to set up ours in less than 10 minutes, with the app automatically connecting our Vantage Vue to the WeatherLink Live, and data was streaming to the app only a minute or two later.

You can still choose to connect via Ethernet cable if you wish. We’d recommend this if you can, especially if you have a smart home full of gadgets that might already be taxing your bandwidth. We chose Wi-Fi to place the WeatherLink Live in another room, giving us a way to monitor temperature elsewhere in our house since we already had the console.

Even more impressive is its reception capabilities: Davis Instruments claims that the WeatherLink Live can receive data from sensors as far as 1,000 feet away thanks to frequency-hopping spread spectrum radio technology. While we don’t have a large enough yard to really put this to the test, we’ve never had any issues with dropouts or missing data.

You’ll never run out of capacity, as the device can handle a mix of up to eight Davis devices, in any combination, including Vantage Pro2 and Vantage Vue sensor suites, sensor transmitters with up to five sensors each, AirLinks, or wireless leaf and soil moisture stations. In theory, you could have over 80 sensors on one WeatherLink device!

weatherlink.com screenshot
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Live weather data, all inside the WeatherLink app

One of WeatherLink Live’s best features is its real-time reporting capabilities. If you’re not at home, the device will transmit data to WeatherLink once a minute, all viewable either from the WeatherLink website (seen above) or through the WeatherLink app. However, when your phone is on the same Wi-Fi network as WeatherLink Live, the app will stream live data.

On the web version, you can view historical data in the form of a spreadsheet or charts, which we find especially useful during weather events. All your data is stored in the WeatherLink Cloud, which keeps your recorded data safe. With the old dongle system, we’d frequently lose data because the dongle’s memory would fill quickly in a power outage.

Both rainfall and rain rate update every ten seconds on the WeatherLink app; wind speed and direction data update every 2.5 seconds. That’s the fastest reporting weather data rate of any weather station on the market. It’s also neat to watch wind gusts happen, something you can’t do without live weather data, or sitting in front of the console.

If the power goes out, you’re covered. Redundant battery backup and internal auxiliary memory collect data, uploading it to the WeatherLink Cloud when power is restored. We have had several power outages and not a single incident of data loss. It also natively supports sharing of weather data to third-party services like the Weather Underground, making it super easy to share your weather data with not only the global WeatherLink community but the public as well.

Another key benefit is that this new platform is smart home-ready. While currently WeatherLink Live only supports Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant, we’re hoping in the future this might mean Davis station owners could connect to services like IFTTT, which allow you to control other smart home devices.

Ambient Weather’s stations already do this, and it’s one of the key reasons why we often recommend a station like the WS-5000 over a Davis station — especially for those potential buyers who might already own a substantial number of smart home devices.

A word of caution for current Davis weather station owners

The Davis WeatherLink Live isn’t without its quirks, especially for current owners. If you already owned the dongle and didn’t use the desktop software to download your weather data, you’ll be starting fresh, unfortunately.

Davis does store data from your station to their own servers, even if you didn’t sign up for any premium services or downloaded the data from your dongle to your desktop software. Once you install the WeatherLink Live, this data isn’t migrated over, and your records start from the day you installed it.

If you keep the dongle connected, it will still record data to that old dataset. We’re forced to do that ourselves: we had close to four years of data recorded by the dongle and didn’t want to lose it. Davis has offered no solution for this, and nobody’s been able to find a workaround as of yet.

It’s an annoying quirk that prevented us from giving this a full five stars. We hope that Davis offers some solution in the not too distant future, especially if it ends support for the dongle. That said, Davis is known to support even its oldest weather stations long after they’ve been discontinued, so that could be a long, long time before that happens.

davis vantage pro2 console on wal
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Davis Instruments

The bottom line

If you’re considering a Davis station, it’s almost foolish not to purchase the WeatherLink Live along with it. Current Davis weather station owners will also benefit from the improved functionality too. While the price is high considering most weather stations these days include internet connectivity by default, we think it’s worth the additional cost.

WeatherLink Live answers many of the criticisms lobbed at Davis over the years, especially the glacial pace in offering new functionality. The old dongle has pretty much remained the same for close to two decades without much change, and the WeatherLink Live software looked like something out of the 1990s.

Now completely app and web-based, WeatherLink Live has brought Davis kicking and screaming into the 21st Century. And with new sensors like the AirLink being built for the WeatherLink Live platform, owning one is going to become a necessity if you want to take advantage of the company’s latest and greatest.

Buy one, you won’t regret it. I know we haven’t.

Davis WeatherLink Live
wll exposure tweaked 2018 11 08 0687
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Davis weather stations out of the box suffer from one big issue: no internet connectivity. The Davis WeatherLink Live fixes that, but is it worth the cost?

Product SKU: 6100

Product Brand: Davis Instruments

Product In-Stock: InStock

Editor's Rating:
4.5

2 thoughts on “WeatherLink Live Review: A Great Addition to Any Davis Station”

  1. No one covers how this works with a wired Pro2, if it even does work with one. Since I have a wired Pro2 that just had its anemometer go out I am considering switching to the Ambient W-5000. That would not be that much more than this, plus the new anemometer. But it would be good to know if this can work with a wired system. And I have heard this requires an annual subscription to upload data. Is that correct?

    1. Hey Thomas! My understanding is that WeatherLink Live replaces the console in receiving data. While there is an ethernet port on it, to my knowledge that’s for a direct connection to the router versus a cabled connection. I had our test WS-5000 installed for quite an extended period. In my experience, it is probably the closest you’ll get to Davis in terms of accuracy without the Davis premium. Plus, there are the smart home capabilities, which I’m not sure Davis will ever offer at this point. I hope this helps.

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