The innovation netatmo anemometer tested against Z-Weather
The netatmo anemometer will be available by the end of this week. We had the privilege to test it before it was even on the market. This is our review and a short conclusion in comparison to the Z-Weather.
I always get really excited, whenever we are allowed to take a closer look at a product before it is officially available on the market, here on siio. Like in this case: We were allowed to test the netatmo anemometer. You can already pre-order it on some online-shops, such as Cyberport for 99 euros. The delivery is supposed to start on November 5, which is this coming up Thursday.
The netatmo anemometer/wind sensor is no stand-alone device. It is an extension to the popular netatmo weather station.. This unit, which is supplied with power via USB and power supply, transmits via your Wi-Fi and other modules, such as the Outdoor Module or the rain gauge can be trained to the weather station. The extension modules transmit on an own report (probably 400 resp. 800 Mhz band) with the weather station and are battery-operated. Just like the anemometer.
The measured data, such as temperature, CO2 content in the air, quantity of rainfall and from now on wind speed, as well wind direction, are transmitted from the weather station via Wi-Fi to your free-of-charge netatmo account. This way, values can be checked and displayed graphically via web browser or smartphone / tablet app.
Installation of the netatmo anemometer
The new netatmo anemometer can be trained to you weather station via smartphone resp. tablet app fast. Open the app, then open the gear wheel for the setting in the top-right corner and afterwards click “add module”. By now, you are already in the context to connect the netatmo anemometer to your weather station.
Now press on the weather station in the top and keep it pressed, until it lights up blue. Do not forget that the Bluetooth on your smartphone resp. tablet has to be activated. Afterwards, you will receive a list with your already connected devices, as well as all available netatmo modules. The netatmo anemometer is already available on here.
To now be able to train the anemometer, you have to open the four Philips screws at the bottom of the module, because the battery block (4 pieces AA) still has a battery tab, which has to be removed. In case you want to train the anemometer to another station later on – simply remove the batteries for approximately 30 seconds and then put them back in. This way, you also shift the anemometer into the learning mode. But now back to our installation routine.
After you removed the battery tab, place the anemometer in a short distance to the netatmo weather station. Both devices should be able to find each other and connect now. Afterwards, you can screw the lid back on.
Putting and positioning
Due to the fact, that the netatmo wind sensor does not only measure the speed of the wind – which by the way does not take place mechanically as known from other wind sensors (one of them is Z-Weather), but through an ultra-fast technology – but also determines the wind direction, you have to line up the netatmo wind sensor module to the north.. For this case, a small arrow is placed on the lid of the module, which has to show to the north. For everyone that does not have a compass at home and did not use to be a scout – this is a little hint: modern smartphones, for instance iPhones have a compass app.
A thread is placed at the bottom side of the netatmo anemometer, similar to digital cameras, to screw it on a tripod. For this matter, matching wall mounts are already available (Link) or (here), so that you can mount the anemometer to your wall. A free position is better though, because if you mount the module to your wall, you will automatically have a lee and therefore cannot measure winds coming from that direction.
Netatmo anemometer vs. Z-Weather – the test
It was a stormy Halloween night. Perfect for my test. I already mounted a Z-Weather and connected it to the RaZberry. So let us just compare both devices:
The netatmo anemometer is pretty heavy – though, the way I see it, could be much heavier in the lower area, to reach a better position in the storm. Though, I only had it placed on my window sill last night, and winds around 33 km/h did not shake it. As described, there is a wall mount as well, so that the anemometer can find its place anywhere. Due to the ultra sound measuring technique there are no flexible pieces on this device – in contrast to Z-Weather. The Z-Weather cannot just be “put up” and always requires a wall installation. If I had to choose, I would, due to the optical appearance and the fashioning decide for the netatmo anemometer. This point clearly goes to the netatmo module.
Z-Weather – / + netatmo
Maybe a few short words to the wireless range. My living room, in which the weather station is positioned, is placed in the second floor. I placed the wind sensor on the other side of the house in the first floor. The wireless range goes through one floor, across the whole house with 2 of 5 possible bars. (Ad in the web portal of netatmo). You therefore should not have any problems with this positioning. I could not instantly bypass this distance with the Z-Weather. Due to the Z-Wave measurement network its range can simply and without problems be expanded through an active (permanently power-supplied) device. Therefore we do not have a winner in this category.
Z-Weather + / + netatmo
With the tool “Charts”, the Raspberry Pi can simply display my data as a graph, the netatmo anemometer can do the out-of-the-box in the app and on the web surface anyway. The Z-Weather is next to the wind speed also able to transmit air temperature, humidity, and air pressure. The netatmo anemometer itself cannot do that, but therefore the netatmo Outdoor Module, which comes in the starter-kit of the weather station.. This means equality of points. But the netatmo reports, in addition to the average-wind speed also wind gusts and direction of the wind. Its measuring points are, furthermore, way shorter behind the other in comparison to the Z-Weather. This is due to the fact, that the netatmo wind sensor module is operated via battery and the Z-Weather is supplied energy-self-sufficient via solar operation. This, via energy management in the firmware, has to budget its capacity much more. This is why the netatmo has measuring points every 5-10 minutes – in contrast to the Z-Weather, which by sunshine reports every 15 minutes in the best case, and otherwise up to 2 hours. This point goes to the netatmo anemometer module – even though I cannot say anything about the battery life yet – due to the fact that I only tested for a short amount of time. Though, the standard AA batteries do not rush anyone into unexpected high consequential costs.
By the way: For wind- and sun-farmers, or just say all of us that have a windmill resp. plan to have one – or a photovoltaic plant, the Z-Weather can bring revealing values. It measures the pulse count (every 8th rotation) as well as the benefits of sun yield, extrapolated and indicated on 1m² at 16% efficiency. I am just going to count that as a small plus point
Z-Weather – / + netatmo
For what purpose do we even graph those data? Just to see in an app that it is windy outside might be fun at the beginning, but after a while you only check the app resp. the web surface rarely. In the Smart Home area, those data are there to help to react to weather-events, such as high wind, to then be able to pull in awnings or blinds. The netatmo weather station has an API, with whom the station can be integrated to systems, such as the Gateway by Fibaro, but as of today, the wind sensor is not yet contained in the Plugin. But to be honest – the netatmo anemometer does not officially come out until November 5. I do not think that from then on, it is going to take long until it will also work in various Smart Home systems. The Z-Weather on the other side transmits its measured data to the Gateway, which takes place via Z-Wave. In the example of the Fibaro Home Center it unfortunately still has not been implemented by Fibaro. Though, so called association groups can be created. In this case, the Z-Weather wind sensor controls the Z-Wave Roller Shutter, which drives the awnings up and down – directly. This has the advantage, that the command also takes place, if the central shuts down or is not accessible. As said in our test report to the Z-Weather, the energy management always has enough energy reserves, to be able to send a command via the association groups in an emergency (gusty wind / storm). That is why I would give this point to Z-Weather.
Z-Weather + / – netatmo
What does it look like in the Z-Way software, which operates on Raspberry Pi and WD NAS? – The Z-Weather is completely integrated on there, but there also is a plugin for the netatmo weather station in their own Z-Way App Store. The integration of the wind sensor is supposed to take place immediately after its release – that is what the producers of Z-Way said.
For the single-use-case – only to gather up data in the app, I personally would abstain from buying it. Due to the open API by netatmo, we can hope for a very soon implementation in diverse Smart Home systems (I think Fibaro, RWE, Z-Way will be some of the first). Then the price of 99 euros would be more than justified, especially for the solution via ultra sound measuring technique. The netatmo wind sensor is a greatly succeeded extension to the popular netatmo weather station. Who already owns one, can, from November the 5th on, go back to the netatmo anemometer as extension and affordable alternative to the Z-Weather. It can be pre-ordered immediately.