Costs and Capabilities....
I wanted to pass on some things I have learned over the years of enjoying this hobby of owning a weather station.
It has been a very enjoyable hobby of mine since July of 2012. There have been some ups and downs. My biggest down was the lack of customer support from Davis after spending over $500 on a brand new Vantage Vue and it failing after 4 months and Davis telling me there was nothing they could do, even though it came with a 1 year warranty. It took me over a year to recover from that...almost giving it up. I was hit and miss in various forums and in late 2014 had a series of conversations with Jachym on a different forum than this, not even knowing about Meteotemplate, resulting in getting me fired up again. I will never own another Davis product so my choices for a 'real' weather station were rather limited and ran across a used Ambient 1401 on eBay for $60. Of note this station is still operating to this day. During the summer of 2016, the OIP from Ambient started acting up from after a firmware update. This i when I met Henry from Fine Offset, and Boris from Meteobridge. these are 2 of the most knowledgeable weather technicians you could ever find. At the time I was only reporting to Weather Underground via OIP and actually pretty happy with the setup. Together and with help from several others, the firmware issue was worked out and corrected.
But as a result I discovered there was more out there. I became interested in the Meteobridge platform but was hesitant to actually invest in it. I figured, 'If it isn't broken - why fix it?' Then came the summer of 2017 - and WU broke. No reports for days at a time. End of life of the free platform. Total loss of customer support. It was bad. So I looked up Jachym again discovered some time earlier, he had put together a template to keep track of everything on an extremely customizable platform. I 'borrowed' some space on the webserver of the company I worked for at the time and installed the template using WU as the source. Perfect in everyway - except WU. Totally unreliable by December 2017, even after becoming a 'paid' member. So... Jan 18, 2018, I purchased a D-Link DIR-505 for $18 and loaded the Meteobridge platform in it (free trial). It became obvious the the D-Link was the bare minimum hardware platform and on May 6, 2018 I purchased a TP-Link TR ML-3020 for $23 that had twice the memory and 4x the processing speed as the D-Link. This is the platform that I am still currently using. I purchased a 2 year license form Boris for $65. I also purchased hosting from GoDaddy for $2 a month and added a webcam from SV3C for $28. I installed another template - Brian's W34 template - in June of 2018. Everything was working perfectly.
In March 2019, I became interested in IP cameras. I was looking for a solution to several problems I was having and found IPTimelapse. I purchased a Professional Edition with unlimited cameras for $39 (now much more), and that version has served me very well.
Additionally in July of 2019, I upgraded to the Ecowitt GW1103 as my primary station (the Ambient 1401 is secondary) for $149.
In December of 2019, I decided to added several other domains to my fold and discovered that GoDaddy was going to be rather expensive to accomplish this, I explored several options trying to minimize costs and on Jan 8, 2020 moved to Ionos (1and1 at the time). I went on their Business Plan - Unlimited Domains - Unlimited Storage - Unlimited Traffic - Unlimited Databases - Unlimited Email forwards - and 50 real email accounts and 25 FTP accounts for a cost of $5 a month with an open contract. Hard to beat unlimited. I currently host 15 domains - 26 subdomains - 18 databases - 65 email forwards - 12 real email accounts and 6 FTP accounts - all for $5 a month on an undated contract. Not everything there is weather related, but I certainly take advantage of my situation. Additionally in March of 2020, I installed a 3rd template, pwsWD. Honestly, I use W34 and WD mostly on my phone and iPad because I have never been happy with the way Meteotemplate handles mobile devices.
So everything has been fairly easy to maintain over the past 2 years and until recently I was pretty much 'hands off.' Over the past few weeks I have upgraded the MT PHPs to be 8.1 compliant and do not really expect to many issues for the next couple of years.
I guess the idea of writing this (before I get so old I forget it) is so people that are new to this hobby understand you have to invest some time and maybe a little money to get out of your system what you would like - and sometimes you have to adjust your expectations. I enjoy this hobby and I am grateful to have met so many other fine weather enthusiasts over the years - I am a better person for it. Who knows what the future will bring, but one way or another, I will adjust.
Key links for me.
WU Main https://www.wunderground.com/dashboard/pws/KNCMATTH2
WU Alt https://www.wunderground.com/dashboard/pws/KNCMATTH87
W34 Site https://w34.meckweather.com/
pwsWD Site https://wd.meckweather.com/index.php
Ambient Site https://ambientweather.net/dashboard/f5 ... 3035ece913
Ecowitt Site https://www.ecowitt.net/home/share?auth ... 1619213459
IP Timelapse https://www.iptimelapse.com/
Ecowitt Station https://shop.ecowitt.com/products/gw1103
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