Vantage Pro 2 Stations - Overview
The standard Vantage Pro 2 station consists of three main components: the indoor console on which all the weather readings are displayed; the anemometer for measuring wind speed and direction; and an assembly known as the Integrated Sensor Suite (ISS for short) that contains all the other outside sensors, such as those for temperature, humidity, rainfall etc. See picture (right) for the complete set of parts supplied with each station.
The key features of all VP systems include:
- Console with large impressive display;
- Option of wireless or cabled (30m supplied) link from sensors to console;
- Sensors to measure wind speed & direction; air temperature & humidity; pressure; rainfall; plus numerous derived readings, such as wind chill, dew point etc;
- Integral radiation shield as standard;
- Easy installation with screw and U-bolt fixings included;
- Fully detailed installation manuals;
Additionally, there is a range of optional accessories that allow a weather monitoring installation to be customised for many specialised applications:
- Weatherlink data logger and software to link your weather station to a PC or upload weather data to the internet;
- Solar radiation and UV sensors (the 'VP2 Plus' models include these as standard);
- A range of additional sensors to measure temperature, humidity, soil moisture and leaf wetness at several locations (wireless stations only).
- Additional wireless accessories for increased flexibility and greater range;
- Tripod and mounting poles for easy installation;
- Fan-assisted radiation shields can be specified for ultimate temperature accuracy;
N.B. All systems we supply incorporate the latest available revisions of hardware from Davis.
A closer look
The VP2 display console is the unit that sits (usually) indoors to provide a comprehensive display of current weather conditions on its large LCD display. The console acts as a receiver and processor of the raw outside data, a display unit and also accommodates the station's optional data logger, if fitted. Full details of the console display are described on the separate console display page.
Consoles come in both wireless (shown here) and cabled versions and obviously need corresponding wireless or cabled outside sensors to match. (It is not possible to mix wireless and cabled parts). Read more about VP wireless technology.
Also available is a type of console without a display known as an Envoy unit, described in its own short section below, and intended for specialised installations where a PC will always be used to view the weather data, and hence where a console display would not necessarily be needed.
A special variant of the Envoy called the Envoy8X has recently been launched for use in more advanced applications. This unit has even greater flexibility than the standard VP2 consoles for use with multiple sensors and wireless transmitters and can even be used with compatible third-party sensors. The Envoy8X data management is also notably different from standard VP2 systems - it downloads its data directly into an SQL-type database instead of to the standard Weatherlink software. Full details of this exciting addition to the VP2 range will be found on the Envoy8X pages.
Integrated Sensor Suite (ISS) and Anemometer
In a standard VP2 station, the outside sensors are grouped into two units: the anemometer for measuring wind speed and direction; and a second unit known as the Integrated Sensor Suite (ISS) containing temperature and humidity sensors and the rain gauge. The ISS also serves as a mounting point for solar radiation and UV sensors, where fitted. [NB Davis promotional pictures (such as the one reproduced left) for simplicity often show the ISS and anemometer mounted as if they were a single combined unit, but they are two quite independent parts and, in practice, best mounted separately - see our advice on Practical Aspects of Installing an AWS.]
The ISS consists of the conical black rain gauge mounted above the white louvred radiation shield, which serves to prevent temperature errors due to sunlight falling directly on the temperature sensor. This shield contains the temperature and humidity sensors but, in addition, houses the circuitry for combining the inputs from other outside sensors, via sockets into which cables from the other sensors plug.
The ISS comes in two versions: wireless and cabled. In wireless stations, the circuitry within the radiation shield contains the wireless transmitter. In cabled versions, there is a single cable joining ISS and console – a major improvement compared to the three cables necessary with older station designs. The wireless ISS is also fitted with a small solar panel to supplement the built-in lithium battery to power the sensor/wireless circuitry; this will naturally perform best in the UK when oriented to face south. Power for the cabled ISS sensors is supplied via the cable.
The anemometer is supplied with a 12m cable and can therefore be mounted up to 12m away from the main body of the ISS. Standard extension cables can also be bought to increase this distance if required. For wireless VP stations only, there is the option of buying a separate anemometer transmitter, which allows the anemometer and ISS to be mounted completely independently.
The solar and/or UV radiation sensors are mounted on a small shelf assembly that sits alongside the rain gauge. (The two sensors can just be seen around the top edge of the rain gauge in the picture above).
The Envoy console
NB It's convenient to classify the Envoy as a VP2 console, even though the Envoy unit doesn't have its own display, because it does perform many of the same functions as the standard VP2 console.
Thus the Envoy 6316 (wireless version) and 6316C (cabled) units have essentially identical capabilities to the 6312 standard VP2 console types, but are not fitted with the LCD display panel and control buttons. This has two consequences:
- An Envoy must be connected to a computer (PC or Mac) for any weather data to be viewed;
- Envoy units must still be fitted with a separate Weatherlink data logger. (The Envoy is the same as the standard VP2 console in not having a PC connection built-in .);
In general, we don't recommend the use of an Envoy as the only console in a VP2 system - you will not save money and the lack of a display is often a disadvantage. However, there are a few particular circumstances where an Envoy can be useful, for example:
- As a second console in a wireless system, specifically to feed data to a PC, where a 6316 Envoy will be much cheaper than a second 6312 standard console;
- If you want to use a console at a remote field location, then the Envoy can be more cost-effective even as the only console in a system. Since it is missing the display and buttons, the Envoy is a substantially smaller unit than the standard console. This means that it will fit into a much smaller and cheaper weather-proof box. There are further pros and cons to using an Envoy at a remote location - ask us for more information;
Note that while the Envoy8X looks like a standard Envoy, it is a very different product and described on its own Envoy8X page.
The optional Weatherlink data logger and software package allows a VP station to be connected to a PC. The package consists of two components:
- The data logging module, which fixes to the back of the console and allows weather data to be stored for several weeks without a PC being connected;
- Comprehensive software to store, display and analyse all accumulated weather data and, if required, to run a live weather reporting website;
For wireless stations only, a number of additional independent sensors, known as supplementary stations, can be added to a VP2 system. These stations fall into two groups: supplementary temperature and temperature/humidity stations for general-purpose monitoring at locations other than the ISS; and more specialised stations for horticulture/agriculture applications, primarily for measuring soil moisture and leaf wetness, but also able to make extra temperature measurements, for example of soil temperature.
Read more about Supplementary Stations on our VP Accessories page.
Beyond the specific descriptions here on these product pages, we also have two further pages to help you decide which may be the best station for your requirements:
- There is a VP FAQ page that covers a number of frequently-asked detailed questions about the VP models;
- Our Advice area has a large amount of more general information about setting up a station;