Vantage Pro 2 Stations – Overview

In a nutshell: The Davis Vantage Pro 2 (VP2) stations are a family of weather stations designed to professional standards and providing good accuracy and reliability, while still relatively affordable. With a wide choice of sensors and accessories, the VP2 stations offer considerable flexibility and expandability in their configuration and in data-handling capabilities.

6152parts800aThe 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 – click to enlarge) for the complete set of parts supplied with each station.

So a VP2 ‘station’ will always consist of a set of outside sensors (ISS + anemometer) and the standard display console unit, packaged together and bought as a single item. The station is complete in itself, other than a mounting pole, but if you wish to log data to a computer then the logger must be specified separately (or bought as a discounted station+logger bundle)

All the components of a VP2 station (console, ISS etc) are available as individual parts and so it is possible to replace components or to build up an unusual VP2 specification from the constituent parts, but in general it will always be more cost-effective to buy a complete VP2 station as a single pre-packaged item.

The key features of all VP2 systems include:

  • Console with large impressive display;
  • Option of wireless or cabled (30m supplied) link from sensors to console (NB wireless and cabled are different models and cannot be interconverted);
  • 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 (NB Mounting pole not 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;
  • The option of an enhanced temperature/humidity sensor with greater accuracy for both temperature and humidity;
  • 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

Console

vp2cThe 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

6325skyIn 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).

VP2 main models

2015 Enhanced T/H models

In 2015 Davis introduced (in Europe only) a further set of VP2 models such as 6155 & 6164 with an enhanced temperature/humidity sensor. These models were in production for only about 12 months before a still newer temp/hum sensor became available (see note following table below). Davis took the decision for 2016 production to fit this latest high-accuracy temp/hum sensor to all VP2 stations while still retaining the original 6152/6162 etc model numbering scheme. These latest VP2 stations can be identified as AS (or later) revision. If you specifically need an AS revision unit then be sure to mention this when ordering – it will be some time before pre-AS models clear fully through the supply chain.

The 2015 enhanced models were superseded by this change to the SHT31 sensor and production was stopped. For anyone wishing to review these 2015 VP2 model numbers please see the 2015 Enhanced Temp/Hum sensor page.

There are a number of different station models available within the VP2 family. The key to understanding the range is actually simple: the many stations are just various combinations of three basic choices of optional features, as follows (follow the links in each bullet point for more information on each option):

  • Wireless or cabled models (see the cabled vs wireless section on the ‘Choosing a station’ page);
  • Standard or Plus models: Plus includes both solar & UV sensors factory fitted (see Solar and UV sensors on the VP2 accessories page);
  • Passive Radiation Shield or 24-hour Fan-assisted Shield (FARS) – see FARS section on the VP2 accessories page (NB we do not promote use of the 24-hour FARS in the UK – the DFARS shield added to the standard passive VP2 is often a better choice in practice, see comments in link);

These three pairs of options therefore give rise to six different station models, as shown in the table below (all wireless combinations are available, but no cabled models with FARS are made). The ‘ISS only’ column shows the part number for the ISS (including anemometer) bought as a separate item, either as a replacement unit for an existing ISS or to be used e.g. with a pre-existing or separately specified console, an Envoy or Envoy8X console or a Connect 3G unit.

For completeness, the last three rows of the table also show the three new ‘Ag’ (agriculture) ISS units, which are only currently available as ISS alone (ie and not as part of a complete station) and which therefore need to be paired with a suitable console or Connect unit.

Station ISS only Cabled / Wireless Std / Plus Passive / FARS
6152CUK 6322C C Std Passive
6152UK 6322OV W Std Passive
6153UK 6323OV W Std 24hr FARS
6162CUK 6327C C Solar + UV Passive
6162UK 6327OV W Solar + UV Passive
6163UK 6328OV W Solar + UV 24hr FARS
N/A 6334C C Solar only DFARS
N/A 6334OV W Solar only DFARS
N/A 6825OV W Solar only 24hr FARS

 

Latest Sensirion SHT31 sensor

All station variants in the VP2 range of AS (or later) revision, manufactured during 2016 on, are now also fitted with an upgraded Temperature/Humidity sensor offering even better accuracy and believed to be the Sensirion SHT31 sensor.

Sensirion SHT31The graphs to the right show typical accuracy specifications of the SHT31 sensor for both humidity  and temperature (and also of the SHT30 sensor, not currently used by Davis). The marked benefit of using the SHT31 part should be clear to anyone familiar with the specs of the older SHT11 sensors, with a maximum temperature accuracy of ±0.3°C and excellent humidity accuracy even to high humidity values. For users seeking optimum accuracy for their weather readings, this latest sensor should give excellent results, subject obviously to having a good sensor exposure.

Technical note: The SHT31 sensors use a modified data interface compared to the previous SHT11 and SHT15 sensors and therefore AS revision VP2 models use a slightly updated design of VP2 SIM circuit board. While the old and new sensors are plug compatible, the two sensor types have different temperature calibrations and an offset will need to be applied if an SHT31 sensor is used with a pre-AS revision VP2 station or an older sensor with an AS (or later) VP2.

 

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;

Envoy8X console

Note that while the powerful Envoy8X unit looks like a standard Envoy and is very much a compatible member of the VP2 model family, it is also a product with very distinct features and described on its own Envoy8X page.

Weatherlink

6510dispThe 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;

To read more about Weatherlink please our general introduction to compatible data loggers and software and also our specific Weatherlink page.

Supplementary Stations

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.

Further Reading

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;