Thursday, July 8, 2010

Digital Wind Speed Gauge Review


I don't like it as much as the Windtronics units that I've used in the past,

Nevertheless, I like the price, averaging about $12.00, plus ten-dollars shipping on ebay, direct from China. I've trashed two Windtronic units so far. (I dropped one, and drove away from the field with another unit magnet-mounted to the roof of my car and it's now lost somewhere out in wine country.)

At a cost price of about $100.00 per, this was becoming ruinious.

This unit from seller yeungs2008 on ebay, listing as New Digital Wind Speed Guage/ Wind sport Anemometer. I also reads ambient temperature as well, something I rarely worry about, but still counts as a feature once in a while.

It can also tell you the max speed, and average speed, but you have to scroll through the settings to find them, and scroll back to the original setting, all of which counts as a con when compared to the Windronic which has all three of these data available at the same time on the screen.

- Price. You can buy four or five of these for the price of one Windtronic.
- Smaller, and lighter than the windtronic. Fits in many cell-phone cases.
- Easy battery change out, and recessed on-off switch.
- Temperature readout, and wind chill calculator when temp is -0 degrees.

- On-off, scroll-set functions are not intuitive.
-Directional impellers. (You have to point the unit into the wind like almost all anemometers that I've ever seen, with the exception of the Windtronic.)
-Automatic shutdown after 15 minutes. Some might think this a plus, but I'd rather turn the machine off when I want to, rather than have to constantly turn it back on because I have to.
- Digital readout is kind of small, and letters are harder to read. Unit does have a backlight option, which turns on by pressing any key.
- No tripod-mount screw to attach to magnet, tripod, pole, etc. Easy mod, however. I just JB Welded a 1/4" nut to the bottom of the unit, and it will now accept any standard 1/4 inch mounting option. I used the magnet attachment from my Lightman strobe, but all you need to home brew one, is a magnet, a screw and some more JB Weld.


- Nice, big, easy to read numbers.
-Displays three sets of data simultaneously. Current wind speed, as well as average speed (since unit was turned on) and the maximum recorded speed. This info is useful to understand at a glance how the wind is gusting, which is crucial to safe flying.
- Multi-directional impeller vanes, read the wind from any angle. Cool.
- Tripod mount screw, and available magnet mounting accessory.
- Large, friendly letters. Easy to read without reading glasses if that's an issue for you.

- Very finicky on/off button. Extreme care must be taken when storing the unit, or it will turn itself on while in its case, and you will find yourself with a dead battery.
- Finicky battery installation. I've had two of these, and both units had the battery off centre to the battery access hole, which made changing the 3V cell a little frustrating.

ADVANTAGE = Windtronic. Worth the extra money. I'm now on my third unit. (Sigh.) Whenever I take it out of the storage case, I clip the case to my steering wheel, so hopefully, I'll never drive away with it stuck to the roof of my car again.


NOTE: If you happen to use an Iphone, there is a .99 cent app for these guys that turns your phone into an anemometer. I link to it in my iphone flying apps page. It's pretty cool.

The stand is a homebrew, an inexpensive Iphone hard case with some velcro on the back, and an angle bracket. I tapped one hole for a 1/4" x 20 standard tripod screw, and there you have it. I fits on a cheap mini-tripod, or can actually stand by itself if you angle the brace back a few degrees from right-angle. Easy-peasy.

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