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Solar Gadgets for Summer

Davis Instruments Vantage Vue

Strictly speaking, the Davis Vantage Vue weather station isn’t fully solar. Just the sensors run on the sun’s energy. But, because you need to put it on a roof or other inaccessible place, it can save a harrowing trip up to the roof every six months to change the battery.

In addition to the built-in solar panel, the Vue has a wind direction and speed sensors, rain gauge as well as equipment for measuring barometric pressure, humidity and temperature. Once you’ve set up a vertical pipe, it’s easy to attach the weather station, go inside sit back and watch the readings.

All the data is wirelessly relayed to the Vue’s display screen, so there’re no cables to string. It shows wind speed and direction, temperature and humidity inside and out and air pressure. It can also hold historical data for a month of readings. While the sensors are solar powered, the screen needs to be plugged in or use three C batteries.

For an extra $250, you can get the Davis WeatherLink IP kit, which includes a copy of Weather Link software, which lets you connect the display screen with a network. The system really comes into its own by using the processing power and superior graphics of a computer to show the weather anyway you want it. You can even link it to a Web site to show anyone what the weather is where you live.

Brian Nadel is a freelance writer and editor who specializes in technology reporting and reviewing. He works out of the suburban New York City area and has covered topics from nuclear power plants and Wi-Fi routers to cars and tablets.