Wireless Thermometers – Mourning Two Pins And A Magnet
By: Mark Boardman
This article describes how the introduction of wireless thermometers stopped me from crushing and destroying all previous attempts I had made with thermometers.
I love all things wireless. Cables and wires have always found a way to get wrapped up between my feet. I broke my first thermometer sometime around the beginning of the 90’s, in Crossgates, Leeds. It was winter and the weather forecast was predicting a particularly cold night. Being the weather buff/geek that I am I decided to trail the outdoor thermometer cable as far out of the window as I could, to record the overnight minimum. A simple enough exercise except I had to leave the window open so as to not trap the cable. Unfortunately I woke up freezing in the small hours and, in a sleep induced haze, pulled the window tight shut, severing the wire sufficiently for the outdoor function to never work again.
This started a pattern of tripping, kicking and general weather station abuse until the wireless phenomenon came to my rescue. Suddenly the black cables reaching from the mantelpiece across the cream wall and into the back garden were a thing of the past. Wireless thermometers or weather stations allowed me to close all windows on a cold night if I so wished and still get an accurate overnight temperature. An important factor for gardeners, farmers and weather geeks alike.
A wireless thermometer (or weather station) is a simple device which allows you to check the weather outside without ever actually venturing out there yourself. You fit the outdoor probe to whichever part of the garden or house you like and it wirelessly sends the current temperatures and recent historical temperature data to your weather station positioned inside, preferably next to your favourite chair beside the fire with a hot mug of cocoa and a biscuit.
The technology is moving on quickly these days as with all things wireless, and it is now possible to get a fully functional wireless weather station recording all aspects of the weather from wind speed and temperature to humidity and pressure. They can also look good too, with more and more aesthetically pleasing stations being produced in a multitude of designs and colours.
There is a part of me that misses some of the more traditional thermometers though. My dad had an old fashioned U-shaped mercury thermometer with 2 pins and a magnet on the garage wall. Each night you would move the pin with the magnet to the top of the mercury column and the next morning wherever the pin had reached its highest point indicated the coldest overnight temperature. And then we would tap the barometer to check the air pressure. No more tapping with wireless! Oh well, times change and so must we.
Incidentally, I still have my first weather station, complete with the severed cable. It records the temperature indoors just fine, however the outdoor display is permanently stuck on -50 degrees Celsius. I don’t think we’ll be seeing temperature like that in Britain until the next ice age.
Mark Boardman BSc dip.hyp is a leading author and expert on world of weather. For more information about wireless thermometers, go and look at these sites.
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