Orion 420 PLC Weather Station

  • Features
  • Sensors
  • Monitoring
  • Communication
  • Mounting
  • Accessories
  • Documents

Orion 420 PLC Weather Station

The Orion 420 Weather Station offers a complete weather station with 4-20 mA output for industrial PLC interface. 

Orion 420 Weather Station Includes

  • Orion All-in-One Sensor Transmitter (with 50-foot cable and mounting adapter) including:
    • Radiation shield with temperaturerelative humiditybarometric pressure
    • Ultrasonic wind speed and direction sensors with alignment adaptor
    • Impact rainfall
  • Weatherproof enclosure
    • Two 4-20 mA converter modules
    • Power supply
    • AC surge protector
  • Optional: Heaters for wind sensor
  • Recommended: Bird Spike Kit, Surge Protector (Arrestor)

With ultrasonic wind measurement technology, the Orion 420 offers high accuracy and stability with 4-20 mA signal output for interface to PLC, DCS, and SCADA systems.

(Modbus/OPCcommunication is available with the Weather MicroServer monitoring any CWS weather station.)

Additionally, real time monitoring, data logging, and graphing are available with a stand-alone Weather Display Console and/or WeatherMaster Software. The Weather MicroServer can also be connected to offer Internet-ready data as well as additional industrial protocols.

HIgh resolution and accuracy make the Orion weather monitoring system ideal for high-precision weather monitoring.


  • Most essential weather parameters in one compact module
  • 4-20 mA current output for all parameters
  • Triangular design ensures excellent data availability and 360° wind measurement accuracy
  • No moving parts make it superior to conventional mechanical wind sensors
  • Easy to install and requires no field calibration or maintenance
  • Compact and robust sensor in durable, corrosion-resistant housing
  • Starting threshold for both wind speed and direction is virtually zero
  • Heated model is available
  • One-year Warranty

"I wouldn't hesitate to recommend the Orion System to anyone who has a demanding application." - Horizon Systems, Offshore Oil Ice Management in the Canadian Beaufort Sea

Call for a quote toll free 1-866-625-8620 or email


 Orion 420 PLC Weather Station Connectors A weatherproof enclosure houses
  • power supply,
  • AC surge protector, and
  • serial to 4-20 mA converters.

The Orion 420 Weather Station incorporates the following sensors in a compact, all-in-one sensor head. Click to expand for specific sensor and measurement details.

Wind Measurement

Both wind speed and direction are measured using an advanced ultrasonic sensor. The sensor uses ultrasound to determine horizontal wind speed and direction. The array of three equally spaced ultrasonic transducers on a horizontal plane is an ideal design which ensures accurate wind measurement from all wind directions, without blind angles or corrupted readings.

The wind sensor has no moving parts, which makes it maintenance free. The measurement range for wind speed is from 0 to 134 mph (0 to 60 m/s) and for wind direction from 0 to 360°.



Barometric Pressure, Temperature, and Humidity Module

Barometric pressure, temperature, and humidity measurements are combined in an advanced sensor module utilizing capacitive measurement method for each parameter.

Barometric pressure is measured using a silicon-based sensor. The sensor has minimal hysteresis and excellent repeatability, as well as outstanding temperature and long-term stability. The measurement range is from 17.72 to 32.48 in. Hg (600 to 1100 millibars)

Temperature measurement is based on a ceramic sensor. The measurement range is from -61.6 to 140 °F (-52 to +60 °C).

Humidity measurement is based on a capacitive technology. The sensor is highly accurate and it offers excellent long-term stability in a wide range of environments with negligible hysteresis. The measurement range for humidity is 0 to 100% RH.

This tri-sensor module is mounted in a specially designed radiation shield and is easily replaceable and available as a spare component.

The shield protects the sensors form both scattered and direct solar radiation and precipitation. The plastic material in the plates offers excellent thermal characteristics and UV stabilized construction. The white outer surface reflects radiation, while the black inside absorbs accumulated heat.



Rainfall Measurement

The rainfall measurement is based on an impact sensor, which detects the impact of individual rain drops. The signals exerting from the impacts are proportional to the volume of the drops. Hence, the signal from each drop can be converted directly to the accumulated rainfall. Due to the measurement method, flooding, clogging as well as wetting and evaporation losses in rain measurement are eliminated.



Sensor Maintenance

The Orion is a maintenance-free weather station that will provide you with years of operation. However, there are some simple steps you can take to extend the life of your sensor module.

Periodic cleaning - To ensure the accuracy of measurement results, the sensor module should be cleaned when it gets contaminated. Leaves and other such particles should be removed from the precipitation sensor and the transmitter should be cleaned carefully with a soft, lint-free cloth moistened with a mild detergent. Be careful when cleaning the wind sensors as they should not be rubbed or twisted.

Replacing the PTU module - The PTU module contains separate sensors for pressure, temperature and humidity. Sensors can drift over time and the manufacturer recommends replacing the PTU module once every two years to ensure that your unit meets its stated accuracy. This can be done in the field.



System Specifications Summary

Wind Speed
Range: 0-135mph (0-60 m/s)
Accuracy: ±3% at 10 m/s
Resolution: 0.1 mph (0.1 m/s)
Units Available: knots, mph, km/hr, m/s

Wind Direction
Azimuth: 0-360°
Accuracy: ±3°
Resolution: 1°
Units Available: ° Azimuth

Range: -60 to 140°F (-52 to +60°C)
Accuracy: ±0.5°F (±-0.3°C) at 68°F (+20°C)
Resolution: 0.1°F
Units Available: °F, °C

Barometric Pressure
Range: 17.50 to 32.50 InHg (600 to 1100 hPa)
Accuracy: ±0.015 InHg (0.5 hPa) at +32 to 86°F (0 to 30°C)
±0.03 InHg (1 hPa) at -60 to 140°F (-52 to 60°C)
Resolution: 0.01 InHg (0.1 hPa)
Units Available: Kpa, mbar, InHg

Relative Humidity
Range: 0 - 100%
Accuracy: ±3% (0-90%), 5% (90-100%)
Resolution: 1%
Units Available: %RH

Range: cumulative
Collection Area: 60 cm2
Accuracy: ±5% (spatial variations may exist)
Resolution 0.01 in. (0.254mm )
Units Available: mm, inches


Optional sensors of Solar Radiation, Photosynthetically  Active Radiation, Visibility, and up to two additional Temperatures can be connected via the Weather MicroServer.

With the Orion 420 Weather Station, monitoring is accomplished on the user's PLC device.

Additionally, dedicated weather monitoring is available with these proprietary options:

Color Weather Display Console

Industrial grade WVGA touchscreen displays current weather data, trends, min/max.

Computes and displays wind chill, heat index and other calculated parameters.

Seven-inch color LCD panel with 800 x 480 pixel resolution.

Available in desktop/wall-mount chassis, 19" rack mount, or panel mount.

Read more here.


 Touchscreen Weather Display Console

Computer Weather Monitoring Software

WeatherMaster™ is our proprietary software optimized for CWS weather stations. It provides computer weather monitoring, calculated parameters, graphing and trend displays, as well as automatic archiving of weather data, alarm notification, interface with CAMEO/ALOHA, and weather web page updates.

Read more here.



Weather Monitoring Software

Weather Microserver

Internet-Ready Weather Monitoring and Industrial Automation Protocols

FTP output (XML and CSV) • XML web service • Internet browser user interface

SNMP, Modbus/OPC and RTU communication protocols are standard for Industrial Management applications.

Compatible with CWOP (Citizen Weather Observer Program) and Weather Underground, the MicroServer can automatically post data from your weather station to these network websites.

Read more here.



Weather MicroServer with Internet and Industrial Protocols

Standard Cable Communication

Included with the Orion 420 Weather Station is a 50-foot section of sensor cable which connects to the Weatherproof Enclosure.

Customer supplied 4-20 mA Signal Cables connect the Weatherproof Enclosure (screw terminal blocks) to the PLC device.

Additional monitoring options require their respective RS-232 Cable.


Diagram for Orion Weather Station with 4-20 mA Signal

Due to the wide variety of installations, masts and mounting hardware are sold separately. The following items are available from Columbia Weather Systems.

Steel Mast, 10 ft.

For mounting wind sensor assembly; includes two five-foot sections. 
Catalog Number: 88005

(May be used with Roof Mount Kit below.)


Fiberglass Mast, 10 ft.

For mounting wind sensor assembly; recommended for lightning-prone regions; includes two five-foot sections.
Catalog Number: 88004

(May be used with Roof or Wall Mount Kit below.)


Roof Mount Kit

Includes universal mast mount, guy wire clamp, guy wire, lag screws, eye bolt screws, cable standoffs, cable nail clips and wall bushings to route cable properly.
Catalog Number: 88002

(Does not include mast - User supplied or select steel or fiberglass mast above)

Download Data sheet  Data Sheet including diagrams


Weather Station Roof Mount Kit

Roof Mount Hardware Kit
(Catalog Number 88002)

Wall Mount Kit

Includes 4" wall mounts with lag screws, cable nail clips, and wall bushings.
Catalog Number: 88003

(Does not include mast - User supplied or select steel mast above)

Download Data sheet Data Sheet including diagrams


Weather Station Wall Mount Kit

Wall Mount Hardware Kit
(Catalog Number 88003)

Tripod Mast

This tripod mast is designed to provide 8 to 10 feet of stable, secure support for your weather station sensors or other instrumentation. Set up takes less than five minutes.

Competitively priced and sturdy, the tripod is constructed from welded aluminum and anodized for appearance and longevity. The 15-pound tripod can support up to 60 pounds of equipment such as weather sensors on a 1" (outside diameter) vertical pipe stub.

 Operational Features

  • Sturdy construction supports up to 60 pounds of equipment.
  • Legs insert easily into body and fasten securely with stainless steel retainer pins.
  • Guy wires clip quickly to feet for increased stability.
  • Includes tiedown kit for optional optimized stability.

Tripod Specifications

Capacity: Supports up to 60 lbs.
Diameter: 1" OD
Shipping Weight: 17lbs
Shipping Box Dimensions: 70" x 8" x 8"

Download data sheet Data Sheet including diagram

Order Information

Tripod with Tiedown Kit, Catalog Number: 88019
Tripod Tote for storage and transportation, Catalog Number: 88009


Weather Station Tripod

Tie-Down Kit Included

For additional security in high-wind applications, the Tie-Down Kit includes:

  • 16" Spiral Stake (Auger)
  • Ratchet Tie-Down with S hooks (1200# break strength, 400# working load limit)

 Weather Station Tripod Leg Joint

Tripod Mast TieDown Kit

Universal Mount for Tower/Mast

Universal mounting adapter to attach weather sensors to existing towers or alternate masts, even those with multiple instruments. Can be used vertically or horizontally. Aluminum construction. Includes three clamps for mast of up to 3” diameter. 

Catalog Number: 88022

(Does not include mast - User supplied)

Download Data sheet Diagram


Weather Station Mount

Weather Station Mounting Adapter

Universal Mount for Tower/Mast shown above with Pulsar 600 Weather Station.
(Catalog Number 88022)

The following accessories are available for Orion Weather Stations. Surge protection is highly recommended. Click a title to expand text for additional information.

Surge Protectors

A nearby lightning strike may induce a high voltage surge which the internal suppressor of your weather instrument may not be able to withstand, causing significant damage to the weather station. Protect your weather station investment with a Surge Protector. This compact transient overvoltage suppressor is designed for weather stations in areas with an elevated risk of lightning strike such as on top of high buildings, or anywhere with cable lengths greater than 100 feet.

  • Superior 3-stage surge protection
  • Tolerates up to 10kA surge currents
  • Both differential and common mode protection on each channel
  • Filtering against HF and RF noise
  • Two power channels and two data channels
  • Environmental protection class IP66
  • Catalog Number: 8355
  • Includes adjustable mounting clamp.

Surge Protector


Ethernet Surge Arrestor

Plugs directly into the Ethernet Port on the Weather MicroServer.

Catalog Number: 8356





Serial Surge Arrestor

Plugs directly into Serial Port on a computer.

Catalog Number: 8353





Bird Spike Kit

Seagulls seem to be inordinately fond of the ultrasonic transducers on the Orion Weather Stations.

To discourage pecking and nesting we offer this Bird Spike Kit.

Designed not to hurt the birds, the spikes provide a barrier to make it more difficult for birds to land on top of the transmitter.

This option is highly recommended for coastal environments.

Catalog Number: 9584


Oreion Weather Station Bird Spike Kit


Extended Warranties for Orion Sensor/Transmitter Module

The sensor head is one of the most fragile components of an all-in-one weather station, and frequently the one subject to the most abuse -- especially in portable and mobile installations. In addition to our standard one-year warranty which is included with the purchase price, we offer Extended Standard and "No-Fault" Warranties on the Orion Sensor Module.

The Free One-Year Standard Factory Warranty and the Extended Standard Factory Warranty do NOT cover damage due to normal wear and tear, exceptional operating conditions, negligent handling or installation, or unauthorized modifications.

The No-Fault Warranty covers repair service fees, parts and material that are not covered under the Standard Warranty. This includes damages caused by negligent handling or installation, as well as Acts of God.

Warranty service options can only be purchased with new orders.

Catalog Number: 85110




Battery Backup Unit

The new battery back-up option provides continuous power to the weather station system in the event of an electrical outage.

Catalog Number: 8395-1
Enclosure Size: 12" x 10" x 6"
Enclosure: 16 gauge galvanized steel with polyester power finish
Industry Standards: NEMA/EEMAC Type 3R
Battery: 28 AHr Sealed Lead Acid Rechargeable
Power Input: 88 - 264VAC
Power Output: 12VDC

  Battery Backup Unit for weather stations

Orion 420 Brochure

Download Orion 420 BrochureDownload Orion 420 Brochure PDF

Orion 420 User Manual

Download Users ManualDownload Orion 420 User Manual PDF

Call for a quote toll-free: 1-866-625-8620 or email

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