In my opinion, the Windtronic 2 is the perfect wind meter for kite fliers. Got one for Christmas, and it's the best toy this single-line nut ever had ;-) In fact, this handy little device has been my constant companion on nearly every kite-flying outing of ours since that Christmas Day.
At first glance, this wind meter looks and feels like something of a toy. Sleek light-gray finish, plastic feel and surprisingly light weight. Then you have to remind yourself that it cost well over 100 bucks when first released and is most definitely a precision instrument! Some respect is due. To re-express that in practical terms - don't let your 4 year old near it! Or your dog, if you have one.
A very neat, simple and sensible feature of the Windtronic 2 is the standard camera screw-mount in the base. Many kinds of tripods for cameras can therefore be used to mount the wind meter for ... ahem ... Wind Energy Data Logging. That simply means the maximum gust strength and the average wind-strength are continuously updated from when the meter was switched on.
To begin with, I was concerned that the mini tripods for digital cameras wouldn't let the meter catch much wind. A ruler beside the mounted meter measured the rotating cups at about 22 cm (8 3/4") off the grass. However, I've found that in light winds, the speed this close to the ground is not much different to the wind speed at shoulder height. However, in strong wind, the difference is easily measured.
Here are the features in concise list form. However, I've also expanded on each point, sometimes with my own experiences or opinions...
Due to its remarkably light weight, I fully intend to hoist my Windtronic 2 up under a large kite one day, to get wind readings at various altitudes! Even a 1.5 meter span kite could probably hoist it up in moderate winds. Of course, great care would need to be taken to protect the unit from shock. I'm considering a cage made from bamboo skewers - light, strong and bendy to absorb the occasional bump!
Now this one is firmly in the 'day-dream' realm...
How about providing a super-accurate wind gradient service to the local airport :-) With a bit of thought and organization, it should be possible to take readings of wind speed and direction at 25, 50, 75, 100 feet, going right up to 300 feet. You'd need to attach a vane to the bamboo cage to get direction. By standing under the kite with a compass, you could read off wind direction to the nearest 15 degrees.
The Windtronic 2 is a great companion for any single-line kite flier, as I can attest from experience. Get a true idea of what weather each of your kites does well in. Of course, single-liners are just the tip of the ice-berg here.
Owners of anything from stunt kites to sailing boats to paragliders could really make good use of this very well-designed single-purpose wind meter.
The video below shows the Windtronic 2 in action. I had to take it in the shade so the LCD display would be glare-free and thus readable. Note how the spinning cups are slowed down, and even frozen occasionally, by the frame-rate of the camera! You can stare at it, mesmerized, for a full 30 seconds if you want to...
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