My indoor/outdoor thermometers have changed since the 1980s


Earlier this week, an indoor/outdoor thermometer that had provided daily highs and lows for over 30 years finally gave up. It was so old (how old was he?)…

… It was so old that the outdoor sensor was on a 15 foot wire. Today, everything is wireless, and has been for years. The thermometer package did two basic things: it displayed the current outdoor/indoor temperature, and it remembered the “all-time high” high and low (with “all time” meaning since battery replacement or reset of memory).

It cost around $25 in the mid-1980s when purchased at a Radio Shack store. That would be around $60 in today’s currency. Radio Shack was once the nation’s go-to electronics store in its glory years of the 1980s and 1990s, when it was called “The Technology Store”. But its brick-and-mortar stores couldn’t compete with big-box electronics and the internet.

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Today’s indoor/outdoor thermometers aren’t like Radio Shack’s of yesteryear. Amazon offers a variety of these, ranging from as simple as in/out temperatures to a weather station that can turn its owner into a neighborhood weather forecaster.

But my needs are simple. I found what I needed on Amazon, and for about $25 – the same price as the old one I bought in the mid-1980s. That is, the new one was about half what the old one cost at the time, taking inflation into account.

The ThermoPro TP-62 not only displays inlet and outlet temperatures, but also humidity for both locations. Although the height of the old and new unit is the same (about the size of a deck of playing cards), the numbers shown are about twice the height of the old unit.

This makes the numbers easier to read – plus a key on the top of the case provides orange/yellow backlighting for 10 seconds. Another advantage over the old unit.

Both old and new thermometers had an “all-time record” temperature feature, but the ThermoPro can be set to show all-time or 24-hour record high and low temperatures for the day.

And finally, the ThermoPro is freed from the old-school wired outdoor sensor that limited the distance to the screen. The range of the outdoor sensor, according to company documentation, is about 200 feet.

lonnie brown

There’s not much to get sentimental about when it comes to an indoor/outdoor thermometer. The fact that it has been running since the start of Ronald Reagan’s second presidential term says a lot, considering the lifespan of much of today’s electronics. And it even survived the once-mammoth chain that sold it. Radio Shack filed for bankruptcy in 2015 and again in 2017. It is present online at

Time (and temperature) scrolls.

Lonnie Brown can be contacted at


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