5-in-1 sensor battery life, AGAIN!

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  • Updated 2 months ago
Hello All,

This seems to be a recuring problem, if this was a car it would probably be something that would be triggering a recall for a factory fix. It seems to go something like this. The 5-in-1 works great (well ok) usually until after the warranty expires and one day you get a -40 degree reading. If you know what is going on you change the batteries and it operates fine and if you don't you post an message and some one from AcuRite takes you through a whole check list and has you do a hard reset. Anyway changing the barreries fixes it........ but if you just put a brand new set of top of the line Duracell Alkaline, 10 year shelf life batteries in it 6 weeks or less ago and this if the 4th time you have done it in a row this is a problem with the device and not anything you are doing.

I live in North Florida and in the past 6 months there have been no temparature extremes, the device has no corosion and has not been abused in any way. It is over 2 years old,  was upgraded to the dual solar panel fan unit in hopes of more accurate bright sun tempuratures ( with no sucess), had its wind cups replaced at 6 months when they broke and fell off, and has been through all of the internet connection options available during the 2+ years. I really hate spending any more money on this system on a chance that I won't have to spent $4+ and climb up a ladder every 6 weeks to change batteries.

Please tell me that AcuRite has recognized this as a genuine flaw in some units and there is a program to repair or replace them.
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Ron Thompson

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Posted 3 months ago

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Joseph Selph

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I had this same issue, and found that my Outside Temp and Humidity was also way off.  I replace the sensor with one that was not suppose to work from the newer 5-in one, and that has fixed the problem.  The sensor was shorted and was causing the drain on the batteries.   
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MuskokaJohn

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Did you put a voltage meter on the batteries that you took out? Corrosion on battery terminals is not always visible. Especially in salt air environments. A light brush or two with some fine emery cloth, and a little electrical corrosion paste on the terminals will assure a proper connection.
(Edited)
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Frank Schnell

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Post the reset procedure, so all us that the batteries last 2 to 6 weeks can reset the 5-1. I have spent more on batteries over the 3 years than the cost of the 5-1 (over $100 in battery purchased)
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Ron Thompson

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Thanks to all ho replied.

The battery terminals are clean, I always buff them with a Scotch Brite pad before use and I am located several miles from the ocean so the salt atmosphere is not much of a problem here. I have 4 sets of batteries from the weather station 3 sets measure 1.06V each and 1 set 1.08V

Joseph, Thanks for the tip about the sensor board, I have one on order now. Maybe that will fix the problem.

Frank, I do not think the reset will help the battery problem. If the system is giving bad data because it has been glitched by something a reset might be of help. I do not have a link to it but if you search for " hard reset" it should turn up. Good luck.

Ron
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John Z

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Ron,


It is possible to measure the current draw from your 5n1 to get some idea as to what is going on.


The batteries are arranged as two parallel banks each with two cells in series. Remove one bank and verify that the 5n1 continues to function on the remaining bank.


Slip a piece of paper between the two remaining cells. Operation should now cease, as the current path is interrupted.


Use a multimeter in current mode to restore the current path by simultaneously probing battery metal on each side of the paper.


The 5n1 should be functioning again. You should see a current of approximately 20 +/- microamps during idle time. That will kick up to several milliamps during compute time, then several tens of milliamps during transmit time. These higher current intervals are very brief and difficult to measure, so don't expect clean numbers there.


If you see an idle current significantly above 20 microamps, something inside the 5n1 is leaking, and you will experience short battery life.


Corrosion on the boards is the most common culprit. Judging from forum posts, a failed T&H sensor board seems to be next in line.

If yours unplugs, do that and retest the current drain.


Good luck!
(Edited)
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Ron Thompson

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Thanks for the info John.

I may pull it off of the mast and bring it indoors where it is easier to deal with. Was not sure what to expect current wise. years ago I had a nice little piece of double sided PCB with leads soldered on it that made it easy to shove in between batteries and measure current, will have to look for a piece of scrap board lying around. Some where I have scraps sheared off of boards that come in useful for all sorts of stuff, most are just bare glass though.

If the board in the unit looks grubby I am not above thouing it in the sink and giving it a good scrub and drying it out. The humidity in this area is generally high and if things don't rot they tend to corrode!

Thanks again for the info

Ron
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Joseph Selph

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Notes from my bad board checking:

I have checked between the common Neg terminal on battery box, and with the temperature sensor unplugged in, I get 455K Ohms either side , with the temperature sensor plugged in, ON the Temperature/Humidity Sensor, I get 1.2K Ohms either side,  VSS and VD0, I get 85 ohms.  The T/H board should not cause the reading to drop so much. 

New Board fix the problem.  :  PSVN4B01  20150507  TEMP / Humidity Board

other info:

https://support.acurite.com/acurite/topics/00786-eating-batteries-batteries-last-less-than-30-days>

USA Consumer Support

Instructions on Replacing the Temperature / Humidity Board

https://www.acurite.com/media/manuals/11197-VN1HSPCB-instructions.pdf

 
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John Z

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Good info. It would be informative if we could figure out where the fail is on the board, chip, cap, or other. When powered up, something on that board is dissipating a tenth of a watt, enough that it should be just a little warmer than ambient.
(Edited)
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joegr

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I have access to a FLIR camera.  It could probably pick out a 0.1 watt source.  In my case, the excess load is just under 0.016 watts, so I didn't even try it.
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John Z

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An FLIR camera would be perfect for that job!
Here's hoping your hardware never gives you cause to need it!

If that failed board were mine, and I had already written it off, I would unsolder the capacitor and make another measurement. Other than the sensor chip, there isn't much else on that board.
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