5 in 1 weather station Rain sensor magnet no longer close enough to reed switch to register tipping motion

  • 1
  • Problem
  • Updated 3 months ago
Tested with volt meter - can only get reed switch to work when I removed protective cover and position reed switch closer to tipping cup magnets.
Photo of Jeff Segroves

Jeff Segroves

  • 8 Posts
  • 0 Reply Likes

Posted 4 months ago

  • 1
Photo of Jeff Segroves

Jeff Segroves

  • 8 Posts
  • 0 Reply Likes
Hey Acurite, is there a fix or even a comment/suggestion for this problem! Anyone out there!
Photo of George D. Nincehelser

George D. Nincehelser

  • 6589 Posts
  • 1224 Reply Likes
Your post must have gotten buried in all the other noise.

One thing I've noticed is that the protective cover housing the reed switch seems to have a lot of "play" in it.  You may have to jiggle it down to where it should be closest to magnet.

Other than that, I can't think of anything unless the unit is still under warranty.
Photo of Jeff Segroves

Jeff Segroves

  • 8 Posts
  • 0 Reply Likes
There really is very little play with the protective cover due to the alignment slots inside for the sensor circuit board and how the entire assembly rests on the brackets.  I can only get the reed switch close enough to the tipping cup magnet with the protective cover removed and positioned a good bit closer together than the assembly would ever allow. 

Obviously it worked for a period of time and something changed to make it stop working.  Can the magnet become weaker?  Can the reed switch circuit board somehow become weaker?  Everything else works just fine - and of course I have performed the cleaning steps and rests several times before I stumbled across the reed switch testing I tried.  Nothing is obviously warped - appears to be something weakened in the eletronicals...

My wife wants her rain readings back!  I am hesitant to spend more on this system if reliability of the monitoring mechanisms are going to be a problem - so, have not yet purchased the new hub until I can figure out whether the basic system can be made operational.  Any and all serious suggestions would be greatly approeciated.
Photo of AcuRite Rachell

AcuRite Rachell, Employee

  • 6236 Posts
  • 198 Reply Likes
Hello Jeff,

We would recommend replacing the sensor.  When and where was this purchased? 
Photo of Jeff Segroves

Jeff Segroves

  • 8 Posts
  • 0 Reply Likes
Purchased thru Amazon in August 2016.  Been trying to figure out this problem for about 6 to 9 months off and on - going thru the cleaning, leveling, and finally testing the reed switch contacts with a volt/ohm meter after reading some posts.  I figure at this point it is out of warranty, but sure expected a part/subsystem like this to last a whole lot longer.
Photo of Jeff Segroves

Jeff Segroves

  • 8 Posts
  • 0 Reply Likes
Is it possible to get a replacement reed switch circuit board?  That level of repair part does not appear on the Acurite parts web page.
Photo of AcuRite Jennifer

AcuRite Jennifer

  • 11801 Posts
  • 536 Reply Likes
Hello Jeff,

We apologize but that is not a replacement part that we have. At this time we would recommend replacing the sensor. 
Photo of Larry

Larry

  • 107 Posts
  • 18 Reply Likes
Jeff, if moving the reed switch closer to the magnet causes it to work, then it's not the electronics. The reed switch is fatigued, the reed switch contacts are corroded from an air leak, or, the magnet has weakened from excessive heat. The heat required to weaken the magnet would melt the 5in1 shell, so it's the reed switch that's failing. Get some of the same size from Ebay or remove one from an old Radio Shack reed relay. The orientation is critical in the 5in1 - a flat side(not an edge) of the internal metal reed must be facing the magnet.
(Edited)
Photo of John Z

John Z

  • 895 Posts
  • 186 Reply Likes
Excellent advice, Larry.  Voice of experience? Sounds like you've done this.

Reed switches have had their day. I hope that in future releases micropower Hall Effect devices will prevail.
Photo of Larry

Larry

  • 107 Posts
  • 18 Reply Likes
Yes, a degree in electronics and both design and repair experience. You're right, John, that a Hall Effect sensor would be more reliable and outlast a glass reed switch. There is a valid reason for not using one - power consumption. A "micropower" Hall Effect switch uses 2 - 3 ma, too much for long battery life.
Photo of John Z

John Z

  • 895 Posts
  • 186 Reply Likes
Larry,
Take another look. There are devices available now with sub - micro ampere draw.
Photo of Larry

Larry

  • 107 Posts
  • 18 Reply Likes
By golly, you're right, John.

It wouldn't work for fast magnetic fluctuations, but 24Hz is quite fast enough for rain buckets. The cost is relatively high so it would need to be a quality weather device to consider using it over the reed switch in actual production. However this wouldn't keep me from retrofitting my 5in1 if s reed sw gets flaky. I've already replaced the F113 transmitter chip with a F115 off Ebay when the signal began to periodically fade out and be lost by the smart hub.

From DIODES, spec sheet:

"By providing an Enable pin, these devices are suitable for a variety of IoT applications, such as smart building security or entry‐control systems, where a signal is available to activate the sensor. On the other hand, consumer devices such as cameras, mobiles and game terminals may not be able to anticipate when the user is likely to push a button and hence will not be able to drive the Enable pin high. Nevertheless, the user expects instantaneous response. For this type of application, the AH8502 and AH8503 operate by default in micropower mode drawing only 13μA typical at a default sampling rate of 24Hz. When activity is detected, the sensor can be operated in turbo mode, and increases the sampling rate if needed. A Control pin is provided, which allows the system to adjust the sampling rate up to the maximum of 7.14kHz drawing a current of 1.16mA"
Photo of John Z

John Z

  • 895 Posts
  • 186 Reply Likes
Yup! There are many truly fabulous components out there, and volume purchases can drive the cost down quite far.

I had the pleasure to beta test Atlas 7/8, a great device!

One of the things I noticed there is that the opto encoder that the 5n1 uses for wind direction was replaced in Atlas by an integrated magnetic angular position sensor, either Hall or GMR type. The tipoff was that wind direction resolution went from 22.5 degrees to less than 2 degrees. I think wind speed is also via a chip device now. Not much room available for a reed switch.

I'll have to check Atlas sometime and see whether the tipping bucket reed switch has been changed out, too. 
(Edited)
Photo of Jeff Segroves

Jeff Segroves

  • 8 Posts
  • 0 Reply Likes
I would be more than happy to stage anything you guys want to prototype, noting the following; I can connect wires, but drink waaaaaaay to much coffee to do any meaningful soldering.  At least that is my excuse for my soldering shortcomings...
Photo of John Z

John Z

  • 895 Posts
  • 186 Reply Likes
Jeff,

That's an interesting proposal, but maybe there is a more practical solution.

First off, integrating a new sensor into a 5n1 could be quite a hack. The new chip devices are not one-for-one replacements for reed switches.

Next up, your soldering skills vs my dimming eyesight. Ugh!

Maybe the best thing is to find a hobbyist near you who can help you identify, order, and replace a questionable reed switch, maybe from DigiKey.

Finally, if you hold an offer for an Access discount, applying that against a bundle offer that gives you a really low cost 5n1 replacement might be your best path.
Photo of Larry

Larry

  • 107 Posts
  • 18 Reply Likes
I agree with John. The best solution is to get a reed switch off Ebay and have someone cut out the old switch and solder in a new one. Any NO ( normally open) reed switch of the same aprrox size will work.
Photo of Jeff Segroves

Jeff Segroves

  • 8 Posts
  • 0 Reply Likes
I would really like to to get a replacement rain sensor circuit board - then just have to deal with 2 wires connecting to the main circuit board.  That I can handle - if I can get Acurite Support to read this and let me know if that is replacement part is available...
Photo of AcuRite Jennifer

AcuRite Jennifer

  • 11801 Posts
  • 536 Reply Likes
Hello Jeff,

We replied above on the thread. At this time we would recommend replacing the sensor. Please let us know if there is anything further we can assist you with. Thank you.
Photo of Jeff Segroves

Jeff Segroves

  • 8 Posts
  • 0 Reply Likes
Since this is part of a 5-in-1 and not a standalone sensor can this be repaired by Acurite?  If so, and knowing what the problem is, can you provide an estimate of the cost?  Then we can get the ball rolling to fix this issue - which I desperately want to do. 

Photo of AcuRite Rachell

AcuRite Rachell, Employee

  • 6236 Posts
  • 198 Reply Likes
Hello Jeff,

We apologize for any inconvenience you have experienced. At this time we do not have a repair service outside of the warranty period.  For your convenience, I have provided links to the 5in1 sensors we offer below. Thank you.

https://www.acurite.com/5-in-1-pro-weather-sensor-temperature-humidity-rainfall-wind-speed-wind-dire...

https://www.acurite.com/5-in-1-weather-sensor-temperature-humidity-rainfall-wind-speed-wind-directio...