Accurite Access communication range compared to the Smart Hub

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Does anyone have an idea how sensitive the RF receiver will be on the new Accurite Access, compared to the SmartHub?   My sensors are quite a distance from my SmartHub. My SmartHub does link to them but I'd hate to upgrade to the Access and discover the sensors are too far away.
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Robert Samples

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Posted 8 months ago

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John Q

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Indeed, more information about Access would be nice.  The page lists a few improvements (battery backup, memory) and suggests there are other upgrades to the hub.  So, what are the 'other' items?  If the information can't be disclosed on the forum yet how about an email to those who've registered to order?  A range comparison with the current hub will be a biggie.

Cheers!
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George D. Nincehelser

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I've been running two Access units for a while now.

I've seen no difference in range or sensitivity when compared to SmartHUBs running in parallel and reading the same sensors. 

There have also been no claims made about increased range or sensitivity that I have heard.

The FCC imposes regulations regarding power output and operation of devices running at this frequency.  Those regulations are the main limitation to the range.
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Jeff Downs

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George,

Does the Access support WiFi as well as wired ethernet?

Thanks,

Jeff Downs
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George D. Nincehelser

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Only wired ethernet.
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AcuRite Jennifer

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Hello Jeff, 

George is correct. It plugs in via an Ethernet cable. Please let us know if there is anything further we can assist you with. 
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John Z

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George,

At my location Access has demonstrated excellent sensitivity. I am seeing more consistent signal performance over more territory than with my old hub. It also recovers from power and network glitches very gracefully, which is important here at the far end of the grid in rural TN. Like yours, my device has also seen a few firmware patches, all successful, no issues. Delighted about that!

Wishing you a happy and healthy 2018,
KJ4A
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George D. Nincehelser

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Cool!

I did take a quick look "under the hood" of the Access today.  Looks like a nice clean design, but I probably shouldn't post pictures at this time even though the NDA is lifted.

The antenna is a vertical helical.  The main processor seems to be an ARM2.  There is a very large shielded section I assume may be for the radio components, but I haven't tried to identify the other chips yet.

If you send me an email (I'm betting you know where to find it), I'll send the pics I took.
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John Z

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Yeah, I think the better antenna has something by to do with the improvement I am seeing. I haven't opened the device yet, but I could feel the springy helix while tapping Access. I'll send you a note in the AM. I'm looking forward to seeing your pics. Have a great evening, OM.
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Robert Samples

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My 5-in-1 is about 500 feet away, mostly over water. My hub is about 7 feet above the floor. The only thing between it and the 5-in-1 is a concrete block & brick wall. The hub picks up the sensor pretty well, even during a hurricane. I guess if the Access doesn't pick it up, I can rig a dipole under the hood and aim it at the sensor.
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George D. Nincehelser

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Just a follow-up about the Access components.

The radio chip is an MIRCF211 just like the SmartHUB.

The large shielded area is a bit of a mystery.  I now think it might be a memory module.
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Jack Canavera

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I have a neighbor with a 5-in-1 that is about 150-200 feet from my house.  I pick it up with my SmartHUB with a signal level of 1 or 2.  The Access cannot see it.  So offhand my gut tells me that the SmartHUB may be more directional due to the paddle although I sat the Access in the same spot as the SmartHUB.  The paddle on the SmartHUB was straight up.  Not knowing the thresholds that AcuRite uses to determine signal strength, the SmartHUB shows signal levels 1 level lower than what the Access shows.   On the contrary though the Access did not pickup up my neighbor where the SmartHUB shows a 1 or 2 signal.

I think that the units are comparable on reception.  The fact that I can't see my neighbor's unit may be more in the realm of the logic within the Access that determines signal levels and reliability.  I'm thinking that the Access may rejecting communications from that 5-in-1 because it falls below what is considered reliable in the Access software or radio.  I do know that occasionally I will lose signal from that 5-in-1 due to its distance from my home when using the SmartHUB.  

My advice is don't consider this unit if the only reason is to improve signal reception.  Now if you consider the fact that the unit will continue to collect data during an outage of up to 12 hours of power outage or loss of network, and transmit that data upon power restoration a valuable feature, then I would recommend it. I did test that function and it was flawless in that function.
(Edited)
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George D. Nincehelser

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I agree with that advice.

Looking at the interior layout of the Access, the vertical helical antenna stands out as being a much cleaner antenna implementation than the bent straight wire used by the SmartHUB.

One issue with the SmartHUB antenna was that it had to be tacked up to the exterior housing so that it wouldn't inadvertently touch any components on the main board. 

The Access design does away with that concern.
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Doug Barkus

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Is the update frequency to wunderground still 36 seconds with Access?
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Jack Canavera

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Doug, it's about every 8 seconds.  I'm assuming that AcuRite has improved that timing to accommodate some of the improved reporting times of the Atlas series of sensors.  Here's the comparison chart of the new sensors vs the 5-in-1.  https://www.acurite.com/media/documents/AcuRite-Sensor-Comparison-Chart.pdf
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Doug Barkus

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Even 8 seconds for a 5-in-1?  That's quicker than it actually transmits signal from the sensor (16 seconds for wind 36 for temp etc...) 
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John Z

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Agreed, Jack.
I'm pretty sure the bent wire antenna in the hub has a complex receive pattern, with more and less favored zones. The Access antenna should provide a cleaner, more uniform reception pattern, with less sensitivity to orientation.
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Jack Canavera

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Yep John Z, the Access is probably a more true omni-directional antenna.  So you get better range in all directions, with my SmartHUB tending to favor the direction of my neighbors 5-in-1.  Not a big issue with me since I found that once the trees leaf out in the spring, I lose that signal even with the SmartHUB.  It was always nice to see the neighbors unit since it had a much better spot to pick up wind.  His readings were always higher and more correct on direction since his home didn't have much impact on his 5-in-1 as mine.

Personally the Access is nicer looking and for those getting the $39 upgrade offer, I'd take AcuRite up on that.  
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Steve U

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John Z Ex navy ET here. Yep, That folded  (non traditional) Dipole design made me cringe. My sensors are located at 270, 180, 110  (I have my smarthub mounted high on the wall, so the connectors have to face outward.
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John Z

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Steve,

Yup, that antenna was not great, but it kinda worked. The antenna in Access is so much better.

I had to smile at George's post (below) about the stealth 5n1. Funny, but sad too. Daytime temps must report way high.
It did remind me though that in the Bay Area I have seen cellular antennas disguised as fake redwood trees.

On another thread, you had mentioned a wish for a POE solution to powering a hub device. I had briefly thought about something like an active splitter converting to 5v (Ras-Pi style), but discarded that idea. Anything that would involve putting a voltage down-converter very near or inside the receiver box would probably be very bad from a HF switching noise perspective.
(Edited)
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George D. Nincehelser

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Totally unrelated aside, but the mention of a neighbors 5n1 just spurred my memory.

Today, down the street from me near some condominiums, I saw a "stealth" 5n1 installed.  It was painted entirely black.  I don't think it's on the internet, but I'd guess the owner is trying to get around restrictive HOA rules.

During testing, I did seem to be just barely picking up a 5n1 sensor with SDR software and USB TV dongle, but the Access and SmartHUB weren't.  I looked around the neighborhood trying to find it, but I didn't think to look for a black one!
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Doug Barkus

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That might explain global warming.
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bheiser

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What I'd love to see is connectivity to a smarthome hub such as Smartthings...