My 09150M is dropping the 5 n1 sensor due to rain.

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  • Updated 2 years ago
I think there are two problems associated with rain fall:
1) the server drops rain fall counts.
2) The smarthub has such a weak receiver that it drops the 5 n 1 sensor during rainfall.
My problem is the second case. I am 130 ft from the sensor just inside a double paned window.
The sensor works great except during a hard rain. I have seen the sensor drop out at least 5 times in the last few weeks. We have had 11 inches this month. The display is 160 ft and never loses its signal bars. I watch the hub drop and I run to the the display and its OK. I never move the sensor just wait till it comes back on. Sometimes right away sometimes 10- 15 minutes. It is almost like the 5n1 has to dry out etc. Yes the sensor light flashes. I have already moved the sensor many times in all directions. Which brings up a question which direction is it suppose to receive best? I have the flip up antenna away from the sensor. I found that is best for me. I am 5 degrees East of North. I found that directly North does not receive well. The display is off 20 degrees West. I would like to see a emf lobe pattern for the sensor? Also I am up above the sensor about 17 ft since my back yard is about 15 ft below my house and the sensor is on the second floor. First floor is the garage. It is already on a 15 ft pole above ground level. I have to be away from my house to get accurate wind readings. My sensor is at a 10 degree angle down from my smarthub receiver. I always have a poor signal which I believe poor or weak signal is the norm for a smarthub. It seems from reading here in the forums that the smarthub has a very poor receiver. It would be nice if someone knows how to improve the antenna in the smarthub . Of coarse I could move the sensor to my back deck but then I would never have accurate wind speed. The specs say 300 plus feet I would expect it to receive at least 150 ft. Anyone have a solution for me? Acurite do you have a new hub coming out to solve the weak receiver in this current unit? Unless different units have different receiving characteristics ? A possible manufacturing issue? I see the utube on adding a piece of wire to the sensor. Being an electrical engineer and programmer I know that this is not a good idea since it would put additional load on the transmitter and lower the life of the batteries.
Acurite do you know the lobe pattern of the 5n1? Or what is the part number and manufacturer of the 5n1 transmitter?
 
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Doug

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Posted 2 years ago

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George D. Nincehelser

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1) The problem isn't the server dropping rainfall counts, it's the rain counters in the SmartHUB that are resetting.

2) The way the 5n1 sensor works is that it transmits a rolling rain-counter value at all times.  If that counter in the 5n1 doesn't change from transmission to transmission, then no rain has fallen.  If that 5n1 counter does change, it's interpreted as rain, 0.01" per count.

That means even if the radio connection is interrupted between the 5n1 and SmartHUB, the rain count shouldn't be lost.  However, when the counter resets under some conditions all bets are off.

The antenna is omni.  Being able to adjust the antenna angle lets you compensate a bit for reception in your local environment.  That said, the antenna is bent and it's unlikely that your home presents a perfect environment free from reflections.

Antennas for 433Mhz modules such as this are a simple straight wire for receive, and a coiled helical for transmission.

The receiver is better than people realize.  I think they're just thrown off by the "poor" and "weak" names, which are 1 and 2 bars out of a possible 4.

Going back to display "bars", the bars on the display aren't comparable to the bars on a SmartHUB.  The displays subtract a bar every time an expected data packet was missed.  However, the bars on the SmartHUB are from an RSSI value determined by the hardware receiver chip.

The radio module is from Micrel, which was purchased by Microchip a while back.  Microchip also makes the controller.  I don't recall the part numbers off the top of my head, but if you open the SmartHUB they are fairly well marked and you can find the specs on the internet.
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Doug

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Thanks George ! It rained heavy three times Today.  I lost the sensor three times (blinking light). It always comes back solid and up with no intervention. I just checked and lost no rain counts. They agree exactly with my display. If it rains hard for a long time I expect I will lose data.
I have no other complaints. Works great! Just would like the smarthub to work all the time including rain.
If I move the sensor closer to the house it will be blocked by my porch structure and and have wind effects. Thanks Again. I have read many of your excellent posts.
(Edited)
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Doug

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George , I found that the smarthub works OK further away 170 ft in my kitchen.
The difference I can see is it is at a larger angle from North to the West about 35 degrees. I think the 5  n 1 sends a better pattern off to the side . I will also try raising my antenna above its current 14 ft . Could be the lower angle above the antenna as well.
Have a question. My unit came back up on WU but not MYAcurite ? Sunday 10:00 AM 1/22
I would think it would be back up on both at the same time.
I did try the blue button reset once in the new location.
Comes up rite away on WU.
Does the MyAcurite server have a maintenance down schedule? It should be published.
PS : so far it is working in the rain in the new location. Wont know for sure until MyAcurite app is back online.





 
(Edited)
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Doug

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correct the previous . I am not up on WU. Looks like it defaults to the nearest tower. Even though It is my url .

I am now back up at my previous location 5 degrees East of antenna with
MyAcurite..
I am going to have to just figure out how to increase my 5n1 signal strength.
Start with raising it up higher to 20 ft above the ground etc. 

Thanks 


PS: The reason I thought it was working Ok is I think you can power down the hub by holding the reset button for 20+ seconds, NO lights period no matter what you do.
Then you can bring it back on by holding for another 20 seconds and at that point both lights are on solid and nothing you can do to change . That is when I thought I was back up. Then if you reset again for the 4 seconds it starts operating normally.
Does anyone find this as well?  Be nice if we had detail instructions on how everything works in detail. Have I missed this somewhere in the literature.  
(Edited)
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AcuRite Jennifer

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Hello Doug,

We have heard that if you press the register/activate button for 10 seconds it will stop transmission to Weather Underground. We can see you are transmitting on Weather Underground and My AcuRite at this time. Heavy rain or wet foliage may create interference impacting the wireless signal between an outdoor sensor and indoor companion product (display, bridge, etc.). To ensure a strong wireless connection, mount the sensor higher up or relocate it to another area.

  • Increase the mounting height. A wireless signal traveling close to the ground and through objects like windows, walls, bushes, grass, drywall, etc., reduces the potential wireless range. Rain may cause additional interference on the wireless signal.
  • Relocate the product(s) – When moving a wireless product, even an inch can make a difference in signal strength. For products with both a sensor (transmitter) and digital display or bridge (receiver), relocating both parts may help improve the wireless range. Please let us know if you continue to have a problem.
(Edited)