Smarthub vs smarthub: LoS and signal strength

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For the past month, I have been running a migrated SmartHub vs. A new SmartHub. It is quite interesting that I will get LoS from one but not both even though both Hubs were 1.5' from each other. Then days later, the other SH will report LoS while the other does not in their original locations (no change in positions). In addition both had different signal strengths for the same 5in1 (weak vs poor) even though under 100' away and 1 window.

When I moved the migrated SmartHub 20' closer to 5in1, that SH showed a weaker signal but similar vector to 5in1.
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Bill Martin

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Posted 2 years ago

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Mark Besting

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Ever since the upgrade, I have had a LOS constantly.  Comes back and updates my stations, and the web app is always current, but the in house displays (have 2, in different locations) both lose the signal.  I gave up trying to find out...way to frustrating.  I just look at the web app when I need the info and the LOS is there.
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Bill Lawless

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@ Bill Martin

Keep in mind signal attenuation -

  • Even though closer to the 5-in-1 ... objects can cause signal reduction or complete loss - 2x6 wall construction versus 2x4. Metal studs versus wood. Foil faced insulation versus non-foil. 5/8 inch sheetrock versus 1/2 inch. Paneling versus sheetrock. Aluminum siding. Metal cabinets. Aluminum windows versus vinyl versus wood versus vinyl over metal. Window screens versus no screens. Window versus no window. Mirror film applied to window versus none. Tinted window (metal deposition) versus none. Etc. etc.
  • Did you swap units at the 20 foot closer distance and compare signal strength? And do so within minutes of each other's test?
  • Were the antennas on the hubs identically oriented? (They need to be) which includes direction as well as angle (tilt). Point the internet connector towards the 5-in-1.
  • Were the hubs situated at the same elevation?
  • Were the hubs sitting atop identical material?
  • At this receiver's operating frequency, moving the hub and it's antenna an inch or so can make a difference in received signal strength.

 

Then there is Signal Reflection -

  • Anything that can reflect a transmitted signal BACK to the receiver's antenna * may * increase the receiver's overall gain (to a small degree, perhaps, given this receiver's "Inverted L" antenna design). Thus different locations with/without good/bad/missing reflectors might impact received signal strength.

 

And then there is Signal Interference -

  • A lot of consumer electronics (RFID, Wireless Alarm Systems, etc. operate on this low power, UHF band's license free frequencies allocated by the FCC.
  • Moving one device may have moved it closer to or further from a source of interference.
  • Some interference generators are not "always on" - meaning transmitting continuously - consequently a signal collision may happen at random, or at same time(s) of day/night.
  • This receiver is within the 70 cm Ham Radio Band, so a nearby Ham operating his UHF equipment can cause an issue. And BTW - this Hub by US Law MUST endure reception (interference) from a licensed transmitter operated properly/legally. The interference problem lies with the receiver and not the transmitter. (Reason is: non-sophisticated, crappy - cheap - receiver design)
  • Placing the hub atop or near another electronic device is ill advised.
  • I would not suggest placing two hubs near each other. My presumption is all 5-in-1's transmit on the same frequency. Therefore all hubs must receive the same frequency.  FYI - every receiver is actually a transmitter as well - due to what is called its local oscillator. Placing two (or more) local oscillators tuned to the same frequency near each other may cause co-channel interference.
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Bill Martin

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Bill: first test was same shelf (height, distance, material) betelween hubs and 5in1 and both would show LoS but on different days and NEVER insync or even SAME 60 minute window. They were separated by 1'. So distance from 5in1 is minor. Th
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Bill Lawless

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The only way to do an "A - B" shootout is to keep everything as identical as possible. Setup one test site. Use the same power supply. Tape a piece of paper to a surface and trace the actual outline of one device (bridge/hub). Activate only one device at a time. Take your measurements. Disconnect unit one and replace with unit 2 - power up and repeat the test.  Compare results.
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Mark Besting

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KEEP IN MIND, that both of my indoor display units worked perfectly fine with the smart hub until the smart hub software upgrade.  THAT was the only change in my system since installed in July 2015 (original display), (second display added in early 2016). 
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Mark Besting

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both of them are stand alone, in two different rooms, and different models.
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George D. Nincehelser

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Hmm...

Well, when you flip the A/B/C switch on the display, that puts the display in a "scanning" mode, meaning it is leaving the radio receiver on full-time until it locks on a particular display.  Once that is accomplished, the radio receiver goes into a "timed" mode, only being turned on at particular times when the signal from the sensor is expected.  Historically, this was probably done to conserve battery life in the display, and also helped the display ignore other similar sensors on a different timing schedule.

Once locked on, the display should show full bars.  If anticipated data packets from the sensor begin to be missed, bars are subtracted on the display.  When the bars get down to zero, the display should automatically re-enter the "scanning" mode.  (the "signal strength" indicator should flash when it is scanning)

I can't think of any particular relevance for the 10-12 hours, or why the displays aren't automatically re-scanning.  It seems odd that two displays would do this at the same time, too.

I assume you're NOT switching channels on the 5n1 sensor?   The 5n1 should be staying on one channel at all times.  If the two displays are picking the 5n1 sometimes on A and sometimes on C, that might indicate the switch going bad on the 5n1 sensor.

A bad switch in the 5n1 has been known to happen.  Sometimes flipping the switch in the 5n1 back-and-forth several times can knock off any corrosion on the switch contacts which might clear the problem.

A bad switch in the 5n1 would also explain why your SmartHUB is still picking up the 5n1 while your displays don't, as the SmartHUB ignores the switch setting in the 5n1 sensor.

 
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Mark Besting

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wow, thank you so much for that info and explanation.  now it makes sense to me.  based on your comments, I am assuming bad switch in 5in1 at this time and of course, being WI and winter, will be stuck until spring as 5in1 is a roof top mount.
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AcuRite Jennifer

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Hello Mark,

We are sorry to hear you are having problems. Make sure both your displays and sensor are at least 3 feet from electronics such as televisions, microwaves, computers & radios. Are you noticing any bars being lost on the display when you lose connection or before you lose connection? Thank you. Enjoy your day!
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Mark Besting

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Hello Jennifer, thanks for responding.  first of all, I have two different model displays, located in two different places in the house.  both have worked tremendously well since first installed, one around 7/2015 and the other early 2016.  7/2015 installed a smart hub as well.  everything working great, until the last couple months since installing the hub upgrade.  nothing else changed (other than batteries LOL) since 7/2015.  LOS to displays only has occurred, intermittently, since the upgrade.  the signal would eventually be recovered for a time, and then lost again.  Just this past weekend, on a whim, I switched the a-b-c switch from a to c when the signal was lost and no bars were showing.  Both displays started working again, for well, a number of hours.  Then the LOS (BTW bars in the display were gone)  would happen again, and so I switched from c to a, and both worked again.

Mark

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AcuRite Rachell, Employee

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Hello All,If you are receiving Loss of Signal emails, do you have the smartHUB plugged directly into your router or are you using a switch of any kind? The smartHUB needs to be plugged directly into your router. Once or if it is, We would recommend moving the smartHUB away from the router as much as possible and rotating the HUB 90°. If you have two HUB's side by side, please move them away from each other as far as possible. Please let us know if the issue continues. Thank you and have a great day!
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Gene Fowler

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Why do you state "The smartHUB needs to be plugged directly into your router"?
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George D. Nincehelser

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They don't officially support switches to avoid the pitfalls of possible switch configuration issues.

For example, some gigabit switches do not always properly negotiate down to the 10M half-duplex operation the SmartHUB uses.  If you have the ability to manage your gigabit switch, you can set this manually if necessary.  Unfortunately not all gigabit switches can do this.

10/100 switches are less problematic, but there are still some out there that don't handle flipped pairs.

Bottom line, you're on your own with switch configurations.
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AcuRite Jennifer

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Hello Gene,

We do not support plugging it into a port or switch because we have found that some users using a port or switch get an intermittent connection. If you plug the smartHUB directly into the router this typically corrects the problem. Thank you. Enjoy your day!

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