Author Topic: Outdoor unit installation (north/south alignment)  (Read 750 times)

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Offline rods55555

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Outdoor unit installation (north/south alignment)
« on: July 27, 2017, 12:19:11 PM »
I think I made a mistake when I installed my pws, I have a MiSol (Ambient Weather ws-1001 clone). I followed the instructions on the manual on how to align the outdoor unit, but I found another copy of the manual on Fine Offset website that has two additional pages at the end of the manual, explaining that in the southern hemisphere it's necessary to install the north/south direction "reversed" (solar panel facing north) and this should be corrected on the calibration screen on the console.
Should I do that? Was this a rookie mistake? Is this necessary for correct solar radiation readings? Because other than that it is working fine, the wind direction is not reading incorrectly.

I appreciate any help.

Offline dupreezd

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Re: Outdoor unit installation (north/south alignment)
« Reply #1 on: July 27, 2017, 01:59:16 PM »
That is correct, in the southern hemisphere, you have to install the unit turned 180 degree so that the solar array can get the sunlight to charge the batteries. Then set the wind direction 180 degree offset to compensate.
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Offline rods55555

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Re: Outdoor unit installation (north/south alignment)
« Reply #2 on: July 27, 2017, 02:10:51 PM »
Thanks.

When I was installing it I noticed that the solar panel didn't seem to be in a good position, it didn't get good sunlight on it because of the position of the sun in the sky (especially now during winter). But I thought "well, the manual says to install the solar panel facing south", so I did it. But the printed manual that came with the unit doesn't have those two extra pages at the end explaining the correct setup for the southern hemisphere.

This weekend I going to turn the outdoor unit 180° and correct the calibration on the console to fix this mistake.

Offline rods55555

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Re: Outdoor unit installation (north/south alignment)
« Reply #3 on: July 29, 2017, 11:15:22 AM »
I did the correction on the orientation, and I don't know if that is really a good idea, the only benefit will be more direct sunlight on the solar panel to recharge the batteries, but now it seems that the UV and light sensors are in a position that are not optimal, it looks like that depending on the position of the sun and the position of the wind vane, one of the sensors can be in the shadow. Even removing my "homemade" bird spike seems that shadow on the sensors will be a problem. I didn't like it, I'm thinking to put it back the way it was before.
If the only reason to do this is to recharge the batteries, I will put it back the other way. I prefer more accurate readings from the UV and light sensor than recharging the batteries.

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« Last Edit: July 29, 2017, 12:11:07 PM by rods55555 »

Offline rods55555

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Re: Outdoor unit installation (north/south alignment)
« Reply #4 on: July 29, 2017, 12:37:34 PM »
I just did a test, and yes, if I keep it installed the way the manual says (solar panel facing north in the southern hemisphere) and the wind vane is pointing north it will block the sun and the light sensor will be in the shadow (1:30pm gmt -3:00). I was looking a simulation of the position of the sun on this website http://astro.unl.edu/naap/motion3/animations/sunmotions.html and for the majority of the year the UV and light sensors will be in a better position if they are facing north. It seems to be a design flaw the way they put this sensors on the unit.
« Last Edit: July 29, 2017, 02:38:43 PM by rods55555 »

Offline rods55555

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Re: Outdoor unit installation (north/south alignment)
« Reply #5 on: July 29, 2017, 03:02:47 PM »
I put it back the way it was, solar panel facing south. I really didn't like the possible shadows on the sensors caused by the wind vane (wind direction and position of the sun). I know it will have a negative effect on the battery recharging current because of the position of the solar panel, but that's not my main concern, and I'm using non-rechargeable Panasonic alkaline "platinum power" (fancy name for just an alkaline battery), and it's not that hard for me to get access to the roof to replace the batteries when needed.

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Offline Rychu

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Re: Outdoor unit installation (north/south alignment)
« Reply #6 on: August 19, 2017, 01:40:09 PM »
The Northern Hemisphere is the same problem. But this does not significantly affect the quality of the measurements. I do not know what temperature you are at in winter - but when it's low the batteries will not survive the night and you will have a break in sending packages to the console - usually at night.

The priority is to set the solar panel toward the sun - the rest is subordinated to it. Reversing directions can be done in the calibration panel on a windless day.

PS - I suggest to calibrate the rain gauge - while reducing the perimeter of the bucket to which the rain falls and setting additional obstacles to the sideways droplets during the wind - the measurement will be unreliable. The console software is adapted to the original bucket diameter. Any interference in the diameter of the circuit - implies the need to change the calibration.

Offline dupreezd

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Re: Outdoor unit installation (north/south alignment)
« Reply #7 on: August 19, 2017, 05:12:13 PM »
Quote
I know it will have a negative effect on the battery recharging current because of the position of the solar panel, but that's not my main concern, and I'm using non-rechargeable Panasonic alkaline "platinum power" (fancy name for just an alkaline battery),
Quote
I prefer more accurate readings from the UV and light sensor than recharging the batteries.

For him UV and Solar is more important and he does use non-rechargeable batteries. I have platinum's in mine now for 5 months with no problem.

The best will be to compare the rain reading with a good known manual rain gauge, then go from there.
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Offline Rychu

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Re: Outdoor unit installation (north/south alignment)
« Reply #8 on: August 19, 2017, 06:08:20 PM »
(...) I'm using non-rechargeable Panasonic alkaline "platinum power" (fancy name for just an alkaline battery)

(...) For him UV and Solar is more important and he does use non-rechargeable batteries. I have platinum's in mine now for 5 months with no problem.(...)

WS1001 and clones must be powered by rechargeable NiZn batteries. Normal batteries can not be used because the external panel charging system leads to overheating of the batteries and may cause them to leak. Dedicated capacity for this charging system is 1500-2000 mWh.

It is important to tutat that they can not be other batteries than NiZn - because they are charged with impulse current !!! Not such as NiCd or NiMH. The WS1001 has a pulsed, dedicated charging system.

It is therefore good to use NiZn to not damage the external sensor panel.

PS - my NiZn rechargeable batteries last more than two years without removing the external panel.

« Last Edit: August 19, 2017, 06:35:25 PM by Rychu »

Offline Rychu

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Re: Outdoor unit installation (north/south alignment)
« Reply #9 on: August 19, 2017, 06:12:12 PM »
(...) The best will be to compare the rain reading with a good known manual rain gauge, then go from there.

The best way to calibrate is to set 1m above the ground of a regular bucket or other container of known diameter. Hence, it is possible to calculate precisely how many mm of rain fell on the calculated inlet surface of the bucket.   ;)

Offline Phil23

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Re: Outdoor unit installation (north/south alignment)
« Reply #10 on: August 19, 2017, 06:42:20 PM »
Just looking for some disassembled examples of this WS.

Wondering if the solar & uV sensors could be elevated slightly,
Maybe on small lengths of conduit or something similar.


Offline dupreezd

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Re: Outdoor unit installation (north/south alignment)
« Reply #11 on: August 19, 2017, 06:43:22 PM »
Rychu, when my original batteries failed, I emailed Ed at Ambient. At that stage rechargeable alkaline batteries was out of stock for some period.
This is the current wording when ordering batteries.
Quote
Note: The weather station uses alkaline batteries because of their wide temperature range. However, any AA battery will work in the unit, including non-rechargeable batteries.

If alkaline batteries are unavailable, we recommend non-rechargeable Energizer e2 Lithium batteries. They operate between -40 °F and 140 °F (-40 to 60 °C). They will not damage the weather station or the batteries because of the low charging current.

Using Ni-Mh rechargables are fine but expect a very limited temperature operating range.
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Offline dupreezd

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Re: Outdoor unit installation (north/south alignment)
« Reply #12 on: August 19, 2017, 07:00:53 PM »
I had a look and found a cloudless day on 02/25/2017, winter in the US so sun will have a low arch. The graph show no dips which would indicate that the wind vane or anemometer did nor cast a shadow over the sensors. Latitude / Longitude: N 30 ° 8 ' 45 '', W 95 ° 24 ' 46 ''. Maybe if you go further north or south from 30 °, it might be a bigger issue.
 

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Offline Rychu

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Re: Outdoor unit installation (north/south alignment)
« Reply #13 on: August 20, 2017, 11:34:02 AM »
Rychu, when my original batteries failed, I emailed Ed at Ambient. At that stage rechargeable alkaline batteries was out of stock for some period. (...)

Dear @Dupreezd,

Producer WS1001 and clones - requires a rechargeable battery.

The supplier of the equipment to the customers, on the other hand, writes various weird things if it is unable to supply the replacement part or its substitute. He writes just to avoid having to spoil his brand - in this case "Ambient" - or claims for cash back for a defective product during the guarantee period.

Dear @Dupreezd, physics can not just be missed. The alkaline current - large or small - that causes the battery to produce irreversible gaseous processes. Excess of these gasses leads to the destruction of batteries and the formation of secondary substances that cause erosion of the battery case.

The metal housing of one alkaline battery will withstand this destructive process and another will not ...

The manufacturer's recommendations are to comply with them. Of course the buyer of the product "knows better" and does not have to follow the recommendations.   ;)

Take so may the above mentioned.   ;)

Offline rods55555

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Re: Outdoor unit installation (north/south alignment)
« Reply #14 on: August 22, 2017, 08:10:46 AM »
I did a test when I did the "correct" alignment suggested by the manual, and I manually moved the wind vane to test it and it did cast a shadow on the UVI sensor, of course it would have to be a very specific time of the day and very specific wind direction, but it happens. For me the UVI sensor and Light sensor look like an afterthought, like when they first design the outdoor unit they didn't have these sensors and later on decided to include them and it was too complicated (or expensive) to modify the project (and injection moldings) to put the sensors on the same side as the solar panel is. If you have sensors that need to be on the best position related to the sun, why put them on the worst place (away from the sun), for me the position of those sensors is a “factory botch job”.

Offline rods55555

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Re: Outdoor unit installation (north/south alignment)
« Reply #15 on: August 22, 2017, 08:19:39 AM »
About the battery recharge system, I really don't care about that. I don't mind having to replace the batteries when they are done. It's not that hard for me to climb on the roof to replace the batteries.

Offline Transporterman

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Re: Outdoor unit installation (north/south alignment)
« Reply #16 on: August 23, 2017, 04:03:21 AM »
But you would have to permanently disable the solar array, and any tape that comes off after a few months would be unsuitable. 

I think it's a big gaffe.  If a company expects to sell something around the world it should to be suitable for local conditions.  It is not new knowledge that the sun's apparent position in the sky is reversed in the Southern hemisphere.  :roll:     

Offline Rychu

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Re: Outdoor unit installation (north/south alignment)
« Reply #17 on: August 24, 2017, 04:26:33 PM »
(...) I think it's a big gaffe.  If a company expects to sell something around the world it should to be suitable for local conditions.  It is not new knowledge that the sun's apparent position in the sky is reversed in the Southern hemisphere.

As for the north / south station orientation, the station calibration panel allows you to change the orientation without mast handling. The producer anticipated this.  ;)

Offline rods55555

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Re: Outdoor unit installation (north/south alignment)
« Reply #18 on: August 25, 2017, 08:42:29 AM »
As for the north / south station orientation, the station calibration panel allows you to change the orientation without mast handling. The producer anticipated this.  ;)

That is true, I did that when I tested the unit with the solar panel facing north. But I still think it's a really bad design. The sensors that depend on the best position of the sun to get the best readings should be on the same side as the solar panel is, not on the other side away from the sun.


Offline Phil_W

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Re: Outdoor unit installation (north/south alignment)
« Reply #19 on: August 27, 2017, 12:03:46 AM »
The Solar power system is more important in the 'super-capacitor' night-time power situation. The instructions for a clone WH2600 actually note that the batteries are merely a backup (Misol WH2600). Indeed it says "Please use high quality alkaline batteries. The batteries are in tended for back-up power only. The solar cell current charges the supercapacitor".

It seems there may well be ambiguity in terms of use of the rechargeable batteries they advised for some design (more tolerant of over-charging?).