Author Topic: Troubleshooting low wireless range--5 in1  (Read 3229 times)

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Offline Tawpie

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Troubleshooting low wireless range--5 in1
« on: October 29, 2011, 05:42:10 PM »
I know this isn't a place where hard core radio nerds hang out, but the range on my 01050 seems rather poor. There's one spot within 15 yards of the 5in1 where the display receives a signal, everywhere else including a foot away (from the one good spot) the signal is lost.  The 5in1 is mounted about 6 feet above the ground in an open area, the house is standard stick frame construction. Even placing the receiver outdoors, the range didn't improve.

There should be near zero interference, the nearest house is 200 yes away and the area is very rural. I haven't tried other channels, I set it on A.

Since then the station has stopped updating through the bridge... It's remote so I haven't been able to troubleshoot that but suspect that the system has lost radio contact with the 5in1.

Q: should it have a longer range? I know that with wireless it depends on a lot of variables but in general this seems way short.
« Last Edit: October 30, 2011, 10:49:27 PM by Tawpie »

Offline wxtech

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Re: Troubleshooting low wireless range--5 in1
« Reply #1 on: October 30, 2011, 09:36:16 AM »
I have the 1015, the 1050, and the 639 displays.  Sometimes I can't get one to lock in to the 5-in-1 or the 3-in-1 sensors.  I remove the display batteries briefly and on power up, it does a new search and usually finds the sensors quickly.  
My 5-in-1 is about a hundred feet away and through some old castle like walls.  The 3-in-1 is around the corner and up on a dormer.  The Acu-Rite connects as well as the Davis VP2 & Vantage Vue.
« Last Edit: October 30, 2011, 09:56:07 AM by wxtech »
Al Washington, Lexington, Ga.,  NWS Coop station=LXTG1, Fischer Porter, SRG, MMTS. 
CoCoRaHS=GA-OG-1. CWOP=CW2074.  Davis VP2+ WLIP 5.9.2, VP(original) serial, VWS v15.00 p02. ImageSalsa, Win7 & Win8 all-in-one.

Offline Tawpie

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Re: Troubleshooting low wireless range--5 in1
« Reply #2 on: October 30, 2011, 10:51:16 PM »
Thank you all (I fixed all those typos in the original post... that was pretty sloppy--apologies!). Next time I'm up there I'll have to pull it down and do more range testing. I hope I don't have to send it back, I've liked it!

Offline DanS

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Re: Troubleshooting low wireless range--5 in1
« Reply #3 on: October 31, 2011, 05:41:36 AM »
You wouldn't happen to have power lines running nearby by any chance?  Also, have you confirmed battery voltage in the 5-in-1 unit?  Low battery power for the transmitter can diminish output power levels.

Offline paleoguy

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Re: Troubleshooting low wireless range--5 in1
« Reply #4 on: October 31, 2011, 07:52:39 AM »
I would second Dan's query about battery issues.  I ran into a similar problem that turned out to be the non-lithium batteries that I initially tried.
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Offline Tawpie

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Re: Troubleshooting low wireless range--5 in1
« Reply #5 on: October 31, 2011, 11:07:14 AM »
Brand new Eveready lithiums in the 5in1, ordinary alkalines in the display... but it's a good suggestion, I'll try a battery change first.

Offline paleoguy

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Re: Troubleshooting low wireless range--5 in1
« Reply #6 on: October 31, 2011, 11:26:16 AM »
My problem was trying to use rechargeables in the receiver..they worked ok in the sending unit.
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Offline Rhino

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Re: Troubleshooting low wireless range--5 in1
« Reply #7 on: November 04, 2011, 12:15:49 PM »
Many, many things can affect the RF range.

I have seen very few reception issues with these new units- the RF on all of our products new within the last few years has been very good, 330 feet should be achieved if there are no major RF obstructions or interference.

Having said that, there are a few things to consider:
1. Make sure your receiver is not too close to power lines or other electronic devices- especially TV's, Microwaves, Computers-can be noisy electronics.
2. If you have metal/aluminum screens on your windows, they can affect the RF if the receiver is placed near them- indoors or outdoors.
3. Large, wet foliage can sometimes "soak up" RF- try relocating sensor and/or receiver to avoid this.

If you continue to have issues, make sure and give AcuRite customer service folks a call- they are great and they all sit across the hall from me- right here in the U.S.! they may be able to help you out.

By the way- we don't advise using rechargeable batteries, they have a lower power output than standard batteries (2.4v instead of 3v).

Offline Tawpie

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Re: Troubleshooting low wireless range--5 in1
« Reply #8 on: November 10, 2011, 12:49:47 AM »
Thanks all, I have some things to try when I "over there". The unit might have malfunctioned too, who knows.  It was sending data to the bridge for about a week, then stopped kaput. Come to think about it, it has been deer season so maybe it was mistaken for a buck!

I found it a bit strange that the bridge had signal and the display unit did not, I had to move the display about half the distance toward the sensor before it got a signal, and it was "5 by 5"... But only in the one spot.  I'll be able to do some more troubleshooting over the t-day weekend, might bring it back here to the city to see if it works any better here.

And I'll probably chat with the nice support folks too.

Offline Tawpie

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Re: Troubleshooting low wireless range--5 in1
« Reply #9 on: November 25, 2011, 12:50:23 AM »
An update... Arrived to find the display unit dead. Either those were the worst batteries in the world (new radio shack enercells) or the display unit drained them in a month. I suspect the former.

Replaced batteries in display unit with new Costco cells.

LEDs on the bridge aren't blinking, just solid on.  Unplugged and replugged the power, went to do other things. After an hour or so, the 5in1 started reporting again, but only one time. Then signal was lost.

Switched the 5in1 to channel C (it was on A), pulled a battery in it for a bit, then replaced the battery. Also cycled power via battery pull on the display unit.  Still very very weak signal.

Replaced the batteries in the 5in1 with another (fresh) set of everready lithiums, cycle power on the display unit.  Still very weak signal. Wandered all over the house looking for good signal to little avail.

Gave up and set the display in the (literally) one spot where it gets good signal from the 5in1 because it appears to act as a relay between the 5in1 and the bridge...

Is that correct? If the display unit is dead then "no signal" is reported to my backyard weather on the web? Or does the bridge get its information directly from the 5in1? What if the display unit is fine but it can't get a signal from the 5in1, what does my backyard weather say then?

Set up two tower sensors, they seem to be performing quite well, indoors and out.  I think for grins I'll move one to where the 5in1 is so that I have a second transmitter at the same location--that should let me know if my house construction is behind the very low signal.

I'll probably give customer service a call, I will hope someone's there tomorrow but actually hope they're not!

Offline Rhino

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Re: Troubleshooting low wireless range--5 in1
« Reply #10 on: November 28, 2011, 11:54:10 AM »
Initial issues with batteries were probably right- no way the display unit would drain the batteries in a month.

When the bridge lights appeared to be solid, it was probably downloading a firmware update or possibly just booting up. Hard to know without more detail.

The 5-in-1 sensor only transmits information-
the display unit only receives, the bridge receives as well- but they do not communicate with each other- so no relay would be going on in any way. So your display unit having dead batteries should have no effect whatsoever on the online or app readings.

In my experience troubleshooting these over the years, I would tend to think you have some sort of interference, especially when you describe "spots" with good reception, etc. Make sure you have the display unit and the bridge at least a few feet apart, they could be interfering with each other.

Offline Tawpie

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Re: Troubleshooting low wireless range--5 in1
« Reply #11 on: November 30, 2011, 02:06:53 AM »
hmmmm. ](*,) Starting to make me wonder if I may have a bad or marginal 5 in 1. Interference is of course a possibility but given the rural location I've my doubts. The station is at lat 48.489, long -120.247 in the Winthrop WA area... it's station KWAWINTH11 on weather underground. If you look at the google earth satellite view of the area (or better still, wondermap is vunderbar), there's really nothing "civilized" any where near the station--except the house of course (which isn't on google earth's shot). We are on a radio link of some sort for internet, but the weather station, bridge and display are all on the back side of that radio antenna which is a dish like affair pointed opposite away from the weather equipment. The display and bridge are about 25' apart, the weather station is about 25' from the display in a pretty straight line with the display in the middle. My backyard weather shows full 4 bars from the 5 in 1 (2 from each of the tower sensors which are inside the house). Other than the internet radio and the in-house wifi, there's nothing broadcasting--no TV, we don't get radio of any kind except sometimes scramblly AM from e-skip far away. The station has been "mostly" on the air according to weather underground (deduced by having wiggly rather than straight lines on both temp and dew point--and comparing to a station located about a mile away), but there are data dropouts with flatlines.

And I wonder why the bridge reports 4 bars of reception at My Backyard Weather but the display unit when placed closer to the bridge loses signal altogether? And there is only a single spot, maybe 1 foot in diameter where the display unit gets any reception at all, and then it's a full 4 bars. It's either 4 bars in that spot, or the single antenna stick with no bars everywhere else (and it'll go to search mode after a while). Maybe the display unit is duff too.

Rhino... if you want to check the server the bridge's MAC address is 24 c8 6e 01 01 f2.

Thanks! (should this thread be taken to the Acu-rite company pages so Jessie et al can see it?)