|Not so sure on the longevity of the 5-in-1 sensors|
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Back in January, both my father-in-law and I each bought 01515's during a run to our local Lowes. We've had them installed and running at our houses since that time (his in the mountains, mine here in the desert) and things were running nicely until this summer. Back in late June, my sensor's hygrometer took a dump and would register 1% humidity and negative dew points on any day where humidity was near 15%. The only way to wake it out of its 1% slumber was to power-cycle both the external and internal units.
My problems were rectified by the nice people at Acurite's customer service, who sent out a new sensor and the issue has been corrected (current humidity is 13% - yay !). But a month ago, my FIL called to say that his rain gauge was reading too high. So on my subsequent trips to the mountains, I've been troubleshooting the his 5-in-1 sensor as well. I've done everything to the 5-in-1 but completely recalibrate his rain sensor - including making some drastic adjustments to the sensor's sensitivity with little improvement (as in adjusting it by -24%). During my next trip up, I'll completely recalibrate the rain gauge to see if things improve, but I wonder why we both have had issues with our 5-in-1 sensors.
(Disclosure: My 5-in-1 hygrometer definitely failed since installation; my FIL's rain gauge may never have worked right, so it may have come from the factory that way.)
I would encourage you to calibrate the rain sensor, and make sure that the sensor is mounted nice and sturdy- so it will not sway in the wind, etc. If the sensor can move around a lot- the collection bucket can rattle around and can cause false (erroneously high) rainfall readings.
And certainly call our customer service department if you encounter any issues, they will help you out for sure.
Thanks!- keep us updated as to what you find out.
I understand about the mounting... in fact, that was the first thing I did to troubleshoot the problem. I moved my FIL's external sensor from the handrail on his deck (which vibrated any time someone walked by) to a mount on the eve of his roof using 3/4" galvanized steel pipe approximately 3 feet long fastened into the fascia board using 2" deck screws. The only way that sensor moves is if I hit the mount or pipe with a hammer. Unfortunately, that didn't fix the issue.
Rhino, is it possible that a 5-in-1 sensor left the factory with the rain gauge not calibrated ? The way this thing is acting, I get the impression that all the gauge screws were fastened all the way down. As an aside, the replacement 5-in-1 that I just received was spot-on for rain when I calibrated it before installing it.
It is unlikely, but certainly possible the sensor may have left the factory with the rain gauge not fully calibrated. It sounds like you eliminated the possibility of the sensor moving and causing erroneous rainfall readings. I would suggest you calibrate the rain gauge on your father-in-laws sensor per the process outlined in the user manual.
The humidity issue on earlier sensors shows up exactly as you say- it was a problem with the polymer used to absorb moisture into the humidity sensor component, which would cause the readings to be either way-off or be slow to respond to changing conditions. In your case- being in the desert likely contributed to the situation as dust and sand can cause the issue as well. All of the newer sensors have a special shroud on the humidity sensor component to limit this issue now. These sensors have been tested extensively by ourselves and many 3rd parties- I personally have a sensor that was part of an early batch that is working great after almost 3 years. I believe the sensors longevity should be great for most users, but occasionally- some harsh environments can provide the "perfect storm" and shorten the life of the sensor.
I would be happy to answer any questions or discuss any other issues you may have- so please let me know. Thanks for the feedback, I always want to here from end users so we can change or designs or improve something if necessary.
Finally got back up to the FIL's house to do some more troubleshooting. The good news is that the 5-in-1's rain gauge appears to have been properly set at the factory as my calibration ended up backing out the adjustments I had prevously made. The bad news is that something is wrong with either the 5-in-1 or the console. As I was calibrating the 5-in-1, I had an instance where the rain gauge on the console started to count rain before I had added any water to the rain funnel ! The console was sitting a total of 1.5 feet away from the 5-in-1, the 5-in-1 was perfectly level, AND I didn't hear the buckets tipping. I also eliminated the possibility of interference as I was standing outside ~20 feet away from any source of interference.
So I'm stumped... Something is wacky and ONLY dealing with the rain gauge. I told my FIL to call your customer support an have them lend a hand. What concerns me is that out of the two people that I know using the 01515's, we've both had problems...
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