Author Topic: MK-III Locks up when temps hover around 0F  (Read 828 times)

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Offline ajay

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MK-III Locks up when temps hover around 0F
« on: January 20, 2021, 10:34:46 AM »
I'm curious to know if anyone else has ever experienced this...

The RainWise MK-III stops transmitting/locks up ONLY when temperatures fall below 0F, then rise above 0F. By physically power cycling the MK-III (toggle switch), the unit recovers and continues to work. It seems to be related to temperatures hovering around the 0F mark. (I've had temperatures fall to -36F here and the unit continues to work. It's only when temperatures hover around 0F that this problems seems to occur.)

This has been an ongoing problem with this weather station for years. At first I thought it could be related to low voltage/battery power, but I've replaced the solar panel with a 9V DC power supply that continuously feeds power to the MK-III. It still happens. The only way to fix the problem is by power cycling the outdoor unit (MK-III).

Any ideas?

Thanks!

Offline VaJim

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Re: MK-III Locks up when temps hover around 0F
« Reply #1 on: January 21, 2021, 07:37:17 AM »
Is this the LR model?

My guess is either a low battery (which you've already checked) or perhaps the 9V DC power supply connection.  I hope you get it figured out.

Offline ajay

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Re: MK-III Locks up when temps hover around 0F
« Reply #2 on: January 21, 2021, 08:20:02 AM »
Thanks for the reply. Since I did post this, I went through 2 years worth of records and found that it always occurs when temperatures are at or slightly below 0F. At 20F below, the problem never occurs. This would seem to rule out any power related issues considering that lower temperatures would make batteries less efficient and more likely to fail. Also, once the unit is power-cycled it continues to run w/o error.

It would seem more likely that this problem is related to firmware or a particular processing bug in one of the motherboard's processors.

It's a very strange problem but it seems to rule out any power related issue.

Offline ajay

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Re: MK-III Locks up when temps hover around 0F
« Reply #3 on: January 10, 2022, 12:57:44 PM »
Here we are one year later...

Here's what's been replaced on this unit (and it still fails when temps fall below zero.)
-- Battery
-- Antenna
-- Temperature / Humidity Sensor

I also replaced the solar panel with a power supply providing constant voltage to the unit. The symptoms have never changed. It only goes to all dashes when temperatures fall below 0F and usually in a range of 0F to -10F. When temperatures fall below -10F it continues to work.

To fix the problem I have to go out to the main unit and power cycle it. Then it works...for a while depending what the temperature does.

It seems as if this might be a logic issue with the firmware. I have had this station now for over 5 years. It has failed every winter when temperatures go below 0F, otherwise it works perfectly. Because it is so intermittent in nature, I have only been able to reduce the variables down now to the mother board. It's out of warranty and I'm not sure how much Rainwise will charge for a replacement motherboard. I have a call into them and will report back on how this gets resolved.

Offline zeppline

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Re: MK-III Locks up when temps hover around 0F
« Reply #4 on: January 10, 2022, 05:29:28 PM »
Have you tried jumping the power switch could be a bad switch.

Rainwise MKlll w/ cc3000 logger Win10

Offline ajay

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Re: MK-III Locks up when temps hover around 0F
« Reply #5 on: January 10, 2022, 05:39:27 PM »
I haven't tried the switch. I also haven't tried going over the solder joints on the mother board. Both seem a remote possibility since it happens consistently between 0 and 10 below (F) and at no other times--that's pretty specific. I will give your idea a try however since it's pretty easy to short the switch with an alligator clip. Thanks for the suggestion. It's going back below zero tonight. I'll report back.

Offline zeppline

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Re: MK-III Locks up when temps hover around 0F
« Reply #6 on: January 10, 2022, 08:29:01 PM »
I have lost connections on temp & humitity. I clean the connection and use Deoxit and it seen to help.

Rainwise MKlll w/ cc3000 logger Win10

Offline ajay

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Re: MK-III Locks up when temps hover around 0F
« Reply #7 on: January 11, 2022, 12:41:51 AM »
This evening the display went to all dashes again as temps dipped below 0F. This was after I bypassed the switch and the switch cable to the mother board by shorting the two pins on the mother board. This proves the power switch is not the problem. Interestingly, I had left the cover off and noticed that the mother board appeared to be working normally -- the LED was flashing once per second like it normally does. This has me wondering if the XBEE 2.4 GHz communication board (plugged into the mother board) could be the problem.

The XBEE PRO S1 communication board appears to have been discontinued but I did find a new board on Ebay for about $20 inc. shipping. If it works, it might be an inexpensive fix. I have ordered one and should have it installed in a week or so. Considering that it looks like our cold weather will be here a while, I should have plenty of opportunities to see if this fixes the problem. Stay tuned...
« Last Edit: January 11, 2022, 12:45:31 AM by ajay »

Online davidefa

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Re: MK-III Locks up when temps hover around 0F
« Reply #8 on: January 11, 2022, 03:24:11 AM »
This is really weird. You could also try unplugging/plugging the xbee board a few times, to clean the contacts ( clearly with the power supply off )

Offline WA7FWF

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Re: MK-III Locks up when temps hover around 0F
« Reply #9 on: January 12, 2022, 10:37:25 AM »
It's been a long time since I played with the XBEE's but memory says swapping one in will not work, rainwise programmed them to be address 1 so a stock one does not work, there is also different code in the console one also. I could be wrong, but if you swap in a replacement and now it doesn't talk at all then don't be surprised. I have the code images saved somewhere, but you would still need a programmer to install that code. This was on a MK-III LR.

Offline ajay

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Re: MK-III Locks up when temps hover around 0F
« Reply #10 on: January 12, 2022, 11:28:12 AM »
Thanks for the info. I had read that the series 2 XBEE needed to be programmed but hadn't heard about this regarding series 1. I figure it's worth a try. I've also had two phone calls into Rainwise Technical Support w/o a return phone call. They were bought out by Nielsen Kellerman. Not sure if it's a good thing or bad thing.

I also checked the database ever since this unit was in operation 5 years ago and the problem has always been there since day 1. I hope Rainwise will fix this. I am about ready to escalate this up the food chain since Rainwise is not responding.

It's been a long time since I played with the XBEE's but memory says swapping one in will not work, rainwise programmed them to be address 1 so a stock one does not work, there is also different code in the console one also. I could be wrong, but if you swap in a replacement and now it doesn't talk at all then don't be surprised. I have the code images saved somewhere, but you would still need a programmer to install that code. This was on a MK-III LR.

Offline DaleReid

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Re: MK-III Locks up when temps hover around 0F
« Reply #11 on: January 12, 2022, 01:13:33 PM »
This is disappointing to hear or even think that the company would in effect sabotage making these things fixable, except at their tech bench.

I love (d) my rainwise stations, two here, one at the airport where the guys love seeing the display from across the room at the clubhouse, and one at a friend's place where he is getting addicted to watching the weather.  Yet I have three out in the shed that don't work, for whatever reason.  I have had some of the same experience trying to contact tech support.  Way back when, a guy there (who has since retired) was a wealth of information and help.  Since he retired another pleasant person (Ralph?) was almost always the one to call me back.  In the last year I have left maybe ten messages, not one of which has been returned, so I'm not sure he is still there or not.  When I called the main number the receptionist said that all she could do is transfer me to the tech line, and couldn't make sure a message got through to them or not. 

One of the disappointing things was that I offered to pull the motherboard and send it in, but was told they really wanted the whole unit.  Ever try to figure out how to even package it up, say nothing of finding an affordable way to ship it?  I was told that there were at least a half dozen versions of the Mark III main board, and I agree that the three I have all look different, and one, maybe the latest one, seems to have a lot of the individual components replaced by a few larger chips.

Other than replacing the temp, humidity and the wind, there isn't a lot one can do.

I see a lot of accessories like displays and such, an occasional computer interface, and so on, but few stations, which seemed to come up for sale every few months on eBay.

I guess that continuing to produce a moderate quality station, one which generally lasts for awhile, is taking it's toll.  Texas Weather Instruments, now it seems Rainwise, and who knows what other ones will go by the board.  Davis will be the only reliable, albeit pretty costly, advanced amateur station left in a bit, which will be sad if it comes to pass.

The most certain killer for Rainwise will be their continued ignoring of calls for technical assistance or even giving the appearance if you ever did send a unit in for repair that you'd ever see it again.

I'm not sure who it was that bought this once famous time honored company, but I agree with ajay that things don't look good.  I hope he can test out the idea that a generic xbee board won't do it, and let us know.  Dale
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Offline ajay

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Re: MK-III Locks up when temps hover around 0F
« Reply #12 on: January 14, 2022, 04:09:21 PM »
It looks like my XBee modules haven't been shipped as of yet...hopefully soon. In the mean time I did some digging with regards to RainWise parent company: Nielsen-Kellerman Company. I wrote a lengthy email to their CEO Alix James the other day and got a hold of someone in their office today via phone. I also sent my original email to Alix to him. I made sure he received it. I also copied him on Dale's text message regarding RainWise's lack of response to phone calls.

I'm not sure if my original email made it to Alix James. It appears that my email today ended up in a junk mail folder but was eventually recovered when I called back about the status of my email. I feel it never hurts to reach out to the upper management of a company. Sometimes they aren't aware of customer frustrations and will fix the problem once they are made aware. Covid has certainly caused problems and staff shortages but I don't buy that as an excuse to not return phone calls.

I really, really hope RainWise will continue to exist or at least have their products exist under the NK name brand. The LED display is wonderful and was one of the reasons why I bought the MK-III in the first place. I hope I can keep my station up and running for years to come.

So...Let's see how NK responds. How a company treats their customers says a lot about them. I'll report back as to what kind of response I get, if any.

 

anything