Author Topic: Repairing your hardware  (Read 1265 times)

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Offline src

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Repairing your hardware
« on: April 13, 2023, 04:36:27 PM »
Hi,

I expect some of you repair your own weather station hardware?

I bought an Ecowitt station on eBay as "new, opened but unused" and found it to be faulty :( The seller refunded me in full and said not to return it. So I have no financial loss, some loss of time spent trying to get it working, compensated by being left with some working parts namely GW1100 gateway, rain gauge, and temp/humidity meter.

I'd like to get the WS68 anenometer working, but it appears dead and won't register with the gateway. Change of batteries, reset button pressing, trying to reregister in app, no signs of life whatever I did. As it was now officially scrapped there seemed nothing to lose so I took it apart and found the 3 farad supercapacitor dangling by one leg. The other leg had never been soldered to the board. The leg had been tinned, but the copper pad on the board was not tinned.

I soldered it back in place, and put it in the sun for the solar panel to charge it up. And indeed over a few hours the voltage across the super capacitor increased gradually from about 0.4v to over 4v.

But still (after installing a lithium battery in the battery compartment) it will not register with the gateway and shows no signs of life.

Am I missing a trick, something obvious? Are there any common/known faults I should look for? I guess a likely possibility given the failure to properly solder the capacitor might be a more widespread problem with soldering and dry joints on the PCB. I'm not set up for soldering surface mount components or doing a proper reflow. I do have a largish heat gun on which I can set the temperature, so there may be nothing to be lost by removing the board from the case and trying to reflow with my heatgun? (what temperature should I use?)

Or perhaps it is time to buy a replacement WS68 direct from Ecowitt, using the eBay refund to pay for it!

Any thoughts welcome.
« Last Edit: April 14, 2023, 05:06:11 AM by src »

Offline box

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Re: Repairing your hardware
« Reply #1 on: April 14, 2023, 10:46:24 AM »
Hi,

I expect some of you repair your own weather station hardware?

I bought an Ecowitt station on eBay as "new, opened but unused" and found it to be faulty :( The seller refunded me in full and said not to return it. So I have no financial loss, some loss of time spent trying to get it working, compensated by being left with some working parts namely GW1100 gateway, rain gauge, and temp/humidity meter.

I'd like to get the WS68 anenometer working, but it appears dead and won't register with the gateway. Change of batteries, reset button pressing, trying to reregister in app, no signs of life whatever I did. As it was now officially scrapped there seemed nothing to lose so I took it apart and found the 3 farad supercapacitor dangling by one leg. The other leg had never been soldered to the board. The leg had been tinned, but the copper pad on the board was not tinned.

I soldered it back in place, and put it in the sun for the solar panel to charge it up. And indeed over a few hours the voltage across the super capacitor increased gradually from about 0.4v to over 4v.

But still (after installing a lithium battery in the battery compartment) it will not register with the gateway and shows no signs of life.

Am I missing a trick, something obvious? Are there any common/known faults I should look for? I guess a likely possibility given the failure to properly solder the capacitor might be a more widespread problem with soldering and dry joints on the PCB. I'm not set up for soldering surface mount components or doing a proper reflow. I do have a largish heat gun on which I can set the temperature, so there may be nothing to be lost by removing the board from the case and trying to reflow with my heatgun? (what temperature should I use?)

Or perhaps it is time to buy a replacement WS68 direct from Ecowitt, using the eBay refund to pay for it!

Any thoughts welcome.
hi

I have a dead WS68, suspect the supercap as it does work/register with a fresh  battery installed

How did you get yours apart?

Offline src

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Re: Repairing your hardware
« Reply #2 on: April 14, 2023, 10:57:04 AM »
I just undid the five screws in the bottom of the base and then wiggled it apart. I had to free up some cables, one of which was secured by some gunk, but then was able to expose the circuit board.

Unfortunately mine doesn't work with either just a battery or (now) a battery and a capacitor. :sad:

Offline src

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Re: Repairing your hardware
« Reply #3 on: April 15, 2023, 06:56:19 PM »
So I went ahead and unsoldered the battery tags so that I could remove the circuit board for a closer inspection

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The capacitor labelled C3 is absent and judging by the solder pads it looks as though it was never there!

That may be the cause of my WS68 not working, and if so doesn't speak well of Ecowitt quality checks before sales! Or it might be that they changed the design in such a way that there was no need to rework the board layout but no longer needed to put any component there. That does happen sometimes, but usually more than one component would be affected.

I'm very tempted to go and grab a random capacitor from my spares box and solder it in place and see if it fixes it!!

Have any of you taken apart a WS68 and if so do you see a capacitor in the C3 position?

EDIT: C1 location, located under the supercapacitor, is also missing its capacitor.
« Last Edit: April 15, 2023, 07:04:07 PM by src »

Offline box

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Re: Repairing your hardware
« Reply #4 on: April 17, 2023, 10:44:45 AM »
I just undid the five screws in the bottom of the base and then wiggled it apart. I had to free up some cables, one of which was secured by some gunk, but then was able to expose the circuit board.

Unfortunately mine doesn't work with either just a battery or (now) a battery and a capacitor. :sad:
thanks, mustering my bravery to commit surgery!!

Offline src

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Re: Repairing your hardware
« Reply #5 on: April 17, 2023, 12:07:57 PM »
Well obviously if you decide to go for it I'd appreciate it if you were able to tell me whether you have components fitted in positions C1 and C3. But you may have a different revision of the circuit board - mine appears to be a 2019 variant according to the labelling on the board.

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A couple of pointers for you. The two-wire plug seen in this second image appears to be the feed from the solar panel - check that is properly seated and that the wires are still connected to the solar panel.

Also, you see two pieces of foam lower right? They fell out and I have no idea where they should go when I reassemble! Pay more attention than I did when you disassemble!

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Offline box

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Re: Repairing your hardware
« Reply #6 on: April 17, 2023, 12:11:44 PM »
Thanks for the tips, if I can take photos I will post them

My device was bought new in 2019 so it will be interesting to see what rev it is

Offline box

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Re: Repairing your hardware
« Reply #7 on: April 17, 2023, 12:14:13 PM »
Thanks for the tips, if I can take photos I will post them

My device was bought new in 2019 so it will be interesting to see what rev it is
Where does the solar panel plug in, is it the white 4 pin socket?

Offline src

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Re: Repairing your hardware
« Reply #8 on: April 17, 2023, 12:17:34 PM »
two-pin plug goes in two-pin socket lower left on second photo. The four-way connector is for the four-way cable from the UV/light sensor

And the black cable which is soldered appears to be the anenometer connection
« Last Edit: April 17, 2023, 12:23:23 PM by src »


Offline Goldguru

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Re: Repairing your hardware
« Reply #10 on: February 08, 2024, 10:15:30 PM »
SRC if you are still around
I'm about to operate on my ws68 due to a fast draining batt.
original install of generic alkaline AA went ~30 months new Lithium lasted less than 7.
new generic alk has dropped .08v in 24 hrs
I suspect moisture intrusion of the solar cell.
which I'm hoping you could post a pic of the solar cell from inside the case, or out if you have dissassembled it that far.
I'm guessing it is a 5v ~30ma cell any bigger would be pointless charging a 5.5v 3F capacitor ( marked SC1 in pic above...supercapacitor)
dimensions of the solar cell L & W would be very helpful


Thnx Gold

 

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