Weather Station Hardware => Rainwise Weather Stations => Topic started by: DaleReid on March 10, 2020, 03:10:44 PM

Title: Rainwise Mark III stations draining new batteries
Post by: DaleReid on March 10, 2020, 03:10:44 PM
I have quite a few Rainwise Mark IIIs either at my home or at another friend's place or the airport where they have been perking along well for some time, like years and years.  The occasional battery change and all has been well.

I have had two, one a LR model and one a standard lower frequency one, that have decided to give me fits.  I assumed when one went off line that it was a battery problem even though one of the guys at the airport bought an expensive 6 volt battery from Batteries Plus and swapped it out.  Within days it was off line, despite the ads for these units saying that in the winter they could go months without sunshine to recharge them.  I swapped the battery again, with a new one from having been topped off on my trickle charger/discharger/balancer and again it was down to 3 volts in short order, less than a week.

My LR unit is at my home, and admittedly the sunlight hasn't been the greatest, but the diagnostics told me (when it was online) that the max volts were 6.2 or so with the sun on it.  But dead was the rule, and I put a new battery in it and went on with some of the things I was doing with it as a test bed (for software, inside) and within a day or so it was kerplunk.  I wandered out, took the solar panel off, was getting 7+ volts in sunshine, tested the battery and it was about 3.6 volts too!

I'm off to check the batteries once more, but I'm becoming suspicious that the sending units are at fault. I haven't checked the boards but I would think that they, including the transmitter boards are different. 

Has anyone had a similar problem, where new batteries are drained rapidly, and only work in the sunshine when the panel is providing power?

I guess I could send them back to Rainwise to see if they can locate an errant component, but unless they are willing to take JUST the boards, I'm hesitant to send the whole heavy, hard to package, unit back.

Looking for ideas....

Title: Re: Rainwise Mark III stations draining new batteries
Post by: SnowHiker on March 10, 2020, 03:57:09 PM
Can't you just call Rainwise to begin with and ask if they have any ideas before sending in parts?  I've never dealt with Rainwise or their products, but I'm under the impression they have good customer service as well as good products.

Unless and until someone knowledgeable about Rainwise products speaks up, I'll just point out that if it was a Davis the first thing I would suspect is a bad supercap.
Title: Re: Rainwise Mark III stations draining new batteries
Post by: DaleReid on March 10, 2020, 04:41:31 PM
Yes, I will give them a call.  I have several times and Ralph, I think is one of the techs I've talked with.

They vary in accessibility, sometimes answering the phone and sometimes waiting a longer time to get a call back.  Like any service center I'm assuming.

But by asking here, it puts a message subject for those who in the future may look, and I may be getting some knowledge from some of the tech geniuses here who may have already plowed that field.

But whatever I learn, I'll link back here to build the knowledge base. 
Title: Re: Rainwise Mark III stations draining new batteries
Post by: DaleReid on April 23, 2020, 04:06:57 PM
Despite many challenges taking my time from the weather hobby, I had ten minutes today to take my old Rainwise Mark III, standard range (not LR version) to see if I could begin to find why the batteries are being exhausted so quickly.

I put an ammeter in series with the battery and measured approximately 111 to 113 ma as a draw from the 6 volt gel cell. 

Can anyone tell me if they've ever measured their current draw as is this average?  This is a digital so I'm not sure if there is a higher draw every 2 minutes when the transmitter is active, but I would assume so. 

I found no difference when rotating the wind vane, but perhaps was rushed to get these readings and didn't see if there were any slight differences based on when the readings were being gathered or not.  I would assume that the circuitry would power up to do measurements and then go to sleep for a minute or so before the next cycle, but perhaps this version isn't that sophisticated in gathering data and the whole board is on the whole time.

Anyone with thoughts or their own measurements?
Title: Re: Rainwise Mark III stations draining new batteries
Post by: DaleReid on April 23, 2020, 04:59:18 PM
One follow up I forgot to include in the last request for info.

What frequency does the Mark III non-LR transmit on?  I don't have a spectrum analyzer and with a pulse of telemetry I'm not sure it it would be able to pick up the burst or not.

but if I knew the exact frequency, I might set a receiver on that spot to see if the transmitter were really working or help determine if I have a bad receiver.  I don't know what to expect except maybe an AM modulation buzz or perhaps a FM background noise quieting, but I'd like to try it if possible.

Title: Re: Rainwise Mark III stations draining new batteries
Post by: VaJim on April 24, 2020, 07:50:28 AM
All MK-III Weather Stations produced since early 2019 transmit using a 2.4 GHz frequency.  This product line was previously known as the Long Range Unit.  It is now considered the Standard Unit as all previous versions have been discontinued.  Some previous products prior to 2018 and earlier transmitted using a 418 and 433 MHz frequency.