Author Topic: Current Rainwise Mark III sensor station question  (Read 167 times)

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Offline DaleReid

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Current Rainwise Mark III sensor station question
« on: December 29, 2022, 05:56:40 PM »
I've had Rainwise stations for some time, and look back thinking I coveted and finally bought one of their original (green) tipping bucket rain collectors what seems a couple decades ago.

I had Mark III stations with the 400 Mhz range for some time, and when the LR 2 gig stations became available, got several of those off eBay too. 

In general, built well and functioned well.  However as they dropped service and support for the 400 MHz stations, those were relegated to less interesting applications and now all but 2 have failed.

My LR version failed this last fall and despite a lot of effort wasn't fixable and Rainwise told me they'd have to have the whole shebang back to try to fix it, rather than just the boards to troubleshoot.  The shipping expense made me take the station down and make my five Oracle Mark III LR displays go dark, with quite a few negative comments from family as to where the clock and temp info went.

I never thought to check further, but it turns out that Rainwise still makes more than just cellular stations, and there is a version of Mark III LR that has either a tipping bucket rain gauge or not.

The placement of the black plastic rain gauge right next to the radiation shield housing the temp and humidity sensors never thrilled me.  The unit without the gauge seems not only cheaper but a lot more likely to give temps that are accurate.

I have tried to reach Rainwise, but they are using some sort of blocking filter which thinks my IP address is a scam and when try to get through to them, am blocked. 

Of course their phone number is on their home page, which I cannot get to.

Here's my question:  I have a bunch of tipping bucket gauges, including those from the old stations, which work just fine.  I am hoping that I can take a new MarkIII unit from Rainwise, without the tipper, and route a wire up into the sensor/board unit and find that the board inside it has the terminals to just attach one of my current tippers, thus saving about a hundred bucks and also be able to slightly remote mount the collector to eliminate the local heating problem.

Does anyone have info on the internal board for the current batch of Rainwise units?  Is the inner board the same, and just needs to have a tipper plugged into it?  Or did they make a separate board without this function on it(seems odd to do that)? 

If anyone has had experience in doing exactly what I want to do and has knowledge of the insides, please let me know.  Of course I'm still looking for their phone number....

Dale
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Offline CW2274

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Re: Current Rainwise Mark III sensor station question
« Reply #1 on: December 29, 2022, 06:17:15 PM »
I use a RW tipper for my VP2, which is remoted about 20' away from the ISS. It's nothing more than a reed switch. It can't be difficult one way or another to hard-wire. Does RW use phone jacks like Davis? If so, this should be child's play to accomplish.

Offline DaleReid

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Re: Current Rainwise Mark III sensor station question
« Reply #2 on: December 29, 2022, 08:09:28 PM »
CW:
I agree that remoting some things makes a lot of sense and the nice 'standard' of tipping bucket, reed switch type closure is a real plus. 

The Rainwise has some RJ-11 and an RJ-45 for some connections inside.  There are 1/4" straight pins, with one end soldered to the board and the other that a white plastic plug slips over, almost like a slingle line Molex but smaller.

All the Rainwise mother boards I have came with a tipper.  When you take the board out, if  you have to, there are maybe four to six of these from a 2 pin unit to maybe as high as 4, can't recall exactly.  Pretty basic.

I did see a spot on one of the older boards with 'nuke' silk screened next to it and I always assumed there were possibilities for solar sensor but never could get the tech at Rainwise to answer even my direct question about it a few years ago.

Here's the rub:  I don't  know IF, when they put a non-tipper unit together that they just grab the same board for either of the units and stuff it in.  The concern I have is that they don't put the little header for the tipper reed switch contact to slide into, but that is minimal since I have some of those types of plugs and know pretty well  how to use a soldering iron from surface mount on up.

The real concern is whether or not the firmware is different.  Could they have burned a different version onto the motherboard in order to not send any rain info out in the telemetry stream that gets sent every 2 seconds.  Even if I connected a tipper, would it not send anything since the firmware was crippled?

One thing I recall from discussion here some time ago is that the little 2 gig board for transmitting is a slightly modified one, and again I am blanking on the brand name of the popular transmitter chip.  Just replacing the chip with one from someone like DigiKey won't do it, there is some on-board toggle that is burned to make it do whatever it needs to in order to send the stream that all the receiver boxes listen for.    If they did that for good reason, fine.  If they did that so if and when your transmitter chip burned out you couldn't just drop in a cheaper, off the suppler catalog purchase, then shame on them. 

I am hoping to get this IP address blocker that thinks my browser is bad cleared up so I can find their number to call.  I don't have it currently and as I said no matter what browser I use, I get the error that their server is blocking me since their software determined I am up to no good.

Yeah, being able to attach various sensors and remote them is a real nice feature of a lot of things.   Thanks for your input.  Dale
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Offline DaleReid

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Re: Current Rainwise Mark III sensor station question
« Reply #3 on: December 30, 2022, 09:49:05 AM »
To complete the question, with a follow up:

This morning I finally got a phone number, and left a message for Tech Support at Rainwise.
This was on Friday before the New Years, so it was with great surprise to hear back from them in less than a 1/2 hour, with a very friendly and knowledgeable support guy.

He said that the RTI and the RTN versions differ ONLY in the bracket and tipping bucket rain gauge attached to the mount. The internal boards are the same, they have the connector pin which he said is the same size and layout they've used for a long long time, and that the firmware on board is exactly the same (since it is the same board in both units) so it will count and transmit any tips just the same.

I got this from the company tech support guy so I assume it is true. 

I just wanted to follow up with information to complete the discussion.   Dale
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