Author Topic: New WS-2902A reception issues  (Read 4245 times)

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Offline smokeybandit

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Re: New WS-2902A reception issues
« Reply #25 on: December 26, 2018, 08:30:31 AM »
Interesting.  I do have a smart meter, and I've also had to replace a motion sensor light twice that's near it.

Offline Ski Pro 3

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Re: New WS-2902A reception issues
« Reply #26 on: December 26, 2018, 10:24:31 AM »
Do a google search on the topic of smart meter RF and it's pretty eye opening.  I worked as a telecommunications tech for an electric company, I tested these things prior to our company buying into them and they are incredibly powerful and 'chatty'.  A brief explanation on how they work; every meter can transmit and receive.  They 'talk' to the closest meter to them, sending their data to neighbor meters and relaying data they receive from your neighbors meters.  Eventually, the data is relayed enough from house to house until it gets to a station that has wire or fiber.  From there it's sent to the main processing center.  Each transmission is only a few milliseconds long.  All total, maybe a few minutes every day in transmission, but several micro transmissions every second.  If you put a specrum analyzer near one, watched the activity, you'd see a screen of spikes being transmitted.  The frequency is 902 to 928mhz as I recall.  It's frequency hopping so who knows what frequency at what millisecond is being transmitted. 
Some people who have their bedroom, perhaps even their headboard from their bed right backed up to where their meter is complain of several symptoms of poor health.  When the meter's radio is turned off, their symptoms went away.  By federal law, customers have a right to opt out of wireless meters for wired; DSL for example, or even an old fashioned meter reader.  But if you have 'time-of-use' billing, that can be complicated. 
Many cell phones are on this same frequency band as well.  I don't know if that could be an issue if your weather station is near a tower. 

Offline danoh

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Re: New WS-2902A reception issues
« Reply #27 on: December 29, 2018, 08:12:50 AM »
I'm a firm believer that the core issue is the transmitter in the osprey sensor suite. It's not as good as the one in the observer sensor suite.

My testing and diagnosis of this:

I have a WS1002 - Take apart the sensor and you'll see a physical coiled antenna.  I have NEVER had reception issues with my WS1002.

WS2902/WS2000 - Take apart the sensor and there is no physical coiled antenna.  The antenna seems only to be a square solder pad labeled ANT2 with no physical antenna wire or coil attached to it.  Interestingly, I could not find an ANT1 label on the board, so I assumed ANT2 was the primary antenna connection.  My WS2902/2000 display mounted in the exact same location as the WS1002 display constantly had reception issues from the sensor array.  The osprey array mounted in the exact same location as the observer array.

My solution was to solder a quarter wave antenna wire onto the ANT2 pad of the osprey unit, drill a hole directly above the pad in the plastic cover to pass the wire out of, then seal the hole for moisture barrier.  The length for a quarter wave 915 MHz antenna is 3 inches.

While this antenna mod has made it so the WS2902/WS2000 display will "work" in the same location that the WS1002 array was, it still seems to lose some packets every now and again, so it's not perfect. I may still increase the antenna length to half or full wave.  It's quite possible the transmitter itself in the osprey array is less powerful than the observer array, I don't have the test equipment required to confirm this.


EDIT: correction - osprey sensor array DOES have a coil antenna - see pics below of board.
« Last Edit: December 29, 2018, 12:53:51 PM by danoh »
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Offline kbellis

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Re: New WS-2902A reception issues
« Reply #28 on: December 29, 2018, 08:21:15 AM »
Please post photos if you took any and label them.

Offline danoh

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Re: New WS-2902A reception issues
« Reply #29 on: December 29, 2018, 08:37:52 AM »
Please post photos if you took any and label them.

I didn't.  But, if you remove the bottom black cover from the osprey sensor suite, you'll clearly see a gold solder pad labeled ANT2
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Offline kbellis

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Re: New WS-2902A reception issues
« Reply #30 on: December 29, 2018, 10:24:11 AM »

WS2902/WS2000 - Take apart the sensor and there is no physical coiled antenna.  The antenna seems only to be a square solder pad labeled ANT2 with no physical antenna wire or coil attached to it.  Interestingly, I could not find an ANT1 label on the board, so I assumed ANT2 was the primary antenna connection.  My WS2902/2000 display mounted in the exact same location as the WS1002 display constantly had reception issues from the sensor array.  The osprey array mounted in the exact same location as the observer array.

Dan - So you have both the WS-2902A and the WS-2000? Exactly which one did you take apart?

The OP is concerning the WS-2902A, which is Fine Offset's FCC ID WA5WH65BV1. From its filings with the FCC, you can see that the bottom of the PCB has no coil, but that the top of it does.

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Bottom view

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Top view

Offline danoh

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Re: New WS-2902A reception issues
« Reply #31 on: December 29, 2018, 11:02:49 AM »
I took apart the sensor array, not the display

The 2902a and the 2000 use the same osprey array

The obverse side of that board is interesting. I didnt see a coil on mine. Granted, I didnt remove the entire board, just looked underneath it casually.

So ANT1 would be on the opposite side as ANT2 pads

« Last Edit: December 29, 2018, 11:07:33 AM by danoh »
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Offline danoh

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Re: New WS-2902A reception issues
« Reply #32 on: December 29, 2018, 11:11:01 AM »
I'll solder onto where that coil is.  I have a 915 mhz yagi I can try too.
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Offline kbellis

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Re: New WS-2902A reception issues
« Reply #33 on: December 29, 2018, 11:18:38 AM »
I didnt see a coil on mine. Granted, I didnt remove the entire board, just looked underneath it casually.

I'm not surprised that you didn't see the coil antenna since you were looking in the wrong place.

Should you dismantle your sensor array again, you might want to look on the top of the PCB as that's where the coil is supposed to be on Fine Offset's FCC ID WA5WH65BV1; i.e., WS-2902A, if you happen to actually have that specific sensor array.

Offline danoh

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Re: New WS-2902A reception issues
« Reply #34 on: December 29, 2018, 11:21:34 AM »
I didnt see a coil on mine. Granted, I didnt remove the entire board, just looked underneath it casually.

 ...... WS-2902A, if you happen to actually have that specific sensor array.

Boy I sure hope I do, seeing how I have 2 2902a's and a 2000, among other various Ambient units....
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Offline Jstx

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Re: New WS-2902A reception issues
« Reply #35 on: December 29, 2018, 11:41:00 AM »
Do a google search on the topic of smart meter RF and it's pretty eye opening.  I worked as a telecommunications tech for an electric company, I tested these things prior to our company buying into them and they are incredibly powerful and 'chatty'.  A brief explanation on how they work; every meter can transmit and receive.  They 'talk' to the closest meter to them, sending their data to neighbor meters and relaying data they receive from your neighbors meters.  Eventually, the data is relayed enough from house to house until it gets to a station that has wire or fiber.  From there it's sent to the main processing center.  Each transmission is only a few milliseconds long.  All total, maybe a few minutes every day in transmission, but several micro transmissions every second.  If you put a specrum analyzer near one, watched the activity, you'd see a screen of spikes being transmitted.  The frequency is 902 to 928mhz as I recall.  It's frequency hopping so who knows what frequency at what millisecond is being transmitted. 
Some people who have their bedroom, perhaps even their headboard from their bed right backed up to where their meter is complain of several symptoms of poor health.  When the meter's radio is turned off, their symptoms went away.  By federal law, customers have a right to opt out of wireless meters for wired; DSL for example, or even an old fashioned meter reader.  But if you have 'time-of-use' billing, that can be complicated. 
Many cell phones are on this same frequency band as well.  I don't know if that could be an issue if your weather station is near a tower.

(per highlighted items above:)
My local electric company (a co-op) is in the process of switching to 'smart meters', they now have a whole web page up about 'truths, facts, and myths' about smart meters, it avoids your technical details.

One of my daughters got an apartment near her new job after graduating from university. Her bedroom wall, where her headboard was, had all the electric meters for her whole building mounted on the outside of it; I don't know if they were smartmeters (this was about 10 years ago). I took one look at that and began asking her to change apartments, but she stayed there for a while. Not sure if she or her dog had any more health problems than usual.

Legally, federal law requires that you you are allowed to "opt out" of having a smartmeter on your electrical service. However, the power company makes it quite expensive to do that. Mine charges a $225 fee to change your meter, and a $25 per month "meter reading" fee (if you haven't been upgraded to a smartmeter yet there is no "changeout" charge); there are also various onerous conditions to be met by the customer. That $25/mo charge could be a significant amount of a fairly low-usage customer's bill.

Offline danoh

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Re: New WS-2902A reception issues
« Reply #36 on: December 29, 2018, 11:56:39 AM »
Excellent!! Ws2902 does have coil antenna. I'll solder onto that point.
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Offline danoh

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Re: New WS-2902A reception issues
« Reply #37 on: December 29, 2018, 12:48:11 PM »
Soldered yagi feed line onto the correct antenna point (see photos above of board), makes a world of difference - go figure lol.

No dropped packets, signal staying full 5 bars now. Granted, this is probably a worse-case scenario - about 180' from the display, through exterior wall and 2 interior walls.

Before I waterproofed it all:

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Offline smokeybandit

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Re: New WS-2902A reception issues
« Reply #38 on: December 29, 2018, 02:35:32 PM »
You may be able to pick up a signal from the next state with that set up

Offline Ski Pro 3

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Re: New WS-2902A reception issues
« Reply #39 on: December 29, 2018, 03:10:04 PM »
That yagi probably violates FCC licensing for ERP. For those who may not understand yagi antennas, it focuses the transmit signal to a specific direction, increasing the effective radiated power (ERP)  Imagine a light bulb lit in a field, now imagine the light bulb focused like a flash light.  Same power bulb, but now the energy directed at one specific point. 
Anyone 'down stream' of that yagi could experience interference of that focused energy. 

Offline StephenR0

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Re: New WS-2902A reception issues
« Reply #40 on: December 29, 2018, 03:27:27 PM »
Soldered yagi feed line onto the correct antenna point (see photos above of board), makes a world of difference - go figure lol.

Out of curiosity, where did you solder the outer braid on the coax?  Was there an obvious place to put it or did you find a ground for it?

Offline StephenR0

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Re: New WS-2902A reception issues
« Reply #41 on: December 29, 2018, 04:13:00 PM »
That yagi probably violates FCC licensing for ERP. For those who may not understand yagi antennas, it focuses the transmit signal to a specific direction, increasing the effective radiated power (ERP)  Imagine a light bulb lit in a field, now imagine the light bulb focused like a flash light.  Same power bulb, but now the energy directed at one specific point. 
Anyone 'down stream' of that yagi could experience interference of that focused energy.

First let me say that I'm not really knowledgeable about this kind of thing.  But I did notice this.

http://www.clippercontrols.com/content/TechTalk-FCC_Rules_for_License_Free_Wireless.pdf

And I believe this is the antenna that danoh is using.

https://www.amazon.com/Phonetone-Outdoor-Directional-Antenna-Connector/dp/B00EC804SO

The gain for this antenna is 7/9 dbi which is more than the 6 dbi allowed.  But I don't think that the WH65B sensor array transmits at anything like the 1 watt allowed.  I guess I would be surprised if he ever had any trouble with this configuration.  Again, I'm no expert on this.  :-)

Offline danoh

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Re: New WS-2902A reception issues
« Reply #42 on: December 29, 2018, 05:09:57 PM »
Soldered yagi feed line onto the correct antenna point (see photos above of board), makes a world of difference - go figure lol.

Out of curiosity, where did you solder the outer braid on the coax?  Was there an obvious place to put it or did you find a ground for it?

Found a ground pad on the board with multimeter and used that. There wasn't an obvious place, as the built-in coil antenna is only a coiled wire.
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Offline danoh

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Re: New WS-2902A reception issues
« Reply #43 on: December 29, 2018, 05:11:37 PM »
That yagi probably violates FCC licensing for ERP. For those who may not understand yagi antennas, it focuses the transmit signal to a specific direction, increasing the effective radiated power (ERP)  Imagine a light bulb lit in a field, now imagine the light bulb focused like a flash light.  Same power bulb, but now the energy directed at one specific point. 
Anyone 'down stream' of that yagi could experience interference of that focused energy.

First let me say that I'm not really knowledgeable about this kind of thing.  But I did notice this.

http://www.clippercontrols.com/content/TechTalk-FCC_Rules_for_License_Free_Wireless.pdf

And I believe this is the antenna that danoh is using.

https://www.amazon.com/Phonetone-Outdoor-Directional-Antenna-Connector/dp/B00EC804SO

The gain for this antenna is 7/9 dbi which is more than the 6 dbi allowed.  But I don't think that the WH65B sensor array transmits at anything like the 1 watt allowed.  I guess I would be surprised if he ever had any trouble with this configuration.  Again, I'm no expert on this.  :-)

That's the antenna.  I was trying to find a link, thanks.

The sensor array isn't near close to a watt, that I would bet on, with it's dismal range.  If I had to guess, I'd say it's in the 100 mW range, IF that
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Offline danoh

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Re: New WS-2902A reception issues
« Reply #44 on: December 29, 2018, 05:17:10 PM »
You may be able to pick up a signal from the next state with that set up

It doesn't receive, and it has a down tilt.  :lol:  Figured I'd down tilt it to point at the house, not over the house.  The signal would be more focused where I wanted it, and to lessen the oddball chance of interfering with another 915 MHz display that (unlikely) could be in the path.
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Offline Ski Pro 3

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Re: New WS-2902A reception issues
« Reply #45 on: December 29, 2018, 08:21:43 PM »
Did you experiment orienting the antenna to horizontal polarization?  I imagine it's vertical, but who knows?  The factory radiated element is a coil and I have no idea what the radiation pattern would look like. 

I would tend to agree the TX is no where near 1 watt as well.  100mw I would agree is probably more like it.

Offline danoh

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Re: New WS-2902A reception issues
« Reply #46 on: December 29, 2018, 08:30:03 PM »
Did you experiment orienting the antenna to horizontal polarization?  I imagine it's vertical, but who knows?  The factory radiated element is a coil and I have no idea what the radiation pattern would look like. 

I would tend to agree the TX is no where near 1 watt as well.  100mw I would agree is probably more like it.

I didn't mess with polarization.  I installed vertical because the physical 1/4 wave straight wire antenna that's in the display units are vertical in relation to how you would normally view the display.
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Offline kbellis

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Re: New WS-2902A reception issues
« Reply #47 on: December 29, 2018, 10:18:24 PM »
That yagi probably violates FCC licensing for ERP. For those who may not understand yagi antennas, it focuses the transmit signal to a specific direction, increasing the effective radiated power (ERP)  Imagine a light bulb lit in a field, now imagine the light bulb focused like a flash light.  Same power bulb, but now the energy directed at one specific point. 
Anyone 'down stream' of that yagi could experience interference of that focused energy.

Does the power consumption remain the same?

Offline kbellis

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Re: New WS-2902A reception issues
« Reply #48 on: December 30, 2018, 01:20:30 PM »
And I believe this is the antenna that danoh is using.
https://www.amazon.com/Phonetone-Outdoor-Directional-Antenna-Connector/dp/B00EC804SO

The gain for this antenna is 7/9 dbi which is more than the 6 dbi allowed.  But I don't think that the WH65B sensor array transmits at anything like the 1 watt allowed.  I guess I would be surprised if he ever had any trouble with this configuration.  Again, I'm no expert on this.  :-)

That's the antenna.  I was trying to find a link, thanks.

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Full report: https://fccid.io/WA5WH65BV1/Test-Report/RF-Test-Report-3627169


Offline Ski Pro 3

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Re: New WS-2902A reception issues
« Reply #49 on: December 30, 2018, 08:14:05 PM »
That yagi probably violates FCC licensing for ERP. For those who may not understand yagi antennas, it focuses the transmit signal to a specific direction, increasing the effective radiated power (ERP)  Imagine a light bulb lit in a field, now imagine the light bulb focused like a flash light.  Same power bulb, but now the energy directed at one specific point. 
Anyone 'down stream' of that yagi could experience interference of that focused energy.

Does the power consumption remain the same?

Yes, power consumption remains the same.  A quick understanding of antenna radiation pattern;
Imagine an antenna that is oriented vertically.  The RF energy coming off this antenna looks like a big fat donut out in the near field of air around it.  If your antenna is on the roof, above your receiver inside, you can see that the antenna's energy is not directed straight down.  No, that's the 'hole' in the donut; straight down and straight up.  By tipping the antenna 90 degrees, the radiation pattern now looks like a donut standing on edge.  A lot of power going straight down now. 
Another way to increase range on an antenna is by 'squishing' the donut radiation pattern.  Imagine taking that donut and pressing on it.  The energy tilted up into space and down into the earth is now forced further along the horizontal plane.  While the total power consumed remains the same, the distance from the antenna increases for reception as more of the energy is in a useful direction. 
There are other ways to increase effective radiated power, which is where the yagi antenna comes in.  A yagi takes that donut shape and reflects what is going the wrong direction back towards the right direction.  Still the same amount of power consumed but now that energy is directed, like a light with a reflector sorta like a flash light, in a useful direction.