Author Topic: Climatronics 100108 Wind Mark III, help pairing to TWI WR-25  (Read 335 times)

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Offline Kev

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Climatronics 100108 Wind Mark III, help pairing to TWI WR-25
« on: March 08, 2019, 09:52:34 AM »
Greetings everyone,

Iím new here, although Iíve been ghosting a little when I have time.  Iíve been out of the hobby for a while now, I used to have a simple Downeaster wind station back when I was 12 or so and loved it.  Things were a bit unstable and through moving around a lot it was lost unfortunately. Iím 36 now and Iíve been wanting to get another setup, but with the ability to add additional weather sensors this time around. Iím going old school as it were, the newer wireless stations just donít do it for me. Iíve done my footwork/research, Iím aware of pretty much every make sensor and logger/display that is out there, but Iím still a newbie for sure.

I was really excited and lucky enough to nab a Climatronics 100108 Wind Mark III in excellent physical condition off eBay for a very reasonable price just a few days ago.  Itís a former U.S. Army unit. It does need minor repair, but nothing I canít fix myself.  The plastic wind cups were completely sun-degraded and had disintegrated into little pieces.  The vane tail is beginning to degrade as well, the plastic coating is eroding away from the balsa core.  I was surprised to see that the tail core is actually made of balsa wood.  So I will be fabricating replacement parts for these.  Vane and cup replacement (not surprisingly for a unit this expensive) are from the factory $160 per. The bearings are decent, but will need to replaced at some point. Those are quite reasonable at $18 for the whole set of three, so those I can order direct from Climatronics. Other than that all seems well on the wind boom.  It appears it was well cared for. Iíll know more once I have it hooked up.  Which takes me to part two-

I also bought a TWI WRL-32 to pair with the Wind Mark.  This looked like a good purchase, pulled from a house during an estate sale.  Well, not so good.  Now I knew I was taking a chance, the seller doesnít know anything about weather instruments and listed it as parts or repair, she didnít know how to hook it up to a 9v power supply. Iíve always in the past had good luck with estate sale finds. I recieved it today and opened the console up immediately. I hooked up a 9v transformer I had, to test, nothing.  Not good.  Checked the fuse, sure enough, blown.  Big red flag.  So I went to the hardware store, picked up the correct replacement, popped it in and plugged the power back in. It came on, but no random readings. Whole numerical display is zeroed out. No buttons respond and none of the LED indicator lights work. Confirmed my suspicions that this console got cooked at some point, sadly.  Not sure this is worth trying to fix.  Iím sure the cost to have TWI refurbish it would far outcost what I payed for it.  I certainly wonít throw it away, itís a good parts unit if nothing else.  Or if anyone is interested in it and feel up to the challenge of the repair involved, feel free to contact me.  Part three-

So I now have a TWI WR-25 on itís way to me which is a confirmed 100% working unit.  My question is, what wires go to which connections? I researched all the specs ahead of time, the Wind Mark III 100108 meets the same technical and has the same mechanical as the three wire per sensor Texas Electronics TD-106-5D/TV-110-L320 sensors which are listed as compatible with all the TWI consoles.  So I know itís compatible, but I need help with what wires go where or any kind of adaptations that need to be done to make this work.

I have attached photos of what I have plus the wiring schematics of the wind boom and the TWI console.





















Look forward to spending time on here and learning more!

Kevin

Offline DaleReid

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Re: Climatronics 100108 Wind Mark III, help pairing to TWI WR-25
« Reply #1 on: March 08, 2019, 11:20:34 AM »
Kev, I'm far from expert, but have a bunch of TWI stuff.  25s and a couple 8000s.  They are build really tough, with all my units just ticking away until one got stung by lightning a few years ago.  I sent that one in to be fixed and the tech gave up after a bit, even though he put a lot of hours in at no charge just because it was a challenge and he wanted to see if it could be brought back.

I'm not sure if I'm reading too much between the lines, but the TWI design for all their units has the 25 and 8000 series, all the same boards but just a difference in resolution (tenths of a degree, tenths of a mph wind) and memory on board.  Easy to power from a 12 volt battery and a nice way to keep it topped off with a little more expensive wall wart that powers the unit when 110v available and maybe 8-10 hours of power out time.

The major fine points are the wind monitors.  I know that they have three supported, of which I have two.

The first is their over/under cup/direction which they manufacture and is a combination of a chopper for the speed and encoder disk sort of like what heathkit did with their 4001/5001 units, but I'm sure they are completely different.  This is their native unit, and while works well, I have had my share of problems with the bearings and needing a higher speed to start the cups rotating.

The second is the R M Young 05103 series of wind monitors, costing more than the Texas unit all together unless you can find a good one on eBay.  My first TWI about a decade ago was wired for that, and I became to appreciate just how low of a starting speed those units need.  There is some discussion of propeller vs. cup/vane for instantaneous speed and all, but the hesitation is mininiscule and doesn't bother me, especially when I watch how much they swing around from second to second, but hands down have the slowest wind detection speed.

finally, there is one version of the bronze colored and rare and expensive Texas Weather instruments, another company, that many TV stations had when they were doing their own and cable companies had for their dedicated weather channel and aquarium camera, yeah that old.

The bad news is that you cannot use any of the three, each has an interface dedicated to reading the input.  The two common are the TWI and the RM Young.  They can be converted back and forth, and I've had three or four that I have had them do, and work.

The very bad news:  TWI is no longer making any instruments.  Their site has a number to call, parts to order and some service via spotify, but I've not used them since they sort of shut down.  I'm sure all the lower cost stations were eating their lunch, and with the same thing for Peet Brothers which is very nice, you gotta sell stuff to keep the lights on.  The last time I talked with them down there they had two people on staff, a David and a James, and knew these stations very well, as you can imagine.

You could (maybe still can) call and give them the serial number off the back and they'd tell you when it was manufactured and who was the first to register it (one of my 8000s was installed in Florida at some Naval testing station).  In addition, they can tell you what the precision of the unit is in whole degrees or tenths, and all the other details, but you can get that if you have a start up display, I'll tell you about shortly.

Their online documents were spotty at best, and despite fiddling with these have made lot of notes on envelopes to try to recall what they are saying.

To see what your station is, go to
txwx.com
From their home page go to Downloads and Docs tab

There you'll find a file called Version Codes, grab that.

Inside it will tell you what capabilities your station has, for instance:

"STD   EXT
---0      Wind Direction 4-bit encoder
---1      Wind Direction Pot
---2      Wind Sensor by Texas Electronics
---3      Wind Sensor by HM Young Company"
 will tell you about the wind sensor it is configured to handle.

You get that display by unplugging the power supply, wait a wee bit, then plug in and over in the upper right hand panel of numbers, there will be a few seconds display of a single digit (I've only seen a 4 as the first, followed by a decimal, then three more numbers.  The digit you want is the last one, as indicated with the note above.

If you cannot see the brief (could seconds) display when you plug it in you have a problem that I can't advise you on.

The whole manual for the unit USED to be on line, but I cannot see it now; once again their organization for where stuff was took some looking and wasn't laid out well, so it might be there and I just can't find it.  I think I have the .pdf somewhere but would have to look a bit if you didn't get one with your station.

Finally, here is the version and type info in it's entirety.  It may be of interest when you get the other unit and power it up to see what's there.

While anything could be turned on for any of the newer units, it took a new EPROM and some board work to get all up and running.
It is very sad that what I suspected would eventually happen finally did.  You can't rent space, have a technical work station, parts inventory and other stuff and not sell lots of stations to keep the lights on.

I have stations with solar (which I'm very interested in) and while one came with a unit from them, it got zonked the same time the box got knocked out.  The kick in the butt was to look at their price, $325, for a little epoxy enclosed sensor, a small aluminum bracket.  I have used LiCor sensors with a little fiddling and tracks the predicted solar radiation pretty well as displayed on the Weather Display software.

Anyway, good luck.  I have seen zero TWI sensors on eBay for the last couple years.  My stash is used up or I'd see what I have around, and the last 'new' ones were when a bunch of the non-display blue and white boxes that I think were intended for school projects and all, but I got one of the last ones and none since over three years ago.  I think they were a -10 series or such.

Let us know how things are progressing, or if you hit a snag, or if you get the station on the air.  I love mine and have three in my house and ham shack and one 'test' unit that I fiddle with when I need to.  My experience is that these have been amazingly solid units, once calibrated they stay and track very well with the local AWOS and my other stuff, so it is sad to see the end of them.  I guess it goes along with my being older and other things I enjoyed are no longer in production, either!

Dale
K9ELD
ecwx.info

Here's the complete Version information table:

STD   EXT
---0      Wind Direction 4-bit encoder
---1      Wind Direction Pot
---2      Wind Sensor by Texas Electronics
---3      Wind Sensor by HM Young Company
---4      Leaf Wetness
---8      Data input/output, no display
--0-      Aux Temp
--1-      No Aux Sensor
--2-      Solar Sensor
--3-      (reserved)
--4-      Lightning Cntr
--8-      (special)
--81      Evaporation Pan Sensor
-0--      CPU 3-
-1--      CPU 4+
-2--      Euro date
-4--      (reserved)
-8--      (reserved)
0---      (reserved)
1---      (reserved)
2---      (reserved)
34--      Lo Res
38--      Md Res
4---      Hi Res
8---      (reserved)

   ---1   local  ADC 0       T/S
   ---2   local  ADC 1       rh
   ---4   local  ADC 2       lw
   ---8   local  ADC 3       Tpcb
   --1-   meters/second units for wind speed
   --2-   CPU5 Wind Dir code
   --4-   auxcpu Leaf Wetness
   --8-   auxcpu Lightning Cntr
   -1--   auxcpu ADC 0       T/S
   -2--   auxcpu ADC 1       RH
   -4--   auxcpu ADC 2       lw
   -8--   auxcpu ADC 3       T/S (Matrix)
   1---   auxcpu DIO 2-In, 2-Out
   2---   No Logging Flag
   4---   auxcpu SIO: COM2, COM3
   8---   auxcpu temp matrix

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Offline DaleReid

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Re: Climatronics 100108 Wind Mark III, help pairing to TWI WR-25
« Reply #2 on: March 09, 2019, 11:50:11 AM »
Kevin,
Just a couple of follow up points,
I don't know if the pulses that come out of the climatronics will be the same as the pulses from the other wind monitor heads or not.  I know that there are two kinds of Texas Electronics traditional looking anemometers, and only one would work with the WDL25.

I also may have some of those parts for your Climatronics wind cups and maybe even a vane.  The stuff is in 'storage' as I call it, which my wife calls Junk Box out in the shed, and too cold to sort through it all right now.

If you are serious about fixing that up, give me a bit to look through what I have and you'd have some original stuff rather than something you refitted, but your choice if you are really good at making things.

Dale

Oh PS, the pictures have a WDL25 in them,which looks like it is functioning as it should without any sensor hooked to it except as you note, there should be a barometer reading and you should be able to step through stuff.  There is a little diode near the fuse that might be suspect and I'll see if I can take a photo of one of mine to show you a sort of secondary 'fuse' that they had on at least some of them.  A few seconds with the right part and a soldering iron fixed mine a few years ago but then again interesting to know why the fuse blew in the first place....

Let me know if you get it working.  I'll look for those climatronics parts in the next few days
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Offline Kev

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Re: Climatronics 100108 Wind Mark III, help pairing to TWI WR-25
« Reply #3 on: March 09, 2019, 01:36:29 PM »
Hi Dale,

Thank you for the wonderful in-depth reply!

In my research I was reading what excellent high-quality units the TWIs are, and ultimately swung me to find one.  They certainly in my opinion outstrip the rather disposable off-the-shelf units of today.  I would love to find an 8000, but from Google results it looks as though the last one to appear on eBay was in 2015.

That was my understanding, was that the differences were in the resolution between the models. Aside from the WRL-10, 32, and 128 units, which had the on-board data logging.  The dead unit I had gotten is the WRL-32.  It has an extra circuit board with two jacks on it.

I had found and read about the three compatible wind sensor units on TWIs site.  Because no TWI-built sensors are available affordably, the Wind Mark III looked like a good option since it matched the specs of the Texas Electronics wind sensors (which are way out of my price range) and was available, cheap.  What I missed stupidly was that the consoles have to be factory configured specifically for the sensor theyíre paired with.  I thought the consoles were built to work with all three by default.  Would changing the interface be something that could be done at home, or would that need to be done by TWI?

Would it be safe to try wiring the Climatronics anemometer in to test?  It is a pulse unit as you mentioned. The issue would be the Wind Mark III wind direction, which is a potentiometer, not an optical encoder, thus requiring interface modification from encoder to pot. Unless in the very off-chance the WR-25 is already configured for pot.  Iíd be up for the challenge, but I wouldnít have a clue where to start with that.

I knew TWI had ceased manufacturing going into this, but I love the consoles and every comment Iíve read has talked about their great accuracy and reliability, so I knew thatís what I wanted.  I did email them immediately via their service email, but have had nothing back.  It appears the site is merely ghosting on the internet at this point.  The last copyright on it is 2013.  So itís entirely possible that there is no one left on staff anymore.  Itís really dissapointing that the cheap stuff most likely killed them.

I remember as a kid all the radio, TV stations, and ski areas in our area still all had Heathkit ID-1590s installed on them, right through the mid-90s.  No 4001s or 5001s though, surprisingly.  I would love to have a Heathkit one day.

That is a huge help to have the version code information, as soon as I get my new unit I will report back on what the code reads.

I found all three manuals under the Downloads & Docs:
https://txwx.com/download-files/

Iíve downloaded as much off the site as possible in the past few days.

Another question, can the RS-232 via a USB adaptor be used to output to a Meteohub/Meteobridge?

Absolutely Iím interested in genuine replacement parts for the Climatronics, that would be fantastic!  Thank you! It was the cost from the company that was prohibitively expensive, so I was going to fabricate my own. Iím quite good at making things, but original parts certainly would be better.

That is good news about the unit, not what I was expecting!  It should have read the indoor temp as well, the unit does still have the probe attached. Yes, that would be most helpful to know the part I would need to change out.  I did follow the manual in trying to get the functions to respond, but nothing did.  I attached photos of the inside and the back cover, the model listed on the back is the WRL-32.  The year stamped on the RS-232 cable is 2013, so if thatís correct, this would be one of the last units made.

I took some more photos, when doing so I noticed that this little guy (circled) was not connected to both pins, but was turned sideways.  Is this correct that itís not used or is intended to be that way?

I enjoy a good project, Iím not the plug-n-play type, so although this is going to be a bit hard, Iíll still have fun getting it all working.  Iíll be sure to keep posting here as I travel along.











Offline DaleReid

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Re: Climatronics 100108 Wind Mark III, help pairing to TWI WR-25
« Reply #4 on: March 09, 2019, 03:55:30 PM »
Even though this is a very narrow discussion, I see no reason to take ti to private email.  Things you and I discuss might, possibly, be of help to others some time in the future or someone may have information you are seeking.

First, your unit 'seems' to be from 2008 if I can recall the serial number convention, the first two digits being the last two of the year of build.  To know more about them, I think they had to look it up in their data base to know month of build and all that.

Your photos are intriguing.  The innards look so much different for the usual third board that I can only assume some major redesign had occurred. I'm used to seeing little piggy back boards with a lightning detector sensor to an active antenna (of which they'd never tell me what I needed in one to make it work) but this seems to replace one whole full sized board with a half board and stuff I have no idea what it was for.  Looks like a second comm port on it and there is the one RJ45 to the upper left which nothing is plugged into and J1 with a green encoded cat cable on it, and who knows what that does.  Plus none of the stuff on the board that I can read gives a hint or clue to function.  I assume the front board with all the display stuff on it is the same an the CPU and clock board with the Yellow Red and Blue RJ inputs on it seems close to what I have, with some jacks not installed on the board, but holes and places for them.

As I mentioned, they weren't very good at keeping the documentation up to date and even some of my pre-century boards were newer than the documentation.  I know sometime in the past I called once and talked with an energetic young fellow (not the James or David guys) who said he was new and had plans to update the whole web site an update the info to include newer stuff.   Never happened and I had not talked with him after that so either they trimmed staff or he had too many ideas and they nixed him doing that.  Again, a shame.

As far as temp/humidity sensors there are more guys working with add ons to the Davis stuff and replacing the new generation sensors that ever was with TWI stuff.  I had a temp/humidity pagoda go bad and decided to work my way up into the sensor and found a small board with humidity protection stuff flowed over the board, like it had been dipped in it an allowed to dry, causing an opaque coating an no idea of what was there.  I assume the temperature portion was a simple thermister or such, being two wires an small on the end of the indoor temp probe.  The humidity sensor has the calibration values for voltages at two different points for known humidity readings so it must set the slope and intercept with those two.  What device they used was never revealed.  Obviously the same for the solar sensor, despite trying hard to get the two guys to tell me what they used they just said they manufactured them themselves.  Again a LiCor will do it, but I don't see a second red jack on the second board, so an AUX input seems not configured.

Good luck on the new unit when it arrives.  I'd like to see you post a few pictures of it, especially if there is a start up code in the upper right four digits, and also of what the inside looks like if you take the back off as you did with this one. 

Keep digging.  Dale
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Offline Kev

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Re: Climatronics 100108 Wind Mark III, help pairing to TWI WR-25
« Reply #5 on: March 11, 2019, 08:31:48 PM »
I totally agree, someone may find this all to be helpful.  Itíll be interesting to see how this all works out.  Itís going to be pretty cool if it all gets worked out.  I think it will.

Very interesting, hmm.  Is it possible the green J1 is another data out?  I was wondering about that and the unused RJ-45 as well.  The manual for the WRL available online doesnít show or describe this configuration at all.  As you mention it must be a major redesign and the manual (at least online) was never updated accordingly.  I have included another photo of the information on it.  Itís listed as the ďWRL BridgeĒ.

That is a shame, that would have been wonderful if the site had gotten an overhaul and much needed documentation updates.

That is too bad you never got them to reveal what they were using.  That would be extremely helpful to know what components they were using.  I know exactly the stuff youíre referring to, Iíve seen it used on a board before, but I canít recall in what capacity.

Neither unit has the second red jack.  The WR-25 also only has one installed.  If the TWI junction box can be found, will it let you overcome the lack of extra jacks inside the consoles? I saw it has banks of jacks in it, each bank feeding to a single output line.

I attached the photo I have of the insides of the WR-25 from the seller. The console wonít be arriving until the 14th or 15th, so itíll be a little while before I can get detailed photos unfortunately.  I will for sure open it up for you.  I am more than happy to snap pictures of any components you want to see.  If thereís something specific, just let me know. 

Just for the heck of it, I followed your instructions and tried to get the code to come up on the ďdeadĒ WRL-32, but the display simply immediately goes to the zeroed display.  The first time I plugged it in I had the back of the unit facing me.  I wanted to check and make sure I didnít miss the display code.

Information on ďWRL BridgeĒ on my current WRL-32-


And hereís the WR-25 I am getting (seller photos)-







Offline DaleReid

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Re: Climatronics 100108 Wind Mark III, help pairing to TWI WR-25
« Reply #6 on: March 11, 2019, 08:52:28 PM »
Kev,  first as you mention you need to have a functioning unit before doing any testing with sensors.
I believe that yes, you can use one cat 5 cable from a junction box back to the single input on the main board.  As a matter of fact, I have dispensed with one junction box by just 'splicing in' the rain gauge directly in to the RJ 45 and it works fine.

Too bad about the unit you have, but not to throw it out.  There may very well be a use for it or some of the boards like the display board in the future.

It looks like the unit you will get is a 1998, and would have the older style three boards inside.

the 'bridge' board is weird but does have the rs232 output plugged into it. 

I've been busy getting rid of ice dams and literally 3' of snow on my roof before we get 1.5" of rain the next few days and water coming into the house so maybe in a fews days I can play a little with one of my units that works but is for testing purposes.  Other than shorting something out, these seem pretty idiot proof. 

I have noticed that the 'newer' units I have are equipped with fewer on-board jacks.  used to be a dual pair of each color.  And I have a really old unit which doesn't use any jacks at all but are terminated with the screw down clamps that went not to an RJ via a flat cable, but to a Molex connector!

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Offline Kev

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Re: Climatronics 100108 Wind Mark III, help pairing to TWI WR-25
« Reply #7 on: March 17, 2019, 09:12:38 AM »
I apologize for the late reply, I have been completely swamped with work the past few days. Along with a friend and co-worker I do renovation/remodeling and property maintenance, so the days are pretty long.

The WR-25 is at the post office, Iíll be picking it up tomorrow morning.  Iím pretty excited!

Oh absolutely, Iíll hang on to the WRL-32, as you say it certainly will be good to have as a parts supply, if nothing else.  I am not an electronics whiz, otherwise Iíd dive into trying to repair it.

Oh boy, being from and in New England I know all about the winter weather.  Hopefully you havenít had too much damage from the ice dams.

Let me know how the experimenting goes with your test unit.  As soon as I have mine itís going to be fun to bounce things back and forth and see what happens.

Interesting.  Could I pull the jacks form the WRL-32 and solder them into my WR-25?  Or would the unit not be configured to use those empty jack slots?

Oh yeah, thatís old school.  I like the screw lug type though, more flexibility there for wiring things in.  I do have an RJ-45 tool with plugs and 1000í of commercial Cat 5 wire though, so I can make any wiring I need, luckily.

I made a new tail fin for the Climatronics vane, it came out well.  I had to rebalance the vane due to the new fin being slightly heavier than the balsa one. The dimensions and shape are identical to the original. The new fin is sanded and solvent washed 1/8Ē Plexi, with three coats of car enamel.  I did an electric fan wind test and it responded perfectly.  I attached a couple of pictures, first photo is from before I sanded and washed the Plexi, it was just rough prepped at that point-




Offline Kev

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Re: Climatronics 100108 Wind Mark III, help pairing to TWI WR-25
« Reply #8 on: March 19, 2019, 11:23:38 AM »
I picked up the console yesterday morning.  I had to go to work, so I didnít have time to play with it. I did plug it in, everything works, buttons all respond.  I got the code, two in fact.  One in the Time/Date window and one in the Humidity/Barometer. 

Time/Date displayed 3.500
Humidity/Barometer displayed 0200

So Iím unclear on the 35, since nothing on the version code chart matches this.  But the 00 should be Aux Temp and Wind Direction 4-bit encoder, if Iím reading it correctly.  Of course this presents an issue with the pot on the Climatronics, unless there is a way to reconfigure the unit for pot.  Or possibly some kind of external pass through converter that would convert the pot signal to encoder?

Iím dying to try wiring in the wind speed, but Iíll wait for your input.