Author Topic: How Weather-Proof Is The PM25?  (Read 668 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline modean987

  • Member
  • *
  • Posts: 28
  • What the heck am I getting myself into?
How Weather-Proof Is The PM25?
« on: September 14, 2020, 10:38:44 AM »
A question regarding the PM25, which I just received. How weatherproof is this thing, especially around the battery compartment?

Should I try to find a somewhat protective placement for it, or just screw it down to the top of a fence post and let it experience the full force of the Arizona Monsoons?
Ecowitt: GW1002, WH41, WH57
ecowitt.net, pwsweather.com, wunderground.com

Offline Rover1822

  • Forecaster
  • *****
  • Posts: 339
    • Mini Wind and Solar Data project
Re: How Weather-Proof Is The PM25?
« Reply #1 on: September 14, 2020, 11:04:41 AM »
It is kind of catch 22, I have mine under porch roof in a position that can still get sun at certain periods of the day, it is mounted against a shed wall.

I would be interest in experiences of those that have theirs fully exposed.



Ambient:WS-2000,PM 2.5 x2,WH31B x2, WH40E
EcoWitt: GW1000 x4,WH31 x2,WH57,WH51 x8, WH40,WH5360B
Stratus: Manual rain gauge
Web Sites: WU, Ambient Weather , Ecowitt.net , Ecowitt.net (TEST)
Personal Sites: Weather Cam , Wind & Solar Power Data

Offline modean987

  • Member
  • *
  • Posts: 28
  • What the heck am I getting myself into?
Re: How Weather-Proof Is The PM25?
« Reply #2 on: September 14, 2020, 11:19:45 AM »
I would be interest in experiences of those that have theirs fully exposed.

Ditto that! I just got my GW1002 and still need to figure out some things, then I'll make some time and go through the "weather station photos" posts one-by-one to see what I can find there.

Thanks for the response!
« Last Edit: September 14, 2020, 11:22:08 AM by modean987 »
Ecowitt: GW1002, WH41, WH57
ecowitt.net, pwsweather.com, wunderground.com

Offline Rover1822

  • Forecaster
  • *****
  • Posts: 339
    • Mini Wind and Solar Data project
Re: How Weather-Proof Is The PM25?
« Reply #3 on: September 14, 2020, 11:28:28 AM »
I would be interest in experiences of those that have theirs fully exposed.

Ditto that! I just got my GW1002 and still need to figure out some things, then I'll make some time and go through the "weather station photos" posts one-by-one to see what I can find there.

Thanks for the response!

You can see mine in my weather cam link in my sig, its directly below the left window
Ambient:WS-2000,PM 2.5 x2,WH31B x2, WH40E
EcoWitt: GW1000 x4,WH31 x2,WH57,WH51 x8, WH40,WH5360B
Stratus: Manual rain gauge
Web Sites: WU, Ambient Weather , Ecowitt.net , Ecowitt.net (TEST)
Personal Sites: Weather Cam , Wind & Solar Power Data

Offline Mandrake

  • Forecaster
  • *****
  • Posts: 797
Re: How Weather-Proof Is The PM25?
« Reply #4 on: September 14, 2020, 11:40:03 AM »
I found that they dont like very heavy downpours as the fan and sensor can ingest water.
After drying it out I found that my best location is on a south facing exterior window sill. That way its angled slightly to get max sunshine and gets some protection from the immediate overhang of the window if its raining hard.
Retired: Old Maplin N96Y/FO Weather station
G1ZFO

Ecowitt HP2550A + WH65 (Wunderground: IGUILDFO67)
Ecowitt GW1000 (Wunderground: IGUILDFO68)
Ecowitt GW1000 (Mk2) test environment driving CumulusMX on a RPi 3b
Ecowitt WH51 (x4) Soil Moisture Sensor
Ecowitt WH41 PM2.5 AQM Sensor
Ecowitt WH31 (x8) Thermo/Hygro Sensor
Ecowitt WS80 Ultrasonic Anemometer (pre-prod test)
Ecowitt WH57 Lightning Sensor (pre-prod test)

Offline Rover1822

  • Forecaster
  • *****
  • Posts: 339
    • Mini Wind and Solar Data project
Re: How Weather-Proof Is The PM25?
« Reply #5 on: September 14, 2020, 11:47:54 AM »
I should say, that even with the sun I get, which is limited, I still have to pull the batteries on occasion and charge them

Ambient:WS-2000,PM 2.5 x2,WH31B x2, WH40E
EcoWitt: GW1000 x4,WH31 x2,WH57,WH51 x8, WH40,WH5360B
Stratus: Manual rain gauge
Web Sites: WU, Ambient Weather , Ecowitt.net , Ecowitt.net (TEST)
Personal Sites: Weather Cam , Wind & Solar Power Data

Offline modean987

  • Member
  • *
  • Posts: 28
  • What the heck am I getting myself into?
Re: How Weather-Proof Is The PM25?
« Reply #6 on: September 14, 2020, 12:04:31 PM »
You can see mine in my weather cam link in my sig, its directly below the left window

Thanks! It looks to be kind of like how Mandrake described theirs.

I should say, that even with the sun I get, which is limited, I still have to pull the batteries on occasion and charge them

That's kind of ironic, considering the roof and overhang.  :grin:

Thanks for the input, which has given me several ideas for protected placements.

A related question: can I mount it sideways -- put the bottom against a shed wall, instead of on a ledge or shelf?
Ecowitt: GW1002, WH41, WH57
ecowitt.net, pwsweather.com, wunderground.com

Offline Rover1822

  • Forecaster
  • *****
  • Posts: 339
    • Mini Wind and Solar Data project
Re: How Weather-Proof Is The PM25?
« Reply #7 on: September 14, 2020, 12:07:29 PM »
You can see mine in my weather cam link in my sig, its directly below the left window

Thanks! It looks to be kind of like how Mandrake described theirs.

I should say, that even with the sun I get, which is limited, I still have to pull the batteries on occasion and charge them

That's kind of ironic, considering the roof and overhang.  :grin:

Thanks for the input, which has given me several ideas for protected placements.

A related question: can I mount it sideways -- put the bottom against a shed wall, instead of on a ledge or shelf?

Yes. Mine is directly against the shed wall, so mounted vertically.  Mandrake's suggestion of putting it on the angled sill is a very good one to capture more sun, in fact I will probably change my mount thanks to Mandrake
Ambient:WS-2000,PM 2.5 x2,WH31B x2, WH40E
EcoWitt: GW1000 x4,WH31 x2,WH57,WH51 x8, WH40,WH5360B
Stratus: Manual rain gauge
Web Sites: WU, Ambient Weather , Ecowitt.net , Ecowitt.net (TEST)
Personal Sites: Weather Cam , Wind & Solar Power Data

Offline modean987

  • Member
  • *
  • Posts: 28
  • What the heck am I getting myself into?
Re: How Weather-Proof Is The PM25?
« Reply #8 on: September 14, 2020, 12:18:38 PM »
I found that they dont like very heavy downpours as the fan and sensor can ingest water.
After drying it out I found that my best location is on a south facing exterior window sill. That way its angled slightly to get max sunshine and gets some protection from the immediate overhang of the window if its raining hard.

Annnnnnd, that's what I was worried about. Also, I didn't even know it had a fan! I've been focusing on getting my GW1002 working and need to take some time to learn how these components are made and work.

I really don't have a window ledge to place it on, but I do have several south-facing walls with protected overhangs that I could place it under. With our 300+ days of sunshine in Arizona (not all it's cracked up to be), mounting it sideways should give me more than enough daily sunlight to keep the batteries charged.
Ecowitt: GW1002, WH41, WH57
ecowitt.net, pwsweather.com, wunderground.com

Offline modean987

  • Member
  • *
  • Posts: 28
  • What the heck am I getting myself into?
Re: How Weather-Proof Is The PM25?
« Reply #9 on: September 14, 2020, 12:22:14 PM »
Yes. Mine is directly against the shed wall, so mounted vertically.  Mandrake's suggestion of putting it on the angled sill is a very good one to capture more sun, in fact I will probably change my mount thanks to Mandrake

Thanks! Your input has been most helpful and much appreciated.
Ecowitt: GW1002, WH41, WH57
ecowitt.net, pwsweather.com, wunderground.com

Offline wvdkuil

  • Wim van der kuil
  • Forecaster
  • *****
  • Posts: 1701
    • My PWS at Leuven Belgium Europe
Re: How Weather-Proof Is The PM25?
« Reply #10 on: September 14, 2020, 12:51:42 PM »
I used the middle part of a large "plastic" lemonade bottle, so it catches all sunlight but is remains protected against the rain.
And the air can flow freely.

Wim
Support for Leuven-Template & Scripts  at this forum via https://support.leuven-template.eu/
Script sponsors support.leuven-template.eu/userlistScripts.php
Template sponsors support.leuven-template.eu/userlist.php

Support for the PWS_Dashboard  pwsdashboard.com

Offline modean987

  • Member
  • *
  • Posts: 28
  • What the heck am I getting myself into?
Re: How Weather-Proof Is The PM25?
« Reply #11 on: September 14, 2020, 12:57:50 PM »
I used the middle part of a large "plastic" lemonade bottle, so it catches all sunlight but is remains protected against the rain.
And the air can flow freely.

That's ingenious! Thanks for posting the photo!
Ecowitt: GW1002, WH41, WH57
ecowitt.net, pwsweather.com, wunderground.com

Offline Autofill

  • Senior Member
  • **
  • Posts: 57
Re: How Weather-Proof Is The PM25?
« Reply #12 on: September 14, 2020, 06:08:01 PM »
I used the middle part of a large "plastic" lemonade bottle, so it catches all sunlight but is remains protected against the rain.
And the air can flow freely.

That's ingenious! Thanks for posting the photo!

A couple of things about this:

The solar panel needs direct sunlight, unless you use quartz, any plastic (or glass) will filter out most of the high energy (UV region especially) so it wont be high quality sun going through. Another thing to consider is that you may not be measuring the most accurate air with it in an container like that.

Also, it should be mounted flat (the battery compartment is not water proof) and debris can eventually fall into places where it shouldn't, thus limiting the life of unit (and probably give erroneous readings before it does go out).

It doesn't really like water (or dew) for sure (gives false high readings), but, once it dries (in a matter of hours) it back to normal. I would just mount it outside and leave it.

Also, if you mount it near a power source you can modify it for continuous power (with some hacking) and a long USB cord.

« Last Edit: September 14, 2020, 06:14:03 PM by Autofill »
Ecowitt WH2320-E
Ecowitt HP2551-C
Ecowitt GW1000
Ecowitt WH69E
Ecowitt WH32B
Ecowitt WH57
Ecowitt WH51 (x5)
Ecowitt WH41
Ecowitt WH31 (x8)
Ecowitt WH55 (x4)

Offline modean987

  • Member
  • *
  • Posts: 28
  • What the heck am I getting myself into?
Re: How Weather-Proof Is The PM25?
« Reply #13 on: September 14, 2020, 07:23:51 PM »
A couple of things about this:

The solar panel needs direct sunlight, unless you use quartz, any plastic (or glass) will filter out most of the high energy (UV region especially) so it wont be high quality sun going through. Another thing to consider is that you may not be measuring the most accurate air with it in an container like that.

Also, it should be mounted flat (the battery compartment is not water proof) and debris can eventually fall into places where it shouldn't, thus limiting the life of unit (and probably give erroneous readings before it does go out).

It doesn't really like water (or dew) for sure (gives false high readings), but, once it dries (in a matter of hours) it back to normal. I would just mount it outside and leave it.

Also, if you mount it near a power source you can modify it for continuous power (with some hacking) and a long USB cord.

Thanks! Those are all excellent points. Granted, I do live in a drier climate than Rover1822 or Mandrake, and my unit would most likely dry quicker than those in a temperate zone, but I still worry about the water issue, mostly with the battery compartment.

I do appreciate all the different viewpoints, and eventually I'll stop waffling on what to do and use what I've learned from everyone's input to come up with a solution that suits my locale.
Ecowitt: GW1002, WH41, WH57
ecowitt.net, pwsweather.com, wunderground.com

Offline modean987

  • Member
  • *
  • Posts: 28
  • What the heck am I getting myself into?
Re: How Weather-Proof Is The PM25?
« Reply #14 on: September 15, 2020, 12:30:28 PM »
After reviewing all the responses to this topic, I felt reasonably sure that the PM25 should be able to withstand severe rains we get during our Arizona Monsoons, and decided to sacrifice this unit, in the interest of... well, my curiosity... and put it to a test.

1) Disable sensor in WS View.
2) Remove batteries.
3) Replace battery door.
4) Place PM25 in kitchen sink.
5) Turn on cold water for a brisk flow of water.
6) Run water over top of PM25 for 1 and a half minutes.
7) Use hand to move water around sensor, simulating wind.
8 Turn off water after end of time frame.
9) Wait a couple of seconds for water beads to drip off.
10) Gently move PM25 out of sink and onto a flat surface.

At this point, I gently removed the battery compartment. The receptacle area for the batteries was dry. The flat part of the battery door, which lies directly under the batteries, was also dry. There was some water in the grooved area around this flat part, but I suspect it got in there when I remove the door -- trying to squeeze the clips, hold down the door so it doesn't move, and lift the sensor gave it a bit of a shake..

The PM25 is now on sitting on the the picnic table outside, with the battery door next to it, to dry out in the sun.

If after several hours of drying it decides to still work after putting the batteries back in and re-enabling the sensor in WS View, I'll go with plan A -- screw it into the top of a 4x4 fence post and let the Arizona Monsoons try their best to drown it.

If it doesn't work after several hours, I'll get another one and go with plan B -- screw it vertically on the south side of my shed, just below the protective overhang so the solar cell gets direct sunlight and hopefully not a lot of rain unless we get severe winds.

Many thanks to every one who provided input! I'll post the status of the sensor later on today.
Ecowitt: GW1002, WH41, WH57
ecowitt.net, pwsweather.com, wunderground.com

Offline CW2274

  • Forecaster
  • *****
  • Posts: 5527
    • Conditions @ CW2274 West Tucson-Painted Hills Ranch
Re: How Weather-Proof Is The PM25?
« Reply #15 on: September 15, 2020, 04:36:34 PM »
let the Arizona Monsoons try their best to drown it.
Well, you've got about a ten month wait. And after the last two dismal seasons, who knows even then.

Offline modean987

  • Member
  • *
  • Posts: 28
  • What the heck am I getting myself into?
Re: How Weather-Proof Is The PM25?
« Reply #16 on: September 15, 2020, 05:44:25 PM »
let the Arizona Monsoons try their best to drown it.
Well, you've got about a ten month wait. And after the last two dismal seasons, who knows even then.

Yeah, this year was the pits. Hopefully I'll get some decent not-the-monsoon rains, like I did last season.

Regardless, the PM25 is alive and well, so I'm going with Plan A -- put it on top of a 4x4.
Ecowitt: GW1002, WH41, WH57
ecowitt.net, pwsweather.com, wunderground.com

Offline Mandrake

  • Forecaster
  • *****
  • Posts: 797
Re: How Weather-Proof Is The PM25?
« Reply #17 on: September 16, 2020, 05:37:05 AM »
I have considered that you could use a outdoor cam solar panel.
I have one that powers an outside cam and keeps that battery charged and it would equally work well in remote powering the PM2.5 sensor. They even come with the right micro USB connector.
As the panel for these are much larger it would probably keep the battery permanently charged whereas the built in one still needs periodic top-ups and especially through the darker winter months.
Retired: Old Maplin N96Y/FO Weather station
G1ZFO

Ecowitt HP2550A + WH65 (Wunderground: IGUILDFO67)
Ecowitt GW1000 (Wunderground: IGUILDFO68)
Ecowitt GW1000 (Mk2) test environment driving CumulusMX on a RPi 3b
Ecowitt WH51 (x4) Soil Moisture Sensor
Ecowitt WH41 PM2.5 AQM Sensor
Ecowitt WH31 (x8) Thermo/Hygro Sensor
Ecowitt WS80 Ultrasonic Anemometer (pre-prod test)
Ecowitt WH57 Lightning Sensor (pre-prod test)

Offline modean987

  • Member
  • *
  • Posts: 28
  • What the heck am I getting myself into?
Re: How Weather-Proof Is The PM25?
« Reply #18 on: September 16, 2020, 10:14:59 AM »
Thanks for the excellent tip! These are the kinds of things I need to know and watch for as I learn about how all this stuff works, In my locale, I get about 320+ days of sunshine. Snow days and socked-in rain days seldom come in more than pairs, and the non-Summer months here are mostly cloudless. I'm hoping all that sunshine will keep my recharging times to a minimum, and maybe even not at all.

Regardless, I'll do some online shopping to familiarize myself with what's available in the USB/Solar department.

Ecowitt: GW1002, WH41, WH57
ecowitt.net, pwsweather.com, wunderground.com

Offline Mandrake

  • Forecaster
  • *****
  • Posts: 797
Re: How Weather-Proof Is The PM25?
« Reply #19 on: September 16, 2020, 11:36:35 AM »
Thanks for the excellent tip! These are the kinds of things I need to know and watch for as I learn about how all this stuff works, In my locale, I get about 320+ days of sunshine. Snow days and socked-in rain days seldom come in more than pairs, and the non-Summer months here are mostly cloudless. I'm hoping all that sunshine will keep my recharging times to a minimum, and maybe even not at all.

Regardless, I'll do some online shopping to familiarize myself with what's available in the USB/Solar department.

Ever so slightly jealous!
I suspect that you will probably get away with a recharge every 3 months or so with that kind of sunshine setup!
Retired: Old Maplin N96Y/FO Weather station
G1ZFO

Ecowitt HP2550A + WH65 (Wunderground: IGUILDFO67)
Ecowitt GW1000 (Wunderground: IGUILDFO68)
Ecowitt GW1000 (Mk2) test environment driving CumulusMX on a RPi 3b
Ecowitt WH51 (x4) Soil Moisture Sensor
Ecowitt WH41 PM2.5 AQM Sensor
Ecowitt WH31 (x8) Thermo/Hygro Sensor
Ecowitt WS80 Ultrasonic Anemometer (pre-prod test)
Ecowitt WH57 Lightning Sensor (pre-prod test)

Offline idahowx

  • Member
  • *
  • Posts: 11
Re: How Weather-Proof Is The PM25?
« Reply #20 on: September 17, 2020, 05:18:21 PM »
The solar cell failed after full unprotected exposure after 9 months so I would have to recharge often.  I have it mounted under a covered porch now and it is wired to an external solar cell.  Works fine without any recharge.  I need to monitor it often now.  - Phil     [ You are not allowed to view attachments ]

Offline modean987

  • Member
  • *
  • Posts: 28
  • What the heck am I getting myself into?
Re: How Weather-Proof Is The PM25?
« Reply #21 on: September 17, 2020, 06:19:15 PM »
The solar cell failed after full unprotected exposure after 9 months so I would have to recharge often.  I have it mounted under a covered porch now and it is wired to an external solar cell.  Works fine without any recharge.  I need to monitor it often now.  - Phil     [ You are not allowed to view attachments ]
That must have been disheartening, but it's great that you're able to bypass the issue by using an external solar cell. Unfortunately, that's something that could happen with any of the solar powered sensors and I suppose if it's going to happen, it's better that it's the PM25 instead a WS68 or any of the all-in-one units.

It's interesting that with the external bypass you don't need to recharge. Are there differences in efficiency and output between the component and external solar cells?
Ecowitt: GW1002, WH41, WH57
ecowitt.net, pwsweather.com, wunderground.com

Offline Autofill

  • Senior Member
  • **
  • Posts: 57
Re: How Weather-Proof Is The PM25?
« Reply #22 on: September 17, 2020, 06:39:38 PM »
That hurts but you do have a one year warranty.

Solar panels rarely fail, manufacturers usually make them with the 25-year warranty as they have no moving parts, it's basically a material that's about as stable as paint. It's likely the charge controller failed in this case.
Ecowitt WH2320-E
Ecowitt HP2551-C
Ecowitt GW1000
Ecowitt WH69E
Ecowitt WH32B
Ecowitt WH57
Ecowitt WH51 (x5)
Ecowitt WH41
Ecowitt WH31 (x8)
Ecowitt WH55 (x4)

Offline idahowx

  • Member
  • *
  • Posts: 11
Re: How Weather-Proof Is The PM25?
« Reply #23 on: September 19, 2020, 06:50:20 PM »
That hurts but you do have a one year warranty.

Solar panels rarely fail, manufacturers usually make them with the 25-year warranty as they have no moving parts, it's basically a material that's about as stable as paint. It's likely the charge controller failed in this case.

It looks like water penetrated whatever weather sealant that was on the edges of the solar cell.  The output of the solar cell was around 1.5V and I assume it would need to exceed the nominal 2.4V that the batteries puts out to charge them properly.  Anyway, I clipped the wires to the built-in solar cell and connected to a bit larger external one that puts out 4V with a series diode to drop it down to 3.3V.  That would seem sufficient voltage to source a charge controller for 2 rechargeable batteries. The external solar cell is mounted at an angle for best sun exposure.  I have not needed to charge the batteries since doing this several months ago. - Phil

Offline Autofill

  • Senior Member
  • **
  • Posts: 57
Re: How Weather-Proof Is The PM25?
« Reply #24 on: September 20, 2020, 11:40:22 AM »
That hurts but you do have a one year warranty.

Solar panels rarely fail, manufacturers usually make them with the 25-year warranty as they have no moving parts, it's basically a material that's about as stable as paint. It's likely the charge controller failed in this case.

It looks like water penetrated whatever weather sealant that was on the edges of the solar cell.  The output of the solar cell was around 1.5V and I assume it would need to exceed the nominal 2.4V that the batteries puts out to charge them properly.  Anyway, I clipped the wires to the built-in solar cell and connected to a bit larger external one that puts out 4V with a series diode to drop it down to 3.3V.  That would seem sufficient voltage to source a charge controller for 2 rechargeable batteries. The external solar cell is mounted at an angle for best sun exposure.  I have not needed to charge the batteries since doing this several months ago. - Phil

Oh no, water in the solar cells will definitely render it useless.
Ecowitt WH2320-E
Ecowitt HP2551-C
Ecowitt GW1000
Ecowitt WH69E
Ecowitt WH32B
Ecowitt WH57
Ecowitt WH51 (x5)
Ecowitt WH41
Ecowitt WH31 (x8)
Ecowitt WH55 (x4)

 

anything