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Ambient WS-2080 RF Reset?

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radilly
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Ambient WS-2080 RF Reset?

Postby radilly » Sun Dec 03, 2017 8:56 pm

Folks-

Wondering if anyone has come up with a clever way to reset the RF connection on an Ambient WS-2080?

I've been working on a Python script to monitor various things to try to make my weather station, running Cumulus MX on a Pi3, handle various failure modes. It monitors the Diag log for "Sensor contact lost" and that happens to the WS-2080 more often than I would like. (The transmitter is a bit under 100' away, well within the 300' max. It seems rather sensitive to the orientation of the console**.)

At any rate the manual says one can press and hold the [down] key for 5 seconds, and then wait several minutes. My watchdog also monitors a old web cam that needs to be power-cycled periodically when it hangs, so I have a 2 relay module with a free relay at my disposal. I've not yet cracked the case of the WS-2080, but I'm thinking I could put the relay contacts across the down key / button if I can find connections.

I'd be interested in a solution that doesn't involve hacking the console, but I've not thought of one. Any ideas?

Cheers,
Bob

** I've tinkered with various orientations of the console. What I had in mind was to wall-mount it next to the Pi. It seems like it drops the RF link considerably less often if I simply put it on my desk in the same vicinity - more or less horizontal. Since I've not taken it apart, I'm not sure if I could spot the antenna - or if there might be a way to change it. I'd guess it might be just a trace on the PC board. (At 433 MHz a quarter-wave antenna would be longer than the largest dimension of the console; ~174 mm.)
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Re: Ambient WS-2080 RF Reset?

Postby AllyCat » Mon Dec 04, 2017 9:52 am

Hi Bob,

I've not dismantled my 2080 (yet) but you may get some "clues" about the general method of construction from the two "...insides if..." sticky threads in the Fine Offset section.

The transmitter uses a tuned loop antenna printed on its PCB, but the Console antenna is probably literally a "piece of wire" about 16 cms long just "folded" to fit into the case. The 300 feet radio range is specified as "open field" which it means quite literally and is still very optimistic for some/many of the stations.

It should be easy to take the back off the console (6 screws?) but that may not achieve much (except seeing the "antenna"). The front of the PCB and the LCD are probably the "bread" in a sandwich, with a conductive rubber strip as the "filling". It probably can be reassembled successfully, but might give you a fright. Also beware that the push-button contacts are probably multiplexed (pulsed) so should not be extended too far. A local FET across the contacts on the PCB (if you can find them) might be better.

Cheers, Alan.

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radilly
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Re: Ambient WS-2080 RF Reset?

Postby radilly » Mon Dec 04, 2017 3:16 pm

Hey Alan-

I did see that post, thanks! So I guess it would be a good thing to take some photos if I get bold and crack the case. Sounds like unfolding that wire in the console might be worth it. Although the distance is reasonable, I am going through 3 or 4 walls - definitely not open field.

I've run into various forms of membrane buttons which can be a little tricky, though these buttons feel like they have a longer throw and a good tactile feel to them. Thanks for the warning about the possibility of being pulsed/multiplexed. I'm better on software side, and a relay seemed like overkill. (I know, for example, I2C is for very short distance only.)

Just this morning I stumbled across http://www.nooelec.com/store/sdr/sdr-re ... 820t2.html and I wondered if it was practical to get rid of the console entirely... I've no clue what the protocol might look like.

Thanks!
Bob

- This gear is in my home office with a hardwired LAN. If I used the WiFi I could move it to our bedroom on the other side of the house (which has a small TV I could use as a Pi console if needed). That might be the ticket-

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radilly
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Re: Ambient WS-2080 RF Reset?

Postby radilly » Mon Dec 04, 2017 3:30 pm

Interesting - I looked around for some info on that frequency, 433 MHz, and came across this ... https://www.adafruit.com/product/3073 and a number of other radios for that band.

I was curious if there might be something else on the frequency. From that little bit it seems entirely possible. Recently it seems that the connection will be fine for days, but then I seem to get a couple of dropouts for some relatively short period.

I'm not much of a radio guy. Seems like I'd have quite a learning curve to consider replacing the console. :lol:

Cheers!

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Re: Ambient WS-2080 RF Reset?

Postby AllyCat » Mon Dec 04, 2017 6:33 pm

Hi,

433 MHz is the primary ISM "License Exempt" frequency in Europe (and much of the World) but barely "LegaL" in USA. The "official" frequency is 915 MHz, but it appears that Fine Offset may (still) use a different Wireless Protocol (FSK) for that frequency. The Fine Offset 433 MHz OOK (On-Off Keying) protocol is quite well documented and has been discussed recently (in later posts) on this forum.

"LoRa" is an interesting radio technology (somewhat similar to that used by GPS satellites) which offers an enormous range at low power, but I don't believe at a price point that would be considered by Fine Offset. :(

Cheers, Alan.


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