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Watson W-8681-Solar

Discussion specific to Fine Offset and similar rebadged weather stations
JohnF
Posts: 69
Joined: Thu Nov 10, 2011 10:36 am
Weather Station: Davis Vantage Vue
Operating System: Windows 7, 64 bit
Location: Hayle, Cornwall
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Watson W-8681-Solar

Postby JohnF » Sun Jun 02, 2013 3:57 pm

Hello
After working well for many months we hit a period of very sunny weather and my UV/Lux readings have disappeared off the display unit.
Change the alkaline batteries and all is well for a hours then dashes on the display re-appear.
I always observe the sequence of flashes on the transmitter when I change batteries but now I get only one flash and the Temp/Wind/Rainfall data is not displaying. Presumably, the transmitter has failed?
Advice please.
Many thanks
John

AllyCat
Posts: 1036
Joined: Sat Feb 26, 2011 1:58 pm
Weather Station: Fine Offset 1080/1 & 3080
Operating System: Windows XP SP3
Location: SE London

Re: Watson W-8681-Solar

Postby AllyCat » Tue Jun 04, 2013 8:52 am

Hi John,

First unplug the Solar Pod, plug the rain sensor cable directly into the transmitter and go though the full "normal" reset procedure including removing USB and Console batteries (or holding in the "downarrow" button for 10 seconds) using fresh (non-rechargeable) alkaline batteries in the transmitter. If that doesn't get the main sensors working again then the transmitter may indeed be faulty.

Now search this forum for all the "issues" concerning the FO 3080 and 3081 Solar Pods and see if any help. ;)

Cheers, Alan.

JohnF
Posts: 69
Joined: Thu Nov 10, 2011 10:36 am
Weather Station: Davis Vantage Vue
Operating System: Windows 7, 64 bit
Location: Hayle, Cornwall
Contact:

Re: Watson W-8681-Solar

Postby JohnF » Tue Jun 04, 2013 1:12 pm

Thank you Alan.
When before the led in the transmitter stayed on for a few seconds and never flashed again, now the led is staying on continually so I guess the TX has failed?
Cheers
John

AllyCat
Posts: 1036
Joined: Sat Feb 26, 2011 1:58 pm
Weather Station: Fine Offset 1080/1 & 3080
Operating System: Windows XP SP3
Location: SE London

Re: Watson W-8681-Solar

Postby AllyCat » Tue Jun 04, 2013 2:17 pm

JohnF wrote:led in the transmitter stayed on for a few seconds and never flashed again
Hi John,

That's not strictly correct, the LED should flash briefly once every 48 seconds, except perhaps for a few minutes after starting and "on the hour" (if listening for the Radio Controlled Clock transmissions). Also the (dim) LED on the Pod should flash once every minute.

Beware that there are some complex interactions between the Transmitter and the Solar Pod, so keep the Pod unplgged for basic testing. However, if the Transmitter LED stays on, when no cables are plugged in and if you have thoroughly cleaned the battery contacts and inserted "known good" cells, then I think we have to assume that the Transmitter is faulty.

Cheers, Alan.

JohnF
Posts: 69
Joined: Thu Nov 10, 2011 10:36 am
Weather Station: Davis Vantage Vue
Operating System: Windows 7, 64 bit
Location: Hayle, Cornwall
Contact:

Re: Watson W-8681-Solar

Postby JohnF » Tue Jun 04, 2013 3:00 pm

Thanks again Alan
When my weather station was working OK, when I installed batteries into the transmitter the led in the transmitter came on for 5 seconds, then later flashed very quickly and then gave five more flashes. Now the led is on all the time which makes me think it is on the blink - pardon the pun!
John

JohnF
Posts: 69
Joined: Thu Nov 10, 2011 10:36 am
Weather Station: Davis Vantage Vue
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Re: Watson W-8681-Solar

Postby JohnF » Sun Jun 09, 2013 8:50 am

I ordered a replacement transmitter which arrived yesterday but I am still not getting any data onto the display unit.
When I installed batteries in the new transmitter it went through its sequence of flashes correctly but no joy.
The box it came in has 'MKII' on it. Presumably there was a MKI so what is the difference between the two?
John

AllyCat
Posts: 1036
Joined: Sat Feb 26, 2011 1:58 pm
Weather Station: Fine Offset 1080/1 & 3080
Operating System: Windows XP SP3
Location: SE London

Re: Watson W-8681-Solar

Postby AllyCat » Sun Jun 09, 2013 9:49 am

Hi John,

Firstly, I should say that I don't have any direct experience of the WS8681, only of the 108x/308x (Maplin, Clas Ohlson and Signatrol, etc.), but the hardware should be the same. However, not only do FO market the same hardware with different model/badge names, but also different hardware with the same model number (particularly Maplin)! Then there are the three different radio frequencies used in different countries (two just in the UK). :?

Some early "Solar" versions only charged the batteries but did not provide any data, so that might have been the "Mk.1". I doubt if those transmitters would accept any data from the Solar Pod. Then, the early versions of the "solar data" Pods had numerous design/manufacturing defects (well reported on this forum) which are said to have now been fixed (the later units having a "gold star", was mentioned). The "Mk.2" might refer to these later versions.

Unfortunately, all the transmitters look virtually identical from the outside of their (glued/sealed) plastic boxes, so it is very difficult to identify if they "should" work. The one check you can do is to look inside the "Rain" socket on the transmitter, if there are only 4 "gold wires" (contacts) then it definitely will not work with the solar pod (which uses 6 contacts). But 6 contact wires (also check that they are not bent/displaced) is certainly NOT a guarantee that the transmitter/pod will work.

The only other thing that I can add is that you have remembered to resynchronise the Console by pressing the "down-arrow" button for ten seconds, haven't you? In my experience, "starting up" the Solar systems can be quite temperamental. Try replacing the batteries in the transmitter and/or pressing the Pod reset button several times, resynchronising the console each time and being patient (5+ minutes) to see if data appears.

Cheers, Alan.

JohnF
Posts: 69
Joined: Thu Nov 10, 2011 10:36 am
Weather Station: Davis Vantage Vue
Operating System: Windows 7, 64 bit
Location: Hayle, Cornwall
Contact:

Re: Watson W-8681-Solar

Postby JohnF » Sun Jun 09, 2013 10:56 am

Alan you are the dog's b******!
There are only 4 contacts inside the rain socket so the transmitter is going back anyway.
Thank you for your full explanation of the problems and pitfalls with this W8681. My WS worked well for a few months and then started to give problems when we had the prolonged sunshine. A well documented problem with these devices.
I've had enough of the damned thing so if a replacement transmitter does not cure the problems its going in the bin.
Thanks again Alan, much appreciated.
John

JohnF
Posts: 69
Joined: Thu Nov 10, 2011 10:36 am
Weather Station: Davis Vantage Vue
Operating System: Windows 7, 64 bit
Location: Hayle, Cornwall
Contact:

Re: Watson W-8681-Solar

Postby JohnF » Thu Jul 04, 2013 8:43 am

A replacement transmitter arrived 2 weeks ago and the display has been solid ever since.
John

JohnF
Posts: 69
Joined: Thu Nov 10, 2011 10:36 am
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Re: Watson W-8681-Solar

Postby JohnF » Wed Jul 10, 2013 7:40 pm

I spoke too soon didn't I? As soon as we hit the unbroken sunshine the Lux and UV readings have turned to dashes again.
I have tried alkaline and NiMh rechargeables with no change.
I have also put a piece of tape over the solar panel.
Is there a solution to this problem short of chucking it in the bin?
Thanks
John

AllyCat
Posts: 1036
Joined: Sat Feb 26, 2011 1:58 pm
Weather Station: Fine Offset 1080/1 & 3080
Operating System: Windows XP SP3
Location: SE London

Re: Watson W-8681-Solar

Postby AllyCat » Wed Jul 10, 2013 8:06 pm

Hi John,

Do you really mean the (flat, sloping) PV Solar Panel? The Lux sensor which is believed to be the cause (or at least one cause) of the Solar processor "crashing" is located under the small white dome to the right of the PV panel.

Try sticking a piece of PVC tape, or similar, above the dome and use NiMH cells (if they give adequate wireless range and you're not bothered with a "Low TX Battery" icon on the LCD). Finally, if all else fails, you can still plug the rain sensor directly into the transmitter and just ignore the Solar features.

Cheers, Alan.

JohnF
Posts: 69
Joined: Thu Nov 10, 2011 10:36 am
Weather Station: Davis Vantage Vue
Operating System: Windows 7, 64 bit
Location: Hayle, Cornwall
Contact:

Re: Watson W-8681-Solar

Postby JohnF » Thu Jul 11, 2013 4:01 pm

Hi Alan
Yes, I did mean the solar panel as I thought that the batteries would be getting overcharged and covering that would help.
Anyway, I have now partly covered the domed sensor and changed the batteries to NiMH cells so we'll see how it goes.
Thanks again
John

sergios
Posts: 8
Joined: Sun May 08, 2011 8:14 pm
Weather Station: watson w8681 solar uv
Operating System: Windows XP SP2
Location: Greece

Re: Watson W-8681-Solar

Postby sergios » Fri Jun 20, 2014 1:12 pm

Hello, i have the transmitter now 3years with no problem since yesterday. The solar is charging the batteries but the uv and the lux meter have dashes. When i push the reset button it came working but when it comes the second check for signal all working except uv and luxmeter. If i reset it again, the same thing. The voltage of batteries is 3.01volt. Any solution? Thanks.

AllyCat
Posts: 1036
Joined: Sat Feb 26, 2011 1:58 pm
Weather Station: Fine Offset 1080/1 & 3080
Operating System: Windows XP SP3
Location: SE London

Re: Watson W-8681-Solar

Postby AllyCat » Fri Jun 20, 2014 2:16 pm

Hi,

sergios wrote:When i push the reset button it came working but when it comes the second check for signal all working except uv and luxmeter.
Is that the "Arrow" button on the Console? There is also a Reset button on the underside of the Solar Pod.

Perhaps the micro in the Pod has "crashed". Try pressing the Reset button on the Pod (or disconnect its plug and shield the sloping (PV) panel from light) for some time. Then, press the arrow button on the Console for some seconds to make it search for the two transmiisons again (Lux and UV are transmitted in a separate message sent each 60 seconds, the other data is sent each 48 seconds).

You might need to try all this a few times before it all works properly!

Cheers, Alan.

sergios
Posts: 8
Joined: Sun May 08, 2011 8:14 pm
Weather Station: watson w8681 solar uv
Operating System: Windows XP SP2
Location: Greece

Re: Watson W-8681-Solar

Postby sergios » Fri Jun 20, 2014 2:25 pm

Yes, when i reset the pod i press the arrow for 5secs and then it display all the measures. But when it goes to the second scan the console, the uv and luxmeter goes dash.


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