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Photos of the insides of Fine Offset sensors.

Discussion specific to Fine Offset and similar rebadged weather stations
AllyCat
Posts: 1004
Joined: Sat Feb 26, 2011 1:58 pm
Weather Station: Fine Offset 1080/1 & 3080
Operating System: Windows XP SP3
Location: SE London

Re: Photos of the insides of Fine Offset sensors.

Postby AllyCat » Tue Mar 14, 2017 10:34 am

Hi,

AFAIK, FO manufacture stations with one of three carrier frequencies, loosely related to the "brand" and the region of the World: 434 MHz for Australia, etc., 868 MHz for "Europe" and 915 MHz for the Americas. The majority of UK sales used to be 434 MHz but there seems to have been some move towards 868 MHz (perhaps due to the very high usage of 434 MHz by other applications).

The 308x seems most prevalent in Australia and I don't think I've ever seen reference to one using other than 434 MHz. My UK-sourced 3080 uses 434 MHz but the issues with the early stations were so severe that most suppliers now refuse to stock them, or sell at an unreasonable price (around twice that of a touchscreen 108x).

IIRC, the OOK data protocol nominally uses 0.5 ms pulses of carrier with gaps between them of either 0.5 ms for a "1" or 1.5 ms for a "0". The microcontroller timing should be quite accurate, but the analogue modulation/detection imtroduces timing delays which may increase/decrease those times by a few hundred microseconds. AFAIK tbere is no "pause" as such; the gap between repeated packets may be around 100 ms.

The 3080 transmits three different "messages" with different addresses (better described as a "signature") and data lengths: the Solar packet once every minute, the "normal" packet every 48 seconds but replaced by the "RCC" packet for a few minutes after each hour or two. The latter two packets are compatible with the newer 1080/1 touchscreen models.

Cheers, Alan.

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Mike60
Posts: 23
Joined: Thu Sep 10, 2009 6:21 am
Weather Station: WH-2080, WS-2357.
Operating System: W7-Pro
Location: Surrey

Re: Photos of the insides of Fine Offset sensors.

Postby Mike60 » Sun Apr 16, 2017 5:56 pm

Sorry if I make a mistake and post here :-(
Please can you help me ? For Fine Offset WH-2080 - 868 MHz.
It is possible to send more often signal from sensor to base ? To change something hardware inside the sensor ?

I have another working weather station La Crosse WS-2357 with data sending ~ 60" without cable and ~ 8" with connected cable to the base.

Both are installed in Surrey :-)

Thank you in advance
Mike
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AllyCat
Posts: 1004
Joined: Sat Feb 26, 2011 1:58 pm
Weather Station: Fine Offset 1080/1 & 3080
Operating System: Windows XP SP3
Location: SE London

Re: Photos of the insides of Fine Offset sensors.

Postby AllyCat » Sun Apr 16, 2017 6:27 pm

Hi Mike,

No, sorry it's not possible, the period is programmed directly into the microntroller.

But anyway, the Console receiver only "listens" for a brief period every 48 seconds (to save battery power), even if powered by the USB cable, so that microcontroller also would need to be changed. If the microcontrollers had any reprogramming capability, then there might not be as many bugs in the software. ;)

Cheers, Alan.

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Mike60
Posts: 23
Joined: Thu Sep 10, 2009 6:21 am
Weather Station: WH-2080, WS-2357.
Operating System: W7-Pro
Location: Surrey

Re: Photos of the insides of Fine Offset sensors.

Postby Mike60 » Sun Apr 16, 2017 7:01 pm

AllyCat wrote:Hi Mike,

No, sorry it's not possible, the period is programmed directly into the microntroller.

But anyway, the Console receiver only "listens" for a brief period every 48 seconds (to save battery power), even if powered by the USB cable, so that microcontroller also would need to be changed. If the microcontrollers had any reprogramming capability, then there might not be as many bugs in the software. ;)


Thank you for replay.
So it is not appropriate to La Crosse :-(.
Why I ask ?
Please look attachment. There are 4 ( four ) empty pins. On the left side of this pins are place for two semiconductors. On right side a black wires to DCF77 clock sensor.
Mike
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Last edited by Mike60 on Sun Apr 16, 2017 7:24 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Mike60
Posts: 23
Joined: Thu Sep 10, 2009 6:21 am
Weather Station: WH-2080, WS-2357.
Operating System: W7-Pro
Location: Surrey

Re: Photos of the insides of Fine Offset sensors.

Postby Mike60 » Sun Apr 16, 2017 7:16 pm

Frequency are 868MHz.
I know this are only for sending data not for how many time are sending on minute / hour.
Mike
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Mike60
Posts: 23
Joined: Thu Sep 10, 2009 6:21 am
Weather Station: WH-2080, WS-2357.
Operating System: W7-Pro
Location: Surrey

Re: Photos of the insides of Fine Offset sensors.

Postby Mike60 » Sun Apr 16, 2017 7:19 pm

An reverse side of sensor
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AllyCat
Posts: 1004
Joined: Sat Feb 26, 2011 1:58 pm
Weather Station: Fine Offset 1080/1 & 3080
Operating System: Windows XP SP3
Location: SE London

Re: Photos of the insides of Fine Offset sensors.

Postby AllyCat » Mon Apr 17, 2017 2:34 pm

Hi,

Mike60 wrote:There are 4 ( four ) empty pins.

Some of the FO PCBs have lots of spare pads (particularly the Solar Pod) but even FO don't seem to ever use them!

But don't just believe me, the same question was answered at the top of page 3 of this thread. IMHO, all of Mr Sneezy's "speculation" is correct (except that the transmitters do have an address/signature, so the Console/receiver shouldn't lock onto a "wrong" transmitter).

Changing the frequency of the "master" oscillator(s), even assuming that all the components can work at a much higher frequency, would also affect the RF data rate, the Wind/Gust measurement interval (hence windspeed calibration), probably the Console Logging interval and maybe even the "real time" clock display, etc..

Cheers, Alan.

aparsons
Posts: 16
Joined: Fri Jun 24, 2011 2:20 pm
Weather Station: WH3080
Operating System: MacOSX
Location: Studland, Dorset

Insides of Fine Offset Transmitter

Postby aparsons » Tue Jun 06, 2017 11:58 am

Am just resurrecting my WH3080 and have bought a new transmitter from Maplin - the original WH3080 was from signatrol but died and could not be resurrected. The new transmitter has a different aerial - a curly wire instead of a ferrite rod but the control panel can receive the signal and connect so that is good. Also encouraging is the number on the circuit board WHP0063B1V02 for the old one and WHP0063B1V03 for the new one.
However the rain connector on the old board (female telephone type) had all 6 connectors where as the same connector on the new board has only 4. The cable coming from the solar head that plugs into the rain socket has the full 6 connectors on its plug. I got a new solar head from signatrol some years back under the replacement scheme when there was the battery charging problem.

I haven't had problem yet as I haven't put it on the roof yet but wondered if anyone had any experience or thoughts?

Just for information you can get spare anemometers and direction vanes from Maplin for not very much. Much less than the bearings I bought (slot cars use them I think) to replace those in the anemometer that had rusted and seized. And of course you will not have to pry the anemometer apart etc.

AllyCat
Posts: 1004
Joined: Sat Feb 26, 2011 1:58 pm
Weather Station: Fine Offset 1080/1 & 3080
Operating System: Windows XP SP3
Location: SE London

Re: Insides of Fine Offset Transmitter

Postby AllyCat » Tue Jun 06, 2017 12:39 pm

Hi,

aparsons wrote: The new transmitter has a different aerial - a curly wire instead of a ferrite rod but the control panel can receive the signal and connect so that is good.


I'm afraid that there are lots of different FO "External Transmitter" modules which look similar, but many are incompatible with each other. :(

The Ferrite Rod in the "Signatrol" receiever is the receiving antenna for the Radio Controlled Clock (Maplin stations don't have/support the RCC). The (434 MHz) transmitting antenna could indeed be a "curly wire" (about 15 cms long) or more commonly is a "tuned" (loop antenna) track on the PCB. The 3080 transmits three data packets (for "External", "Solar" and RCC" data) but the Maplin (1081) only one.

The External Temperature, Humidity, Rain and Wind Speed/Direction data packet should be compatible (as you appear to have confirmed), but the "Solar" data packet is generated within the Solar Pod, but then passed to the external transmitter via one core in the 6-way cable. AFAIK, the "Maplin" transmitter does not have any capabilty to receive/retransmit that data, nor to receive battery-charging current from the Pod. So I believe the "best" you can do is to simply plug the Rain cable directly into the socket on the Transmitter and not use the Solar pod at all.

Of course if you are an electronics hobbyist, then you may be able to attach an additional battery and 434MHz radio transmitter to the Solar Pod. Its PCB carries identification for the cable pins and even has spaces for two AA cells and apparently (SMD) transmittter components, which should work totally indpendently of the 1081 transmitter.

Cheers, Alan.

aparsons
Posts: 16
Joined: Fri Jun 24, 2011 2:20 pm
Weather Station: WH3080
Operating System: MacOSX
Location: Studland, Dorset

Re: Photos of the insides of Fine Offset sensors.

Postby aparsons » Wed Jun 07, 2017 5:05 pm

Many thanks Alan, My best bet seems to be to find a replacement transmitter for the WH3080. Will research and report back. Have sent an email to Fine Offset but do not hold out much hope unless I want to buy an industrial quantity of them.

AllyCat
Posts: 1004
Joined: Sat Feb 26, 2011 1:58 pm
Weather Station: Fine Offset 1080/1 & 3080
Operating System: Windows XP SP3
Location: SE London

Re: Photos of the insides of Fine Offset sensors.

Postby AllyCat » Thu Jun 08, 2017 9:39 am

Hi,

I normally suggest Waters and Stanton to try first for "spares", but they all appear to be 868 MHz and more expensive than Maplin. :(

Generally, the "preferred" ("licence exempt") frequency in Europe (and now UK) is 868 MHz (and USA should be 915 MHz). The place where 434 MHz WH-308x models seem most common is Australia, but they are 3081 or 3083, neither with a RCC (as there are no RCC transmitters in the Southern hemisphere). Also shipping costs are normally prohibitive to/from there.

Actually, adding batteries and a 434 MHz transmitter module to the Solar Pod could be quite possible, so I will think about it*. It's the External Transmitter and Console that are normally difficult to obtain at a realistic price.

* EDIT: This modification might be easier than extending the Solar Pod cable, which IMHO is virtually essential, so that the Pod can be in direct sunlight (e.g. up with the Wind sensors) whilst the (External Temperature) transmitter is in a low and shaded location. ;)

Cheers, Alan.

aparsons
Posts: 16
Joined: Fri Jun 24, 2011 2:20 pm
Weather Station: WH3080
Operating System: MacOSX
Location: Studland, Dorset

Re: Photos of the insides of Fine Offset sensors.

Postby aparsons » Fri Jun 09, 2017 8:31 am

An update on my new transmitter. I contacted Fine Offset but have heard nothing and I contacted Signatrol and Nevada Radio who both replied promptly and helpfully. Nevada had the WH3080 (which I went with) and Signatrol had the WH3081. So at the time writing dear reader (as Jane Austen would say) a range of spares is readily available:

Maplin N80NF - This works but does not solar charge the batteries or send the sunlight information. It only has 4 of the 6 contacts in the socket (replacing this with a 6 contact socket - the pads are on the board - makes no difference). It will however send the other information and the description says that the batteries will last for over a year.

Signatrol WH3081 - This will solar charge the batteries and send all the information including the sunlight but does not have the Radio Controlled Clock. Martin tells me that this can be an advantage because unless you can receive the Frankfurt time signal the transmitter (in this case it is acting as a RCC receiver) will flatten the batteries trying to find and sync to a signal it cannot find and that people have changed the WH3080 transmitter for the WH3081 for this reason and then had a nice working system.

Nevada Radio WH3080 - This will solar charge, send all the information including sunlight and the Frankfurt Radio Controlled Clock time signal. I have ordered this one. Am on the south coast with a clear view facing east so should be able to get a time signal - otherwise it is my own fault, I've been warned (see above).

The original problem with my transmitter was that the damp or wet got into it and corroded some of the (these were obviously necessary) SMDs off.

Find the forum immensely helpful and hope this contributes.
Andrew

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jimi
Posts: 4
Joined: Sun Sep 29, 2013 11:06 am
Weather Station: Fine Offset WH1081
Operating System: XP pro SP3
Location: Glenrothes: The Kingdom of Fife
Contact:

Re: Photos of the insides of Fine Offset sensors.

Postby jimi » Fri Jun 09, 2017 10:47 am

Does the RCC signal in the UK not come from Anthorn ie the NPL MSF signal (used to be from Rugby) ?
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AllyCat
Posts: 1004
Joined: Sat Feb 26, 2011 1:58 pm
Weather Station: Fine Offset 1080/1 & 3080
Operating System: Windows XP SP3
Location: SE London

Re: Photos of the insides of Fine Offset sensors.

Postby AllyCat » Fri Jun 09, 2017 2:54 pm

Hi,

jimi wrote:Does the RCC signal in the UK not come from Anthorn ie the NPL MSF signal (used to be from Rugby) ?


No, the FO receiver is tuned to the DCF77, 77.5 kHz radio time signal from Mainflingen in Germany, so is 1 hour ahead of GMT/BST time. The offset can be selected in the FO user-interface accordingly.

The German transmitter is approximately east of UK, so it may be necessary to ignore the FO manual to "set the PV panel to face south", and instead face approximately east (or west) so that the (directional) ferrite rod receiving antenna faces in the required direction.

Cheers, Alan.

aparsons
Posts: 16
Joined: Fri Jun 24, 2011 2:20 pm
Weather Station: WH3080
Operating System: MacOSX
Location: Studland, Dorset

Re: Photos of the insides of Fine Offset sensors.

Postby aparsons » Tue Jun 13, 2017 10:43 pm

The transmitter module from Nevada Radio works at 868 MHz whereas my signatrol WH3080 works at 433 MHz. I have found this out because the new transmitter will not connect with the base station. Looking at the specification sections of the Nevada and the general (and Signatrol) WH3080 gives the usual frequency as 433 MHz and the Nevada frequency as 868 MHz. This possibility is also outlined in one of Alan's excellent replies where he says that the 868 MHz is gaining popularity owing to the large number of other devices that use 433 MHz.
This is very tedious. I don't suppose changing the HR868 SAW resonator for a HR433 SAW would magically convert my 868 transmitter to a 433 transmitter? I have not had the transmitter apart yet as I may have to send it back so I do not know if it contains the SAW but if this would fix it I will have a look.

No reply from Fine Offset but this seems pretty standard. May email them again.


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