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Photos of the insides of Fine Offset sensors.

Discussion specific to Fine Offset and similar rebadged weather stations
AllyCat
Posts: 997
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 » Wed Jun 14, 2017 12:31 am

Hi,

No, changing the SAW alone is unlikely to work. The transmitting antenna is tuned; if it were a quarter-wave "monopole" (piece of wire) it could be doubled in length, but it is probably a tuned loop built onto the PCB. Some details are at the foot of page 3 and top of page 4 of this present thread. Manual tuning is likely to need at least access to a signal strength meter, but other component changes also may be required.

The early Signatrol WH3080 stations were definitely 434 MHz, but I don't know about their more recent stock.

FWIW, it might be moderately easy to change the frequency of a Console (some photos in the adjacent sticky thread). They seem to have a separate receiver module (which could be substituted, provided it has only 4 pins) and a simple wire monopole. But there may still be issues with the incompatible wireless protocol used by earlier stations and perhaps also some more recent 915 MHz (USA) versions.

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 » Thu Jun 15, 2017 8:03 pm

Have had the covers off the receiver console and it does not look too good. There is not much there that looks as though it can be modified.
IMG_0163.JPG

IMG_0162.JPG

IMG_0161.JPG


If I am going to use the WH3080 transmitter which works at 868MHz with my receiver at 433MHz I'm going to have to modify my receiver. From where I'm standing it does not look good, however I'm a digital person more than an RF person so I'll be advised.
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AllyCat
Posts: 997
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 15, 2017 9:30 pm

Hi,

Hmm, there's no sign of a transmitter there (just some antenna-tuning and a couple of supply decoupling capacitors), so we have to assume that the transmitter is on the other side of the PCB. That means it's probably a "Chip On Board" (under a black blob of epoxy) which is impossible to do anything with. :(

The next stage depends if your 868 MHz transmitter can be returned and if the "Signatrol" offering operates at 434 MHz.

If neither is possible, then I'd consider adding a battery and 434 MHz transmitter module (with an antenna of course) directly inside the Solar Pod, to use in conjunction with the Maplin 434 MHz external transmitter (no physical connection to it is needed). Two Alkaline or NiMH AAs would be possible, but I prefer a single LiFePO4 AA cell (3.2 volts) such as from Maplin (shops only). Various 434 MHz transmitter modules are available on ebay for less than a few Pounds, but usually have to be ordered from China (so up to a months wait). Check that they are specified to work down to 3 volts or less, because many still require 5 volts or more.

The above is what I have plans to do with my own Pod at some time (I already have all the parts), but I'm afraid it's not particularly high on my "to do" list.

Cheers, Alan.

AllyCat
Posts: 997
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 Jun 18, 2017 4:48 pm

Hi,

A brief update to the above. I've now tried a SYN115 transmitter module, directly connected to the Solar Pod Power Supply (Vcc), ETH and RF-Data pins, and it seems to transmit well (maximum range not yet tested). Around £1 from China if you're patient, or there is one ebay UK seller with a rather high premium for quick delivery. There are even 3 adjacent pads with 0.1" pitch on the Pod PCB, but NOT in the correct sequence (ETH is in the middle on PCB, at one end on the module).

The "batteries" print on the PCB appears to be for two AAA cells; a basic black plastic holder for two, side-by-side, can be obtained for around £1 and should fit under the PCB, but it may be necessary to (re)move the cable (which is no longer needed anyway). The transmitter is rated for a supply of 1.8 to 3.6 volts, so a pair of AAA NiMH (2.4v) should be fine; a pack from a Pound store may be good enough, but a pair of well-branded LSD (e.g. 7dayshop or Hobbyking) could be better.

This may be an easier modification to make than extending the Solar Pod cables (to improve its location), but of course won't charge the main transmitter batteries. However, you may well get better life from a pair of good quality AA Alkalines or non-rechargeable Lithiums, than from the (supplied) so-called "Rechargeable Alkalines".

Hardly any more details should be needed for this simple modification, but maybe I'll post something more in due course. However, my own plans are a little more ambitious, to add an 8-pin microcontroller to report other "interesting" data such as the battery voltage, charging current, pod internal temperature and perhaps direct calculation of sunshine hours, etc..

Cheers, Alan.

Zodiac69
Posts: 4
Joined: Sat Jan 05, 2013 4:18 pm
Weather Station: HP1000
Operating System: Win 7
Location: Cape Town, RSA

Re: Photos of the insides of Fine Offset sensors.

Postby Zodiac69 » Sun Aug 06, 2017 10:57 am

Hi All
I have some pics of my "HP1000" Fine Offset outdoor unit.
I did not buy the whole set, just the outdoor unit as i want to decode the RF with a ESP8266 - ESP12, and send that to WU.

So far i have seen that it use FSK, still trying to decode this - if anyone has info that could help... it transmit a string every 16 seconds.
It seems to have 4x 0xAA as a preamble, then i count 20 Bytes and the CRC at the end, if someone can confirm this??

Here are some internal pics.
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AllyCat
Posts: 997
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 Aug 06, 2017 2:52 pm

Hi,

Zodiac69 wrote:So far i have seen that it use FSK, still trying to decode this - if anyone has info that could help... it transmit a string every 16 seconds.
It seems to have 4x 0xAA as a preamble, then i count 20 Bytes and the CRC at the end, if someone can confirm this??


Welcome to the forum. Is that FSK data on 2.4 GHz (WiFi/Bluetooth) or 434 MHz? The helical antenna in photo #1 looks very like those sold for/with 434 MHz transmitters (such as the HC-12). But the 30 MHz crystal suggests a higher frequency.

The "old" Fine Offset wireless protocol (up to about 2012 when the OOK protocol was first introduced on the 308x solar stations) used a burst of 47 ms FSK. But I never managed to decode that protocol because it uses an "intelligent" RF chip with a data buffer, so all the "hacking" needs to be done on the two-wire I2C or SPI data bus.

The recent 434/868 MHz OOK transmitters send a total of 11 bytes every 48 seconds, including an "FF" preamble and 8-bit CRC. Then there are two additional (optional) packets for the Solar Data and RCC. IIRC most of the data is transmitted in pure binary (not BCD) with "zero temperature" at -40 degrees C.

Cheers, Alan.

Zodiac69
Posts: 4
Joined: Sat Jan 05, 2013 4:18 pm
Weather Station: HP1000
Operating System: Win 7
Location: Cape Town, RSA

Re: Photos of the insides of Fine Offset sensors.

Postby Zodiac69 » Sun Aug 06, 2017 4:35 pm

Hi AllyCat

It is at 433.92MHz, sorry i should have mentioned that i have a RFM69 connected to my ESP-12 via SPI.
I tried the SI44X83, but further study into the data sheet indicated that it would not work.
RFM69 data sheet show that it can accommodate an pre-amble of 0xAA, so as i detected 4x 0xAA, that is what i am looking at.

I used a RTL2832 USB to record the data, strip it with Audacity, still trying to decode the rest of the data.

Zodiac69
Posts: 4
Joined: Sat Jan 05, 2013 4:18 pm
Weather Station: HP1000
Operating System: Win 7
Location: Cape Town, RSA

Re: Photos of the insides of Fine Offset sensors.

Postby Zodiac69 » Mon Aug 28, 2017 7:34 pm

Hi All

Had some issues decoding via Audacity.
So i loaded rtl_443 and captured some data, here is a few

d5 55 55 55 55 16 ea 12 5f 86 31 34 20 80 00 00 00 00 00 20 00 00 0e be 62
d5 55 55 55 55 16 ea 12 5f 86 31 33 20 80 00 00 00 00 00 20 00 00 07 a7 30
Moved the wind direction 180 deg.
d5 55 55 55 55 16 ea 12 5f ce 31 34 20 00 00 00 00 00 00 20 00 00 0e 67 00
d5 55 55 55 55 16 ea 12 5f ce 31 35 1f 80 00 00 00 00 00 20 00 00 0e 36 e0

Need someone with a bit more expertise in protocol cracking than me to assist...

The unit is still new, have not installed it outside as i would not want to climb up and down the roof every time i need to something.

AllyCat
Posts: 997
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 Aug 28, 2017 9:08 pm

Hi,

You'll need a lot more data than that!

The string(s) of zeros are probably the rain counter (at least two bytes) and the Wind Gust and Average (1 byte each). So try a sequence of Rain Tips and (separately) spinning the anemometer. Those 80s before the 00s might indicate that all the data is displaced one bit to the right. The only FO External Data packet format that I know (OOK) uses only 10 bytes + one runin (byte).

Moving the vane by 180 degrees should only change one bit, try also 90 degrees and 45 degrees. Don't bother with the intermediate positions (NNE, etc.) as they're rarely detected anyway. Humidity will be one byte and temperature coded in tenths of a degree (both pure binary), so shouldn't change too much. There's probably one bit for Low battery and another for invalid wind direction (e.g. cable unplugged). The last byte(s) is probably a CRC which will change when any other data changes. Obviously the Run-In and Address shouldn't change at all (except maybe increment if the battery is replaced).

Cheers, Alan.

Zodiac69
Posts: 4
Joined: Sat Jan 05, 2013 4:18 pm
Weather Station: HP1000
Operating System: Win 7
Location: Cape Town, RSA

Re: Photos of the insides of Fine Offset sensors.

Postby Zodiac69 » Tue Aug 29, 2017 8:06 am

Hi AllyCat

Yes, i shall do a few tests with - Wind Speed, Direction, rain, light, UV, temp and humidity.
I shall record each one a few times and then see what changes.

Once i have done this, i shall post the data.
I was hoping that someone has done this model of Weather Station.

Werris Creek
Posts: 6
Joined: Fri Oct 16, 2015 6:50 am
Weather Station: PanTech (Fine Offset) WH3081
Operating System: Windows XP Pro SP3
Location: Gundagai, NSW, Australia
Contact:

Re: Photos of the insides of Fine Offset sensors.

Postby Werris Creek » Fri Nov 17, 2017 6:02 am

I've just found out the hard way that if the little magnet in the rain gauge isn't fully seated, it can scrape on the plastic "wall", stop the bucket from fully tipping, and hang up the whole station until it's reset.
magnet.JPG
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