2016-02-07-weather_station_woes

Last Xmas I bought myself a weather station from Watson & Stanton via Amazon. The station type is a W-8681-SOLAR which, as the name suggests, has solar radiation and UV sensors. As well as a passing interest in the weather I wanted this model as I had previously attempted to get one working on a Raspberry Pi for a friend. Although his was badged as a Fine Offset WH3080.

The program I used to drive the station was WView (www.wviewweather.com) which supports the Fine offset WH1080. This is basically the same device but without the solar sensors. I had never managed to make it work properly and took it as a personal challenge to my programming skills to get it fully functional.

What I didn't expect were the hardware problems that I encountered after the first shower of rain. The solar sensor unit suffered from water ingress and the electronics inside shorted out.

After disassembling the unit and drying it off I made grumpy noises at the vendor who although appearing interested at first soon just left me adrift with a most unsatisfactory unit. Of course I didn't just leave it there. I fixed it myself and here are photos of the problems and how I resolved the problem.

I would NOT recommend anyone buys one of these weather stations unless they are prepared to spend the time and effort to fix the problems as detailed here.

click here to see all pics at once.
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20160131_093307 This shows the solar sensor just after bringing it in. As you can see it was raining at the time and water is clearly shown on the outer cover of the sensor.
20160131_093359 After wiping the sensor dry you can see the moisture on the inside of the sensor cover
20160131_093413 Some is small droplets of condensation others are large drops.
20160131_093934 There is so much water inside that it drips onto my hand
20160131_093943 A side view showing drops on the inside side of the cover.
20160131_094002
20160131_094100 An overall view before dismantling.
20160131_094445 The first screw comes out and the hole is full of water
20160131_094458 Water can be seen between the cover and the base
20160131_094527 The cover is off and the top panel can been seen to be very wet
20160131_094537
20160131_094548 The inside of the sensor cover before drying
20160131_094931 The PCB clearly shows water on the components and discolouration where water has electrolysed between components
20160131_094937
20160131_095002
20160131_095008
20160131_095805 After drying and cleaning.
20160131_095811
20160131_100617 Now fully reassembled. The gap between the cover and the sensor it self can be seen by sliding a piece of paper in the gap.
20160131_100633
20160131_100647 This gap goes all round the unit
20160131_100657 The reset button has a hole in the base.
20160131_100703 There is also this open hole at one end of the base
20160131_100709 Maybe this is an invite for water to enter here :-)
20160131_100716 There is no attempt to weatherproof this unit at all.
20160131_100926 Fully reassembled and reinstalled and fully working again.


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