Welcome to the Cumulus Support forum.

Latest Cumulus MX release v3.2.3 build 3059 - 04 December 2019.
    Legacy Cumulus 1 release v1.9.4 (build 1099) - 28 November 2014

    See the Wiki for downloading either version.

    cold weather wiring

    For discussion of DIY weather equipment - sensors, accessories, improvements to existing kit etc
    Post Reply
    User avatar
    firemanak
    Posts: 23
    Joined: Wed 16 Oct 2013 7:28 am
    Weather Station: WS-2090
    Operating System: Windows vista
    Location: Fairbanks, Alaska
    Contact:

    cold weather wiring

    Post by firemanak » Sun 01 Dec 2013 6:36 am

    Help, I hard wired my ws-2090 station to a 110 ac to a 3vlt converter... System runs, good, no changing batteries, but at -18F the system errors out saying it lost connect, cause of no power. I used speaker wire (local radio shack said that is all I needed), So I am thinking I might have to go with a larger gauge wire?
    Thanks for the help
    Tony Roof
    Fairbanks Alaska
    KAKFAIRB47 - http://weather.alaskaroofs.com


    Image

    User avatar
    mcrossley
    Posts: 5795
    Joined: Thu 07 Jan 2010 9:44 pm
    Weather Station: Davis VP2
    Operating System: Stretch Lite rPi
    Location: Wilmslow, Cheshire, UK
    Contact:

    Re: cold weather wiring

    Post by mcrossley » Sun 01 Dec 2013 9:04 am

    Sounds like it may need better cable, how long is the cable run? Also what sort of psu are you using? Some (most) of the wall warts are pretty poorly regulated.

    AllyCat
    Posts: 1061
    Joined: Sat 26 Feb 2011 1:58 pm
    Weather Station: Fine Offset 1080/1 & 3080
    Operating System: Windows XP SP3
    Location: SE London

    Re: cold weather wiring

    Post by AllyCat » Sun 01 Dec 2013 10:29 am

    Hi,

    At lower temperatures, the resistance of the (copper) cables should be less, so that may not be the fundamental issue.

    What did you do about the batteries in the transmitter? Did you just remove them, replace them with rechargeables or with a large capacitor (any of which might "struggle" at those temperatures)? But if the length of the cable is significant, then some "local" (to the transmitter) energy storage will probably be required to supply the pulses of transmitter power.

    Cheers, Alan.

    User avatar
    firemanak
    Posts: 23
    Joined: Wed 16 Oct 2013 7:28 am
    Weather Station: WS-2090
    Operating System: Windows vista
    Location: Fairbanks, Alaska
    Contact:

    Re: cold weather wiring

    Post by firemanak » Tue 17 Dec 2013 8:54 pm

    Thanks Alan
    The batteries don't last very long up here after -10
    so I ran wires into that area, best I can tell talking to local electricians is the speaker wire doesn't have enough insulation. So when it warms up above zero, I will pull everything and go to an outside extension cord, and use the two wires to get the electricity up to the station.

    Thanks for all the input

    AllyCat
    Posts: 1061
    Joined: Sat 26 Feb 2011 1:58 pm
    Weather Station: Fine Offset 1080/1 & 3080
    Operating System: Windows XP SP3
    Location: SE London

    Re: cold weather wiring

    Post by AllyCat » Wed 18 Dec 2013 4:23 pm

    Hi,

    Yes, the general wisdom is that most types of battery cease to work well (or at all) below -20 degrees C (-4F). However, there is at least one exception, Lithium Primary (non-rechargeable) AA cells, which deliver a stable voltage (~1.6 each) down to much lower temperatures. There are several posts on this forum recommending them, particularly for use in low temperatures.

    Of course the "electroncs" itself may ultimately cease to function at very low temperatures, where the only solution might be to provide local heating (powered via a cable), but that's not very appropriate for an external temperature sensor! However, we do appear to have several Canadian members on this forum who successfully run their systems in very low temperatures throughout the winter.

    If you do wish to persevere with "remote" powering of the system, then do note the questions that I asked (for a reason) in my revious post.

    Cheers, Alan.

    User avatar
    firemanak
    Posts: 23
    Joined: Wed 16 Oct 2013 7:28 am
    Weather Station: WS-2090
    Operating System: Windows vista
    Location: Fairbanks, Alaska
    Contact:

    Re: cold weather wiring

    Post by firemanak » Fri 20 Dec 2013 2:14 am

    AllyCat wrote:Hi,

    Yes, the general wisdom is that most types of battery cease to work well (or at all) below -20 degrees C (-4F). However, there is at least one exception, Lithium Primary (non-rechargeable) AA cells, which deliver a stable voltage (~1.6 each) down to much lower temperatures. There are several posts on this forum recommending them, particularly for use in low temperatures.

    Of course the "electroncs" itself may ultimately cease to function at very low temperatures, where the only solution might be to provide local heating (powered via a cable), but that's not very appropriate for an external temperature sensor! However, we do appear to have several Canadian members on this forum who successfully run their systems in very low temperatures throughout the winter.

    If you do wish to persevere with "remote" powering of the system, then do note the questions that I asked (for a reason) in my revious post.

    Cheers, Alan.
    Alan,
    Even the lithium batteries don't seem to make it to -40... I had Lithium in at first, but that is when I decided to run a wire to the system. The wire maybe goes 9 feet, from plug in, through wall to battery compartment on station. If i am not answering the questions the right way please let me know... Thanks Tony
    Tony Roof
    Fairbanks Alaska
    KAKFAIRB47 - http://weather.alaskaroofs.com


    Image

    henkg
    Posts: 99
    Joined: Sun 24 Jul 2011 8:53 am
    Weather Station: WH3080 (Alecto WS-5000 ECO)
    Operating System: Raspbian Wheezy on RPI B+
    Location: Zeeland, Netherlands

    Re: cold weather wiring

    Post by henkg » Fri 20 Dec 2013 7:32 am

    AllyCat wrote:At lower temperatures, the resistance of the (copper) cables should be less, so that may not be the fundamental issue..
    Resistance will be less, but the voltage may drop. A long and too thin DC cable will also cause a voltage drop.
    (Although 9 feet is quite short)
    Just my guess, based on my common sense, not knowledge. Measuring the voltage at the weather station sensor might give a clue. Depending the result, you could try a better (regulated) ac/dc power adapter. And/or use thicker wiring. As I said, just my guess.
    Image

    AllyCat
    Posts: 1061
    Joined: Sat 26 Feb 2011 1:58 pm
    Weather Station: Fine Offset 1080/1 & 3080
    Operating System: Windows XP SP3
    Location: SE London

    Re: cold weather wiring

    Post by AllyCat » Fri 20 Dec 2013 1:55 pm

    Hi Tony,
    AllyCat wrote:What did you do about the batteries in the transmitter? Did you just remove them, replace them with rechargeables or with a large capacitor?
    It's also possible that the "electronics" (transmitter/microcontroller) just do not work at -40 degrees. In that case, the only solution could be to put the transmitter in an insulated, heated enclosure and extend the sensor(s) to its outside. That would be easy for the thermistor (temperature sensor) used in the older (1080/1) models (see the "FO: Insides of...." sticky threads), but I don't know about the later versions. The humidity sensor might be more tricky, but is there any significance in humidity measurements at -40 ?

    Cheers, Alan.

    Charlie
    Posts: 363
    Joined: Thu 04 Feb 2010 12:22 pm
    Weather Station: 1wire-Cumulus & Fine Offset
    Operating System: Windows 7
    Location: Whitehorse, Yukon Territory, Canada

    Re: cold weather wiring

    Post by Charlie » Mon 23 Dec 2013 2:08 pm

    I think your unit may be broken. I'm running a 1080 just down the road from you in Whitehorse, and have had absolutely no issues at -40 with lithiums. Even alkalines are fine to about 30' at those temps. I'm also running a custom built station that initially had issues with temperatures below about -20 until I changed some components. (crystal oscillator for the microcontroller)

    Even transmitting your station consumes only a few mA, so heavier wire, while it will do no harm, will also have no benefit. You are chasing the wrong problem. I still have not seen an answer to Alan's original question: "What did you do about the batteries in the transmitter? Did you just remove them, or replace them with rechargeables or with a large capacitor?"

    Also, if power runs only 9' to the transmitter, where is the receiver located?

    User avatar
    firemanak
    Posts: 23
    Joined: Wed 16 Oct 2013 7:28 am
    Weather Station: WS-2090
    Operating System: Windows vista
    Location: Fairbanks, Alaska
    Contact:

    Re: cold weather wiring

    Post by firemanak » Mon 30 Dec 2013 4:24 am

    Charlie wrote:I think your unit may be broken. I'm running a 1080 just down the road from you in Whitehorse, and have had absolutely no issues at -40 with lithiums. Even alkalines are fine to about 30' at those temps. I'm also running a custom built station that initially had issues with temperatures below about -20 until I changed some components. (crystal oscillator for the microcontroller)

    Even transmitting your station consumes only a few mA, so heavier wire, while it will do no harm, will also have no benefit. You are chasing the wrong problem. I still have not seen an answer to Alan's original question: "What did you do about the batteries in the transmitter? Did you just remove them, or replace them with rechargeables or with a large capacitor?"

    Also, if power runs only 9' to the transmitter, where is the receiver located?
    First question - I pulled the batteries and hard wired it cause we live in an area that was to small to put this out in the yard, so I put it on top of my trailer..trailer is 7ft, and it's on a small mast that was used for an old tv antenna so it wasn't blocked by everything around the house.

    So what I will do is go put lithium batteries in it and see how they do, without the power supply that came from the wall.
    I was thinking instead of having to go up and down off the house, it would be better to have a continuous supply of power. :?
    so I think I answered both questions.
    Thanks
    Tony Roof
    Fairbanks Alaska
    KAKFAIRB47 - http://weather.alaskaroofs.com


    Image

    Charlie
    Posts: 363
    Joined: Thu 04 Feb 2010 12:22 pm
    Weather Station: 1wire-Cumulus & Fine Offset
    Operating System: Windows 7
    Location: Whitehorse, Yukon Territory, Canada

    Re: cold weather wiring

    Post by Charlie » Mon 30 Dec 2013 1:21 pm

    Hi Tony,

    How far is the transmitter from the receiver? Orientation can help as well. I was also originally worried about accessibility for changing batteries often, but my lithiums are now approaching their four year anniversary and are still going strong.

    Also, FYI, what many of us do is extend the cable from the wind sensors so that those sensors can be put up high while keeping the temperature sensor (with the transmitter) in the shade closer to the ground.

    Post Reply