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> Vantage Pro lifetime?
dav2329
post Dec 1 2011, 01:49 PM
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My Davis Vantage Pro 1 is 8 years old this month (24/7 operation). ISS has always performed well, but lately I'm noticing more signal dropouts at random times of day or night (battery good). I have a separate anemometer transmitter--it's circuit board failed after 5 years outside and I had it factory replaced. I wonder if the ISS transmitter is starting to go now too. Is it time to go with a new VP2 system? Did I hear rumors of a VP3 coming out?

This post has been edited by dav2329: Dec 1 2011, 01:50 PM
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Jarron
post Dec 2 2011, 05:22 AM
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QUOTE(dav2329 @ Dec 1 2011, 11:49 AM) *
My Davis Vantage Pro 1 is 8 years old this month (24/7 operation). ISS has always performed well, but lately I'm noticing more signal dropouts at random times of day or night (battery good). I have a separate anemometer transmitter--it's circuit board failed after 5 years outside and I had it factory replaced. I wonder if the ISS transmitter is starting to go now too. Is it time to go with a new VP2 system? Did I hear rumors of a VP3 coming out?

My VP1 was 8 years old in April. Years ago I was having symptoms similar to yours and I found that it was caused by a broken solder joint to the battery compartment. Apparently I wasn't careful enough when replacing the battery.

Earlier this year I noticed that the battery didn't last as long as it used to and the sun wasn't powering it, the supercap had gone bad, it was obvious when I took the cover off and noticed that it looked like it had leaked a little.

So I would take the ISS circuit board out and check these two things, and for any other obvious problems. They are cheap and easy fixes if you can use a soldering iron, or know someone who can.

This is the capacitor it uses: http://search.digikey.com/scripts/DkSearch...yWords=P6975-ND

I have a soil moisture station I powered only off of solar. When it was new the cap would power it most of the night, at about 5 years it would die a few hours after sundown. So I'm thinking it may be a good idea to replace it every 5 years or so. It's cheaper than a new battery, although I don't like unsoldering and soldering things any more than I have to.

I have a spare station I bought used cheaply, so I plan on keeping my VP1 running forever, or at least as long as possible. One of the advantages of the VP2 is supposed to have a better supercap (http://search.digikey.com/us/en/products/ESHSR-0010C0-002R7/589-1002-ND/946802, notice the ratings on them), but I think I'm better off spending $5 every few years.

Even if a VP3 was coming out soon, which I've heard no rumors of, it's better to wait a year or so after they're out until Davis works out the bugs before buying.

Hope you get it fixed. Let us know what the problem was.
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dav2329
post Dec 2 2011, 11:18 AM
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Thanks Jarron; I'll take a look at it. Had a 5-inch snowfall yesterday (I'm north of Denver) which won't help matters any trudging out there. Got to thinking, have these Vantage Pro's even been out in the field for more than 8 or 9 years? Seems to me Davis introduced them in the early 2000s. With proper maintenance and cleaning, I would think one of these units could last well into its second decade of operation, even being out in the elements.
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Jarron
post Dec 2 2011, 05:55 PM
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QUOTE(dav2329 @ Dec 2 2011, 09:18 AM) *
Thanks Jarron; I'll take a look at it. Had a 5-inch snowfall yesterday (I'm north of Denver) which won't help matters any trudging out there. Got to thinking, have these Vantage Pro's even been out in the field for more than 8 or 9 years? Seems to me Davis introduced them in the early 2000s. With proper maintenance and cleaning, I would think one of these units could last well into its second decade of operation, even being out in the elements.

I think you're right. Don't know where you can find a history of them offhand, but I got mine in April '03, and I got what I guess you could call the "2nd generation" VP1. It seems the original VP had been out a couple years before I got mine. The first VP had a squarish radiation shield with the circuit card inside the shield, rather than in a compartment under the shield. They also had longer antennas, and maybe some other differences. I think we got ours at the right time after they had worked out some problems, though I've heard they did offer retrofit kits for the older models.

I do plan to keep mine running indefinitely. Replacing the supercap as necessary, it does seem to have a limited lifetime. Being more careful replacing the battery (the battery holder seems to be held on the board only by the solder, unless you can apply some glue to it without damaging the board, and the battery does seem to fit in kind of tight.) Truth be told, I forgot and also busted the solder joint on a temperature station I had while removing the battery, which is why it's one of the first things I would suspect with symptoms like yours.

I would expect the bearings or the reed switch in the anemometer to eventually need to be replaced, but haven't noticed any degradation on mine after eight years of breezy weather. I suspect it could last many years more. Fortunately the VP2 uses the same anemometer so parts should still be available for some time.

I also wonder how many of the first VP1's are still in use. When I buy something that expensive, and works well, I like to keep it running. Others want the newest model and the first problem they have is an excuse to upgrade. And I don't know to what extent, or if, Davis still services VP1's for problems you can't fix yourself. Others have problems with radio frequencies that the VP2 solved that I don't have in my area with my setup. I bought an almost unused VP1 fairly cheap a few years ago just so I could keep mine running and not even have downtime while I'm maintaining/repairing one.

I haven't even replaced my bad supercap yet. I just put the spare ISS into use. I removed the bad cap. Then I found out the the board in my temperature station has a fully functioning ISS board with a good cap, even though it's not meant to be solar powered (I use it inside to check the temp of the water pipes under the floor to alarm when it gets close to freezing). My temp station is now working on the ISS board with the supercap removed, and the old ISS is fully functioning on the temp station board.

Anyway, I hope you get it working. We been missing the snow, other than the couple inches already on the ground. But it's cloudy and breezy with a high of 25 and a low of -6 this morning, so I'm glad I didn't have to mess with mine today.
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Linmk2
post Dec 2 2011, 11:20 PM
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I've had my VP1 since they first came on the market. I want to say the spring of 2001. My unit has been through two hurricanes and fell off the roof once. It's still working. Well, sort of. I have had some issues with it over the years. While still under warranty, the humidity reading was stuck on 100%. Davis sent me a new circuit board to fix that problem Some years later, the reed switch for the rain gauge had to be replaced. Lastly about 5 years ago the Super Cap went out and I purchased a retro fit ISS unit. It makes the battery much easier to replace. Recently, the humidity reading is stuck on 100% again. I have not addressed that problem, but I guess a new board is in order for the retro fit unit. I don't know if Davis still has replacement parts for the VP1. Everything else is working fine. I certainly have no complaints.


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Howard H./ Pt. Arthur, Texas
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