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CAO Wireless Water/Moisture Sensor - one year on...


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I thought I'd circle back and report on the CAO Wireless Water/Moisture Sensors that I deployed last year to assist with yard irrigation.  I purchased 5  of these tags in the middle of March 2017.  I have 4 still in operation.

These tags were installed out-of-doors, which is not an approved use for them.  On 4 of them, I covered the electronics of the tags with a desiccant pack and a plastic bag and tie-wrapped the bag around the body of the tag so as to keep moisture/condensation from the circuit board.  One was left out in the weather on it's own.  The tag that was left exposed to the weather ultimately died due to interior moisture/corrosion, which was apparent when I pried the case open.  It lasted approx. 4 months.  The four others survived the irrigation season fine, until three of them were removed and placed in a drawer for the winter.  One was left in place in a relatively exposed planter box all winter.

All of the surviving tags were placed on a 4 hour update schedule early on in their deployment.  After 13 months of use, the reported battery voltages are as follows (which I'm surprised and delighted at):

Tag 1 - left outside all winter currently reports 2.977 volts.

Tag 2 - indoors all winter currently reports 3.011 volts.

Tag 3 - indoors all winter currently reports 3.011 volts.

Tag 4 - indoors all winter currently reports 3.01 volts.

The winter here was not especially difficult.  Temperatures stayed at freezing or below for weeks at a time, but temperatures never dipped below 0°F.  Snow coverage was generally light - no more than 12 inches at a time.

The batteries are NOT replaceable in the tags, so I'm happy that they withstood a year, with what appears to be plenty of juice to get through the upcoming summer.

I have re-calibrated the 4 remaining tags and have placed them back into service in the yard.

Also, I abandoned the KUMO app / URL Calling methods of injecting data into the ISY in favor of the Polyglot Wireless Tag nodeserver, which provides a much broader data set for these tags.


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Thanks for that Bumbleshoot!

I have none of that type of Tags but seven of the standard types.
I have one non-pro unit with only 8? bits of resolution and no memory. I use it in my glove compartment to detect the car is near the house.
I have three Pro units with 13? bits of resolution and memory. One was sold as "Weatherproof". I see absolutely no difference in the construction of that unit. "Weatherproof" is no longer advertised. :(
I recently acquired three more Pro units with Lux sensing.

Mine  all have replaceable batteries. CR2032.
MY "Weatherproof" unit has been outside, under my eaves, for about three years now. I recently replaced it with a Lux sensing unit. It began to complain last year about being immersed most days when it would rain as it always registers 98-101% RH while raining. It wasn't getting wet. The Lux unit may have gotten wet this week with recent the violent winter storm. Will inspect next battery change :( The three year Pro unit (outside) still functions fine. I see no damage when changing the battery. (yet)

I have found the battery voltages dip dramatically when the temperature is very cold (mine dips to just above -30C on odd days. The battery voltage may show 2.68 Vdc, but when warmed up the battery voltage will return to 2.8-2.9 again without any functional interruption.

I am getting about 10-11 months out of my batteries using kumoapps updating every 15 minutes each. I am using cheap Sony CR2032 batteries I buy on eBay.

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  • 6 months later...

For anyone interested, I pulled my four CAO Wireless Water/Moisture Sensors from the ground today, and will store them inside for the winter.  I winterized my irrigation system, so I have no more need to monitor my soil conditions. 

Amazingly, all four tags are still in operation, and I'll very likely get a third season out of them.  As a reminder, I placed a desiccant pack in a plastic bag and tie-wrapped it to the sensor to keep the weather and water out of the electronics.  Working like a charm...

Below is a screenshot of the same tag as shown above, only seven months later.  Note the 74% battery level!

After two years of service, I'm very impressed with these tags!

EDIT: Many thanks to @Jimbo for great Wireless Tags NodeServer!

Screen Shot 2018-10-20 at 3.10.38 PM.png

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As a note of interest. I just replaced my weatherproof Tag's battery for the first time. The original battery lasted about 7-8 months. 

Although they do not advertise a "WeatherProof" Tag now, the case and seal doesn't seem any different than any other Tag I own.
However, the PCB inside has a solid black coating on it.

This one stays out all winter hanging off a MS light just below the eaves hangover.
No problem so far except the complaints when the humidity goes over 99% (sometimes = 101%,  it was calibrated to a mid-range standard) that it may be in the rain and destroy itself. (it is not).

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  • 3 weeks later...

Recently  the battery on my moisture sensor died, so  I figured there was no harm in trying to change the battery.  I removed the dead battery and added a battery holder on the outside of the case.  Back in business again.  Not very pretty but I hide it in a potted plant anyway.   I got the holder on Amazon, https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01M1IB8CN/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o07_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1




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I have several tags, one of which is not the rainproof version. I have that tag on my mailbox. I ran a very light seam of silicone caulk around the tag's seam and it has worked flawlessly even through heavy rain. Others may not realize the same outcome. I Iove these tags! If only it were easier to move tag data into the ISY. 

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I have one "weatherproof" Tag and I see no difference in construction between it and the "normal" Tags, inside or outside. However I see they do not offer a "Weatherproof" Tag anymore.

I have mine hung under my eaves off an arm of my motion sensor light with the two flood light fixtures for the last 2-3 years without problem. I have changed the batteries a few times.

The KumoApp software keeps warning  me against immersing in rain or water when the summer humidity gets here at over 97%.

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  • 2 weeks later...
47 minutes ago, smokegrub said:

My "rainproof" tags had a clear plastic film covering them. Of course, as soon as I changed the battery that film was destroyed making the feature useless. It would be much more effective if a gasket was employed.

I believe that film was the manufacturing covering to protect against plastic case scratches before delivery to the end user. Mine came off immediately to use them.

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