Failing Sky - Investigation/Discussion

Hi all,

So the purpose of this topic is just to discuss / understand possible faults with some of the original Sky units that have failed in the past. Mostly my own curiosity than any thing, so I understand if no one replies :smiley:

I hate to throw things away unless absolutely necessary, and this damn Sky has me intrigued as it works some of the time, so its not entirely ready for the scrap heap, yet.

My original Sky (from the original Kickstarter) failed in various forms around Christmas and was replaced by Weatherflow. I installed the replacement and left the old one in place until it died (batteries). This weekend I finally took it down to have a play around with it.

So first thing I did was check the 8 Lithium Energisers. 4 were dead, the other 4 all at 1.42-1.48 volts. I see similar was reported on the forums before.

Not wanting to spend another small fortune on more batteries, I decided to cold-mod my original SPA which had been sitting on my windowsill in the sun since it failed last winter. Before doing so, I checked the voltage and it was around 3.4v, so had been happily charging in the warmer weather.

After reinstalling and replacing outside, the Sky was back online with all sensors working again:

Battery ticking along (the gap was the loss of signal mentioned in another thread, nothing related to this topic).

Then next day, it started to charge again in the sun, until it suddenly dropped to ~2.9v. And at that point the Sky went offline again. It woke up sometime after 6PM:

Then off again just around midnight, and back on around 6AM:

Then again around 7PM tonight, and still off now. Note the battery is around 3.55v, so thats not the cause of the unit going offline :man_shrugging:

Also note all the dips in battery. I am aware the battery reporting is low priority and can therefore cause these.

So going back to the Sky itself, the original fault was the UV and Wind sensors failing. After coming back to life, the sensors seemed to fail again:

Wind seemed to fair a little better:

The one thing I have noticed is the uptime, it simply does not stay up for more than an hour or two at the most. When the sensors originally failed it was the same, but when I put new batteries in, it was up for days at a time.

I’m more curious as to what might be causing these intermittent failures - are the sensors genuinely failing (due to age?) or could it be something else (faulty PCB eg. solder joints)?

Has anyone taken a Sky apart? If so, any photos or tips, I’m happy to take a peek inside, but if my usual dismantling is anything to go by, it will never be watertight again after I have finished with it :laughing:

2 Likes

I have a couple that have failed and the most recent does not work at all so I intend to pull it apart soon.
For testing I use alkaline batteries because it never freezes here which is the reason Lithium batteries are required.
The hinge on the battery door can have unequal pressure causing some of the battery pairs to have more resistance and loose their energy at different amounts.
One of my Skys failed with moisture between the SPA and the Sky which corroded the contacts. Now I put contact grease onto the contacts and tape and sometimes gasket cement around the joins between the SPA and Sky.
cheers Ian :slight_smile:

1 Like

Thanks for the info Ian - I would be interested in seeing any photos of the disassembly for sure! Mine looks like new apart from some slight discolouration and if I can resurrect it, I’d rather not nuke the case in the process :smiley:

The contacts and the SPA are all good, no corrosion or anything. Actually it has chucked it down all day today, and the Sky came back online this morning and has been OK all day, althought the uptime is 16m again right now. There is seemingly no rhyme nor reason to how it behaves!

This Sky failed to do anything as if it lost its main power supply all of a sudden. It didnt do anything with either SPA or batteries. A known fault was a crack in the neck. By disassembling it to this point I have not found the cause of the failure yet but I did find some corrosion from the crack in the neck but the corrosion appears to be confined to the nut and screw.
I also learned that the antenna is on the south side of the battery compartment.
I was very pleased with myself that I was able to disassemble it without breaking anything. I have not exposed the sonic transducers yet by unscrewing the circuit board.
IMG_3093
IMG_3104



IMG_3114

Now that I know the sealing methods I have modified how I am sealing the next Sky that I am about to mount. I had been sealing everything air tight around the SPA and mount but I am concerned that a Sky in warm sun might leak the air pressure out which when it rains would cool and suck wet air in. So if I have everything at the bottom water tight there would be a vacuum across all the upper seals. So I drilled a 1.5mm hole through the center of the mount below the SPA to control where it can breath any pressure changes. I realise it might make things worse than being fully air tight.
cheers Ian :slight_smile:

3 Likes

Thanks for the photos/info Ian! Looks promising, I might give mine a pry apart next week while I am off, its on and offline like a yo-yo anyway so not much use in its current state. Appreciate all the detailed photos, thanks mate :+1:

1 Like

Thinking about what might have killed this Sky…It failed during a period of windy rain…the corrosion at the nut and washer has gradually grown to the perimeter of the washer which confirms where water might have entered…the moisture might have then dribbled down the ribbon cable to the reset switch. If the reset switch was shorted out, as if it was in the pressed position it could have caused it to appear dead…I will investigate by drying and applying power to see if it lights up…
cheers Ian :slight_smile:

2 Likes