Storm Juice

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Johnny
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Storm Juice

Post by Johnny » Thu Dec 07, 2017 11:54 am

Yesterday I had to take down my Bloomsky Storm and charge it up as it stopped reporting data - the battery had gone flat. I received both my Sky 2 and Storm in the Spring 2017, so neither had been through winter yet, both are solar powered.

If you do a search for this problem on the internet, it shows up a known problem where the 3.5mm DC jack plug enters the Storm unit, essentially a small film of plastic covers the bottom of the jack plug base and stops it inserting all the way home (or maybe reduces connectivity).

In my case I've yet to investigate that issue, but I somehow suspect that is not the problem I'm having. It looks as though four or five days of dull grey skies have been enough to drain the Storm's battery, needless to say this is very disappointing considering we have only just started the winter season with less than three months still to get through.

I remember when I first received my Storm unit it was quite noticeable how much smaller the solar panel was compared to the Sky unit, it can potentially kick out two watts at five volts and I'm guessing that would be in full sunshine. So the obvious has happened, those five grey days have not been enough for the solar panel to charge the battery and the Storm unit has shut down.

You can see from the graph below where the UV shows the sun at it's strongest the solar panel managed to generate power, but on from the 2nd to 6th December it became very dull. (sorry Bloomsky show the date on the graph backwards) Then on the 7th I charged it up myself.

This is the first time this has happened, if it occurs repeatedly then I will have to replace the solar panel with one of a higher wattage in order to keep the battery topped up for those dull days we get here in the winter.

I can't but help think about folk further north than me in the Scandinavian countries, they will have even less daylight hours than I receive here in the UK, it would be interesting to hear if they have any issues with keeping their Storm charged.

Storm-battery-levels.jpg
Storm-battery-levels.jpg (23.39 KiB) Viewed 24811 times
https://bloomsky.desk.com/customer/port ... -charging-

https://bloomsky.desk.com/customer/port ... t-charging
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Re: Storm Juice

Post by Fraggboy » Thu Dec 07, 2017 2:58 pm

Johnny,

I do recall seeing a post on Bloomsky support page showing the plastic could get in the way. I also have been noticing that when I wake up my Storm battery is lower than normal. Lowest it has dipped for myself is ~65% in the past week.

One thing come to mind noticing my charging trend during the day:
1) The battery does get fully charged at one point, but then tapers off the rest of the day. There has been a few days where it's cloudy on and off, but I am hoping that this can be fixed with a firmware issue.

If the battery was allowed to charge more 'often' during the day (When it can) might help quite a few users.

As you can see from my graphs, it's evident that it only gets to 100% once every day and then it drops and slowly peaks, but not up to 100% like the Bloomsky.
Lower charge.jpg
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Did you call Bloomsky support up and let them know? The more users that is complaining about this will (hopefully) get the engineers attention.
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Re: Storm Juice

Post by Johnny » Thu Dec 07, 2017 3:40 pm

Hi Christopher, I can see from your graph the exact same peak in charging at midday as on mine - which you'd expect. However my gut feeling here is that the solar panel needs to be at least twice if not three times it's present wattage output.

I think I'm right in saying that you're in a much sunnier climate than we are in mid to northern Europe - so it will be interesting to see if your Storm gets through the winter without the battery going flat.

As for letting Bloomsky know about the problem - yes you're right I should let them know, however my past experience shows that they are very polite, they listen to your problem and even respond, but little gets remedied.

We had some sunshine this afternoon and that's given my Storm a nice healthy charge - let's see how it goes.
Last edited by Johnny on Sat Jan 13, 2018 9:37 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Storm Juice

Post by Fraggboy » Thu Dec 07, 2017 4:03 pm

Johnny,

I do get a bit more sunshine than your part of the World. I would go crazy living up in Portland, Oregon, or other places that doesn't get much sun. If you have to have a UV lamp, something's wrong, ROFL (My opinion).

Back on track, we all know they are very polite and read from canned responses. The more that complain about this, I am hoping they will take a closer look.

Did you read this post? I'm thinking on doing this myself. It doesn't make sense, but I'm game to give it a shot..

Storm Battery Life
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Re: Storm Juice

Post by Johnny » Thu Dec 07, 2017 4:55 pm

Hi Christopher, I've just added to that post on the Bloomsky forum, I really think that's a daft thing to suggest, that electricity running through a cable can be impeded by a bend in the wire. It's more likely to do with the acute bend they forced the cable to go through in order for it to exit the unit and go to the solar panel, this may be causing the 3.5mm plug to have a poor connection to it's socket contacts inside Storm.

Let me know if you have a play around and it has an effect, I will check mine out when it dies on me again - which is bound to happen.

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Re: Storm Juice

Post by Fraggboy » Thu Dec 07, 2017 5:00 pm

Johnny,

I agree that it's pretty much bogus, but I'm game. It won't hurt.

I'm glad you added to the conversation and hope that others will chime in so the engineers will take notice. I love the small footprint both Sky and Storm take, but the reliability is questionable at times.

I'm having to constantly bring in my Storm and re-pair it with the app (Once every quarter it seems like). :roll:
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Re: Storm Juice

Post by Johnny » Thu Dec 07, 2017 5:29 pm

I've had to re-pair mine once so far, that was a few weeks ago. I suppose wireless technology is going to have these problems now and then, we just have to put up with them, although it would be very annoying if your station was in a remote area.

I agree, the Bloomsky (and Netatmo) really do look like cool bits of kit, unlike most conventional weather stations, which are all quite ugly and prehistoric looking. I just wished that Bloomsky had spent a little longer getting everything right before they launched the unit on the public.

Let me know how you get on with the jack plug connection, I'll be quite interested.
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Re: Storm Juice

Post by Chrome Compound W » Tue Mar 06, 2018 6:15 pm

I was having the same problem with storm charging.
Solar panel seems small compared to the Bloomsky 2 panel. On Bloomskys request I hooked the storm up to the dongle and charged it overnight. It also updated the firmware. All seems to be working well now.

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Re: Storm Juice

Post by Johnny » Tue Mar 06, 2018 7:37 pm

Since starting this thread the same problem has occurred a further two times, it's occurring after several grey days in a row. As it tuned out there was nothing wrong with the jack plug on my unit. For what it's worth they could have done with a larger solar panel and a larger battery to store power for those dull grey days.
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Re: Storm Juice

Post by Fraggboy » Tue Mar 06, 2018 7:42 pm

The small solar panel is adequate for locations that has a lot of sunny days (Like where I live), but in other places it's not. I think (and hope) that they are working on incorporating a larger solar panel in the future to overcome this issue.
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