RFM12Pi damaged by thunderstorm???

After 2+ years, my RFM12PiV2 receiver seems to have gone phut.  It did happen around the time of a big thunderstorm - could this be the reason?

Anyway, I have ordered a RFM69PiV3 as a replacement and hopefully I won't have any compatibility problems.

pb66's picture

Re: RFM12Pi damaged by thunderstorm???

Can you expand on "gone phut" ?

Although electrical surges etc can do very unexpected things I would be surprised if 'only' your rfm2pi was effected if it was due to the storm. There should be no compatibility issues beyond setting the usual baseid, group and frequency if required except for perhaps setting the baud, if your v2 was 2yrs old it would be using a baud of 9600 and the v3 will be 38400,

What have you tried to test / revive it? is there any led activity at power up? do you get any response to this ?

avrdude -v -c arduino -p ATMEGA328P -P /dev/ttyAMA0 -b 38400

Paul

 

Andrew Wedmore's picture

Re: RFM12Pi damaged by thunderstorm???

Paul, thank you for that.

When I power up, a green LED on the RFM12Pi comes on briefly and then goes out and stays out.

The rfm12piphp service is running, but the emoncms "inputs" web page is showing no data being received on any of the nodes that get data via the rfm12pi.  I have other nodes on my system that are continuing to log data that comes from other sources (not via the rfm12pi) so I think the actual data logging side is working OK.  I'll attach a screenshot that shows this - node 7 is a non-rfm12pi node.  Nodes 8 and 9, are rfm12pi nodes and they used to receive data OK.  I don't think it is the transmitters at fault because there are completely separate 3 transmitters and one receiver listening to them, and the data from all 3 transmitters stopped being received at the same time.  So when I say it has "gone phut" I mean that I am no longer getting any data from it. I don't know for sure that it is a hardware problem; it just seemed the easiest culprit to suspect and replace.

Here is the output from the avrdude command. 

avrdude-original: Version 5.11.1, compiled on May 23 2012 at 11:08:25
                  Copyright (c) 2000-2005 Brian Dean, http://www.bdmicro.com/
                  Copyright (c) 2007-2009 Joerg Wunsch

                  System wide configuration file is "/etc/avrdude.conf"
                  User configuration file is "/root/vrduderc"
                  User configuration file does not exist or is not a regular file, skipping

                  Using Port                    : /dev/ttyAMA0
                  Using Programmer              : arduino
                  Overriding Baud Rate          : 38400
done with autoreset
avrdude-original: stk500_getsync(): not in sync: resp=0x78
pb66's picture

Re: RFM12Pi damaged by thunderstorm???

You are most probably right to suspect the rfm2pi's not doing it's bit, I just wondered whether it was terminal as they are normally pretty reliable.

The LED flash suggests something is happening, although the avrdude log shows a communication error which could mean a HW fault or bootloader issue but it isn't conclusive as there are a number of things that can also cause a communication issue. since avrdude is a bit finicky, Was the rfm12piphp service running at the time? serial port access must be exclusive for any SW to work correctly, so the service must be stopped.

A good power supply is essential so removing any non-essential usb devices may help

you could try using a serial console (minicom etc) to try and get a response from the rfm2pi,

You could also test the Pi serial port by linking the gpio rx/tx pins together, anything "sent" in the serial console should appear in the "received" box due to the loop, but I've not known a serial port to fail on a Pi and the serial port and the SW will get tested when you try the RFM69Pi. However....

I didn't realize you were using the raspberrypi module as far as I'm aware there is no way to set the baud in the interface so you will need to edit the code from 9600 to 38400 at L73 of raspberrypi_run.php (probably?) or edit, recompile and upload a modified sketch to the rfm69pi (or move to emonHub) 

Paul

Andrew Wedmore's picture

Re: RFM12Pi damaged by thunderstorm???

Paul - thanks again for your help.  I now think I know what my problem is, and it's not what I thought it was.!

I have run the avrdude command again after stopping the rfm12piphp service and as a result I now think that the reciever IS working and that all 3 transmitters HAVE stopped working, while the RFM12Pi is OK!  That sounds like an amazing coincidence, but I think there may have been a common cause that blew all 3 at the same time. I will paste the new avrudude output at the end of the message.

Looking at the EMONCMS graphs and inputs from just before the monitoring stopped working, I can see that all 3 transmitters were reporting a very high AC voltage.  The last AC voltage reading from node 8 was 307.58; from node 9 it was 310.1 and from node 10 it was 308.58 volts.  These are RMS voltages and normally they are in the range 210 - 240.  I have been logging the AC voltage from node 10 for over a year and it has always been in this range. 

I have attached a screenshot showing my AC voltage graph just before things went down.  [ACVoltageGraph.png - the brown is the AC RMS voltage and the blue is the generator output in watts.]

All my 3 EmonTxV3 transmitters are powered through the 9V AC transformers, not via USB.  So I calculate with a 310V input, these will be pumping 9 x 310/230 volts into the EmonTxV3 units - ie over 12 volts.

As an "off-gridder" my AC is all produced by a Victron inverter/charger (specifically, a Victron Phoenix Multiplus 5000/48).  I have had one previous occasion several years ago (before I started using the OpenCMS products) when the AC voltage from the inverter ran out of control.  On that occasion, it damaged part of my consumer unit panel but, worryingly, did not trip any trip switches.  In fact that episode was part of my motivation for installing the OpenCMS products,  Now that the problem has occurred again and I have the logging data (which to my mind is pretty conclusive) I will take it up with the manufacturers - but I am not particularly hopeful of their response.  (There is also a solar inverter in the system, but it is the Victron that determines the voltage and frequency - except when the generator is on, but that's a different story).

I checked the AC voltage with a multimeter just now and it is about 240V - a little higher than it should be, but acceptable. 

Anyway if I'm right I now have 3 dead EmonTxV3 units - which is a shame as they are a lot more expensive than the RFM12Pi (or the RFM69PiV3 that arrived in the post yesterday and is sitting on my desk).  In fact I am pretty sure that they are dead as they used to have a flashing red LED and it isn't flashing any more, not even on power-up.  I had been intending to change them to be powered by USB but I just hadn't got round to it - perhaps that would have saved them from being damaged.  I don't know if there is any way that they can be repaired. 

Another thought is that I could rig up OpenCMS to send me an alarm when the AC voltage goes out of range.  But actually I think what I really need to do is to install some separate electro-mechanical device that shuts off the AC if the voltage gets too high.

Finally, I am intending to switch to emonhub but that is another thing I haven't got round to yet.  I have got 18 months' worth of data in timestore which I am very keen to preserve as it will help me figure out where to upgrade the system in the future.

Here is the avrdude output.  

[email protected] ~ $ sudo service rfm12piphp stop
Log is turned off
Stopping RPI: stopped
[email protected] ~ $ avrdude -v -c arduino -p ATMEGA328P -P /dev/ttyAMA0 -b 38400              
avrdude-original: Version 5.11.1, compiled on May 23 2012 at 11:08:25
                  Copyright (c) 2000-2005 Brian Dean, http://www.bdmicro.com/
                  Copyright (c) 2007-2009 Joerg Wunsch

                  System wide configuration file is "/etc/avrdude.conf"
                  User configuration file is "/root/.avrduderc"
                  User configuration file does not exist or is not a regular fil             e, skipping

                  Using Port                    : /dev/ttyAMA0
                  Using Programmer              : arduino
                  Overriding Baud Rate          : 38400
done with autoreset
                  AVR Part                      : ATMEGA328P
                  Chip Erase delay              : 9000 us
                  PAGEL                         : PD7
                  BS2                           : PC2
                  RESET disposition             : dedicated
                  RETRY pulse                   : SCK
                  serial program mode           : yes
                  parallel program mode         : yes
                  Timeout                       : 200
                  StabDelay                     : 100
                  CmdexeDelay                   : 25
                  SyncLoops                     : 32
                  ByteDelay                     : 0
                  PollIndex                     : 3
                  PollValue                     : 0x53
                  Memory Detail                 :

                                           Block Poll               Page                                    Polled
                    Memory Type Mode Delay Size  Indx Paged  Size   Size #Pages              MinW  MaxW   ReadBack
                    ----------- ---- ----- ----- ---- ------ ------ ---- ------              ----- ----- ---------
                    eeprom        65    20     4    0 no       1024    4      0               3600  3600 0xff 0xff
                    flash         65     6   128    0 yes     32768  128    256               4500  4500 0xff 0xff
                    lfuse          0     0     0    0 no          1    0      0               4500  4500 0x00 0x00
                    hfuse          0     0     0    0 no          1    0      0               4500  4500 0x00 0x00
                    efuse          0     0     0    0 no          1    0      0               4500  4500 0x00 0x00
                    lock           0     0     0    0 no          1    0      0               4500  4500 0x00 0x00
                    calibration    0     0     0    0 no          1    0      0                  0     0 0x00 0x00
                    signature      0     0     0    0 no          3    0      0                  0     0 0x00 0x00

                  Programmer Type : Arduino
                  Description     : Arduino
                  Hardware Version: 3
                  Firmware Version: 4.4
                  Vtarget         : 0.3 V
                  Varef           : 0.3 V
                  Oscillator      : 28.800 kHz
                  SCK period      : 3.3 us

avrdude-original: AVR device initialized and ready to accept instructions

Reading | ################################################## | 100% 0.01s

avrdude-original: Device signature = 0x1e950f
avrdude-original: safemode: lfuse reads as 0
avrdude-original: safemode: hfuse reads as 0
avrdude-original: safemode: efuse reads as 0

avrdude-original: safemode: lfuse reads as 0
avrdude-original: safemode: hfuse reads as 0
avrdude-original: safemode: efuse reads as 0
avrdude-original: safemode: Fuses OK

All comments gratefully received.

pb66's picture

Re: RFM12Pi damaged by thunderstorm???

Well that good new about the rfm2pi, but not so hot about the emonTx's :-(

Again I wouldn't assume they are beyond repair just yet, in fact if you have no led activity you should start by checking the AC adapters, I think they are less likely to survive a >300vac supply than the emonTx. 

Try powering the emonTx's from a different supply/method eg 5vdc, Do you have a USB programmer ? if so do you see any serial activity when hooked up to a PC? 

It may be a software issue so reloading the sketches may help, or it maybe a problem with the rectifier/reg circuit only used when powering from AC/AC, if it is then it just power via 5vdc as you intended.

Upgrading to emonhub is different to emoncms, the timestore factor won't effect emonhub (or vice versa) you will need to convert the timestore data to continue logging to that feed with the latest emoncms versions.

Paul 

Robert Wall's picture

Re: RFM12Pi damaged by thunderstorm???

I second Paul's "Try them on a programmer".

I blew the rectifier diode in my emonTx V3.4 while testing the supply, and that was nowhere near 300 V. I've got a wire-ended one in place of the SMT now.

Andrew Wedmore's picture

Re: RFM12Pi damaged by thunderstorm???

Your comment was spot on.  It is the 9V AC transformers that have blown.  I have switched to USB power supply and all is well - everything working again - except of course that I don't have AC voltage measurements.  I have also removed the JP2 power supply jumpers.  All I need now is to replace one of the AC transformers and I can be measuring voltage again.

Thanks for all the help.  I must try and learn not to jump to conclusions too quickly. 

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