Wifi Signal Not Usable :(

Ok really stuck here.

I’ve tried testing the unit in the approximate location of install, but the signal is just way too weak to be usable. (The distribution panels are outside on the side of the house in Australia)

If I set it up indoors, the signal seems fine and I can navigate the web interface no issues, even if I put it on the inside of the wall that has the power distribution panel on.

Outside though, it’s not usable. I can ping the device, but the web interface won’t load, or partially loads after a long time.

I thought this was because I first tested it inside the fully metal power board box, but I’ve bought an ABS enclosure and that is the same. Also the same if I just prop it up on top of the box, or nearby.

I think the NodeMCU (?) must have a really really weak signal, because in the same place I have my Enphase unit which connects to Wifi just fine. Additionally, I have a Sonoff 4 Channel relay (ESP8266 or ESP32-based) a meter or so away which is sitting in a fully enclosed metal enclosure for the Air Conditioning unit, and that works fine with ESPHome.

Currently this is feeling like an expensive white elephant. Any suggestions at all? Does the orientation of the unit make a large difference? Can someone point me to a pin compatible NodeMCU with an external antenna? (Yes I know FCC, DIY etc)

For reference I’m running the most expensive Asus Wifi 6 router with a zillion crazy antennas, about 6m away, and everything else works fine with it. I know someone is going to suggest I buy Unify gear and put an access point in every room. I am considering it, but even if I do I doubt I can get one super close with the cabling requirements etc, and all their Wifi 6 units were sold out when I last checked

I also can’t mount the IotaWatt on the inside as it’s a floor to celling mirror, so that’s a no-go.

What are you using for a USB power supply? A quality 1A usb supply, not a charger, is recommended.

I ordered the one in the website Amazon link for Australia which I think is a Raspberry Pi one with a toggle switch. I also tried the legit white Pi one.

Could a a Faraday effect with silver lined moisture barrier in the wall if it metallic

Can you move the unit back inside and power up, then connect and download the message log file /IoTaWatt/iotamsgs.txt then post it to me in a PM please?

Could you first report the led state of the unit as installed outside?

If you can, also try switching the router to a different channel.

TPlink N300 repeater is only $31 on Amazon. You must have a power point where the Iotawatt is located.

Sent. Thanks! Will try another channel (currently on 5) and do a scan to see if the neighbours are conflicting etc too.

Yeah that’s a possibility. I’ll look into one that is just 2.4GHz. I thought that having a repeater cuts your total network on that channel in half though?

I havent used one but on almost every AP I’ve seen you can set the channel to use. I use the same SSID / password on all my APs and set the channels on them, spacing them by 3.

Ok still stuck.

I bought a wifi repeater and set it for 2.4Ghz and stuck it next to the IoTaWatt box. This works fine initially, but after a couple of days it stops responding to pings or loading the web interface. tested multiple times. Using theTPLink app I can connect to the repeater fine, and it shows the single client connected with the correct IP address.

Remote restarting the repeater OR power cycling the IoTaWatt box brings it back to life.

Not ideal for something you need running 24x7.

Do I have a faulty unit maybe? Is there a known memory leak? Any further troubleshooting steps?

I liberally sprinkle these boxes around my place (after cross flashing with OpenWRT) and never have issues - however i configure them as Access Points and provide a wired ethernet backhaul to my main switch

Just checked and the one my IOTAWATT connects to has been running for 285 days (its on a UPS) and not an issue

I have my IOTAWATT in an ABS case mounted on the side of the external meter board


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Hey just wondering what mode you set this repeater into ? If you set it up for WDS (which basically just acts to take a WIFI SSID and then rebroadcast it - you have to make sure you turn off DHCP on the unit.

Also i am quite surprised when you stated there were other devices nearby - why are they not also attaching to the same wifi repeater which would have a stronger signal ?


Repeaters are always a challenge. Can you bring a network cable to near the location to run an extra access point? For me my access point ~15m away through two walls was too far for reliable connections, and I had to put one closer and through only one wall for it to work reliably.

On the upshot, the system works MUCH better with a good reliable signal. A few problems I had initially all went away when I added the access points.

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