Chatteris Weather Site Blog
18 May 14 Really warm weather currently which is great timing for the PC to stop sending data! not sure what the problem is as it's been running great for weeks. It looks like its a usb data related problem because if I disconnect the Davis Console mini usb and then plug it back in, data logging on the Weather Display software kicks in and all is well for about 4 hours, then it stops again, in case its something to do with the usb logging driver, I checked my version in device manager against the latest on the Silicon Labs web site, the web had a 2013 version which I have downloded and installed, everything looks good at the moment, so fingers crossed this has sorted it.
I have downloaded Wordpress and use this for my blog, this can be accessed from here www.chatteris.biz/blog, their is a direct link in the menubar, this blog is a lot easier to update so this one will eventually stop being the latest blog news.
18 April 14 The main hiccup over the last few days has been due to Weather Underground making website changes, these changes have had an effect on the Saratoga Template that is widely used, fortunately Ken True is an accomplished expert in code and had made the required modifications to get the template back on track, the main issue was to do with forecasting, luckily Chatteris Weather has it's own weather modeling software so the impact wasn't as great for me as it was for others, the main thing is that the status quo has been returned.
Few changes this week, I've added a weather calculator and conversion script, this accessed from the 'Useful Links' page, from the menu bar I've added a Radio Player and an enhanced pollen chart, the original links for pollen maps within 'Community Interest' have been removed, another change has been the addition of an 'On This Day' page and the inclusion of a couple of widgets in the 'Advisory & Alerts' > 'Weather Advisories' for the Met Office and Flood Warnings.
10 April 14 Busy playing adding new scripts and moving items around on the menu bar, new additions have been the WeerstationLeuven template for displaying the output from the WXSIM weather modeling simulator program, also I have incorporated a Saratoga template which displays affiliated weather stations who freely broadcast their raw data for use by other programs.
I have also added a 'goto' button for long pages, clicking this takes you directly to the top of the page, saving constantly scrolling, I'm experimenting with scroll buttons from Dynamic Drive, and these can be seen on the Forecast & Advisories > Chatteris (Long) page.
Had my first spam using Capcha enabled contact form, the script from Mike Challis fortunatly has ip blocking, so this spam has been added, hopefully it will work!
4 April 14 WXSIM now reports wind speed in mph and their is an RSS icon on the home page to make subscription to the forecasts which are updated every 6 hours only a click away. The 'Who's-Online' page now shows a mapped location of visitors and a 30 day history feature, as this script only became effective today, history is being built up from now. Changed my e-rice hosing package to Standard 3, this means an increase of connections from 3 to 5, the effect is that I will no longer have to turn off Nexstorm lightning reporting whilst I'm uploading which is good news.
Installed a second hard drive into the weather pc, using Acronis software I'm able to 'mirror' the 'C' drive and keep on top of backups, fingers crossed I'll never have to need it!
31 March 14 Yet more tweaking of the site, added WXSIM weather forecasting programme and a 'Who's Online' page, I'm in the process of using yet another brilliant Saratoga script to rss the weather forecast.
23 March 14 Been an eventful few days, the town has suffered power outages not only did this stop us going to the pub, but it also interrupted weather data from the station to the internet, all back on now though with no real glitches, the main additions to the site are:.
2 March 14 Relocated solar sensor is performing well, one anomaly noted was that the Weather Display software predicts a solar curve based on the longitude and latitude of the weather station, and yet the solar sensors peak greater than this making me question the accuracy of either the prediction curve or sensor, it appears that the solar curve is derived from a cloud free day, what is happening to make the readings to peak past the predicted maximum in my case is solar reflections from broken clouds, this explanation may be of use if you are looking at the graph containing solar information and wonder why the discrepancy. Graphs can be found here, of accessed from the main home page of Chatteris.biz.
Road Traffic pages have been added to, links to the Highways Agency and to Frixo for an alternative live traffic information pages.
Marine Traffic had an outage, this is now back online.
Status of lightning detection is now displayed on the header of all pages, this is a dynamic indicator, so I'll have to see what effect it has on the page formatting when it picks up strikes within 50 miles which is the trigger for the script.
16 February 14 Camera relocated to the West side of the house, also the UV and Solar sensors have been mounted above the ridge line to give an uninterrupted view of the sky, certainly a huge improvement over where it was originally.
15 February 14 Chatteris station record winds of 50.1mph have been recorded today, this caused 'The Lucky Parrot' building in East Street to collapse and intermittent power outages. Added a Marine Traffic tab to the site showing shipping zoomed to the Wash area, the map allows you to zoom out world wide, this page also gives the details of each of the icons when clicked on.
9 February 14 Made some minor additions and tweaks to the web site:
Glued the external sensor assembly together and the new pipework parts arrived from Harrison Plastics, everything is ready for installation once the winds abate.
7 February 14 Added a season countdown clock to the main home page, in the 'Links' section is a shortcut to the scripts author.
6 February 14 Added a RSS feed button to the home page, this feed will be updated when I add pages or make changes to any aspect of Chatteris Weather.
5 February 14 Weather Buoys page added and some minor tweaks done. UV and Solar sensors have been mounted in a new housing ready for mounting on the same tube that supports the Boltek lightning sensor.
2 February 14 Disconnected the weather station to allow me to run and connect cables ready to move the UV and Solar sensors, these have been removed from the system and will remain so for the next couple of weeks until I can get the ladder out and mount them higher, no real point leaving them connected as the readings are quite inaccurate, during the connection process I knocked the rain gauge, so for today it indicated 0.2mm of rain which is not the case, I will try and get this removed from my stations stats, so please note that it didn't rain on the 2nd!
1 February 14 Added a few things today, to highlight what has been done since peoples last visit, you may see a flashing 'New' icon, these will stay next to the relevant tab for 5 days before being removed, new items are the CWOP quality status page, I have been exporting data for quite a while and I've mailed them about getting registered so that my data can be quality checked if it's possible. Raw data is a new fly out tab, this tabulates everything the weather station sends out and will allow me and others to check if the information leaving the weather computer is current.
Weather Map Live went on line yesterday, I'm still playing with this, so be patient with me if at times it seems all over the place, I will remove the message under the map when I'm happy :-).
31 January 14 Installed Weather Extremes tab, this is a great script from Relay Weather which shows maximum and minimum temperature and rainfall, I have down loaded a few scripts from his site and aim to get these working over the next few days.
29 January 14 Lots added to the site in last few weeks, some of them are quite subtle such as the animated forecast icons and the wind rose changing colour making it easier to read, also a few pages now automatically go full screen to match the page they display.
Recent pages added to the site have been the flight radar showing the aircraft overhead, where they are going, where they have come from, clicking on the airport icons displays arrival times. The tide page has been improved to show a tide clock for Hunstanton (we love taking the kids there, especially when the tides out so the dog can have a run), other improvements have been a new lightning page and rehashed VP2 console which mimics the display of the main controller.
One other thing I have done since the last post was to advertise that Chatteris weather exists in 'Shape your place', so pass the word! Till next time.
11 January 14 Added lots of functions to the site, these include RRS display box which automatically displays weather warnings issued by UK Met Office, a facility for mobile users to view the weather data in format suitable for their device (www.chatteris.biz/iwdl) and finally webcam time lapse options.
I have also linked Twitter outputs from the station to Facebook.
5 January 14 Work is progressing well using the Saratoga template, the advice from WXForum has been indispensable, as a novice with regard to web code, I would have been lost without the help of the experts on the forum, the other place I lurk is the Weather Display Forum, again, an invaluable source of information.
I have changed the logo from a fat man as I need to lose some weight this year, so it got changed to a picture of the wind turbine farm, just off High Fen Straight Drove (A141), the picture was taken on the 3 January 14.
28 December 13 Well finally took the plunge and decided to download a website template from Saratoga (Saratoga-Weather.org), the new site is accessed via the normal address of www.chatteris.biz, this site is linked back from the home page of the Saratoga template, this site can be accessed directly by entering www.chatteris.biz/oldindex.html.
I will keep this site updated as things develop, so I have not abandoned here that's for sure.
Hope you have a great 2014, all the best, Ian.
7 December 13 High winds and tides on the 5th December caused localised flooding on the Norfolk coast, worst combination of events in 60 years, winds recorded in Chatteris measured gusts of 46 mph.
21 November 13 Added pictures of my power transfer switch and intake in case of utility power failure, over the last few days I have been setting up another PC after a hard drive failure, everything is going ok apart from the Comms port on the Virtual Serial programm doesn't work and also WeatherLink keeps dropping out, hopefully this will be easy to sort out with the help of the forums.
20 October 13 Well it's been a while, so I'll start with the Blitzortung problem display, this needed a new one, I found another company which was cheaper than Mouser, so it cost £26 to replace and it was now all back to normal, the Boltek lightning detector had a damaged RS232 circuit, the unit was returned to the manufacture via Skyview and they repaired it free of charge which was superb customer service, I use a laptop at the moment which hasn't a serial port and I can't seen to get a USB to Serial converter working, so I'll be transferring everything back to a PC soon so I can get the lightning map on Weather Display working again.
1 September 13 Well lots has happened since my last update, the main one being that the Blitzortung lightning detector, boltek lightning detector and external camera all stopped working, the only thing they all had in common was a earth I fitted a week or two before, problem started when a circuit breaker operated in the night, the UPS kicked in but the batteries exhausted and power was lost to the system, on power up next to nothing worked, to compound this my weather PC hard drive did indeed pack up.
I replaced the STDiscovery board on the Blitzortung and it came back, although the display is damaged and only shows half the information, the other thing is that the signal has gone really noisy on the red channel, not sure why but at least it's working.
I have got the weather programs on a laptop, so that's what I'm using at the moment, the loss of camera feed was the external balun stopping working, so we are nearly there.
Transferred programs before the hard drive failure so I'm in the process of getting everything back together, it's been an arse of a last few weeks to be honest :-(
24 August 13 Did a few jobs on the Blitzortung system today, first job was to flash a new version of firmware into the controller, the system is pretty cool in that it tells you on the LCD display that a newer version is available, you also get a message when you login to the controller, I was a bit nervous at first about doing this, but I've done it 3 times now and it's really straight forward and as long as it keeps working afterwards, I'm happy.
I was in the loft, yet again, installing a longer shielded cable for the lightning amplifier so I can move it away from where my computers are, I could only move it 5 meters, but I can now ramp the gain up slightly higher than before without going into the dreaded interference mode.
My eBay 10 meter USB extension lead came today, this is used to connect my UPS monitoring software to the PC running the Weather Station stuff, the cable was a bit of a bitch to get in but I got their in the end with a bit of help from the wife, just got to figure out how I can get it to automatically shut the PC off before the UPS batteries fail.
20 August 13 Adding more information and updating the site, installed an energy monitor from Amazon, at £8.00 is great value, my total configuration measures 315 watts, when the monitors are off it drops to a normal running value of 280 watts, could do with getting it lower but that will involve getting a different PC, so it will stay as it is for now.
18 August 13 Busy few days, the main job was to try and get the weather station PC back up and running fully, I had not been able to update the webcam since the lightning strike damaged the mother boards USB ports, the Video card arrived (Hauppauge PCI) and was fitted OK, bit of hassle getting the drivers, but's it's ok now, a major bonus was the PCI mounted USB card, this worked straight away and so I could simple plug the Davis USP lead in, and I was back in business.
While I was waiting for the bits I have mounted the Blitzortung antenna and GPS in the loft and rewired things so that everything related to my weather station is via a UPS complete with new batteries, updating all the web pages now to reflect the changes and add so pictures, I just love this hobby, but boy it can be frustrating!.
12 August 13 Well what a nightmare! Decided to move the Davis console from free standing on my desk, to mounting on the wall, all went well apart from I couldn't get it working again, checked and double checked everything (I even learnt their was an LED on the ISS which I have never noticed before), anyway thanks to all the guys on WXForum who helped, it turned out to be a dodgy connection on my patch panel, and to further confuse me, as I was fault finding, the lid of the ISS caused the plug to the console to not make a really good connection when the lid was slid down, I had to make sure the wire was in the groove to the side of the board. Luckily I'm back on air so to speak, pheww never again.
6 August 13 Done a few things this week, I've put an earth rod next to the weather station and earthed the cable containment and camera, pictures to follow, the other main things is to start construction of the lightning detector, I posted for the first time ever a couple of videos on YouTube, let me know if you like them or not!
My other new adventure was that of Twitter, the link is at the bottom of the main page and Weather Display will send from 07:00 to 19:00 at 2 hour intervals current weather conditions in Chatteris, again let me know what you think.
August 13 Turns out it was the KWorld weather cam video capture USB device that damaged the mother boards USB ports as it also has given up the ghost, looking at the last image transmitted to Weather Display Live it was damaged at around 03.40 on the 23 July 13, must admit to not hearing a thing as we were in Gran Camera :-)
Ordered from eBay a PCI video card for £2.99, so I'll have to see how that performs, (if I had the money I'd use media converted to fiber and separate the PC from any external influence, well apart from power of course)
30 July 13 Just got back from holiday to find we had missed huge lightning storms and a couple of power outages, not sure which to blame but the weather station PC USB ports no longer work and hence the web site was not being updated, I'm up and running using my office pc to 'back feed' the weather PC using VP Virtual and running weather display in IP mode.
Ordered another HP second hand pc with a lower spec, and I'll butcher the hard drive and RAM out of my original station to get back up and running fully, one good thing is that the Blitzortung kit has arrived as have the parts to put the weather PC on the main UPS (bit late now grrrrr).
21 July 13 Added a site map as I'm new to this and the pages are growing all over the place and if I don't know where stuff is, other won't have much of a chance either.
20 July 13 Finally sorted the problem of my host server filling up with time stamped images doing the following:
Revolver Map detected my first visitor apart from me!
19 July 13 Fighting to get the webcam to update without filling the host server with time stamped images, working on it but Weather Display has so many settings it can be a bit confusing.
14 July 13 I'm using Expression 4 which is free download from the internet, and it's getting easier the more I do. I have added quite a lot of pictures and links today as I move down the Configuration schematic filling in the detail as I go.
11 July 13 Managed to work out using iFrames how to embed Weather Display Live into the main page, had an issue where Weather Display wasn't updating the web cam images which was really frustrating, this was resolved by re-entering the settings, not sure why it stopped working, but it's back now, this means that the webcam image is uploaded every 5 minutes with the display auto-refreshing every 2 minutes, I will be posting up screen grabs of my setup as it may be of use.