Category Archives: Ham Radio

Boltek LD-250 Relay Interface

boltek

 

 

 

 

The LD-250 Lighting Detector from Boltek has an internal output for a relay interface, the manufactures units are quite expensive, so I decided to make my own.

relay
RLO-10 Boltek Relay Interface

Inside the LD-250 is a 14 way header which connects via ribbon cable to the RLO-10, off eBay I bought the 14 way ribbon cable and IDC cable mount socket for £5.00.

Opening the LD-250 the header JP1 is immediately obvious:

inside

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Using my multimeter, the header output pins linked to the front panel LED’s and the operating voltage was quickly found.

diagram

Using a spare strip of veroboard I mounted a magnetically shielded reed relay 5v, with flywheel diode across the coil, and the switched Normally Open reed output to a 2.54mm x 2 pitch connector, I also put veropins in the board so I can select which function I want the relay to operate on, should it be needed in the future.

The reed switch is used to switch 24v DC to an indicating LED and a a PLC input, the total load was measured at 21.49mA, well within the 500mA rating of the reed switch.

The module was placed in a small enclosure:enclosure

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The ribbon cable was then plugged into JP1 inside the LD-250:

ribbon

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Switching on the Boltek performs a self test of the front LED’s and internal buzzer, as I have used the output from the ‘Close’ LED, the reed relay operated and the mast which was raised, automatically retracted.

All in all the project performs as expected and cost me £7 (enclosure was £2) saving me £58.95 on a factory unit.

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Voltage Control Relay

Link back to Radio Mast Automation – HERE where the EASY RL-V23 unit can just be seen attached to the lid of the mast controller.

Voltage Unit
EASY Voltage Unit

The above module was from eBay and advertised as a ’12V Voltage Control /Delay Switch /OverVoltage /Under Voltage Protection Module’ for £4.92.

This unit is incredibly versatile, and I’ve included the operating instructions in the blog.

I have used this module to monitor the charging voltage of a battery, once the voltage has reached a pre-set value, an output will trigger to stop the charger.

voltage relay

 

Operating modes:
P-1: Timer ( 1-999 S / 1-999 Min)
P-2: Delay timer ( 1-999 S / 1-999 Min)
P-3: Voltage control relay ( control the load on/off)
P-4: Voltage control Timer- A (release first)
P-5: Voltage control Timer- B (close first)
P-6: Voltage range control relay
P-7: Voltage range control Timer
P-8: Set display off
Timing Range: 0-999 seconds or 0-999 minutes (0.1s-999s optional)
Voltmeter display range: DC 0-99.9 V
Voltage detection error: ± 0.1V
Operating Power: DC10~16V (5V,24V optional)
Relay parameters:
Coil Voltage: DC 12V (5V,24V optional)
A set of conversion (normally open and normally closed)
Contact load: 10A/277V AC or 10A/30V DC
Contact resistance: ≤ 100mΩ (1A 6VDC)
Mechanical durability: 10 millions
Electricity durability: > 100,000 (10A-250VAC)
Operating Temperature: -40 ~ 85℃
External signal input: (5~ 12V) or passive switch (9 levels delay time can be set)
Timer mode can set the relay contact close and release time, the implementation of a single timing loop
In voltage control mode, can preset upper and lower voltage values limits
Set display shut, the minimum current values are 6mA/12V (delay released)
The pre-set parameters can be saved after power off.
2 Operating modes:

Connect to power, LED digital tube displays words “E-A-Z-Y-t” in turn, system enter into the selection state, the initial mode selection is displayed as “P-0”, press the “SET” button to select “P-1~P-8” mode, press “ENTER” to enter the corresponding mode.while any mode running, press the “ENTER” button for 3 seconds, system will return to the mode selection state.

Press the “SET” and “ENTER” button to connect the power, the controller will be restored to factory settings.

2.1 Timer mode (P-1)

Press the “SET” button to select “P-1”, controller system will enter into the timer mode.

“P-1”/ “P-2”: 1-999 seconds /minute can be set.

Cyclic run:

In the timer mode, the user can set the relay’s close time T1 and the release time T2,such as setting T1 for 3 seconds, T2 for 7 seconds, the relay will be closed for three seconds then release for 7 seconds, cyclic run.

User also can set cyclic times.

When you have set the values of the T1 and T2 , the system saved the settings, the next time system will be loaded automatically T1 time to wait running.

Timer:

If you set T1 with a specified time, set T2 (release time) with 0, the relay will stop after the timer run T1 time, no longer running, it can be used as a timer, with running time end, the normally open contact of relay release, then press the “ENTER” button, the system re-start the timer for T1 time.

In timer state, you can use external switch or pulse signal input Interface on controller to start the timer (trigger).

Timer setting steps:
1) For the first time of set , select “P-1” time relay mode, LED digital tube display” 000 “;

2) Press the “SET” button, system will enter into the T1 time values settings first, the digital LED that wait for set flashing with 1Hz frequency, press “ENTER” to select the number of values, press the “SET” button for three times to enter the T2 time values settings, and cyclic times, press the “SET” button to exit the set state, the system waits to press “ENTER” button to start running.
3) In the time setting state ,time values’ unit can be switched to minutes unit or second unit, press the “SET” button to enter the time set by state (set LED digital tube flashing) ,at this time Press the “SET” button for 3 seconds to release ,the LED digital tube will light the right decimal points, it means that timing values with minutes unit, if the decimal point dose not light, it means that timing values with seconds unit.
4) After setting is completed, press the “SET” button to exit the setting state, press “ENTER” to start timing, if timing values is set with second unit, seconds values will display with countdown form. If timing values is set with minute unit, the right decimal point flashing with 1Hz frequency, means the countdown is running. While timer is running, the normally open contact of relay connected, the normally closed contact of relay disconnect, press the “ENTER” to halt run, press the “ENTER” for three seconds to return mode selection state “P-0”.
2.2 Delay timer (P-2)

The Setting method of “P- 2” is the same as “P- 1”, in the mode of “P-2”, the relay will first execute release of T1 time then closed with T2 time.

2.3 Voltage control relay mode (P-3)

In mode selection state(“P-0”), press the “SET” button to select “P-3”, then press the “ENTER” to enter the voltage comparison control mode, the controller will detect voltage from “VOL” Interface and display values (DC 0-99.9V),it also can be used as a DC voltmeter ,the default initial run state relay contact is closed (normally closed contact is disconnected, normally open switch on), press the “SET “button to set the three bit values, the LED digital tube is set to flashing with1Hz frequency, first to be set upper limit voltage values , press the “SET” button three times, lower limit values of voltage to be set,press the “ENTER” button to increase the number of values, the lower limit voltage can not exceeds the upper limit, press the “SET” button to make digital tube is no longer flashing, this time system enter into voltage control mode , the controller detects DC voltage from external input Interface , when voltage detection exceed the upper limit of the pre-set, the relay close (normally open contact connect ,normally closed disconnect), until the voltage drops below the lower limit pre-set, the relay will release (normally closed contact connect , normally open contact disconnect).

In voltage control condition, press the “SET” button for three seconds then release the button, the contact of relay state will be reversed. such as: the relay close when detect voltage below the lower limit voltage.

If the pre-set voltage upper and lower limits set to the same, such as 12.0V, when controller detect volts at 12.0 fluctuations may cause the relay contact frequent action, we recommend to set the voltage to maintain the difference between the upper and lower limits.

Note: The detection voltage terminal must connected reliable, have not loose wiring around the circuit board insulation ,may lead to the induced voltage detection values is not accurate.

2.4 Voltage control Timer mode (P-4 / P-5)

“P-4” or “P-5” mode is composed of “P-1” and “P-3” or “P-2” and “P-3”.When the system switched to “P-4” from “P-1”or“P-2”,it will enter the voltage control timer mode, the controller will detect voltage from “VOL” Interface ,when detect voltage exceed the upper limit of the pre-set voltage, the timer will start , until the volts drops below the lower limit pre-set , the timer stop.

If you set time in “P-1” mode previous, then enter the “P-4” mode , the relay will close with timer first ,then release, If you set time in “P-2” mode previous, then enter the “P-4” mode ,the relay release with timing then closed.

The difference between “P-4” and “P-5” is the relay’s Initial state, “P-4” mode relay release first, but “P-5” mode relay close first.

Press the button of “SET” last for 3 seconds, the timer will start in the case of the voltage is below the lower limit. the setting method of limit pre-set voltage, please refer to section 2.3.

For example:

(1) In P-2 mode , set T1 005, T2 000, then enter P-4 mode , voltage detection exceed the upper limit of the pre-set the relay will close after 5 seconds, voltage drops below the lower limit pre-set the relay release Immediately.
(2) In P-1 mode , set T1 005, T2 000, then enter P-5 mode, voltage below the lower limit pre-set the relay close immediately, voltage detection exceed the upper limit of the pre-set the relay will release after delay 5 seconds.
Voltage control logic can be reversed with press SET key for 3 seconds.

2.5 Voltage range control relay (P-6)

If the voltage controller detects exceed the upper limit of the pre-set voltage, or the voltage drops below the lower limit pre-set voltage, the relay will close, otherwise the relay release between upper limit and lower limit range. Press the button of “SET” last for 3 seconds, the relay reversed. The relay will close between upper limit and lower limit.

2.6 Voltage range control Timer (P-7)

If the voltage controller detects exceed the upper limit of the pre-set voltage, or the voltage drops below the lower limit pre-set voltage, the relay will run follow time relay mode that has been set in P-1 or P-1 mode previous.

When voltage values between the upper limit and lower limit range, press SET key for 3 seconds, relay reversed between close and release (ON/OFF).

For example:

In P-1 mode, set T1 005, T2 000, then enter P-7 mode, set relay close between upper limit and lower limit range. When voltage below lower limit or exceed upper limit, the relay will release after 5 seconds.

2.7 Set display shut (P-8)
The display shows “d-0” means keep bright, you can press the button of “SET” set 0-9 minutes for display shut.

graphGraph showing operation of raise and lower including the automatic charging cycle.

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Radio Mast wire rope protection & lubrication system

I wanted a quick and easy way of applying protective lubricant to the wire rope which raises and lowers my mast, my first effort involved a paint brush and a tin of grease and I thought then that their must be a better method, both in terms of speed and effective application.

The option I chose was to use a spray wire rope and chain lube in conjuction with a home brew applicator.

applicator

The FORCE spray lube costs £6.25 for 400ml from eBay, the details of product are:

  • A long lasting highly tenacious spray grease which reduces wear and increases chain life.
  • High grip, anti fling properties provide long lasting, high depth lubrication and protection.
  • Penetrates inner rollers and resists the highest shock loads.
  • Ideal for chains, cables, wire ropes, fork lift chains, open gears and tail lift assemblies.
  • Reistant to weather and salt, provides high resistance to wash off.
  • ‘O’ Ring Safe unlike other greases!

Parts

  1. 1 off 10mm copper pipe 150mm in length
  2. 1 off 15mm copper pipe 135mm in length
  3. 1 off 4mm copper pipe 60mm in length
  4. 1 off 12mm panel grommet

Construction

The 10mm pipe had a 5mm slot cut down the complete length to allow the pipe to fit over the wire rope, at the base of the 10mm pipe I ‘flared’ this to 14mm.

The 15mm pipe was cut at one end with a roller type pipe cutter (pipe slice) and this formed a nice curved lip, at the other end I used a hacksaw, this pipe also had a 5mm slot cut down its length, for the cutting of the slots I used a dremel with a mini abrasive disc.

As the spray gease doesn’t come with extension tubes, I decided to use 4mm copper pipe (the 2mm inside pipe bore is perfect to slide over the spray cap nozzle), this was soldered half way up the 15mm pipe, this pipe enters directly opposite the cut slot. To act as a ‘key-way’ it protudes into the pipe by 1mm.

A 12mm panel grommet is cut to fit inside the 10mm pipe.

Operation

The 10mm pipe is slid over the cable with the flared section at the bottom:

10mm pipe

The grommet is installed at the top:

cut grommet ready to fit in pipe

grommet in 10mm pipe

The 15mm pipe is now slid over the cable above the 10mm pipe and rotated so the grease inlet is inline with the slot in the 10mm pipe:

4mm inletNoting the alignment, the 10mm pipe is pushed inside the 15mm pipe, the 4mm pipe protuding inside the 15mm pipe ensures the 10mm pipe can only fully slide in if the slot aligns, The lip on the 15mm pipe holds the grommet in place:

grommetThe finished product works quite well and gives an even coating to the wire rope, the length of the 4mm pipe was to allow the spray can to rest on a bracket, so I simply raise the mast and hold the spray button down 🙂

applicator

 

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Radio Mast Automation – Part 5: Control Modification

Since my last blog on Mast Automation when I thought I’d finished the project, I have made some changes to my weather station which means I no longer have an output to the mast controller, this output used to trigger the mast to lower when the wind speed hits 30 mph.

I decided to update the discontinued version of my Programmable Logic Controller (PLC) with a Rievtech PR-18DC-DA-R from Audon Ltd, this unit is a direct replacement for my old PLC and has 12 Inputs and 6 relay Outputs.

Rievtech PLC

The PLC accepts a number of input types, in my application I’m simply switching a voltage state with the exception of one of the inputs which is configured as an Analogue input, to which I have connected my mast mounted Anemometer as a means to trigger mast lowering during unsafe wind conditions.

1733

Adafruit 1733

TECHNICAL DETAILS

Dimensions:

  • Height (base to center): 105mm / 4.1″
  • Center out to Cup: 102mm / 4″
  • Arm Length: 70mm / 2.8″
  • Weight: 111.8g

Wire Dimensions:

  • Wire Length: 99cm / 39″
  • Plug Length: 30mm / 1.2″
  • Diameter (thickness): 4.8mm / 0.2″

Specifications

  • Output: 0.4V to 2V
  • Testing Range: 0.5m/s to 50m/s (111.8 mph)
  • Start wind speed: 0.2 m/s
  • Resolution: 0.1m/s
  • Accuracy: Worst case 1 meter/s
  • Max Wind Speed: 70m/s (156.5 mph)
  • Connector details: Pin 1 – Power (brown wire), Pin 2 – Ground (black wire), Pin 3 – Signal (blue wire), Pin 4 not connected

I tested the output  with help from my better half by driving at steady speed and monitoring the output from the anemometer:

  • 0 mph = 0.40  mV
  • 25 mph = 0.78 – 80 mV
  • 28 mph = 88 mV
  • 30 mph = 96 – 100 mV
Anemometer
Anemometer mounted on 2m/70cm H/V relay switch box

I mounted the anemometer to the top of my mast to get a representative wind speed, the next job was to strip out the old PLC from the control cabinet.

Mods
Starting mods, (hand held winch controller on top of cabinet)

I needed to make several changes from the original design in order to free up one of the PLC’s inputs, also out of the 16 Inputs only the first 6 allow analogue inputs, so some moving of inputs was needed along with some minor works to the LED voltages and override/luffing switch.

PLC
Completed Cabinet

All went back together quite nicely but an intermittent problem remained after the PLC replacement in that when the mast completed the mast raise cycle, the motor would immediately reverse and the mast would lower.

Hooking up the laptop to to the PLC, I selected ‘live monitoring’, this displayed the input and output condition, this showed that after operating the ‘raise’ toggle switch (centre bias On – Off – On centre off), the ‘lower’ switch input also went and remained high. This output to the PLC caused the motor to immediately  change direction and lower the moment the mast raised sensor was triggered.

To reduce the chance of a repeat problem occurring, I modified the replacement DPDT switch wiring so that both poles need to switch in order for a signal to pass.

switch wiring

Prior to starting the upgrade works I had the programmed PLC on the bench and I thoroughly tested all control permutations by simulation using the software from Audon Ltd to ensure correct operation.

v3
PLC Modified block diagram (Program File for use with xLogicsoft)

As you can see, the logic has grown with the project, I’m sure this could be significantly simplified, however, it works for me.

Mast Control Logic

Pressing the Emergency Stop button will inhibit any operation and reset any timers which are running.

Raising the Mast

Conditions –

  • E Stop not pressed. (Input 1004)
  • Top Securing mast pin IN. (Input 1008)
  • Mast in the lowered position. (Input 1006)

Trigger –          Switch input momentary high. (Input 1003)

Action –

  • Lower switch inhibited.
  • Switch input via wiping relay with a 1 second ON timer to ensure momentary trigger to the next stage.
  • 36 second up timer start to operate Up relay (fail mechanism in case the ‘raised’ sensor fails).
  • Up relay closes to energize motor drive. (Q002)
  • After expiry of Up timer or on activation of the Up sensor, Up relay opens.
  • Mast raised output relay energizes. (Q003)

Lowering the Mast

Conditions –

  • E Stop not pressed. (Input 1004)
  • Top Securing mast pin IN. (Input 1008)
  • Mast in the raised position. (Input 100C)

Trigger –          Switch input momentary high. (Input 1005)

Action –

  • Raise switch inhibited.
  •  Switch input via wiping relay with a 1 second ON timer to ensure.momentary trigger to the next stage.
  • 39 second down timer starts to operate Down relay (fail mechanism in case the ‘lowered’ sensor fails).
  • Down relay closes to energize motor drive. (Q001)
  • After expiry of Down timer or on activation of the Down sensor, run on timer operates for 0.15 seconds to take slack off winch cable.
  •  After expiry of run-on timer, Down relay opens.
  • Mast lowered output relay energizes. (Q004)

Wind Speed Triggered Auto Lower

Conditions –

  • E Stop not pressed. (Input 1004)
  • Top Securing mast pin IN. (Input 1008)
  • Mast in the raised position. (Input 100C)

Trigger –           Wind measured via Anemometer at 28 mph for 1 minute. (Input A1001)

Action –

  • 0.4 – 2v Anemometer to Analogue Threshold Trigger output set go high at 90 mV and off at 76mV, these values equate to ~28 mph and ~24 mph respectively.
  •  ‘On Delay’ timer from analogue threshold trigger set for a sustained output of 1 minute duration before the next stage is enabled in order to reject gusts.
  •  ‘Off Delay’ timer set to 10 minutes, if no input from the ‘On Delay’,  ‘Off Delay’ resets.
  • Whilst the ‘Off Delay’ timer is running, the WX Amber LED is lit. (Q005)
  • Output from ‘Off Delay’ to wiping relay timer set to 1 second to ensure a momentary output to the next stage.
  • 39 second down timer starts to operate Down relay (fail mechanism in case ‘lowered’ sensor fails).
  • Down relay closes to energize motor drive. (Q001)
  • After expiry of Down timer or on activation of the Down sensor, run on timer operates for 0.15 seconds to take slack off winch cable.
  •  After expiry of run-on timer, Down relay opens.
  • Mast lowered output relay energizes. (Q004)

Battery Charging Process

The winch has 3000lb capacity from Winch-It and is powered by a 12v car battery with a capacity of 45Ah – 360cca.

Normal Operation –    4.5w solar panel connected to the battery via CMP Solar Charge Controller.

Automatic Operation –

Trigger –       After 4 operations of the motors (raise & lower twice) or Weekly – Sunday 01.00

Action –

  • Multi-pole relay energizes after a 2 second delay via Q006, this:
  • Disconnects the solar panel.
  • Applies mains to a 4A output battery charger (charger sized for Ah of battery).
  • Connects the battery charger output to the battery.

Charging ceases when:

  • Battery terminal voltage reaches 14.14v (Over-voltage detection module to Input 100A).
  • 8-hour battery run timer expires.

Manual Operation –

Charging Start – Push button in control cabinet (Input 100B)

Charging Stop – Cursor key on PLC (C3)

Note –

If the battery charging cycle has started and the motor (either up or down) is operated, charging will cease and resume after a delay of 2 seconds after the motor has stopped.

Luffing the Mast

Conditions –

  • E Stop not pressed. (Input 1004)
  • Top Securing mast pin Out. (Input 1008)
  • Bottom Securing mast pin In (Input 1002)
  • Mast in the lowered position. (Input 1006)
  • Luffing switch set to On (Input 1007)

Trigger –           Momentary switch (raise or lower) (Inputs 1003 or 1005)

Action –            Operating the Luffing switch supplies power to the wireless receiver and manual switch which came with the Winch-It kit via a relay , the supply for this is taken from the Luffing/Override indicator LED, (the Luffing switch is a Double Pole Double Throw On – Off – On, the LED is fed from one side of the switch).

A further change to the control is to from latching to momentary switch operation allowing the motor to be ‘inched’ via the wireless handset or panel switches in the control cabinet.

Using the handset allows the mast to be walked down whilst lowering or the reverse when reinstating the mast to the vertical.

Override

Operating the Override switch bypass all limit switches and enables momentary manual control.

 

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Stopping MM0CUG Mast Rattle

With the latest round of high winds, my wall mounted 12m mast makes a loud rattling noise which transfers into the house as the mast marginally moves within the top bracket and was getting to be a nusance.

A simple solution was to make a plastic shim to take up the small slack bewteen the mast and bracket, this is visible in the picture to the left of the pin sensor (I put a 90 degree bend in the shim so I can put it out easily).

Top mast retaining pin

For the shim I used the a section of lid from 16 x 16 trunking lid from Screwfix.

Trunking lid

Grinding the lid lip took only a few seconds.

Trunking lid grinding down

Finished shim, I used two, one between the fron pin and mast, the other to the side of the top bracket and mast, nice, cheap and easy solution which has solved the noise problem.

Finished lid for cutting

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Arduino Windspeed Switch

I used to have a PC on 24/7 running weather software linked to my weather station, this allowed me to have a relay operate should the wind speed exceed a predifined value, this would then signal my antenna mast to automatically retract.

To save energy, I no longer use a PC to publish weather station data to the internet and once this was switched off I lost the relay facility, so I needed a solution.

Looking for windspeed switches on the Internet kept pointing to commercial units at £320 ish, however, I did stumble accross this link from Geeky Gadgets for an Arduino based unit which looked perfect for my needs and all credit must go to the author.

Key Parts

Mouser Electronics:

Anemometer part# 485-1733  @ £42.62

eBay:

LCD Keypad Sheild 2 x16 display 1602  @ £5.75

Arduino Uno @ £8.95

Relay unit @ £0.99

Total Cost £58.31

Construction was very simple, it involved plugging the LCD sheild onto the Arduino, uploading the sketch and making the three connections from the anemometer to the Arduino.

The connection information is in the Geeky Gadgets documentation with the exception of the relay output, the picture below shows this.

Things to note:

  1. The contrast pot on the LCD sheild may need to be adjusted to give an optimal display.
  2. The ‘standstill’ mV of the anemometer needs to be measured and entered in the sketch (min was 0.4345 mV) so the display shows 0 MPH at rest. This is done with a digital voltmeter to measure the resting output, or you could use trail and error and enter values in the sketch until  zero MPH is registered, and then slowly increment the values, uploading each time a change is made, until you hit a point where a speed is registered, then back the number down, at this point you should see and increase in speed displayed with minor turning of the cups.

Arduino

The above is the finished setup, just ready to mount in a suitable enclosure, for test purposes I have set the relay to operate at 4 MPH, when the speed drops below this, the relay de-energises.

The finished unit will be powered by 12v and will work as a standalone unit with a simple normally open output to the mast automation PLC.

Arduino Software can be downloaded from HERE , the working sketch which allows a replay to operate if the windspeed exceeds a preset value is below, simply copy and paste the code below into Aduino software and save the file before compiling:

===================================================

/*
Arduino Wind Speed Meter Anemometer mph – Adafruit anemometer (product ID 1733).
Modified code created March 2016 from original code created by Joe Burg 11th November 2014
At http://www.hackerscapes.com/ with help from Adafruit forum user shirad

12 Feb 17 added relay output based on wind speed.
*/

//Initialise LCD display

#include <LiquidCrystal.h>
LiquidCrystal lcd(8, 9, 4, 5, 6, 7);

int serial_in;
int relay =3;
//Setup Variables
double x = 0;
double y = 0;
const int sensorPin = A1; //Defines the pin that the anemometer output is connected to
int sensorValue = 0; //Variable stores the value direct from the analog pin
float sensorVoltage = 0; //Variable that stores the voltage (in Volts) from the anemometer being sent to the analog pin
float windSpeed = 0; // Wind speed in meters per second (m/s)

float voltageConversionConstant = .004882814; //This constant maps the value provided from the analog read function, which ranges from 0 to 1023, to actual voltage, which ranges from 0V to 5V
int sensorDelay = 2000; //Delay between sensor readings, measured in milliseconds (ms)

//Anemometer Technical Variables
//The following variables correspond to the anemometer sold by Adafruit, but could be modified to fit other anemometers.

float voltageMin = 0.4345; // Mininum output voltage from anemometer in mV.
float windSpeedMin = 0; // Wind speed in meters/sec corresponding to minimum voltage

float voltageMax = 2.0; // Maximum output voltage from anemometer in mV.
float windSpeedMax = 32; // Wind speed in meters/sec corresponding to maximum voltage

void setup()
{

//Setup LCD display with welcome screen

lcd.begin(16,2);
lcd.print(“Geeky Gadgets”);
lcd.setCursor(0,1);
lcd.print(“Windspeed Sensor”);
delay(2500);
lcd.clear();
lcd.setCursor(0,0);
Serial.begin(9600); //Start the serial connection
pinMode(relay,OUTPUT);

}

//Anemometer calculations

void loop()

{

sensorValue = analogRead(sensorPin); //Get a value between 0 and 1023 from the analog pin connected to the anemometer

sensorVoltage = sensorValue * voltageConversionConstant; //Convert sensor value to actual voltage

if (sensorVoltage <= voltageMin){ windSpeed = 0; //Convert voltage value to wind speed using range of max and min voltages and wind speed for the anemometer. Check if voltage is below minimum value. If so, set wind speed to zero.

}else { windSpeed = ((sensorVoltage – voltageMin)*windSpeedMax/(voltageMax – voltageMin)*2.23694); //For voltages above minimum value, use the linear relationship to calculate wind speed in MPH.

//Max wind speed calculation below

x = windSpeed; if (x >= y){

y = x;

}else

y = y;

}

//Print voltage and windspeed to serial

Serial.print(“Voltage: “);
Serial.print(sensorVoltage);
Serial.print(“\t”);
Serial.print(“Wind speed: “);
Serial.println(windSpeed);

//Display Wind Speed results to LCD with Max wind speed

lcd.setCursor(0,0);
lcd.print(“Wind Speed mph”);
lcd.setCursor(0,1);
lcd.print(windSpeed);
lcd.setCursor(7, 1);
lcd.print(“Max=”);
lcd.setCursor(11, 1);
lcd.print(y);
if (windSpeed >4) { //Enter the value of MPH windspeed to be exceeded which will operate the relay
digitalWrite(3,HIGH);
} else{
digitalWrite(3,LOW);

}

delay(sensorDelay);
}

===================================================

For my purposes the displayed wind speed does not have to be calibrated, I only need an indicative reading, therefore cannot vouch for accuracy of this unit.

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SDRPlay

This will be work in progress, please keep checking back until this message is removed.

sdrBought an SDRPlay and ‘m in the process of seeing what it will do and how it interfaces with HDSDR and Orbitron satellite tracking software, my initial aim is to receive and decode weather satellite images using WXtoImg.

Using the excellent construction details and templates from www.askrlc.co.uk for a Quadrifiliar Helical Antenna (QFH), I had a stab at making one.

The local plumbers merchant had the 32mm waste pipe and 8mm copper pipe along with an endstop, the total value of material was £26.00.

First job was to cut a piece of single sided copper board to fit in the pipe, once this was done, I cut a track in the disk as per the instructions, the dremel equivalent drill came into its own on doing this.

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Using the template and measurements from the website, I drill the holes for the 8mm pipe, I then used the dremel to cut a notch in the top pipe stubs the same width as the copper board, so that as I pushed each top stub in, it held the disk in place, allowing me to drill and use self tapping screws to secure the pipe in place.

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Checking with the MFJ-269C, the VSWR was 2:1 at 137.00MHz so very pleased with that.

The next step is to mount a Mini Whip on the top of the mast and get it all mounted, more info and pics will follow soon….

noaa-19-201608291343-mcir29 August 16, very first satellite download using SDRPlay and QFH antenna, lots, to tweak to get a better image, but I’m on the right track.

 

 

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Radio Mast Automation – Part 4 – FINISHED (or so I thought)!

It has taken quite a while and a fair bit of work, but the ham radio mast automation project was finally  commissioned and tested today.

The links to the previous parts are here –

The main bulk of the final part was the drawing out of cables from my 40mm duct and replacing the aluminium tube from the rotator with a slightly longer one, this will give me more room for antennas should they be needed at a later date.

So that I dont have to run more antenna cables from the mast to the shack, I have fitted an Ameritron RCS-8V mast head 5 input antenna relay linked back to the shack by a multicore cable.

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Mast winched down to allow the longer pole and relay unit to be fitted, while the mast was down, I added some more ‘P’ clips the tidy the convoluted tube.

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The ‘kick’ in the tube allows the mast to sit in the top bracket recess without snagging any cables.

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The cables from the mast were put inside an protective sleeving up to the point where they enter the duct, the cables from the mast are:

  • 1 x RG213 for X200 Co-linear
  • 1 x RG213 for 2m/70cm Beams
  • 1 x RG213 to Antenna Relay
  • 1 x 8 core multicore from Antenna Relay (two cores were used for the beam relay which is separately housed on the mast)
  • 1 x 7 core rotator cable

From the external control, a 12 core multicore cable is also drawn in the duct.

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The 12 core is wired into the shack mast control unit, the unit is currently showing that the mast is in the raised position, a cable from this unit goes to the weather station Hobby Board relay interface.

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The supply for the Hobby Board interface is derived from the 24v supply which is used for the mast sensors (within the interface is a voltage reduction circuit so it operates at 13v).

The Weather Display Hobby Board program has bee set to output a ‘mast lower’ signal if any of these conditions are met:

  • Wind speed exceeds 27kts (31mph)
  • 30 strikes per minute of lighting are detected

The lightning count was originally 8 strikes per minute and as the detector was picking up lightning approximately 30 miles away it triggered the mast to lower, which it did.  As their is no distance calibration, I have increased the strikes per minute as I’m assuming the strike rate will increase as the storm gets closer.

If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to get in touch.

January 17 Update

Without my weather PC running Lightning Data could not be used, in Jan 17 I turned off the PC so now the weather related mast condition is from a standalone wind speed device.

Please see Part 5 HERE.

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Radio Mast Automation: Control – Part 3

Third installment of the thrilling journey to install automation control to raise and lower my 12m radio mast, Part 2 is HERE.

As it was such a lovely few days weather I thought I’d spend some time working on mast automation, the proximity sensors (link to sensor blog) have been installed previously, so it was time to wire them up.

I bought some 10mm convoluted tube and ‘Tee’ fittings from Hilltop Products, 3/8″ P clips came courtesy of  eBay, the existing mast control wiring arrangement was completely removed and replaced with new tube and clips, an 8 core cable (Alarm cable 7/0.2mm) was drawn in, each of the four mast sensors had a unique signal cable, the other four cores were doubled up for 24v power to the sensors.

The ‘Tee’ pieces were ideal to close on the Superseal connector rubber boots and gives a great finish.

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I fitted an Emergency Stop button to the side of the mast and added a longer length of cable to the solar panel via a Superseal connector, existing control relays in the battery box were also removed and enclosure holes sealed.

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It was at the point of cleaning up the battery box that I measured the current draw taken by the high current relay when energized, I had factored about 1A, however it turned out to be 2.5A, this meant that my controllers wiring loom switching wires were underrated.

I had neatly lace wired with waxed cord my loom, and it took me ages to undo that good work and replace the switching wires with 0.75mm2 singles, one this was done, it was out with the waxed cord for round two.

The reason so much effort was taken with cable identification and looming was that all the kit had to be striped from the wooden backboard in order for the board to fit back in the enclosure, once in, the kit gets remounted, it’s not a big space to work so I knew I had to make it robust against wires coming out.

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Once installed and powered up, I tested the speed of operation of the emergency stop button, fortunately its as near as instant as I could perceive, so I pressed and released the mast raise switch, and stood back with my hand on the E-Stop in case it overshot the limits and the run timer was set too long, as it was it work perfectly, as did the lowering operation, the picture was taken after I pressed the Battery Charge override button, this disconnects the battery from the solar panel charger as the 4A charge is ON, battery voltage is displayed on the Mast Controller box and when this reaches 14.14v, the PLC will turn the charging relay off, reconnecting the battery to the solar charger once more.

Every four lifts of the mast or every Sunday at 01:00 whichever is sooner will cause the charging sequence to begin, in case the battery is unable to reach the set-point voltage, the PLC will disconnect the charger after 10 hours of use.

The white pipe at the bottom of the enclosure is for a single 12 core to the remote control unit in the shack, this is the next job to wire.

Power to the motor is from  a 45Ah 360A battery, the original 063 type from Halfords was beginning to signs of aging, so I bought the one below from eBay for £24:50 in January 17:

The battery is maintained by a solar panel and after 4 lifts, a 4A charger kicks in, solar panel charging currrent is 502mA:

Current drawn by the motor raising the mast is a little over 23A, the duration is approximatly 47 seconds for the mast to reach full height.

The Load and time taken to lower the mast is a lot lower at 8.86A.

Please see Part 4 HERE.

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