Category Archives: Weather Site

General Web Site Maintenance

Decided to do a little bit of autumn maintenance of the weather web site:

  • Added London Underground service status to the Trains page
  • Added a link to Solent Harbor radio to replace the broken audio media player
  • Repaired the link to Talking Chatteris Weather on the web front page
  • Changed the time lapse video feed to mp.4 format and configured a JW Player in an iframe to show this
  • Rationalized some of the menu to make navigation easier
  • White listed my ip address in ZBlocker after I locked myself out of the site ūüôĀ
  • Added ¬†more Chatteris related community interest links and checked existing ones, adjusting to newer links where needed
  • Changed some of the upload times to the correct value in the page text

If you find any broken links, please use the Contact Form to let me know.

 

Weather Station – Relay Outputs

My weather station software is Weather Display which is unbelievable in what it can do, the author of the software is very receptive to ideas and modifications and has introduced a feature which I and others have asked for, that is the ability for a physical relay to change state when a condition has been met.

Weather Display used to have the feature to operate a 1-wire single relay, but this has been superseded by an 8 Relay module which was not coded to work with the program.

I bought a board and sent it to Brian Hamilton of Weather Display, and within one afternoon had it working  (it did take a few days to get there as Brian lives in New Zealand)!

The feature Weather Display offers is not only control of relays via Weather Display, but using a Phone or Tablet app.

hobbyboard1

The relays can be assigned to Temperature, Wind Speed, Rain, Lightning (depending on sensors) or a timed schedule, these parameters are set and adjusted from a tab within the program.

SAM_5542 (Medium)

The relay board is powered by an external 12v supply with a 1-wire data lead going through a USB interface to the PC, activated relays are indicated by the LED.

SAM_5537 (Medium)

The app allows full control of the relays if configured, or for relays that have been set to ‘monitor’, the state of the relay is reflected on the app.

This addition has brought a new dimension to the weather station, and I will be connecting the ham radio mast motor to the relays, so that on detection of high wind or lightning, the mast will automatically retract (and maybe ground all the antennas so the transceivers wont get damaged).

A further benefit not related to weather is that a relay could be remotely switched to operate the heating or lighting etc, I’m using one to turn on a power supply unit so I can remotely operate power to my transceivers.

Note:   The HobbyBoard relays are not rated for high currents, I will be using these relays to operate higher switching capacity relays.

8 Channel Input/Output Manual shows the versatility of this module.

Lightning Storm

Chatteris had a lighting storm right overhead for some time in the early hours of Saturday 4 July, the strikes were spectacular and the whole sky was alight with activity.

The first alert my Boltek lightning detector e-mailed was at 12.22am, the storm was successfully tracked until 02.40am when the severity of the storm took out the electrical supply to my part of the town, it was just over 4 hours when the power returned.

4715 (Custom)

Screen grab from weather PC just before the UPS batteries exhausted themselves, shows over 23800 strikes with a current rate of 447 strikes per minute (these could be inter cloud, cloud to cloud or strikes to ground).

While the wife loved natures display of power, the dog certainly didn’t!

Blitzortung Station Ident Changed

Due to a user error (me), I inadvertently blew the Blitzortung STM32F4-Discovery daughter board, fortunately this was the only element damaged.

The new station identification number is now 1354 from the previous ident of 755, the original station was 675 but after each daughter board change, the station is reassigned a new number based on the embedded code within the discovery board.

I was off line for about two hours, but everything is working as expected again.

Second Hard Drive Added to Weather PC

Added a 1Tb secondary hard drive to the weather PC, this was bought from dabs.com and was delivered within a few days, I’ve always had excellent service from dabs.

The Dell Precision 490 has a spare bay for a hard drive but it needs a special caddy, these are less than £5 from Charles Computers on Ebay.

The fitting is really straightforward as all the required cables are pre-installed, once plugged up, the PC is turned on and as soon as the Dell logo is shown, pressing F2 enters the BIOS, here the SATA drive is enabled, before rebooting.

I’m using Acronis True Image 2015 and using the Tools>>Clone Disk option made the secondary drive bootable and also this will be where backups are stored.

I have set Acronis to generate ‘Version Chains’ it does this by making a full backup first¬†and then differential backups, every fifth backup is a full one and the chain starts again, any version older than six months is deleted.

The Version chain is ran three times a week to the secondary drive with a full backup to an external drive being done weekly.

Changed Weather PC

Over the past few weeks the reliability of my dedicated weather PC was getting worse, probably due to the number of concurrent applications running and the fact that it is never switched off.

I decided to get a more ‘gruntier’ one, not sure if that’s the correct word, not only to¬† server my weather site ¬†but become my main PC, therefore a number of radio related applications needed installing as well.

I used GNG computers in Huntingdon who I have used a number of times before and have never been disappointed on cost, quality or speed of delivery.

The PC is a Dell Precision 490 and has duel Xeon 3Ghz 2 core processors, 8Gb of RAM and two hard drives (well the second one will be fitted soon) 650Gb and 1Tb, the 1Tb will be a mirror of the main drive and have the backups on it.

The process to transfer the weather programs was a nightmare as a number of them were licensed to one PC, moving the programs meant transferring licenses, so I’ll bore you with the programs I transferred or installed: –

Orbitron, WSPR, Dl-Digi,Fl-Digi, Ham Radio Deluxe, HDSDR, MMSSTX, DX Atlas, Echolink, Raidar, CCleaner, Notepad++, Filezilla, Google earth, Microsoft Office, Kaspersky, Teamviewer, Livezilla, Diffmerge, The Owl, VXM remote, Arduino, Z-Zip, LifeCam, Olympus digital camera, Dropbox, Google Docs, E-mail, Weather Display, Nexstorm, Startwatch, StormvueNGX, Sentry, Sebectec, Wxsim, Wxmate, WASP2, Discharge, Acronis 2015, System Scheduler, WDL configurator, Microsoft Expression, Strikestar EU, Skype, Visio and Image resizer!

I must say that it is blisteringly fast and I can comfortably now do more than one thing at once, which is quite an achievement for a bloke.

 

 

 

Installed zbblock Spam & Hack Prevention Tool

Installed¬† zbblock¬† to reduce the number of rouge search tools which are constantly crawling all over the site, I’m working through the settings, but it will take a while to ‘tune’ the program.

If you happen to get a warning, I have put a contact e-mail on the alert page for genuine visitors to get in touch so I can allow access, obviously if you try to many times, the system will lock you out completely and you wont be reading this ūüôā

Chatteris Weather PC Mods

Took advantage of the break ant tweaked the Chatteris Weather PC, the original Weather Display software is version 10.37R Build 81, I finally decided to upload the Beta version 10.37R Build 255, at the same time I tided the file structure.  If you were monitoring the site today you would have noticed intermittent outages as certain elements stopped working, or were only partially right, for example, automated Tweets on the 1/2 hour were sent without any weather data attached, only the webcam image.

I changed the¬†Cookie- Consent provider as well today, the new type will cause a pop-up box at the bottom left of the screen, you can either accept that Chatteris Weather uses cookies by clicking on the green tab and the box will disappear for 30 days.¬† If your not sure, clicking ‘Read More’ will take you to the Privacy Policy page.

In order to save a little bit of upload bandwidth, I’ve throttled back some of the data frequency, this will not be noticeable, but it’s a back office function which need doing.

Due to a number of problems which is to be expected on a Beta version of software, I have reverted back to the original version and build, I will keep downloading and testing as everything is now configured, so hopefully downtime will be at an absolute minimum.

 

 

Added Daily Records Page

Added a new Daily Records page to Chatteris Weather, this compares previous daily records to current, this information is all on one page per month, it is quite interesting to see what the readings were then and now.

A drop down month selector is at the top of the web page with records going back to December 2013, the page can be accessed via the Daily Records link above or from the Chatteris home page, ‘Almanac’ on the menubar and select ‘Daily Records’.