Category Archives: Weather Site

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’.

New Blitzortung Power Supply

Due to my previous blogs about a dodgy power supply unit (PSU) used for Chatteris Weathers Blitzortung lightning detector, I ordered a low electrical noise PSU off ebay.com, I ordered the 5v PSU on the 5th January, I received a mail confirming dispatch on the 7th January and on the 10th January it arrived from Hong Kong!

I plugged the unit in the detected signal quality is excellent, the PSU was quite expensive, but well worth the money as the performance of the unit is considerable better than before.
2015-01-09 23.54.24 (Medium)
Spot the spelling mistake 🙂

2015-01-09 23.54.48 (Medium)
5v USB at 1A and an output of 8.5v which I have used to power thermostat controlling the temperature in the small equipment room.

2015-01-10 02.16.43 (Medium)
TeraDak unit next to my NAS.

TeraDak PSU
Although ‘smoothing’ is on, the trace is considerably better than anything before it.

signal2
Lightning detection trace, picked up from Scotland, so not that far away.

Lightning Analysis Reinstated

I have tweaked and restored the lightning analysis pages records_summary.php with the websites menubar link taking you to the records summary page, at the base of this page is a number of further links which drill into the details, (at the time of writing no new events have been generated since 2014).

The base program is called ‘Discharge’, a link to download this is on each lightning analysis page displayed.

Weather Station Equipment & Software

Thought I’d do a quick blog on the equipment and software in use at Chatteris Weather as I have made some changes recently.

The PC is a Hewlett Packard HPd530 tower unit, the original 360Gb hard drive has been supplemented with an additional 1Tb drive, this is used to store the mirror of the main C:drive and web site backups – this in turn is backed up to a NAS (network Attached Storage) and another hard drive in a removable caddy all just in case, wish we could predict a failure in advance!

crystal_ball_LG

The PC has 4Mb RAM and a Pentium 4 – 2.66GHz CPU, the operating system is XP Professional, Service Pack 3, this PC cost £80 (Ebay).

All powered elements relating to the weather station are on UPS backed power including the router.

The weather station is a Davis Vantage Pro2, with the following sensors:

      Wind Speed

 

      Wind Direction

 

      External Temperature

 

      Humidity

 

      Rain

 

      Solar

 

    Ultra Violet

Additional sensors, not part of the Davis Vantage Pro2, are fitted to detect lightning, these are the Boltek LD-250 and a community project – Blitzortung.

The Davis Vantage Pro2 is hardwired to a LCD display, this display also outputs the data via a USB port to the Weather PC, Weather Display software process this data and presents it in graphical and tabular form, this program is extremely comprehensive in functionality.

To allow an image to be included on the weather site, I have used a Canon digital camera operated by SebecTec software, should the software detect that the camera is ‘frozen’, a USB relay will operate, resetting power to the camera and causing the program to restart.

I use Startwatch to automatically start in sequence the following programs, (I use this over the System Scheduler as it displays CPU and memory usage, this application is left open on my desktop as the colour indicators next to each program show me instantly what is working well and what isn’t):

      Nexstorm – This is the local graphical interface to the Boltek LD-250 lightning detector.

 

      StormVue NGX Data Server – This is used for the remote web interface display.

 

      SebecTec – Camera software.

 

      Weather Display – Main program.

 

      WXSIMATE – Data collector for weather simulator and local forecasting software.

 

      WXSIM – Local weather simulator software

 

    WASP2 – Launches Nexstorm images to the web site and to the StrikeStar network.

Programs which start with the PC are:

      TSentry – Lightning Alert e-mail addon to Nexstorm.

 

      StrikeStarEU – Sends data to the StrikeStar network from Nexstorm.

 

    System Scheduler (Professional) – Executes programs.

Scheduled Programms – these are controlled by the System Scheduler –

      Discharge – Lightning analysis software displaying output on web site.

 

      Autolearn – This WXSIM addon works in conjunction with WRET Data Retreval software and causes adaptive changes to the WXSIM forecast based on analysis of history files.

 

      WXCompare – The scheduler runs the sequence of logging scripts in order that WXCompare functions.

 

    Acronic – Every Sunday an automated backup is taken.

Software used to administer Chatteris Weather is:

      Filezilla – Data transfer.

 

      Notepad++ – Editing.

 

      TeamViewer – Remote access for diagnostics or restarts.

 

      WDL Configurator – This is the programming package for Weather Display Live which is used on the site.

 

    CCleaner – File and registry cleaner.

I haven’t mentioned Blitzortung as the controller has a built in web server allowing me to access it via a web browser, no local software is required.

What I’m finding is that the PC is slightly under-powered in terms of performance, both the Weather Display and WXSIM forecast programs are quite resource hungry, the former especially when creating hourly and daily movie files and the later when it is generating a forecast, due to lack of processor power I had to move the creation of the Twitter feed to the half hour as their was just too much going on the hour and subsequently Twitter data did not get published.

2014-12-27 21.42.25 (Medium)The lower screen has Weather Display showing, the Weather PC is the taller of the two, you may just be able to make out the removable Hard Drive caddy on top of the smaller PC, I use this to backup each of the PC’s.

Dramatic Difference with Lightning Detection Signal

After finding the radio interference problem caused by a plug in power supply unit, (link to Thread), this also caused power quality issues to the Blitzortung lightning detector to which it was powering, here we have a before and after traces of background noise:

blitz badPulses caused the automatic gain to be reduced, effecting the detection range.

blitz goodConsiderable improvement of signal quality.

detectionLightning detection trace, this trace was captured during the storm activity in the image below.

station

The green squares indicate stations online, the grey squares are stations that are currently offline.