Category Archives: Weather Site

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.

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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.

 

 

 

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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 🙂

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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.

 

 

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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’.

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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.

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