Archive Weather Site Information

This is the original blog  on my weather station, the latest information is containained within the pages of this site via the WEATHER tab at the top of the page:

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, 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:.

  • Newly registered and, these forward to, hopefully it will make remembering the stations name for access easier.
  • Added Twitter feed to the Weather Cam > Current View cam page, this will help me test that the feed is working and also help visitors to decide if it is something they would be interested in following.
  • Added radio propagation information and satellite tracking maps on the Space Weather page.
  • Sun and Moon – Sunlight Graph has been playing up, sometimes it works, other times it shows the dreaded red cross in the corner, currently its working as each time it stops I have to upload Sun48.png and jpmoon.png files again to the sites root directory, hopefully one of the experts on the weather forums can help me to fix it once and or all.
  • In Community Interest pages changed a few of the links, especially the one to UK Power after our power cuts!
  • In Useful Links I have added a number of links to scripts, without the time and effort of these gifted scripters, chatteris weather would not have got off the ground.
  • I have introduced a Warning Service, this will send an automated email to those who use the contact form and request it, the warning service page lists all the thresholds, this service also extends to thunderstorm notifications.
  • Stumbled across a download from Astrogenic Systems called SPARK.CLX, this allows legacy cell phones to view NexStorm lightning detection output, a link is on the Warning Service page, can’t see that many people using it as most mobiles can simply view the whole website which includes the sites lightning pages.
  • A Photograph gallery has been incorporated, this will be continue to be added to.
  • Contact Us form has been amended to included a drop-down selection menu box to help administer alert subscriptions.
  • Changed a tab to ‘Take a break’ from ‘Lottery’ as I’ve added a number of games.

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

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:

  • Added postscript after the countdown clock indicating the season leaving.
  • Added wxalltimehigh script this has been included in the ‘Almanac’ fly-out menu and list station records.
  • Included a script which will bring up an alert box on the home page of the site when any station record has been broken, I chose for the alert box not too be visible when no record has broken.
  • Menu bar items moved about to make it a bit more logical.

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 ( 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 (, the new site is accessed via the normal address of, this site is linked back from the home page of the Saratoga template, this site can be accessed directly by entering

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:

  • Weather Display – Control Panel – Web Files/Web Page Real Time FTP/WDL – Time Stamped File Setup – untick ‘Upload the latest time stamped jpeg web cam file every minute’.
  • Weather Display – Control Panel – Web Files/Web Page Real Time FTP/WDL – Animated Web Cam Images Setup – untick ‘Still upload the normal web cam image (at the web cam upload times)’.

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.

  • Ordered my Blitzortung lightning detector kit today, so that should be a nice project to construct and get working.
  • Installed Revolver Map, it’s out of interest, I won’t get hung up if it’s only ever me who checks it out 🙂

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.

Land Drains

Tenuous link to weather with this one, when we first moved into our house in January 2006, every time the dog came back in from being in the garden, she would have wet paws even if it had not rained for days as the land just did not drain as it is made up of very heavy clay with a thin topping of soil to allow the grass to grow, the only course of action was to improve the drainage.

Garden as it was when we moved in, first job was to put a gate into the fence so the mini digger can get in.
Work starts on installing the land drains.
All trenching done.
Drains installed and back-filling.
Top soil added and ground rotovated.
Patio base going in.
bin store
Beginnings of the bin store.
Patio going down.
lawn prep
Edgings and raised border going in.
Turf going dawn.
Completed patio.
Patio area, note the gate in the fence used for the digger access.
Lawn growing well.


Home Generator & Backup Switching

This blog is from 2014 updated in Feb 2018.

A few years ago just before Christmas we had an extended power outage, not only didn’t the telly work :-(,  but all the food in the fridge/freezer was nearly spoiled which would have been a disaster, it was at that point I decided to install an external power inlet point for a petrol generator and some form of switching.

I decided early on that I only needed the essentials to be on the generator backup, this included the heating, lighting, kitchen power circuit and cooking, it was important that I confirmed which circuit breaker control which circuit, this is important as I need to isolate high current consuming circuits so as not to overload the generator when online.

The generator I bought was a Honda 3kVA manual pull start unit off eBay (it later transpired that it wasn’t a genuine Honda, you’ve got to love shysters), which should be plenty big enough, if we need to heat water for hot drinks we’ll use the gas hob kettle rather than the electric one so as not to overload the genny, I can keep an eye on actual consumption due to a digital power monitor which is incorporated into the transfer switch enclosure.

As the generator is a manual pull start their was no point having an automatic power transfer switch, so I built a manual one.

So, outside in the meter cupboard is a 16A switched male socket inlet, this has been modified with a power indicator which illuminates when the generator is running, the generator plugs into this external outlet via small lead, two things to note, first that the petrol generator is outside so that fumes can’t get into the house and secondly that the power lead from the generator to the house uses a female socket to ensure that no exposed pins can be touched with the generator running, removing any shock risk.

From the external socket a 4mm cable feeds into one side of a power transfer switch, this switch has a capacity of 125 amps and is a break before make type, this will ensure that it is not possible to back feed power to the generator from the utility supply during the manual switching operation.

The supply from the utility company also go to this transfer switch, the output of the switch goes to the consumer unit and from here to each of the circuits in the house.

Operation – under normal conditions, the transfer switch is set to utility supply, this is confirmed by an LED, on a sustained power outage, the generator is hooked up and started, the switch on the external socket inlet is turned to on and the generator power available LED is lit.

Non essential circuit breakers in the consumer unit are turned to the off position, once done, the transfer switch generator power available LED is checked, and if lit, the transfer switch is operated to import power to the consumer unit from the generator.

Restoration of utility supply is indicated by an audible tone which obviously is switched off in normal utility power operation.

Original electricity cupboard
Supply company lowered the isolator to make room for the generator intake switch.
generator intake
Generator intake.
125A break before make transfer switch.
panel display
Digital Volts, Amps, Kw and frequency meter.
Transfer switch mounted next to garage dado power consumer unit.
boxed up
Transfer switch fully installed.
Consumer modified to RCBO and remote power off to garage supply
Smart meter installed August 2017
Generator plugged in
Generator plugged in on test.

System on test, instruction by the consumer unit, give the startup and shutdown process including which breakers to turn off before changing over, the transfer switch panel meter is used for monitoring load to make sure the generator is not overloaded.

GoDaddy Data Migration Fail


If you have a weather site using Saratoga and Leuven scripts and are considering moving server from North America to European servers….DON’T DO IT!!!!

The story started on 15 Oct 17, looking through cPanel on my GoDaddy site, it suggested that speed might be increased by moving to a server nearer to my location, this meant moving data from North America to Europe, as the transfer was free, what did I have to lose.

The data migration took 3 hours on 16 Oct 17, filled with high expectations that my site would load super fast, I clicked on and waited, and waited and waited, the site took nearly a minute to load.

I rang GoDaddy service desk and spoke to an assistant who suggested it was due to the SSL certificate needing to be rekeyed on the new server and he sent me the details on how to do it, being nervous of breaking the site even more, I called back and they said they can rekey the certificate for £100 in 10 days time, I declined.

A great friend came round and together we rekeyed the SSL certificate, guess what,…..nothing changed!

I posted on WXForum and started this WXForum Topic , it turns out that their is a known issue with European servers and the only way to resolve it is to go back to North American server.

So, on the 23 Oct 17 after paying £19.20, my data was once again whistling over the big pond, and this time it worked 🙂

The moral of the story is that if it isn’t broken, don’t try and fix it, the second moral is don’t move GoDaddy servers to other GoDaddy servers unless you want a world of pain.

Vehicle Inspection Pit

This was one of those jobs that you thought it was a good idea at the time, once construction started and things didn’t go as planned, I wished I’d never started it and the only way out was to spend your way out!

April 2011 was day one, the plan was to sink a vehicle inspection pit into the drive so that when it’s not in use, it would be completely covered and therefore unnoticeable, the pit had to be narrow enough to take the small car we had (Fiat Punto) but robust enough so that when our 3.5t motorhome was over it the walls didn’t collapse with me in it, also it had to be the correct height that I could work under the car or van comfortably and the right length that I can get to at least half of the underside of the van without it sticking out across the pavement (sidewalk for US visitors).

First stage was to confirm that planning permission didn’t apply, which it didn’t and secondly that there were no buried services that could stop the project, I did lift manlids to check the direction of pipes and wrote to the gas, electricity, telephone and water utility companies and all came back ok, the only thing I had to move out of the way was the armored conduit which goes to the outside lights which was easy as I’d fitted it.

One the dimensions were decided on, I started researching the reinforcing steel bars and type of concrete required, from this I drew a  rebar plan which gave me the quantities of steel and concrete needed.


I did explore using a ‘tanked’ construction and simply digging a hole and sinking it in, what bothered me was the high water table we have here and if you google ‘hydrostatic pressure’ their are examples where swimming pools have simply been pushed out of the ground, not a good look!

I opted to use 18mm plywood to make a ‘shuttered’ form even though the wood would be wasted, on balance it was still cheaper than hiring in bespoke steel panels from a local supplier.

The following series of pictures show the construction from the marking out of the hole to the finished pit, I mentioned at the start about things not turning out as expected, I made a flawed assumption that after the hole was dug, I could get away without propping the sides (I know it was stupid!), anyway fortunately I wasn’t in the hole at the time, but the sides caved in, now the problem this presented was that the cost to fix this.

The cost escalated as I would need a JCB rather than a mini digger to scoop out the spill due to the now extended boom reach required, also I would need two more 12m2 skips at £110.00 each, not to mention the additional backfill to make good the sides where the clay had slid from, all in all a blinking nightmare, so, do I fill the lot in and cut may losses, ore spend out of it, well the rest is history and a year later the credit card was finally paid off :-).


Outline marked out

pre dig


start of trenching

services ducting

dig midway

dig in progress

dig completed

Completed Holes
All done – spot on digging job, brown pipe is for the air vent and the Black tube is for the submersible pump to pump the pit out as their was no intention to make it waterproof.
Everything was going so well until the sides collapsed

Pit sides caved in the day after it was dug as I didn’t support them, the ground is heavy clay which slipped leaving a overhang, this overhang was soil and hay as the land on which the house was built used to be a farmers field.

So, change of plan, I decided to build the steel work outside of the hole and surround it in shuttering ply, and have the digger lift it into the hole……

Start of cage construction
cage 2
Lin looking happy to help
JCB with longer reach than a minidigger to clear the collapsed hole
Side shuttering ongoing


Wall shuttering in place
Rebar welded to angle iron edge protectors


internal shuttering

Smart Meter Installation

I have been after getting a Smart Meter installed for the past few years so I could monitor my energy usage in near real time, my original supplier (EON) said that as my gas was supplied via IGT infrastructure, they could not install Smart Metering, speaking to British Gas (BG) and my IGT they said this wasn’t a problem, so I switched supplier.

Surprise, surprise, when I came to register for a Smart Meter to be installed British Gas, they said it was not possible for the same reason that EON gave.

I took the case to OFGEM, but my case was undermined as the telephone conversation recording with the BG operative and myself could not be found, however, due to an extensive e-mail trail, OFGEM ruled that BG were to give me a written apology.

Winding forward to the 24 August 2017, I upgraded my British Gas mobile app and ‘Book a Smart Meter’ button appeared,  with a wry smile I pressed the button and hey presto it accepted my booking, whereas previously this has been declined, and an appointment was set for 3 August 2017 between 13:00 and 17:00.

The BG guy rang before he arrived, he introduced himself as Ashley and was really friendly, taking him to the external meter cupboards I had my fingers crossed that nothing would get in the way to causing a cancellation, as it was, no problems were presented so the installation of gas and electricity smart meters could go ahead.

The picture above shows my old meter with an OWL energy monitor transmitter with a clamp on Current Transformer attached to the incoming phase wire, Ashley started on the electricity meter swap out first after checking the nearest socket with a plug in tester   for confirmation of correct polarity and earth continuity, he turned off the consumer units main isolator and central heating boiler before pulling the main service fuse.

Due to the larger size of the smart meter, he had to shorten the tails from the cut-out, apart from that, the exchange took about 40 minutes in total and the OWL monitor is now redundant!

Smart Meter all connected.

The replacement of the gas smart meter was a bit more challenging as the new meter would not fit without meter exit pipework modifications.

Ashley isolated the gas supply and stripped out the old meter, regulator and anaconda pipe, replacing the regulator and pipe with new, he offered the meter up and noted where the meter outlet pipe needed modifying.

He cut out the existing pipe and soldered in a prefabricated swept connector and it was a perfect fit.

Link to Landis & Gyr Gas Meter Information

He tightened all connectors after replacing all ‘O’ rings with new ones and gave his works a pressure and leak test, once finished he sealed the outlet hole from the meter cupboard with flue cement.

He then ran through the display and went on his way, overall it took about 2 hours to fit the two meters and one major positive was that he found a loose connection on the neutral from electricity isolator switch to my consumer unit, so well pleased that he did a quality job.

Link to Smart Monitor User Guide

I opted for 1/2 hour reading to be captured throughout the day, the combined log is automatically uploaded daily to a remote server via the mobile network, logging into My Energy Portal will allow you to see you consumption breakdown over time:

So, all done, its taken a few years to get and at one point I thought I would have to wait until 2020, fortunately I was wrong.


11 August 17, my mobile and online British Gas app no longer show half-hourly usage, instead they show seasonal overall consumption, I have raised a service ticket to see if this can be returned to as it was, the old IGT card was mentioned during my converstaion with the service desk and I said I have a screen grab posted to the internet, so I know it was working!!

16 August 17, Yeah!! My Energy portal is back working showing 1/2 hourly usage figures.

4 September 17, noticed that the gas reading was not being updated on the remote display after 30 minutes of use, it to update with all the reading the next day and then at random times the gas icon would light, BG coming out on 2 Nov 17 to replace the  display.

3 November 17, indoor display changed by BG but he could not wait the 30 minutes to see if gas registered on the display, unfortunately it still doesn’t update.

14 November 17, spoke to BG Smartmeter department on 0333 2029821 and there is nothing that can be done to get my display to show gas readings every 30 mins, they are working on the issue, but as yet there is no fix.  Meter consumption readings are updating via the Vodaphone network  ok.

I’m disappointed as the display does not give the functionality as advertised, but it is free so I’ve nowhere to go with this.

16 December 17, not sure if its a fluke or not, plugged the display in upstairs and after a week or so of not showing gas being used, it suddenly started working.

Davis FARS Upgrade to a Monitored PC Fan

Link to original Davis Fan Motor change

When the original Davis FARS motor failed I installed a new motor and kept back some spare motors, waiting for the inevitable motor failure to occur, reading online, changing from the Davis Fan to a PC varient made a lot of sense and not only is the life of motor excellent, but it is possible to monitor the motors output for operation.

I was interested to know the existing Davis fans air flow, mine was running at 2.4vDC and showed 9.7m/s:

The PC fan I bought was a Noctura NF-R8 redux -1800 PWM for £9.99 of eBay.

With the David FARS removed, the existing fan assembly slides out of the housing as a complete fan & surround, the hole left will take the 80 x 80mm fan with only a very minor filing of the fan case body to make it slide into the body of the FARS.

No modifications are made to the existing FARS body allowing reversion back to the existing fan if I wish (can’t think why, but you never know!).

To form a seal around the gaps, I used self adhesive door/window strip seal.

The finished fan after the seal is applied and checking that the fan is sucking, rather than blowing:

The oringinal fan ran on 2.4v, I replaced the voltage regulators fixed value resistor for the correct one to give 11.54vDC output and this feeds the motor and the motor monitoring Tacho.

The air flow of the PC fan when installed and connected was 5.5m/s, this is less than the original davis fan, but this is still better than static air within the sensing chamber.

The Davis weather station I have is the wired version, and I used Cat5e cable rather than the supplied 4 core cable from the ISS to the console, using the Cat5e unused cores, I fed the supply voltage to the fan and the Tacho pulse into the house where they are connected to a 52mm (2″) counter tachometer guage RPM, this was bought off eBay for £6.70 + £1.69 postage.

Tacho installed in the equipment cabinet:

The PC fan connections are:

  • Black – Negative 12v
  • Yellow – Positive 12v
  • Green – Tacho Pulse
  • Blue – PWM (Not Used)

The Tacho is set for a 4 cyclinder engine using a switch on the back of the unit, with the fan running the backlit RPM display is showing just under 1000RPM (reading slightly low due to voltage drop introducd by the distance from the ISS to the end point), to the left of the Tacho is my Meteobridge Pro  weather station server to the internet.

The motor is guaranteed for 6 years, replacement will be very easy and I’m able to remotley monitor that the fan is functioning, all for less than £20.


16 September 2018, after 14 months continuous use, the motor failed, not even close to 6 years!!

I wrote to Noctua who are based in Austria and after asking me to perform some basic fault finding and requesting the fans data markings, agreed to send me a replacement fan, I in return was asked to send then a picture of the faulty fan with some of the blades broken off when the new one arrives.

While this correspondence was going on I bought a new fan off eBay for £12.50 which was installed on 22 Sept 18.

Shack/Office Refurbishment

Well what a job!!

My home office is also my shack and like most things, the infrastructure grew rather than was managed, so I knew the electrical power was not ideal and the network patch panel was full. The thing that brought it to a head was the need for a new floor covering, and so it began.

First job was to put in a new final circuit ring main to the office dado trunking and add a couple of additional power points for the UPS and mobile air conditioning unit.

As the cables are ran in the loft, I decided to install a decent fold down loft hatch and sliding ladder for ease of access, the loft lighting was also improved by installing 4 x 4′ fluorescent operated by a pull switch fed from its own dedicated circuit, this lighting made a huge difference.

To move everything out of the office to get access to the floor meant it needed to go somewhere, and the obvious choice was the loft, so off to Homebase for loft flooring and loft legs and of course it was boarded during the hottest days of July.

Once everything was out, I could start tearing down to rebuild:

The existing home network hub needed to come out:

MB Pro fitted

No going back now!

New cable drops for additional tap points near the TV and existing TalkTalk router are shown, I did move/rationalise other tap points around the house and in the garage. In the lounge I drilled through to the external wall and installed conduit in preparation for when Virgin Media install fibre to the home.

The network cables were in and tested using a cheap and cheerful wire mapper and did find a faulty tap point, so well worth £2.59.

Once the power was sorted out, it was time to start on the cabinet, this is a 12U wall mounted jobbie and cost £48.49 from eBay, the power distribution unit is fed via an 800VA MGE Pulsar Evolution UPS as is the red sockets.

Cables identified and marked up, rather than numbering the tap points, I opted to use a convention which accommodated change easily:

  • OFnn =Office, tap point nn
  • BD2/nn  = Bedroom 2, tap point nn
  • BD3/nn = Bedroom 3, tap point nn
  • LOnn = Loft,  tap point nn
  • Lnn = Lounge,  tap point nn
  • Gnn = Garage,  tap point nn
  • Hnn = Hall,  tap point nn

I, well me and my XYL took the opportunity to start to spruce the place up with a coat of paint as well. This shows the wall ready for the roller.

Wall cabinet finished, I added a small temperature controller which switches on the cabinet fan and the ceiling mounted fan within the cupboard where the cabinet is fitted.

Working top down:

  • 2U blank plate
  • Telephone line IN, OUT via ADSL filtered ports
  • Temperature controller
  • 24 port patch panel wired in Cat5e, two ports spare
  • Brush strip to hide surplus cable or manage surplus cable if your a purist
  • Netgear JGS524E Managed Gigabit switch
  • 1U blank plate (91/2″) (behind this is a 6 way PDU fed via UPS)
  • 1U 91/2″ Shelf with PoE to TP EAP245 Access Point
  • 1U 91/2″ Shelf with Metobridge Pro and EdgeRouter X
  • 19″ 350mm deep shelf

Bottom shelf from left to right:

  • Tach display for weather station aspirated sensor fan speed
  • Low noise linear 5v PSU for Blitzortung lighting detector
  • 12v PSU to Network Attached Storage (NAS) and CCTV interface
  • Netgear Duo 500Gb dual hard drive NAS
  • CCTV controller interface


Cabinet closed and locked after making sure it didn’t hit the ceiling light.


Room with everything put back in and tidied up.

To make life easier for working on the radio equipment cables and connections, I didn’t push the desk right back to the wall and also no radio related equipment is on the floor (PSU), apart from the foot operated PTT.

Radio wise I didn’t do much, I added a separate 12v PSU for auxiliary equipment, such as the led signage, VSWR panel lights and SG autotuner to name a few, I also added a common RF earth board for the shack equipment to connect to.

Radio all put back together and cables tidied up, not sure how long the office will stay this neat 🙂


The cheap and cheerful cable tester unfortunately didn’t last the test of time and started giving some strange mapping indications, returning to eBay, I found a SC8108 Network Cable Tester for £17.98, this is superb value, and hopefully it will last longer than the last cable tester.


The SC8108 is very easy to use and has a number of useful, menu driven features, but for my small home network, wire mapping is the primary focus.

£17.98 SC8108 Network Cable Tester showing the mapping test results for a remote tap point from the patch panel.


Davis 7346.174 – Pro2 Upgraded Digital Temperature Humidity Sensor

I decided to give the weather station a revamp, the two mini projects are the replacement of the Fan used to asperate the temperture/humidity sensor and the replacement of the original Davis temp/hum sensor with the more accurate chipset SHT15.









I bought the Davis 7346-174 upgrade from Scaled Instruments in Florida for $67.50 delivered (£51.94), the unit arrived very quickly as expected as I have used Scaled Instruments before and the service is exceptional.

Disassembly was quite straightforward after putting the station in install mode, what I was suprised by was the amount of dirt that had been drawn into to the fan guard and other parts of the Stevensons Sheild which all need a good wash with soapy water:












The original sensor is secured with two machine screws and the cable by a ‘P’ clip:












The replacement sensor was a direct fit as you wpould expects apart from the fact that instead of a ‘P’ clip, the environmental coating was used to form a cable clip, thit need a stand-off and additional machine screw to enable the sensor wire to be secured.













Once the housing was reassembled, sensor plugged up, fan reconnected and the station taken out of install mode everything worked just fine.

I’m awaiting the new fan to be deivered, so the second part of this will be blogged soon.

Cat5e Network Port Quick Finder

I was perusing the internet and came across a niffty idea to quickly identify which Cat5 outlet was connected to which port on a patch panel, so, as I had the parts, I thought I’d have a go.

The principle is very easy, in the patch panel,  RG45 plugs are inserted into each port, within the RG45 plug is an LED connected to pins 3 &6.

At the remote faceplate, a RG45 is plugged in which has power to pins 3 & 6 via a battery battery, the LED in the patch panel will now light, quickly identifing what is connected to what.

led plate
Test faceplate with pins 3 & 6 bridged across each outlet












The parts were from ebay:

  • LEDS – 100 for £2.32
  • RG45 connectors – 100 for £2.95
  • Battery Holder – £0.99

To make the LED plug, I first marked the Cathode of the LED so I got the polarity correct when inserted into the plug.

The next step was to flatten the LED capsule so that it fits within the cable entry of the connector.

The LED is now pushed into the connector and crimped, hot glue is then used to seal the LED in place.

The battery pack is powered by 2 x AA batteries, with a current limiting resistor terminated in the plug.













I made 24 of the LED plugs as that was the number of ports on my patch panel.

Finished LED connectors and battery pack

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