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Lost Sensor Contact!!

Discussion specific to Fine Offset and similar rebadged weather stations
EvilV
Posts: 127
Joined: Wed Jan 27, 2010 11:28 am
Weather Station: Watson W-8261
Operating System: XP
Location: NE7 7QE Newcastle upon Tyne UK

Re: Lost Sensor Contact!!

Postby EvilV » Sat Apr 24, 2010 11:09 pm

Gina wrote:I'm having a problem with Audacity - keeps stopping. Will investigate further tomorrow. Meanwhile, I'm using sound recorder and keeping fingers crossed.


Good luck. I might have another project for you when you put this one to bed.


:lol:

gordonwh40
Posts: 20
Joined: Mon Aug 24, 2009 7:45 am
Weather Station: wh1081
Location: Qld Australia

Re: Lost Sensor Contact!!

Postby gordonwh40 » Sun Apr 25, 2010 10:28 am

Hi just got home from ANZAC Day ceremony and not in the right condition to comment on the latest problems, but I will sleep on them and see what they look like in the cold hard day of mid north Queensland tomorrow. All have a good day.
gordonwh40 :clap:

Gina
Posts: 1885
Joined: Sat Feb 21, 2009 12:41 pm
Weather Station: Nothing working ATM - making one
Operating System: OS X, Linux Mint, Win7 & XP
Location: Devon UK

Re: Lost Sensor Contact!!

Postby Gina » Sun Apr 25, 2010 1:03 pm

Hope you had a good ANZAC day Gordon :)

Still recording with sound recorder but not seen anything much yet.

I've looked for ferrite rods but not found any. I know I used to have some many years ago but I probably threw them out as no longer in my interests (can't keep everything!). However, Maplin have ferrite rod aerials at a couple of quid each, so I think I'll buy a couple of them. They are wound with long-wave and medium-wave coils so I'll probably use the LW ones.
Gina

Sorry, no banner - weather station out of action. Hoping to be up and running with a new home-made one soon.

Gina
Posts: 1885
Joined: Sat Feb 21, 2009 12:41 pm
Weather Station: Nothing working ATM - making one
Operating System: OS X, Linux Mint, Win7 & XP
Location: Devon UK

Re: Lost Sensor Contact!!

Postby Gina » Sun Apr 25, 2010 3:20 pm

Have ordered a couple of ferrite rod aerials plus a couple of other things from Maplins. Prob get them Tuesday or Wednesday.
Gina

Sorry, no banner - weather station out of action. Hoping to be up and running with a new home-made one soon.

Gina
Posts: 1885
Joined: Sat Feb 21, 2009 12:41 pm
Weather Station: Nothing working ATM - making one
Operating System: OS X, Linux Mint, Win7 & XP
Location: Devon UK

Re: Lost Sensor Contact!!

Postby Gina » Sun Apr 25, 2010 10:11 pm

Although there was a small blip on the temperature plot about an hour and a half ago, there was nothing showing on the recording anywhere near that time. Maybe I'll have more success with ferrite rod aerials - hopefully!
Gina

Sorry, no banner - weather station out of action. Hoping to be up and running with a new home-made one soon.

EvilV
Posts: 127
Joined: Wed Jan 27, 2010 11:28 am
Weather Station: Watson W-8261
Operating System: XP
Location: NE7 7QE Newcastle upon Tyne UK

Re: Lost Sensor Contact!!

Postby EvilV » Mon Apr 26, 2010 8:31 am

Gina wrote:Although there was a small blip on the temperature plot about an hour and a half ago, there was nothing showing on the recording anywhere near that time. Maybe I'll have more success with ferrite rod aerials - hopefully!


I suspect that if nothing is showing with a long wire antenna, you don't have enough signal amplification. The FO PWS can find the pulse even with an earthed screen on its 'antenna'.



How do you fancy making a receiver to decode pulse width modulated data from passing aircraft Gina? It's not that hard and you could contribute your data to a site like this one.

http://www.flightradar24.com/ (click on any aircraft icon to see its data in a small window)

The data contains exact positional information, altitude, speed, heading, place of origin and destination, as well as the plane's callsign.

A half decent setup can collect data from aircraft passing at high altitude within 120 miles.

I started watching this site when the volcanic ashes had most stuff grounded, and then realised that the data is supplied by amateurs. While most of them buy a gizmo for £480 and software to decode and upload to the web, others cut up old satellite tuners, adapt local oscillators in them to make the front end deal with the 1090MHZ 1mbit/second data bursts and cobble a cheapo microprocessor onto it to decode the data.

Take a look here. Some of these have been made for a tenner ->

http://www.lll.lu/~edward/edward/adsb/V ... eiver.html


This is what I meant earlier when I said I might have another project for you once you have sorted the interference problem.

Gina
Posts: 1885
Joined: Sat Feb 21, 2009 12:41 pm
Weather Station: Nothing working ATM - making one
Operating System: OS X, Linux Mint, Win7 & XP
Location: Devon UK

Re: Lost Sensor Contact!!

Postby Gina » Mon Apr 26, 2010 9:49 am

I'll be having another go with the noise receiver. ATM I just have about a 4m length of wire from a reel hung on the end of a curtain pole, across the room to the receiver. It probably wants an outdoor aerial - our house is of reinforced concrete construction and tends to form a "Faraday Cage"!

Your aircraft data receiver and decoder looks a very interesting project, maybe something for later :) ATM I have too much on my plate with my weather station software and a few further mods on the station hardware. eg. I'm not entirely satisfied with my small circular Stevenson screen and I'm making a larger one in a more standard style. I'll be posting about that later.
Gina

Sorry, no banner - weather station out of action. Hoping to be up and running with a new home-made one soon.

EvilV
Posts: 127
Joined: Wed Jan 27, 2010 11:28 am
Weather Station: Watson W-8261
Operating System: XP
Location: NE7 7QE Newcastle upon Tyne UK

Re: Lost Sensor Contact!!

Postby EvilV » Thu Apr 29, 2010 1:21 pm

You got quite a pulse at around ten past nine this morning Gina. Rather out of the blue, that one.
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Gina
Posts: 1885
Joined: Sat Feb 21, 2009 12:41 pm
Weather Station: Nothing working ATM - making one
Operating System: OS X, Linux Mint, Win7 & XP
Location: Devon UK

Re: Lost Sensor Contact!!

Postby Gina » Thu Apr 29, 2010 5:24 pm

Yes, I noticed that. Unusually big and after many hours of nothing. Unfortunately, something's come up and I haven't time to pursue the interference receiver ATM. I have the bits now but not the time :(
Gina

Sorry, no banner - weather station out of action. Hoping to be up and running with a new home-made one soon.

Gina
Posts: 1885
Joined: Sat Feb 21, 2009 12:41 pm
Weather Station: Nothing working ATM - making one
Operating System: OS X, Linux Mint, Win7 & XP
Location: Devon UK

Re: Lost Sensor Contact!!

Postby Gina » Thu Apr 29, 2010 9:43 pm

I grabbed a little time to knock up a dual receiver using two ferrite rod aerials and the LW coils. The circuit does not have a tuning capacitor, with the coils connected directly to point-contact diodes feeding the two (stereo) microphone inputs, and a 680K load resistor in each channel. The circuit is built on strip board with the ferrite rods attached to the board with sticky pads, one each side, at right angles.
RDF.png
RDF.JPG
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Gina

Sorry, no banner - weather station out of action. Hoping to be up and running with a new home-made one soon.

EvilV
Posts: 127
Joined: Wed Jan 27, 2010 11:28 am
Weather Station: Watson W-8261
Operating System: XP
Location: NE7 7QE Newcastle upon Tyne UK

Re: Lost Sensor Contact!!

Postby EvilV » Fri Apr 30, 2010 7:43 am

Gina wrote:I grabbed a little time to knock up a dual receiver using two ferrite rod aerials and the LW coils. The circuit does not have a tuning capacitor, with the coils connected directly to point-contact diodes feeding the two (stereo) microphone inputs, and a 680K load resistor in each channel. The circuit is built on strip board with the ferrite rods attached to the board with sticky pads, one each side, at right angles.
RDF.png
RDF.JPG



Hope it will pick up your spikes. I suppose you will put it outside so it has a chance, but then you'll need cabling to bring the signals back to your computer.

Gina
Posts: 1885
Joined: Sat Feb 21, 2009 12:41 pm
Weather Station: Nothing working ATM - making one
Operating System: OS X, Linux Mint, Win7 & XP
Location: Devon UK

Re: Lost Sensor Contact!!

Postby Gina » Fri Apr 30, 2010 11:43 am

EvilV wrote:Hope it will pick up your spikes. I suppose you will put it outside so it has a chance, but then you'll need cabling to bring the signals back to your computer.
Yes, I think I need to put it outside - it's not picking anything up indoors. I'll have to sort out a weatherproof box. I have some 10m extension cables with 3.5mm plug and socket, so no problem there.
Gina

Sorry, no banner - weather station out of action. Hoping to be up and running with a new home-made one soon.

Gina
Posts: 1885
Joined: Sat Feb 21, 2009 12:41 pm
Weather Station: Nothing working ATM - making one
Operating System: OS X, Linux Mint, Win7 & XP
Location: Devon UK

Re: Lost Sensor Contact!!

Postby Gina » Fri Apr 30, 2010 10:27 pm

Definitely not working indoors - small spike on temperature plot but nothing at same time on audio. I've bought a cheap box (sealable food box, 5" square x 2" deep). Probably set it up outdoors tomorrow.
Gina

Sorry, no banner - weather station out of action. Hoping to be up and running with a new home-made one soon.

christer
Posts: 18
Joined: Sun Sep 20, 2009 12:15 pm
Weather Station: Jenkinsbird Weather Pro = FineOf
Operating System: Windows XP
Location: Luleå, Sweden

Re: Lost Sensor Contact!!

Postby christer » Sun May 02, 2010 9:14 am

Hello all with this problem.
My WS has not shown any data from the outdoor unit. Lost sensor contact!!! message every 10 seconds the last 48 hours.
So I stopped Cumulus, unplugged the USB and removed the batteries from the console/receiver. Waited 2 minutes and reinserted the batteries. After less than one minute the connection with the outdoor sensor was OK and showing data on the console.
Connected USB and started Cumulus. Everything seems OK now.

So IMO there must be a bug in the firmware in Fine Offset stations.

//Christer

EvilV
Posts: 127
Joined: Wed Jan 27, 2010 11:28 am
Weather Station: Watson W-8261
Operating System: XP
Location: NE7 7QE Newcastle upon Tyne UK

Re: Lost Sensor Contact!!

Postby EvilV » Mon May 03, 2010 10:33 am

Hi Christer.

I doubt that. The problem is usually due to battery voltage in the outside unit dropping off, especially in cold conditions, when the natural tendency of many types of battery is to drop the voltage. If it was firmware related, why would mine work perfectly from feb 2010 until now, except for one glitch? I saw an error noted on Cumulus the other day and it noted the 'lost sensor contact.' error. I checked, and it happened on a cold night.

It's usually a very simple problem. Any radio transmitter's output power is deeply related to the supply voltage the transmitter has to work with. The transmitter in these units is VERY low power. Cold conditions reduce the transmitter battery voltage. The signal has to penetrate all kinds of walls and barriers to get to the indoor unit, depending on the home construction techniques used in different country's. Gina's unit has to get through a metal reinforced building, mine has to pass through three layers of 4" brick construction. I suppose that in many cases, we set up our station and the signal can just make the trip to the indoor unit, then we forget about them until either a cold night, or the gradual depletion of the battery means we get an error message or a total collapse of the system. I'd bet my house it isn't a firmware problem.

:)


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