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Fixing an Atmospheric Monitor

8/20/2012 06:58 PM EDT
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Max The Magnificent
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re: Fixing an Atmospheric Monitor
Max The Magnificent   8/20/2012 7:43:53 PM
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I hang my head in shame (sad face)

David Ashton
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re: Fixing an Atmospheric Monitor
David Ashton   8/20/2012 10:46:40 PM
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Well if it is any comfort Max, yesterday I was working on a project on a breadboard and put some LEDs in two shorted holes and wondered why they didn't light up. Took me a whole 5 minutes to discover why..... :-)

Max The Magnificent
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re: Fixing an Atmospheric Monitor
Max The Magnificent   8/21/2012 3:14:59 PM
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Sometimes my knee-jerk reaction is to look for something complicated, when the real answer is mega simple...

Max The Magnificent
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re: Fixing an Atmospheric Monitor
Max The Magnificent   8/20/2012 7:45:47 PM
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I'm sort of in the same boat as David -- we had a cracking storm here the day before the (now working) Atmospheric Monitor arrived back with me ... since then nothing. It's currently sitting on my desk making a very light "hissing" sound ... but that's all ... so now I'm waiting for the next storm...

David Ashton
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re: Fixing an Atmospheric Monitor
David Ashton   8/20/2012 10:44:36 PM
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You must have a very (electromagnetically) quiet office Max, in my house it made a lot more than a hissing. Maybe that's something to do with the wussy 110V you guys use for mains as against our industrial strength 240V ;-)

Max The Magnificent
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re: Fixing an Atmospheric Monitor
Max The Magnificent   8/21/2012 3:15:52 PM
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With all the computers and stuff in here, I would have thought it would have been chirping its little head off...

TJones
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re: Fixing an Atmospheric Monitor
TJones   8/22/2012 2:46:39 PM
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Do you Soldering Iron Avengers have any recommendations for kits (versus plans only, like this one) or versions with more filtering options? I'd like to build one of these. Sounds like fun.

Max The Magnificent
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re: Fixing an Atmospheric Monitor
Max The Magnificent   8/22/2012 3:18:13 PM
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I've been wondering about making an FPGA-based version (using the FPGA for digital signal processing) ... but that's just a thought at the moment...

TJones
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re: Fixing an Atmospheric Monitor
TJones   8/22/2012 3:47:54 PM
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IF you're planning on that, then you ought to get this book "The Design Warrior's Guide to FPGAs." I hear it's pretty good. If FPGAs are the works, then perhaps there could be adaptive antenna tuning built into the next model as well; that might address some of the filtering needs. Still, I'd be happy to just find a simple kit to buy.

David Ashton
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re: Fixing an Atmospheric Monitor
David Ashton   8/23/2012 1:16:19 AM
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I'm not aware of any kits for something like this (maybe I should produce one...) but really if you refer to the article (thru the link above) and go buy some stripboard and the components, there's not a lot more hassle than getting a kit.

kb5uew
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re: Fixing an Atmospheric Monitor
kb5uew   8/22/2012 3:55:08 PM
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Have you tried to hook it up to an audio spectrum analyzer? (your audio input and your computer makes a good one)

Max The Magnificent
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re: Fixing an Atmospheric Monitor
Max The Magnificent   8/22/2012 4:10:41 PM
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That's a great idea -- my problem at the moment is not having any free time at all (seriously ... you have not idea ... sob sob)

David Ashton
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re: Fixing an Atmospheric Monitor
David Ashton   8/22/2012 9:03:33 PM
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The trouble with this circuit is that if it's anywhere near anything electric or electronic it picks up interference. But Max said that he had it next to his computer and it didn't pick up much, maybe today's PCs are too fast to generate much audio? But you could feed the output to an FPGA with DSP capabilities and generate a spectrum display on-board?

Jim Stockton
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re: Fixing an Atmospheric Monitor
Jim Stockton   8/23/2012 1:28:39 PM
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I worked on a sferics reciever with a friend in the 60's. We used a long whip antenna and a pair of coils mounted at right angles for the antenna. The direction of the storm could be discerned by the two phases (from the right angle coils)with the whip output channel setting up the reference for a crude phase demodulator. It worked pretty well. It seems like the circuit would also work for locating non directional beacon transmitters if tuned correctly.

Jim Stockton
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re: Fixing an Atmospheric Monitor
Jim Stockton   8/23/2012 1:39:13 PM
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Check out the As3935 IC from Austria Microsystems. It is an interesting part for distance estimation of lightning.

David Ashton
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re: Fixing an Atmospheric Monitor
David Ashton   8/23/2012 11:09:30 PM
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What an intriguing little chip! Just had a look at the datasheet. Someone had to do a lot of homework to come up with that, I reckon. I note that the antenna for it is tuned to 500 KHz, way above the Audio band of Max's unit, but then they are intended for different purposes. The IC claims to be able to reject noise from man-made souces like motors or fluorescent lights, so I suppose that frequency is where you'd get the most information about the lightning. I work for an energy utility and we have a link to a "Storm tracker" site which records lightning strikes - I guess it would use something like this.

Max The Magnificent
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re: Fixing an Atmospheric Monitor
Max The Magnificent   8/24/2012 4:56:24 PM
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Could we use the output of this chip to feed into an FPGA and then use the FPGA to generate interesting audio output that "reflects" the atmospheric activity?

David Ashton
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re: Fixing an Atmospheric Monitor
David Ashton   8/25/2012 8:38:53 AM
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The chip outputs the number, energy and estimated distance of the lighting it picks up as register values which can be read via the I2C or SPI interface. So you could read those and process them and output to a display or (eg) a PC. Seems to me that this would be better done by an MCU Max, but I'm no expert on FPGAs - what think you??

Max The Magnificent
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re: Fixing an Atmospheric Monitor
Max The Magnificent   8/27/2012 2:49:16 PM
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I hate to say it, but I think in this case the MCU might be the best option

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