Boned In China

It was bound to happen eventually, anyone who buys parts off ebay gets stung and it was my turn. Looks like i got a packet of floor sweepings and rejects. Out of 120 xtals, 50% failed to even oscillate and the ones that did ranged in frequency from 11,996,000 to 11,999,600 with 4 being higher than 12mhz. Anyway, it is what it is and I will not be using that seller ever again and I will lodge for a refund. The 3 weeks wait has been the killer I wanted to get cracking on with filters for the receiver. ATM i do not have enough xtals the same frequency to even start. So, i just ordered some genuine parts from RS Components and will have them here within a couple of days and then I can move on.

That is the pile of dead or Q so poor that the amplitude of the sine wave was less than 1vpp compared to 4vpp on ones that were ok.

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Winter Cleanup

A while ago i got it in my mind to start making youtubes of some of my projects as I build them. Slowly i have been gathering the bits I need to be able to do this, nothing fancy but things like a Mic for doing voice overs and a webcam that can do HD video are certainly helpful.

So today i got into the next step of the process and that is to clean the heck up around here and make things both clean and tidy as well as accessible. So the bench as been given a make over, with the radio gear all at one end and the test and building gear at the other end. I have another green cutting mat coming so keeping things clean and tidy into the future should be kind of easy from now on.

 

I still have a bunch of stuff to sort out and put in its rightful place, but another week and I might be done LOL

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Breadboarding

My old breadboard was starting to get a little tired so I thought it was time to update it and to something more useable. The old one was homebrew more or less, but how it was being powered was becoming a nightmare to use.So i grabbed one of these of ebay, and with a breadboard power module i have 12v 5v and 3.3v as well as USB power out. All in all this will be much more usable than the old board.

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3 Beer Job

For a long time i have been using a website that allowed me to tailor a homepage with all the links and RSS feeds from news and other sites so i did not have to go searching all the time for the things I typically do. It was ad supported and I noticed tonight that they are spitting the dummy because I am using an ad blocker.

So it is only a matter of time before they shut me down entirely and I am forced to subscribe or have ads placed all over my landing page. So, after weighing up the options, I decided it was time to roll my own. I have tried this a few times and never have been happy with the results, but, I am now making progress and while it is not as nice as the other site I was using, my roll your own is looking much better and I think I can see myself being happy with the outcome.

 

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SQL Query Weather Data

Now I am no guru when it comes to databases and sql query language, but I have today managed to work out how to login to my database using MySql Workbench, select my database and table and query the weather station data to pull out the Max and Min values for each day.

Boy is this much easier to do than how I was doing it in a spreadsheet, the spreadsheet was a nightmare to setup and if one thing went wrong anywhere things would go bonkers and be out of whack. So now, I can pull out the data I want, cut and paste it into a database and create the charts I want and its going to take me next to no time at all now.

Who says you cannot teach an old dog new tricks Onward and Upward, is better than my condolences on the death of your chicken. LOL

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Weather Station Code

Here is the code I used for the weather station that connects the wifi network, then to a mysql database to save data. I think most of it is self explanatory, change a few passwords and login details as well as the database and table names and it should be good to go.

sprintf(INSERT_SQL,”INSERT INTO weatherstation.SensorData VALUES ( ”, now(), now(), ‘%d’, ‘%d’, ‘%d’, ‘%d’, ‘%d’ )”,temp, humidity, pressure, heatindex, dewpoint);

This line might look a bit odd, 8 elements but only 5 variables, the first table element is a primary key that auto increments, the next 2, now() inserts the server data and server time followed by the 5 variables. These need to be in that exact order when you create the database table.

 

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On Second Thoughts

After some tinkering and some testing i found out what the culprit was, it was the Barometric pressure sensor that went tits up and was causing the code to crash and reset the micro. The RTC clock also went belly up as well, well it still tells the time, but its the wrong time and for the life of me, i cannot get it to reset. On top of all that, its only been 7 weeks or there abouts outside and the chinesium oxide is taking over everything.

So, a total rebuild is the order of the day and lots and lots of conformal coating to try and mitigate the corrosion problems. One positive is that the solar charging system and batteries are in really good order. 7 weeks outdoors and the battery voltage was 4.17v so I cannot complain at that.

I do not have a spare pressure sensor so its going to be a few weeks to get parts out of china to fix it. In the mean time, the code is working at least and that is something.

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It DIED :(

So I connected to the weather station the other day to be greeted with SD Card not detected. Poo, is about all I think about that. I am not sure yet if it was the card that died, or if it was the card reader that died. So I figure that its time to make some hard decisions and do what I probably should have done in the beginning and that was use a MYSQL database and just send the data across the home network or across the interwebs to my webserver that hosts this blog. Which kind of sucks because I have been putting off having to learn SQL or PHP for a long time.

So off to google to do some google foo and I find that there is a nice MYSQL library that takes care of all the drudgery, which is good as it will save me a lot of work.

First step was to jump on the webserver and make a new database and a table to save the data to. Job Done!

Next up was to write some code to connect to my home network and then connect to the database. Job Done!

Fire it up and it connects to the network and the database and sends the data just fine. Now all i have to do is pull the weather station down, bring it inside and upload the now modified code as well as fix the problem i was having with the rain sensor. It kind of sucks that I have lost all or most of the Febuary data, but it is what it is and I should never have relied on an SD card to do the job long term. Less moving part, less things to go wrong, oh well, i know for next time.

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