Author Topic: Can you even get hardware?  (Read 3281 times)

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Offline weatherman172

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Can you even get hardware?
« on: May 18, 2023, 12:57:47 AM »
Has anyone actually obtained a system blue lightning detector from these folks in the last year?  I put my email on their wait list and it shows about 9000 reservations for hardware dating back to 2016.  Is this group still around?  Seems insanely hard to get a kit to build. 

Lightning mapping is cool if you could actually get the hardware to build the receiver. 

Chris
WG7B

Offline vreihen

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Re: Can you even get hardware?
« Reply #1 on: May 18, 2023, 09:44:12 AM »
It took me 2-3 years to reach the top of the waiting list before COVID in 2019.  At the time, they were prioritizing global regions with weak coverage, which unfortunately does NOT describe much of North America.

My station is in upstate NY, and detected strikes in El Salvador and the eastern Pacific off of Mexico in the last hour.  The Blitzortung network is not built like a short-range (32 miles max) AS3935 consumer-grade lightning detector chip, and thus does not need a large mesh of detectors to function adequately.  I suspect that adding more sensors to the grid will require even more processing power on the back-end servers, which may be the reason why they are not shipping out huge numbers of kits.....
WU Gold Stars for everyone! :lol:

Offline Cutty Sark Sailor

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Hardware
« Reply #2 on: May 18, 2023, 10:02:27 AM »
Nope, CURRENTLY, there are NO systems available for order. But, 'stay tuned'.

I'd also suggest the current 'request' method, and outrageous waiting list is obsolete and irrelevant at least for now.
Quote
@ Vreihen also:  Not a server issue at all... and they were upgraded within the last few weeks... There are 2 main 'receiving' servers, one is standby/reserve, if needed, and is rarely called on.  There are numerous 'computing' servers (real and virtual) in Germany and Finland, represented by the Regional assignments for each signal....

...here's why 'no kits':

Please keep in mind that BLITZORTUNG is NOT a commercial enterprise! It is 'volunteer', self-supported, (with a few small behind-the-scenes donations from some educational organizations, some station owners, etc). For European Union and international legalities, Blitzortung systems are classified as 'hobbyist'. Kit production depends on cash-flow.... what comes in, goes out.... Production requires components and fabrication facilities to be available and economical.
Each receiver and controller assembly MUST be affordable and maintainable by operators. And the logistics are atrocious.

System Blue is basically an enhanced, updated, 'more featured', 'fancy' system RED, as to operation and data. No Longer in production due to reasons below. Many components for the reliable System RED became non-available years ago, but the Reds remain absolutely viable (see below). The original Green systems are simply obsolete --few Greens remain in operation today, but they continue to provide very good data, within their original limitations.

In Short: 

     1. The development and production costs for assembled, or partially assembled, systems such as system BLUE, have become outrageous, as has shipping expense  and other logistical issues such as initializing  each individual controller before distributing.

     2. IN FACT, most dependable/reliable assemblers, will no longer accept  the 'smaller' production batch runs Blitzortung requests. Ditto for Circuit board production.  Those that will make smaller runs have priced themselves out of consideration, currently.

     3. As you're aware, microchips, and other electronic components have had supply issues for the past few years. Some have become unavailable.

 As such, a new system has to be developed.

At present, a 'revised' System Red concept is being considered, using discrete (NON-surface-mount ) components and off the shelf modules, similar to the original RED versions.  This will require a complete manual assembly of components into circuit boards, exactly as in RED. In fact, it will be an updated, simplified system RED... and definitely NOT plug-n-play... operators will have to build them, as we did with the REDs.


Blitzortung is  not a 'stand-alone' black box, or 'gadget', or lightning detector and warning system.  This is not an AS3935 type module stuck into somebody's Weather Station hardware.. if the receiving stations are properly configured and located Blitzortung is an accurate (<1km ... I've seen ground points located within feet...) LOCATING system using TOA, TOGA, and some proprietary software on the collecting and computing servers in Germany and Finland. A single station outside the 'cloud' is but a nice display of blinking lights and irrating sound effects, if buzzers enabled.. :D

(Note... Original RED systems allow adding in an AS3935 module for local experimentation, absolutely useless for locating within the Network Paradigms, but most of us operators quickly discovered it isn't worth the effort, and contributes nothing to the Blitzortung network.)
« Last Edit: May 18, 2023, 10:15:54 AM by Cutty Sark Sailor »
 


Offline weatherman172

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Re: Can you even get hardware?
« Reply #3 on: May 18, 2023, 10:14:23 AM »
Isn't there a simple VLF receiver that could be plugged into a Raspberry Pi?  I have built numerous Raspberry Pi projects over the years.

Chris
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Offline Cutty Sark Sailor

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Re: Can you even get hardware?
« Reply #4 on: May 18, 2023, 10:49:23 AM »
Isn't there a simple VLF receiver that could be plugged into a Raspberry Pi?  I have built numerous Raspberry Pi projects over the years.

Chris
WG7B
:D   ... with all due respect... if it were 'that simple', ...  :twisted:   
https://frankfortweather.us/blitzblitz/SplitCoil/Cuttys_Split-Coil_Build_Addenda_VshortP4.pdf....and present it in relation to the exact geolocation and timing of the receiver,s actual gain, relative gain, antenna family, filters, etc... 
 


Offline vreihen

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Re: Can you even get hardware?
« Reply #5 on: May 18, 2023, 11:00:04 AM »
Given the unobtanium status of Raspberry Pi boards since COVID and the global chip shortage, I don't think that using it as a base for any project is a good idea right now.

Along this line, I cannot buy a replacement key fob for a new-to-me vehicle because the dealer and manufacturer cannot source them, my bank is rationing replacement ATM cards because they can't get blank chipped cards, and I could not even locate a single electronics component vendor with a stock of simple/basic/common 25xx EEPROM chips when I looked last week (unless I wanted to pay a scalper $15/chip).....
WU Gold Stars for everyone! :lol:

Offline weatherman172

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Re: Can you even get hardware?
« Reply #6 on: May 18, 2023, 11:38:52 AM »
Yep, understood.  Bad supply chain times.  I have a Raspberry Pi sitting on the bench doing nothing so I had to ask about a VLF receiver for it.  As far as supply chain goes, TSM is building a gigantic chip plant here in Phoenix and I believe Intel is also working on one in Chandler AZ.  Hopefully, more chips are coming at some point. 

Chris
WG7B
Tempe AZ

Offline Cutty Sark Sailor

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Re: Can you even get hardware?
« Reply #7 on: May 18, 2023, 11:56:45 AM »
 :-" hint...... heavy lifting by one of new STM boards, as in System Red...
 


Offline meteodelta

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Re: Can you even get hardware?
« Reply #8 on: November 27, 2023, 02:17:33 AM »
Isn't there a simple VLF receiver that could be plugged into a Raspberry Pi?  I have built numerous Raspberry Pi projects over the years.

Chris
WG7B

Regardless of PCBs, H-antennas are available and can be obtained from official Blitzortung vendor:
Ferrite-Rod-Antennas from Germany, as for Blitzortung FRA-200/10 is standard.

FRA 200/12-15 have better perforrmance. There are also outdoor housing in PVC pipes you can order for moderate pricing, via:

https://www.ferrite-rod-antennas.de/

Same antennas are also used in Linet TLN and Boltek LD (250 and 350), except Boltek has E-antenna and GPS antenna in 1 same housing with 2 cables going to controller. That is the only difference.

While Blue kits from Blitzortung have price range ~300 EUR, commercial alternatives (which are not open source) start from ~1500 up.

Offline meteodelta

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Re: Can you even get hardware?
« Reply #9 on: November 27, 2023, 02:20:23 AM »
Yep, understood.  Bad supply chain times.  I have a Raspberry Pi sitting on the bench doing nothing so I had to ask about a VLF receiver for it.  As far as supply chain goes, TSM is building a gigantic chip plant here in Phoenix and I believe Intel is also working on one in Chandler AZ.  Hopefully, more chips are coming at some point. 

Chris
WG7B
Tempe AZ

You can install your own CumulusMX on it.

https://cumulus.hosiene.co.uk/viewtopic.php?t=11969

+ add Ecowitt GW2000 to it (has Ethernet)

+ add Ecowitt standalone lightning sensor in cheap Stevenson's shield housing (for outdoor mouting). Has range of approx 40 km, so no intercontinental storm chasing, but works. Other, red/blue more competent stations could still verify your "strikes". To all tihs GPS shield hsa to be added and MX has support for it.

The rest is up to BO team to accept or not. You can have your own datalogger and export data to platform of your choice.
« Last Edit: November 27, 2023, 08:34:22 PM by meteodelta »

Offline meteodelta

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Re: Can you even get hardware?
« Reply #10 on: November 27, 2023, 02:22:49 AM »
Given the unobtanium status of Raspberry Pi boards since COVID and the global chip shortage, I don't think that using it as a base for any project is a good idea right now.

Along this line, I cannot buy a replacement key fob for a new-to-me vehicle because the dealer and manufacturer cannot source them, my bank is rationing replacement ATM cards because they can't get blank chipped cards, and I could not even locate a single electronics component vendor with a stock of simple/basic/common 25xx EEPROM chips when I looked last week (unless I wanted to pay a scalper $15/chip).....

Raspberry Pi deliveries have normalized. Usual kit for Gen 4 Type B is bellow 100€ with delivery cost included. Gen 5 is out too.
« Last Edit: November 27, 2023, 08:34:59 PM by meteodelta »

Offline Cutty Sark Sailor

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Re: Can you even get hardware?
« Reply #11 on: November 27, 2023, 12:14:22 PM »


Ok.  Let's Update this hardware thing .
 I have recently received for eval and feedback, an 'operator' produced Blue sys based on the Blue 19.5 production, calling itself 19.7, but recognized currently as a 19.5 by the Blue Servers... This system is currently under limited mfgr and distribution, but one to consider... if/when it's actually available for order. I've done a bit of research on the supplier's 'vitals', and have confidence in him, and this particular version looks good on initial testing, without active data as yet...  It has not received or sent its "First Light" er... "First Lightning". That will come as soon as I can fabricate 'wheelies' for it, and get H fields online.  E probe will wait till last...



NOTES -- FYI
This controller board came with some very nice 'feet' attached, clear silicone. Good idea. Stands the board off ±4mm
A. C519, C520 -- 1000µF/16v-- these suckers are ±20mm tall.
Board's Feet + tall caps greatly influenced my case build concerns.
Required  case height of about 36mm high for my material....and DEFINITELY added to expense of installing the
(B) 'optional' SMA jacks and adequate adapters to extend through cover.
My single M-to-F adapters need to have another M-F stacked on top, and since they're so blamed hard to find, my extras won't be here for another week or two... I mean, M-F RP versions are all over the place, but 'standard' M-F... at really reasonable costs...??? don't really want to talk about it.
That won't affect most folks, since that's an option, but I really like having that O-Scope handy...

C. Serial and swd blocks are now optional? (not installed) Not a bad idea, leaving them off. Add 'em if you want 'em

D. Reset/Boot buttons weren't installed...???

E. No E probe connector block.  NOW, the Eprobe block has been a bit problematic for some over the various versions, and the 'on-board' probe size and design appears changed from what I had on my original 19.1 pre-release... I'm saving this.. don't have time for it right now... hmmm..

F. And of course, those optional digital filter ics are not included.

FIRST Impression nit-picking...
...This board uses the 'deprecated', troublesome, and much maligned USB-MINI connector for USB Power.  I suspect that may be upgraded???
...The height of C519-C520 ... no big deal for most of us... those are quite necessary on the 5V usb power input.
...Puzzled why the reset/boot switches were omitted....
...Query the use of 'open' RJ45 jacks on Controller and H preamp... Contamination? Noise?  Do appear to be shield grounded, however.
...Coax connectors come with a 'ground' tab.  Now, knowing how some minds function, if there's a tab, must be necessary to connect something to it.  NOT SO... These are common SYSTEM grounds, NOT EARTH.  Your 5V usb power supply  theoretically has no 'earth' connection, isolated output. We've gone to great lengths to isolate earth loops, noise, etc... on System BLUE, even keeping the Analog Chain on a virtual rail, once signals enter the controller... no EARTH ground should be necessary! That may even be unsafe, if running Eprobe outside! The E probe coax shield is ALSO system common... DON'T take it to Earth! Leave the system 'above earth'! 
This is exactly why we say 'use UN-Shielded' RJ-45 cable from Controller IP to your network/ router/modem, whatever.  Don't bring ground references into conflict.  USE SHIELDED cable from controller to H preamp... backs up the SYSTEM common to help improve S/N conditions....

...yeah, I realize that is REALLY nit-picking, but in general, us old timers on BT know how confusing some of this might be... we've been down those roads, and designed the tee shirts.


Soon to join it's ancestors on the Blitz Wall... [tup]



Cheers!
Mike
« Last Edit: November 27, 2023, 03:37:35 PM by Cutty Sark Sailor »
 


Offline astromike

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Re: Can you even get hardware?
« Reply #12 on: January 05, 2024, 09:48:47 AM »
Hi Cutty Sark Sailor,
With you're inside knowledge of the project.... is a new system Red (revised) likely to appear in 2024? :-)
Thanks for any update.
Mike

Offline Cutty Sark Sailor

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Re: Can you even get hardware?
« Reply #13 on: January 05, 2024, 07:38:36 PM »
Hi Cutty Sark Sailor,
With you're inside knowledge of the project.... is a new system Red (revised) likely to appear in 2024? :)
Thanks for any update.
Mike
Hi Mike...
Ahhh... no, I couldn't really speak to what direction boards will take. There is that big elephant in the room... production costs and integrity of the network.  Whatever you hear, please take it with a grain of salt.... and two aspirin.

Currently the 'immediate' focus is updating and re-configuring the firmware for already deployed RED and BLUE systems...especially  in data quality, network integrity, and controller identification and communication... There are several enhancements and features in the works, and a new BETA should be out shortly.   That and server processing are going to dictate a lot of any new system's configurations.  Again, be aware of that salt shaker and aspirin bottle.

Mike
« Last Edit: January 05, 2024, 07:40:12 PM by Cutty Sark Sailor »
 


 

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