Author Topic: E-Field possible issues.  (Read 2313 times)

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Offline 92merc

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E-Field possible issues.
« on: July 07, 2014, 10:10:39 AM »
Well, yesterday, I went up into my 110 degree attic and finished running my quad shielded cable for my E-Field detector.  I had a storm approaching last night so I had a chance to test things out.

First thing I noticed was that on my H-Field, as soon as I hooked up the E-Field, I can't run more than 10x5.  Anything more than that and I go into interference.  Even if I sets the E up to 1x1.  I'm using the 80mv settings for the E field recommended.  I had force all channels on, etc from the manual.

Second, watching the signals page, I didn't notice anything happening on the E-Field.  I just had small ripples of the E field colors.  I saw no spikes or anything.  And I had plenty of strikes going on within 20 miles of me.  I even dropped my H field down to 1x1 to watch it.

So for now, I have my E-Field disconnected.  This morning I was at 10x5.  Now after disconnecting, I can run 10x10 again.

Like I said, I have a 100 ft run of RCA quad shielded coax.  My amp is next to my controller with a 1 ft CAT6 shielded cable.  The other "odd" thing I noticed is my LED on the pre-amp is no where near as bright as the other LED's on my system.  Not sure if that means anything.

TIA for any suggestions.
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Offline Jumpin Joe

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Re: E-Field possible issues.
« Reply #1 on: July 07, 2014, 10:21:00 AM »
Can you post a snapshot of your E-Field signals? It sure would help.  Small ripples sounds like it may not be working. Dim green led on the pre-amp is a good and normal thing.

Joe

Offline dfroula

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Re: E-Field possible issues.
« Reply #2 on: July 07, 2014, 10:48:03 AM »
The LED on the preamp is normally quite dim. It is being used as a voltage regulator for the split-rail pseudo-ground and not much current passes through it.

I am also using 100 feet of the RCA quad-shielded cable with no problems whatever.

I run my e-field at 5x5 or 5x4 with an external antenna. I need to back that down as low as 1x1 for local lightning, if I'm so inclined.

It sounds like something may be wrong with the cable connecting the amp and controller for the e-field amp, if all three signals are that low. If the LED is lit, you are getting power from the controller, so it is not something obvious, like using a crossover cable instead of a straight-through cable.

10x5 is pretty typical for ferrite H-field antennas, depending on length and construction. With my 250mm x 7.5mm antennas wound with 26 AWG wire, I can run as high as 16x10 with no nearby lightning, but no higher.

Don
WD9DMP

Well, yesterday, I went up into my 110 degree attic and finished running my quad shielded cable for my E-Field detector.  I had a storm approaching last night so I had a chance to test things out.

First thing I noticed was that on my H-Field, as soon as I hooked up the E-Field, I can't run more than 10x5.  Anything more than that and I go into interference.  Even if I sets the E up to 1x1.  I'm using the 80mv settings for the E field recommended.  I had force all channels on, etc from the manual.

Second, watching the signals page, I didn't notice anything happening on the E-Field.  I just had small ripples of the E field colors.  I saw no spikes or anything.  And I had plenty of strikes going on within 20 miles of me.  I even dropped my H field down to 1x1 to watch it.

So for now, I have my E-Field disconnected.  This morning I was at 10x5.  Now after disconnecting, I can run 10x10 again.

Like I said, I have a 100 ft run of RCA quad shielded coax.  My amp is next to my controller with a 1 ft CAT6 shielded cable.  The other "odd" thing I noticed is my LED on the pre-amp is no where near as bright as the other LED's on my system.  Not sure if that means anything.

TIA for any suggestions.

Offline 92merc

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Re: E-Field possible issues.
« Reply #3 on: July 07, 2014, 11:03:24 AM »
My cable from the controller to the amp is a home built CAT6 shielded cable, 1 ft long.  I tested it with two testers and both came through as straight and working.  But I might double check that.  I built it way back in April, so I could be wrong.

I should also mention, I used the usual 15" solid copper wire as an antenna as recommended.  Put the loop at the top too.

When I get home, I'll connect it back up and take a few snap shots of the E-field signals page.
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Offline 92merc

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Re: E-Field possible issues.
« Reply #4 on: July 07, 2014, 03:10:22 PM »
I should add that my H field amp is mounted on the ceiling.  The E-field is down below with the controller.  The two amps are a good 10 feet apart.
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Offline 92merc

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Re: E-Field possible issues.
« Reply #5 on: July 07, 2014, 09:01:15 PM »
I re-tested my CAT6 cable.  It's fine.

But here are some screen shots of my settings and signals.  First signal is my E-Field, second is my H-Field, which looks normal.

Maybe Cutty can make one of his pages with my station 1002 on it?
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Offline 92merc

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Re: E-Field possible issues.
« Reply #6 on: July 07, 2014, 09:03:51 PM »
BTW, I was able to run 10x10 all day on my H Field with no issues.  I was actually in number one spot this afternoon for about an hour with effectivity.  It went into interference about the time I got home, some local storms starting up.

So I hooked up my E-Field and had to drop to 10x5,10x4 to stay out of interference.  Even with some storms to the east, I should have been able to keep it up a bit more than that.
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Offline Cutty Sark Sailor

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Re: E-Field possible issues.
« Reply #7 on: July 07, 2014, 10:00:39 PM »
BTW, I was able to run 10x10 all day on my H Field with no issues.  I was actually in number one spot this afternoon for about an hour with effectivity.  It went into interference about the time I got home, some local storms starting up.

So I hooked up my E-Field and had to drop to 10x5,10x4 to stay out of interference.  Even with some storms to the east, I should have been able to keep it up a bit more than that.
Not necessarily.... E field is a lot more sensitive, and outputs 3 channels. Mine typically runs about half whatever H field is set for. Typically 5x5 or 4x4. Remember the E field is designed for under 500 miles... that's where the signal quality will be best... it will pick up more sferics at the same range the H field can.
 

Offline Cutty Sark Sailor

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Re: E-Field possible issues.
« Reply #8 on: July 07, 2014, 10:12:31 PM »
Maybe Cutty can make one of his pages with my station 1002 on it?
Here...
http://frankfortweather.us/BoStaSig/
 ;)
« Last Edit: July 14, 2014, 01:11:24 PM by Cutty Sark Sailor »
 

Offline Cutty Sark Sailor

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Re: E-Field possible issues.
« Reply #9 on: July 07, 2014, 10:23:04 PM »
Maybe Cutty can make one of his pages with my station 1002 on it?
Here...
http://ourspecial.net/twinhollies/weathercenter/blitz/1002/index.html
 ;)
You've got an H field interference at about 27Khz....  don't know if it's affecting E field... if it is, you could bring down Ch B gain on e field some... possible a tad on A.  C you could try at min, since it's about the same data as H field chs A and B.
 

Offline 92merc

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Re: E-Field possible issues.
« Reply #10 on: July 07, 2014, 10:32:58 PM »
I just dropped C down to 1x1, A&B to 4.

I'll have to find out how you do those pages sometime, after I get everything else tuned in.
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Offline Cutty Sark Sailor

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Re: E-Field possible issues.
« Reply #11 on: July 07, 2014, 10:37:52 PM »
Your E field channels aren't showing on the server... do you have them disabled????
First, you need to turn on 'alternate channel mapping' so thresholds will be independent for each amp.  If you haven't, go review the initial setup 'adding the e field'...  The amps need to be independent, for thresholds.
http://www.wxforum.net/index.php?topic=22710.0
 

Offline 92merc

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Re: E-Field possible issues.
« Reply #12 on: July 07, 2014, 11:02:54 PM »
Both are checked.  I've read and re-read that document a few times.  I'm set to everything.  Including 1mv setting on channel C threshold on the H-Field.
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Offline Cutty Sark Sailor

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Re: E-Field possible issues.
« Reply #13 on: July 07, 2014, 11:09:29 PM »
Both are checked.  I've read and re-read that document a few times.  I'm set to everything.  Including 1mv setting on channel C threshold on the H-Field.
I'm just curious why there is no E field signal at all showing on the server signals... do you have 'don't send' checked under the efield channels????
 

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Re: E-Field possible issues.
« Reply #14 on: July 07, 2014, 11:30:06 PM »
None of the "do not send" are checked.  You're basically seeing what caused me to wonder what's going on.  I'm seeing nothing in the signals.

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Offline Cutty Sark Sailor

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Re: E-Field possible issues.
« Reply #15 on: July 08, 2014, 06:36:31 AM »
There are E field amp 2 traces... just no signals. Let's do some 'eyeball' and 'mechanical' T-shooting:
You have red and green LEDs only lit on the E amplifier?  Green lit on the Preamp? (It is very dim, however... This LED is used as a rail-splitter for the op amp... 2.5V  up on pin 3.
Probe connected to preamp inboard antenna block, not outboard? Shielded CAT to controller?

Disconnect H field amp. Run E field controller 2 only...
Bring gains up on E field...   anything?

Swap E field to controller 1.
Anything?

Redundant, in a way, but Swap H field to controller input 2, make sure controller's good.

Reconnect E to controller 2, H to controller 1.

That's gets you back to original setup.

Now, assuming good E CAT cable...any doubt, try another.

----------got to this point... arrrgh--- now, move on ---

If no signals at all, correct lights lit everywhere, good cables, etc.

Problem either in Preamp, Connectors, or limited devices in amplifier.
1. Make sure the ICs are installed correctly. Tiny pin 1 dots hard to see... esp Preamp IC1
2. Check all solder connections on SMD's for bridges or bad.
3. Check connector pins preamp probe. Some have broken the pin where it runs through board.
4. Make sure all components are right value, right polarity... easy to confuse a 6.8M with a 68M, e.g.
5. Make sure solder connections RJ45 good both amp and pre-amp.
6. Look at Amp schematic.... problems probably not in any of the ch output ics... no signals getting out... problem in common amps all channels, or in preamp.

None of the above... step back, scream once... stare at it... scream and curse if necessary.... then start checking voltages and break out oscope, etc.
« Last Edit: July 08, 2014, 06:43:59 AM by Cutty Sark Sailor »
 

Offline Jumpin Joe

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Re: E-Field possible issues.
« Reply #16 on: July 08, 2014, 08:24:28 AM »
This sounds and looks like the problem I encountered. 

I'm inclined to think that the problem lies in Step 1, 2 or 3 that Mike has outlined.  If you have a DMM check the voltages on the Pre-amp using the schematic to see if power is making it to key components. If you are getting good readings, I think the problem revolves around the chip.... poor solder connection, IC in backwards or a bad board (check pin 4 on the IC to the common ground, underside of board for continuity).

I hope this helps,

Joe

Offline W3DRM

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Re: E-Field possible issues.
« Reply #17 on: July 08, 2014, 10:49:57 AM »
From a remote troubleshooting perspective, it would be very helpful if you could post some photos of both the E-field pre-amp and the amplifier boards. Be certain you get them as clear and in-focus as possible so we can see the detail.

Also, in my step-by-step document for the E-field kit, I mention it can be helpful to place some kind of a mark (using a silver, white or gold ultra-fine tip marker) on the pin-1 depression on each IC. That way, you know for certain if your SMD has been aligned correctly with piin-1 where it should be.
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Offline 92merc

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Re: E-Field possible issues.
« Reply #18 on: July 08, 2014, 10:57:31 AM »
I went through the LED check when I first built the board.  And I checked it again.  I can press the reset button, the green lights flash, then go "normal".  Power light is lit.  I want to say it was the red LED that stays on when I tested last night.

The pre-amp has the dim LED lit.

Probe is connected to the inboard.  I wasn't sure about that when I first built the board.  So when I took an ohm meter to those leads, I could tell the outboard one was a ground.  So I did connect it to the inboard.  If I do crawl up on the roof, I'll take a closer look at that connection and test with an ohm meter.  I think I recall one person having a bad block.

I did re-test my CAT6 cable.  Both testers gave it a pass.

I'll do the tests you suggested with juggling H and E field tonight.  If it's still dead, then I'll remove both boards and bring them into the house for closer inspections.

I wish I had an O-scope.  Just a multi-meter...
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Offline W3DRM

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Re: E-Field possible issues.
« Reply #19 on: July 08, 2014, 11:23:33 AM »
I went through the LED check when I first built the board.  And I checked it again.  I can press the reset button, the green lights flash, then go "normal".  Power light is lit.  I want to say it was the red LED that stays on when I tested last night.

When you press the reset button on the E-field amp, do the yellow LEDs flash three or four times in unison? They should do that. If they don't come on during the reset, that is indicative of a problem. After they flash, they will go off and the green LED will come on steady.

Quote
The pre-amp has the dim LED lit.

Probe is connected to the inboard.  I wasn't sure about that when I first built the board.  So when I took an ohm meter to those leads, I could tell the outboard one was a ground.  So I did connect it to the inboard.  If I do crawl up on the roof, I'll take a closer look at that connection and test with an ohm meter.  I think I recall one person having a bad block.

I did re-test my CAT6 cable.  Both testers gave it a pass.

I'll do the tests you suggested with juggling H and E field tonight.  If it's still dead, then I'll remove both boards and bring them into the house for closer inspections.

I wish I had an O-scope.  Just a multi-meter...

Somewhere in the BO threads, you will find several references to PC-based oscilloscope software. They are okay for our purposes here. One of them even has a signal generator you can use to inject a signal at the input and then follow it through the circuits. Just keep the amplitude of the signal down very low.
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Offline 92merc

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Re: E-Field possible issues.
« Reply #20 on: July 08, 2014, 12:23:11 PM »
Yep, my lights do that.  Flash then go "normal".  I forget the exact details right now.  But it works according to the manual's reference.

I'll have to see if I can find that PC based O-Scope.  That sounds interesting.
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Offline 92merc

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Re: E-Field possible issues.
« Reply #21 on: July 08, 2014, 06:13:17 PM »
Well, it looks like I fell to that antenna connector as well.  I thought I was being extra careful when handling the preamp and the antenna connected.  Guess not.  So I soldered a jumper wire from the antenna to the board pin on the bottom.  Getting all kinds of signals now on E field.  I was also able to push my H field back up to 10x10 without issue like I always have.  I have the E-field on 5x4 now.  Might leave it there.

Thanks for the help.  At least I know my board soldering is good.  :-)
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Offline Jumpin Joe

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Re: E-Field possible issues.
« Reply #22 on: July 08, 2014, 07:01:39 PM »
Congratulations!!   =D>

Great to hear you found the problem.

Joe

Offline Cutty Sark Sailor

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Re: E-Field possible issues.
« Reply #23 on: July 08, 2014, 08:02:36 PM »
Well, it looks like I fell to that antenna connector as well.  I thought I was being extra careful when handling the preamp and the antenna connected.  Guess not.  So I soldered a jumper wire from the antenna to the board pin on the bottom.  Getting all kinds of signals now on E field.  I was also able to push my H field back up to 10x10 without issue like I always have.  I have the E-field on 5x4 now.  Might leave it there.

Thanks for the help.  At least I know my board soldering is good.  :-)
UU
 

Offline davidgamble

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Re: E-Field possible issues.
« Reply #24 on: July 08, 2014, 08:10:00 PM »
Yep, my lights do that.  Flash then go "normal".  I forget the exact details right now.  But it works according to the manual's reference.

I'll have to see if I can find that PC based O-Scope.  That sounds interesting.

I use a gabotronics xprotolab ($49) http://www.gabotronics.com/development-boards/xmega-xprotolab.htm, You can connect it to a PC or to a smartphone app https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.nfx.noscpro&hl=en with a little connector cable from Gabotronics. I am no expert but it works as described.