Much of this material on the theory of lightning detection comes from the University of Arizona, Department of Hydrology and Atmospheric Sciences. The original lecture notes are found here. http://www.atmo.arizona.edu/students/courselinks/spring13/atmo589/ATMO489_online/lecture_22/lect22_lightning_location_pt1.html
This reference covers, in detail some of the math involved in calculating the position on the earth's surface using the Time of Arrival method. [KS01] W.J. Koshak and R.J. Solakiewicz. TOA Lightning Location Retrieval on Spherical and Oblate Spheroidal Earth Geometries.pdf
The Blitzortung comes with a unique station number and serial number.
The Bayside District Amateur Radio Society's Station Number is: 2201 and
can be accessed with this URL: http://www.lightningmaps.org/station/2201
the Device-ID or Processor Serial Number is: 3400-4B00-1651-3631-3136-3335
Blitzortung is a network for the detection of lightning and thunderstorms in real time.
For an introductary description of the kit construction and system administration consult the "Cover Your Area" pages at:
The Main Login and Lightning Maps page is: Blitzortung Login Page and Maps for Worldwide, and the local region page is:
Blitzortung Login Page and Maps for Oceania
The data pages are available at: Strike data for All Stations, and site specific data page is: Strike data for the BDARS Site No 2201
Kit Construction and System Admin Documentation
The documentation for Blitzortung can only be described as shambolic.
There is a lot of details with no structure or version numbers. You simply have to dig for information.
There are several version of the same or similaid="kit-construct">Construction of the Mainboard Ver 19.4 Controller - Components, Construction, Boot, Programming and Debugging documents all with different names on different sites.
There does not appear to be any attempt at version control and many are not even published dates.
My recommendation is to read the ninety five page version of the 2014 system Red and Green manual first,
even though it is superceeded, there is a lot of information that is not covered in the sixteen page Blue Document.
even though it applies to superseded models, as it contains more information than the fifteen page 2016 manual
David VF4ZF did an excellant job of assembling the circuit boards with little documentation.
After the build was complete a pair of 8 pin Linear Technologs Corp 15697 which are Linear Phase,
DC Accurate, Tunable, 10th Order Lowpass Filters IC's were left over.
Component: Datasheet for the 15697 Low Pass Filters (pdf)
Note about Digital Filters:
From the June 9, 2016 documentation, page 9 Section 1.6:
The complete digital filter option consists of 4 digital filter ICs (LTC1569-7) In general, it is not necessary to install the digital filter ICs. The system also operates without them. However, if you want to experiment, or if you have extremely strong interferences at frequencies above 20kHz, you can try to get better signals with the digital low pass filter ICs. Since the digital filter ICs are relatively expensive, you should test one filter IC at one channel, preferably at the E-Field channel. If the desired effect is achieved, the other channels can be upgraded.
Notes about the Ethernet Controller:
Although the ARM Cortex M4 based STM32F4 micro-controllers already have an internal Ethernet controller, they do not include an Ethernet Physical Layer Transceiver (PHY). For experimental reasons, we additionally have placed the Ethernet controller ENC28J60 on the board of Controller 10.x. The ENC28J60 is a very widely used "all-in-one" ethernet controller, but it can only handle 10Mbit/s ethernet connections. With around 150mA current drawn, it has a relatively high power consumption. The ENC28J60 is connected to the processor via SPI. In a forthcoming version, we intend to remove the ENC28J60 and to replace it by an Ethernet Physical Layer Transceiver on the controller board. Then we will use the internal Ethernet controller of the processor, which uses DMA and can also handle 100MBit/s connections.
This is the story of how we bought the BDARS Blitzorting kit, Node 2201, to life. Bob VK4YA, and I VK4PK received the beautifully soldered and constructed controller and two antenna modules. We applied the 5 volt power supply to the USB port and waited expectantly for the LEDS to light. Nothing! Oh no!! Have we hooked it up reverse polarity and "cooked it"? After a second check the polarity looks correct. Next, we attacked the enclosure with a screw driver eager to see what damage we had done but everything looked good. That horrible smell of failure was not present. After further inspection, with baited breath, we found it. A power jumper left open and the power switch with no connections! After a search in the parts box we found the correct jumpers and had it powered up, Red LED on, with no sign of smoke!
Okay, are we are good to go? No! Disappointment once again. No matter what we did, we could get no more than the power LED on. Determined not to give up we conected up the network port to the routed. DHCP should give us an IP address so we searched the address range with "nmap" but no address was found. We checked the router to see if it had allocated some strange address, but no luck there as well. The Network port's green and yellow LED lights were on and flashing, maybe there was some data we could read. Next, Bob called for an extra network card, and once found proceeded to rip apart my workstation. In went the network card, and in no time Bob had tcpdump running against the interface connected to the Blitzortung. Disappointment once again. Plenty of packets were been send to the Blitzortung, which accounted for the flashing data LED on the network port, but not one packet out.
The next idea in our quest to succeed was to use the USB port, so we disconnected the USB cable from the power pack and connected it to the computer's USB port. The Blitzortung came back to life, with the power red LED on, but there was no "ding-dong" sound from the computer to indicate it had found a new device. An inspection of the loaded devices confirmed that the USB port was also inactive! More disappointment.
We decided to call it a day.
Now I was on my own with Bob and Pauls support by email and Hangouts. After reading the various manuals for the umteenth time,I decided to hook up the five pin serial port on the Blitzortung via a PL2303 serial to USB interface. What were the pinouts and what wee the voltage levels? I read in one article that Blitzortun will not release the schematics, however, after more searching I struck gold. An FTP site with all the schematics. Here is the Schematic Circuit Diagram for the Society's 19.4 mainboard. I now had the pinouts with confidence. I hooked it up, ran "minicom" and conneced to the port. It is a wounderfull feeling to see data spewing forth each time I hit the reset button. It realy is alive! I have not destroyed the board! Now, after days of reading and testing, I now had something to to go on.
During this time I was receiving generous support and encouragement from Bob VK4YA and Paul VK4PLY. I sent them a copy of the ascii dump from the serial port. This is copy:
2000-01-01 00:00:00 0 | 2000-01-01 00:00:00 0 | === Init Timers === 2000-01-01 00:00:00 0 | Init: Milliseconds timer 2000-01-01 00:00:00 0 | Calibrating SYSTICK delay timer... DONE! Deviation was 396.00% 2000-01-01 00:00:00 0 | 2000-01-01 00:00:00 0 | === Reading Configuration === 2000-01-01 00:00:00 0 | Reading version information... 2000-01-01 00:00:00 0 | Flash read from 0x080fb000 to 0x080fb008 ... 2000-01-01 00:00:00 0 | Reading Blitzortung settings... 2000-01-01 00:00:00 0 | Flash read from 0x080fb028 to 0x080fb070 ... 2000-01-01 00:00:00 0 | Reading GPS settings... 2000-01-01 00:00:00 0 | Flash read from 0x080fb228 to 0x080fb234 ... 2000-01-01 00:00:00 0 | Reading amplifier settings... 2000-01-01 00:00:00 0 | Flash read from 0x080fb428 to 0x080fb4e8 ... 2000-01-01 00:00:00 0 | Reading network settings... 2000-01-01 00:00:00 0 | Flash read from 0x080fbc28 to 0x080fbc84 ... 2000-01-01 00:00:00 0 | Reading user interface settings... 2000-01-01 00:00:00 0 | Flash read from 0x080fbe28 to 0x080fbe44 ... 2000-01-01 00:00:00 0 | Reading System settings... 2000-01-01 00:00:00 0 | Flash read from 0x080fc028 to 0x080fc29c ... 2000-01-01 00:00:00 0 | Reading ADC settings... 2000-01-01 00:00:00 0 | Flash read from 0x080fc428 to 0x080fc45c ... 2000-01-01 00:00:00 0 | Settings Version is wrong, reset to zero... 2000-01-01 00:00:00 0 | Settings version 0 from flash differs from version 9 in firmware 2000-01-01 00:00:00 0 | 2000-01-01 00:00:00 0 | 2000-01-01 00:00:00 0 | ================ Blitzortung STM32F4 Controller Board ================ 2000-01-01 00:00:00 0 | Firmware Rev. 8.3 RED / Nov 14 2017 23:01:37 (Git 8.3-0-g9bad3f2) 2000-01-01 00:00:00 0 | Hardware Rev. 10.4 (Id 2) 2000-01-01 00:00:00 0 | PCB Config Id 0 2000-01-01 00:00:00 0 | Flash size 1024kB 2000-01-01 00:00:00 0 | Reset condition: BOR=1 PIN=1 POR=1 SOFT=0 IWD=0 WWD=0 LPW=0 2000-01-01 00:00:00 0 | Reset states: 00000000 00000000 00000000 2000-01-01 00:00:00 0 | 00000000 00000000 00000000 00000000 2000-01-01 00:00:00 0 | HCLK: 168MHz 2000-01-01 00:00:00 0 | PCLK1 (APB1): 42MHz 2000-01-01 00:00:00 0 | PCLK2 (APB2): 84MHz 2000-01-01 00:00:00 0 | SYSCLK: 168MHz 2000-01-01 00:00:00 0 | Device-ID: 3400-4B00-1651-3631-3136-3335 2000-01-01 00:00:00 0 | Heap: 0x200120f4 - 0x2001c778 2000-01-01 00:00:00 0 | Stack: 0x2001c778 - 0x2001e778 2000-01-01 00:00:00 0 | ====================================================================== 2000-01-01 00:00:00 0 | 2000-01-01 00:00:00 0 | 2000-01-01 00:00:00 0 | === Init SED1520 === 2000-01-01 00:00:00 0 | Brightness: 70% 2000-01-01 00:00:00 0 | Contrast: 60% 2000-01-01 00:00:00 0 | Init LCD Contrast Timer 2000-01-01 00:00:00 0 | Init: Display Backlight Timer... 2000-01-01 00:00:00 0 | 2000-01-01 00:00:00 0 | DEBUG MODE ENABLED! 2000-01-01 00:00:00 0 | SYSTEM WATCHDOG NOT ENABLED! 2000-01-01 00:00:00 0 | HOLD THE BUTTON TO RESET YOUR SETTINGS... 2000-01-01 00:00:00 0 | ............................................. 2000-01-01 00:00:00 0 | ERASING SETTINGS... 2000-01-01 00:00:00 0 | -> Deleting... 2000-01-01 00:00:00 0 | Done.
Paul was quick to respond. The wrong Firmware had been loaded onto the board in Germany! It was "Firmware Rev. 8.3 RED" on a BLUE board!
Next, I had to figure out how to get the correct System Blue firmware on to the crippled main board. The convention method is to use Single Wire Debug (SWD) with the ST Link adapter and the associated Single Wire Debug (SWD) software utility. I immediatly ordered one from China and decided to do some more research while I waited for it's arrival. The St-Link procedure is described in Section 1.7.2 "Single Wire Debug (SWD)" of the Documentation_2016-05-04_Blue_PCB_20_1.pdf.
Then I read about loading the firmware via the USB port. However, I thought that is not going to work because the USB port, like the network port, is "dead". Then I discovered there is a jumper on the rear of the board that enables the USB port to be more than a power supply.
But how do I load the firmware? Well there is yet another version of the System Blue Documentation that tells you how.
It is a google docs site:
Search for Section 2.4.3, "Device Firmware STMicroelectronics Extension (DfuSe)". As it instructs, I downloaded the DfuSe utility and the correct System BLUE dfu version of the latest firmware, which is, as at writing is Ver 8.4b, from https://tracker.blitzortung.org/firmware/dfu/. This is actually an ftp site. With the jumper closed, I connected the mainboard to the computers USB port. It was recognised immediatly. The firmware load without a hitch. I rebooted the Blitzortung and it came to life with all LED flasting as expected. A few minutes later the GPS handed over to the mainboard and the blue GPS LED became active. The Web Interface strang to life. Success! All system nominal! There was nothing else left to do but install the two antennas and later fine tune the paramater settings, and watch the data roll in.
The linux version of the DFU utility can be found here: http://dfu-util.sourceforge.net - FW Utility for Linux/
The Web interface is intalled in the firmware of the mainboard controller and is accessed by typing a local IP address eg "192.168.1.90" into the browser. This PDF shows the Web Interface of the Society's Blitzortung controller: The Web Interface (pdf)
Package building resources for the ToA Lightning Detection Tracker Program for OpenWrt. OpenWrt, https://openwrt.org/ is an open source project for embedded operating system based on Linux, primarily used on embedded devices to route network traffic. The main components are Linux, util-linux, musl, and BusyBox.https://github.com/KiNgMaR/blitzortung_tracker_openwrt
The AS3935 IC from AMS, Austria Microsystems, is a sensitive RF receiver coupled with a proprietary algorithm with able to detect the specific radio frequency emissions generated by lightning activity. The algorithms, hopefully, distinguish real lightning strikes from from man-made electromagnetic “disturbers” and can calculate the energy and distance of strikes over a 1–40km range.