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Author Topic: Lightning alerts - the good, the bad and the couldn't-give-a-stuff  (Read 212 times)

Weaver

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Lightning alerts services (again)

A while ago, I posted something about a lightning warning device, SkyScan P3-5. Be ye warned. Last week this device literally went to sleep on the job and thus caused nearly a thousand pounds worth of damage when it failed to warn me of an approaching thunderstorm and my router and modem were damages.

This is because of the

* Insane design where the unit goes to sleep on a timeout to save battery even when it is actually mains-powered. Madness. This is what killed me.
* There is a software setting to disable this insane timeout, but the setting is not persistent and is lost after loss of power, so the unit reverts to power-saving sleep timeout mode.

Firstly the unit should never be going to sleep when it is on mains anyway, secondly they should make the setting be saved persistently if the h/w can do this. If it is on batteries and is in auto-sleep mode, which it probably has to be then they need some kind of sleep warning mechanism to tell you that it is going to go to sleep. Also the unit would be better if it periodically woke up when on batteries and then went back to sleep again. (This is what old Psion 'Organiser' handheld computers did, which I worked on, back in the 1980s.)

I have complained vigorously to the fools who are selling these. I don't know if I can sue them, they are I think possibly Canadian, but for all I know they might have a U.K. arm which could be vulnerable. However I have no record of exactly who I bought the unit from, although it certainly was not through a third-party seller.

Leaving this critical defect aside, I don't know whether the unit works or not. It occasionally cries wolf, which I can forgive.

===

On a positive note, I have been using the website lightningmaps.org which shows you pictures of recent strikes with a time delay of something like 15 min, can't remember the exact figure. I always use an ad blocker in Safari, and their website is ad-funded so I gave them a donation. This is powered by the community BlitzOrtung project (German: "lightning location") which designs and sells lightning detector hardware in kit form. If my understanding is correct, volunteer operators using this kind of hardware upload their realtime strike data to the BlitzOrtung network. There are quite a few volunteers in Britain - dozens, including one in Perthshire, in Dundee, Inverness, two in Orkney. Shame there is nothing in the Hebrides. If I were fit I would be setting one up right here. I'm in an ideal spot, as I am so high up and have two sea views, sea both to east and mainland mountains and southwest to the Atlantic and the Island of Rým.

These good people do an iOS app BlitzOrtungLive which is on the Apple App Store. I did not walk, I ran to get this. It shows maps but most importantly it receives push alerts in near real-time - not sure how timely they are - over the network and generates iOS notifications and audible alarms. If this is any good then it could save my bacon. There is an Android app too, I believe.
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sevenlayermuddle

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Re: Lightning alerts - the good, the bad and the couldn't-give-a-stuff
« Reply #1 on: March 16, 2017, 08:04:55 AM »

Is it possible the device is being sold into markets where well-intentioned, but misguided, political interference from the greens mandates auto-standby?
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broadstairs

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Re: Lightning alerts - the good, the bad and the couldn't-give-a-stuff
« Reply #2 on: March 16, 2017, 09:15:54 AM »

There is a new weather station in beta testing called Weather Flow (I think that's the right name) which has some inovative features one of which is a lightning detector.

Stuart
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jelv

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Re: Lightning alerts - the good, the bad and the couldn't-give-a-stuff
« Reply #3 on: March 16, 2017, 09:58:39 AM »

The last time I used the Real Time option on http://www.lightningmaps.org there was about a 10ms delay. I've seen it show a strike about 3 miles away and the thunder sound front on the map went over my location at the precise time I heard it.
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Programming today is a race between software engineers striving to build bigger and better idiot-proof programs, and the Universe trying to produce bigger and better idiots. So far, the Universe is winning. Rick Cook, The Wizardry Compiled

burakkucat

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Re: Lightning alerts - the good, the bad and the couldn't-give-a-stuff
« Reply #4 on: March 16, 2017, 06:55:59 PM »

I have found the thread (Lightning struck), dating from November 2015, in which we discuss lightning protection and you mention that Mrs Weaver had purchased the SkyScan P5 unit.
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:cat:  100% Linux and, previously, Unix. Co-founder of the ELRepo Project.

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Weaver

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Re: Lightning alerts - the good, the bad and the couldn't-give-a-stuff
« Reply #5 on: March 17, 2017, 06:13:23 AM »

Ah. I need to recheck the model then, I saw a similar-looking one on their website. Will confirm.
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Weaver

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Re: Lightning alerts - the good, the bad and the couldn't-give-a-stuff
« Reply #6 on: March 17, 2017, 09:08:05 AM »

> Is it possible the device is being sold into markets where well-intentioned, but misguided, political interference from the greens mandates auto-standby?

I couldn't say. But of course since this makes the device much worse than completely useless in most situations then it's a very poor excuse.
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