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R1 D2 R2 R3 D1 Figure 7-2 Lightning detector sensing head unit.
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98 LIGHTNING ACTIVITY MONITOR
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R2 R3
Ground wire to earth ground
Figure 7-3 LSU circuit layout diagram.
Figure 7-4 Suggested layout using point-to-point wiring.
simulator within a couple of inches from the LSU antenna and pull the trigger. The LED should flash when the lighter sparks. If not, retrace the circuit, making sure the LED is connected correctly and the battery is good. The pole mount for the lighting activity monitor LSU board is fabricated from a 1- 3 4- 1-in tee that has been cut in half lengthwise. Use wire ties or hose clamps to secure the LSU to the mast as shown in Fig. 7-7.
Display Board
The BASIC STAMP 2 display board is shown in Fig. 7-8. It is built from perfboard with point-to-point wiring, but a custom PC board would also work very well. The schematic for the lightning activity display board is depicted in Fig. 7-9. When assembling the light-
PROGRAMMING THE UNIT 99
3/ " 4
3/ " 4
12" Sch 20
3/ " 4
to 1" Coupler
3/ " 4
Sch 40
1" 1"
3/ " 4
1" Tee
2" Sch 20 Figure 7-5 Exploded view of LSU housing.
1" Cap
ning monitor, be sure to use an integrated circuit socket, especially for the microprocessor. Also be careful to observe the correct orientation when installing the STAMP 2. As you construct the lightning activity display board, take an extra moment to correctly orient and install the capacitors, diodes, and LEDs to avoid damage to the board on power-up. An optoisolator is used to couple the LSU to the STAMP 2 display board and to provide ground isolation and ESD protection. The LED side of the optocoupler is connected to the LSU, and the optotransistor side is used to toggle an input pin on the BS2. Since the BS2 cannot supply the required current for all 8 LEDs, an SN74LS240 driver IC at U3 is used; this allows the LEDs to run on the Vin ( 9 V) power. Five different-color LEDs are used for displaying the severity of lightning conditions.
Programming the Unit
Once the LSU, or sensing head, is mounted on the mast, run the coax cable inside to the BASIC STAMP 2 display board. Note: Connect the shield or outer conductor to the nega-
100 LIGHTNING ACTIVITY MONITOR
Figure 7-6 Components inside PVC pipe.
tive terminal on P1 and the center conductor to the positive terminal. Apply power to the STAMP 2 display board. Next, connect a programming cable between your personal computer and the STAMP display board on pins 1 through 4 of the STAMP 2. Once the programming cable is hooked up, you will need to go to the STAMP 2 program directory and start up the STAMP 2 Windows editor titled STAMPW.EXE. Lastly, you will need to download the BSLAM.BS2 lightning activity display program (Listing 7-1) into the BASIC STAMP 2. Once this task has been completed your lightning activity monitor is ready to go to work for you! Once the program has been loaded to the lightning activity monitor and the program installed, all eight display LEDs should light up and then go out one by one to verify circuit operation. Next, hold the lightning simulator within a few inches of the LSU and spark the igniter. Within a few seconds, one or more LEDs should light up. Now wait for a thunderstorm and watch the LEDs light up!
PROGRAMMING THE UNIT 101
Figure 7-7 Securing the LSU to the mast.
Figure 7-8 BASIC STAMP 2 display board.
Vin 21 VDD
+5V +9V
STAMP 2 J1 + + BZ R5 J1 R6
5 P0 13 P8 14 P9 P10 15 16 P11 P12 17 18 P13 19 P14 20 P15 2 4 6 8 1 19 11 13 15 17
18 16 14 12
L1 L2 L3 L4 L5 L6 L7 L8
R7 R8 R9 R10 R11 R12 R13 R14
9 7 5 3 16
VSS 23
1 2 3 4
RX TX DTR GND
2 3 4 5 6 7
DB-9 female
9Vdc
J2 5Vdc
FIGURE 7-9 Lightning detector/display unit.
LIGHTNING ACTIVITY MONITOR SENSING HEAD ASSEMBLY PARTS LIST 103
The software for the BASIC STAMP displays the lightning activity in strikes per minute. This allows the user to gauge the amount of lightning activity. To maximize LED activity, instead of counting lightning activity for 60 seconds, the software counts the number of lightning strikes in a 6-second period and stores the results in element 0 of a 10-element array. After each 6-second count period, all 10 array elements are summed and compared to a list of LOOKDOWN values. This returns an index value between 0 and 8. The index is then passed to a LOOKUP command to get the LED port value with 0, activating all 8 LEDs and turning them all off. Next, the contents of each array element are shifted up, discarding the tenth (oldest) element; i.e., array 9 gets copied to array 10, array 8 gets copied to array 9, and so on. This keeps a running average of the lightning counts over the 10 elements last 6 seconds, or a 60-second period. There is also a variable to keep track of the peak counts. Each time the array is summed, the results are compared to the last recorded peak. It the new peak is larger, it replaces the old peak value. The strikes-per-minute method allows the users to determine not only the magnitude of the lightning activity, but also whether the storm is approaching or traveling away. By monitoring the LEDs, increasing values indicate that the storm is getting closer, while decreasing values (LEDs) indicate the storm is moving away. A typical lightning strike can contain many individual flashes. This is why lightning sometimes appears to flicker. The lightning sensor design used in this project is highly sensitive and will detect each flash in a stroke. This may be noticeable when visually comparing lightning activity with the lightning activity monitor. As many as 22 detects for a single lightning flash have been monitored with intense storms. The strikes-per-minute values used in the LOOKDOWN statement can be adjusted to your location. The values are stored as strikes per minute with the largest number (blue LED 8) first, ending with 0 (all LEDs off). With smaller numbers, the LEDs light with less activity. In some areas of the country, summer thunderstorms produce over 1000 strikes per minute. The values used in the prototype LOOKDOWN are: LOOKDOWN sum, [1500, 1000, 500, 250, 100, 50, 10, 1, 0], index. While initially experimenting with the lightning activity monitor, you may wish to change the values until the BASIC STAMP lightning activity display works to your satisfaction!
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