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Questions &/or issues related to products in the Environment category should be posted in this forum. Includes Air Quality, Altitude, Atmospheric & barometric pressure, Combo boards & other, Temperature & humidity, etc.
User avatar
By micsaund
#207217
I bought a brand new SparkFun Blackboard and two of the lightning sensors recently. I have it wired-up as per the example and using the example code from SF (the Blackboard is set to 3.3v with the trace cut/solder two pads).

When the program starts, I get the "Schmow-zow" (or whatever) message and it appears to initialize OK, however I have yet to see a single message about lightning or even a disturber. And, I live in FL and there is a massive lightning storm happening as I type this.

I'm guessing that the wiring is correct (I've checked it several times against the diagram in the example and I assume I'd get the initialization failed message if not).

I've tried both of the sensors, in case one was defective and get the same lack of any sensing. I've tried OUTDOOR and INDOOR configurations.

Attached is the main.cpp (I'm using VScode).

Any ideas?

Thanks!
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User avatar
By TS-Chris
#207236
Hello!

Can you send some photos showing how you have the board connected to your Arduino and photos of the top and bottom of your AS3935 board? Also, we've not tried this code in VScode so I don't know if it works. Have you tried the example code and libraries we provide in the Arduino IDE?
User avatar
By micsaund
#207251
Hi Chris,

Sure! Here are some pics:

https://www.dropbox.com/sh/1u3o73cu33jw ... tLL4a?dl=0

I'm pretty sure that I have tried using the Arduino native enviroment (local client, not online) and got the same result, but I will try it again to be certain. The only issue is that we're not having storms tonight, so I may need to wait a couple days for something to roll-through.

Let me know if any of the pics need different angles/etc.

Thanks!
Mike
User avatar
By TS-Chris
#207277
Hi Mike.

Thanks for the pics, they are perfect.
You generally should be getting something (usually a Disturber) since lots of man made electrical noise can mistaken for lightning. For me, switching on and off a power supply near the board generates enough RF noise to be detected a few feet away. When the air conditioner above me powers up, I'm able to detect that as well. You might try bringing the board close to a light switch that has a heavy or inductive load attached and slowly move the switch from on to off trying to get the switch to arc and see if the board detects that. It's man made lightning on a small scale but that would be detectable if you're close to the source.

If that's not working, it looks from you photos that everything is connected correctly. The only other thing I can think of that might be a problem is if when you converted your RedBoard to 3.3 volt operation you might not have cut the small trace that goes between the center and 5V pad. If you didn't cut that trace before soldering the center and 3.3V pad, the 3.3 volt power supply is shorted and the entire board is running at 5 volts. That could have damaged the AS3935 and could cause it to not report any data. A quick check to make sure the board is really running at 3.3 volts would be to check the voltage between GND and 3.3V and write a sketch that just drives any digital pin high and check the voltage on that pin. Both should give you 3.3 volts if the voltage select jumper is correct.
User avatar
By micsaund
#207284
Hi Chris,

I checked the voltage on the Blackboard as you suggested and uploaded two new mp4 files showing the readings to the folder linked above with the other pics. The voltages are as I'd expect.

Test 3.3v output on Blackboard 2019-08-28 194512.jpg
VID_20190828_193149.mp4
VID_20190828_193240.mp4

I'll try to find something that sparks -- would an electronic BBQ lighter be the type of spark that would work? I've gone all LED in the house, so don't really have any heavy inductive loads (in FL, we don't generally need space heaters/etc. :) )

I'll get back with results in the next day or two from that test.

Thanks,
Mike
User avatar
By TS-Chris
#207310
Hi Mike.

I haven't personally tried a piezo igniter, but I believe Rob (the guy on our videos) has used one to simulate lightning. You may need to be pretty close to the board for it to detect that though since it's such a small spark. Give that a try!
User avatar
By micsaund
#207315
Hi Chris,

No luck with the piezo lighter even directly over the antenna.

Let me ride-out the upcoming hurricane Dorian and if I still don't get any hits during that (you know there is definitely going to be lightning), what do I do? Is there an RMA process I can exchange my units with?

Thanks,
Mike
User avatar
By micsaund
#207682
Hey Chris -- I got the (unexpected) replacement units today - thank you! I'll get headers soldered-on and hopefully these work better. I appreciate your personal involvement in resolving this!

Thanks,
Mike