Big Plans for PEMS at Location 3 (PEMS3)

When I moved to the Gulf Coast, I knew I wanted to continue with my project, but make it bigger than I'd ever tried before. To that end I scetch out how I thought I'd like the project to go, and in early 2013 started out to do just that.

Planned system layout
Figure 1. Idea of how I wanted to deploy sensors

Acutal Site Layout
Figure 2. In the end, it didn't get quite that picture for larger version

I started in on building this system after being in place only a few months. As ambitious as my plans were, a few things had to be decided on. To help in this effort, I bought a 1000 ft of Cat5e cable, and decided to use the EIA568B standard for my cable terminations, and followed the scheme used by Hobby Boards for what pairs were used for data and power.

Things started out having to run as long a line as I had with my first location, but with a different setup of sensors this weighted the line differently. I saw the need immediately and used a 4 port hub from Hobby Boards to help split my lines. This worked and I ran a long line from the house, under ground in conduit to the garage, then out to my outdoor temperature and rain gauge. Because the temperature and humidity board had problems when I was in Europe, I instead put in a single DS1820 temperature probe in the pagoda.

Because I found out my temperature and humidity board was not messed up (probably my wiring at the last set up) I changed my data acquisition, changing from a database for true readings and a "test" database to verify things work, or to allow for use in multiple places before being "officially" deployed.

Disaster brings change

On an extended time away in July 2013, our landlord calls and says the house was struck by lightning. Turns out it wasn't really, but there was very close lightning and my 4 port hub and master controller were fried from transient voltages on my long data line. To help me get up and running quickly, I put an old laptop in the garage and used it to act as a bus master for the sensors I had outside, and allowed my server to act as a master for sensors inside, keeping all data acquisition databases on the main server. Later I got a Raspberry Pi and used it in place of the laptop.

Again, things come to an end. This short system setup lasted until April of 2014, when again I had to move several states away for work. It wouldn't be until late 2016 that they system is used again.

Because I was ambitious in the beginning, I started to keep up with what I did to help recall what worked or didn't later on. I did this in part because of the long time between setup one place and the next, I'd forget something about how the software was configured. I also wanted to keep track of when I did something and how long it worked. The documentation of sensor and line layout was something I hadn't done before either, nor running two systems to collect the data. I managed to take 6 pages of notes.

NEXT: The Saga Continues

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© 2020
created 14 Jan 2019
finally edited and published 12 Apr 2020