• Category Archives Computers
  • ACARS

    Turns out that aircraft blat out more than just their positions.
    They also send a lot of short messages that anyone can receive and to some extent decode and make some sense of.
    This has been keeping me busy for the past month or so. Been really enjoying being distracted from other things, and my love of all things aircraft gets a good dose of love.
    The fact that I also use Node-RED to decode the messages is also very helpful as I needed a project to dive deeper into it.

    I started off with the freely available acrsdeco2 program and the real power of this program is that you can run remote instances of it and have it feed into a central server.
    I sent a Raspberry Pi and two receivers to my mate in Phoenix and have his data added to what I can pick up. The net results is that we have pretty much the whole area now covered with just the two receivers. More would be good and we will look at adding a few more in due course, but for now, the two systems working as one does the job.

    From there I added Node-RED. Doing a ton of reading got a lot of the abbreviations entered into the system and then I started filtering out the boring positions reports. I split off the airborne weather reports and engine reports.
    I then added several displays that showed this filtered and partly decoded information.
    The flow is by far and away the most complex I have done.

    If you would like to watch the messages, you can, just hit up the resulting node-RED dashboard; http://thebaldgeek.net:2880/ui/#/0

    The top line is just helpful data for me to see how much data we are handling. Some quick links to other parts of the system and weather stations at each location are included.
    Next is heavily filtered messages. At times I can see more than 1 message a second and they scroll past too fast to read, so I do some heavy filtering to slow the interesting stuff down.
    Next is an aircraft call sign filter. If you want to follow a specific aircraft, this is the tool to use.
    Next is the raw message. This way you can just what we are working with.
    Below that is a way to stop/ start the raw lightly decoded messages.
    Then you have the real interesting stuff. It is the result of the filter and should be interesting enough that we email it to a few of the guys and myself.
    Below that, the reports and a table of last seen (heard) aircraft.

    All in all, fascinating stuff.



  • Up for air – sorta

    Well, that’s the travel mostly done.
    Freddy and I are going to take some personal time and are headed out to the Grand Canyon for a few days at the end of the month to spend some quiet time together.
    Other than that, we are just super busy at work with the new product launch.
    At home, we have spent a week up at our friends avocado grove house and dog sitting, so that has kept us busy in the regard that we are not home. (Weird sentence was weird).

    Computer wise, we have a backlog of projects. I am doing more with MQTT (publish / subscribe message broker), looking to move more of my data topics to the server I am running at home.
    We are also trying to get more of my IP cameras up and running and recording. Preferably via motion detection, but constant record would be Ok as well.
    I am trying to build an aircraft tracker for Phoenix.
    I also want to move my whole aircraft tracker server off the PC, it uses too much power, I need more than a Pi, but less than a full blown PC to run it, so yeah, I am looking at options (Gary and Dan gave me a Windows tablet when Dan was out, I am eyeing it off, but its got a weird Windows install, so I am trying to figure out how to reload Windows and then I can evaluate if I can run my aircraft stuff on it).

    Personally, going pretty good. We have tweaked a few things and am doing better for it.
    We got a new bio sensor, it clips inside my belt clip and detects my breathing. If I get tense, it vibrates to warn me.
    So yeah, now I pack three, one on each wrist and one on my belt….. Go ahead make your jokes, I will be here when your done…..

    Also, Kickstarter. I might have backed one under thirty seconds of it launching.
    Raspberry Boom. It is from the same people that did the earth quake sensor, only this time….

    The Raspberry Boom home monitor detects “infra” sounds, or extremely low frequencies of sound, that are completely imperceivable to your ears. These sounds are less than ~20 Hz, or the lower limit of what is audible to humans, and Raspberry Boom can detect them from great distances all around your local region.

    I plan to put it on the roof or as close to it as I can (for a start, I am thinking under the eves)… Just a bit worried that the attic fan will have a low frequency sound that will drive it nuts, but I will deal with that if it becomes a problem.

    Ok, well, I think that is as quick an update as we can manage.



  • Oscilloscope Clock

    Its one of those ‘silly’ little things that I have been wanting to build since I was about a teenager.
    We dabbled with mirrors attached to speakers and bounced lasers off them to make X-Y patterns that moved to the music.
    Then we then moved to the USA and finally got a better x-y scanner laser light show. And while you could download animations to it, it did not include a clock.
    Yes. A clock. I have seen these oscilloscope clocks for years, but never had the time to scratch build the electronics to drive the display. Not that I looked that hard, but they were never offered as a kit. Mostly the micro controller programming is the catch for me. But anyway. Fast forward many years.
    I was reading Hackaday and they talked about a cro clock from a bit of code running in a web browser.
    It plays the required audio out the computer speakers.
    I fired it up on the work computer and sure enough, a low drone with a solid one second tick.
    My mind jumped then to using Dan and Garys Pi to open the web browser and play the tone out the Pi audio port. The only cro I have these days is the little Kickstarter one I bought a few years back.
    Putting the two together on my desk….

    Goofy, but so much cute.
    Happy geek.
    We will keep an eye out for a cheap oldish cro at a year sale or on craigslist or something. Make a nice desk clock with the Pi sitting above it…..



  • M4.0 up the road

    Freddy happen to be awake at 2am when this one hit.
    I (for once – yah!) was asleep.
    She said it was a shaker (as opposed to a roller), and not too many, just one big thump, then a smaller one and that was it.
    Sure did show up clearly on my seismograph… .To the point where it clipped the sensor.