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Should we have a FAQ? - Printable Version

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Should we have a FAQ? - pasense - 2017-09-18

There are many newcomers now that need some help setting up the station (like me not long ago) and they tend to have difficulties finding the information they need in the forum. Its all there basically, but distributed over many different posts. I think that collecting all this basics in a FAQ or a HowTo list may  help a lot, especially in avoiding some disappointments or even costly mistakes. What is the opinion? Should we start such an activity? I would be willing to contribute, if possible.


RE: Should we have a FAQ? - readbueno - 2017-09-18

Hi Pasense, Unfortunately, also many of the threads just fizzle out without any conclusion. I may have made one of those very costly mistakes? The Jury is still Out on that!
Obviously, some of these people in the past found the answer that was required as their stations are in a lot of cases still "on the Air." Some disappeared never to be seen again?
They never told the world, or at least our little bit of that may be interested in such things, how they solved or not their particular problem.
Having spent a very pleasant, if somewhat rainy, Sunday afternoon working my way through the forums and chasing down non existing links etc., I did learn quite a lot.
However there are still many blanks, I have several pages of questions that reoccur many times, many of which are possibly still relevant.
The Blue Documentation has not kept up with the board versions and we need typical voltages and test points to be marked on the schematics, photos and if possible in future versions on the boards themselves.
The summer storm season is nearly over. Instead of watching predigested news, you could help with a FAQ and/or the updated How to list/No Dumb questions page.
Pasense, I will help!
I am still in the process of asking most of those question! However, I can read write and take the time to run searches or research questions that might arise.
Translation/Coordination With the languages other than English could be important too. There is such a "talk though" the set-up process taking place at this moment:-

https://forum.blitzortung.org/showthread.php?tid=2329&pid=15698#pid15698
 

Brian. Idea Cool Smile


RE: Should we have a FAQ? - JupiterJoe - 2017-09-18

A FAQ section would be awesome! I know I've asked questions that were never answered and and people that posted didn't know the answers either. It would really help.


RE: Should we have a FAQ? - mwaters - 2017-09-18

(2017-09-18, 15:12)JupiterJoe Wrote: A FAQ section would be awesome! I know I've asked questions that were never answered and and people that posted didn't know the answers either. It would really help.

Nice idea! I have some forum links saved on my tablet that contain useful information. I'll share them sometime.

First, I have several questions myself to ask about features in the controller's Web GUI (Signals -> Live Signals & Signal Tools) that have never been asked or commented on anywhere. (Later, but here's what I mean):

I just found this by searching for "signal generator"

https://forum.blitzortung.org/showthread.php?tid=1804&pid=12266&highlight=%22signal+generator%22#pid12266


[attachment=3038]


RE: Should we have a FAQ? - Breitling - 2017-09-18

I'm not ready to write down anything serious about the system, but I think there's something even better than a FAQ section: a collaborative Wiki. Only members could edit. Just a kind of on-line manual where everyone (say again: only members) can help developers in this job.


RE: Should we have a FAQ? - readbueno - 2017-09-18

Hi Luis, A collaborative wiki is a completely different scale from what I was thinking about and having seen some in the past, initially they start out fine and then they begin to sprawl and then people lose interest and the links breakdown and they become a worse mess than just searching the forums!
We are a small enough group that most members can already present their ideas to the developers.
A good FAQ with the main question clearly stated and a short answer backed up by links to the forums and its own discussion topic is far easier to maintain and keep up to date.
I don't wish to sound discouraging and if you wish to try that, then go ahead.
But, I do feel it is more than what we need at the moment?

Brian.


RE: Should we have a FAQ? - mwaters - 2017-09-18

Some good information not available here is on the German forum:

http://www.wetter-board.de/index.php/Board/385-Blitzortung-deutsch/
http://www.wetter-board.de/index.php/Board/451-BLUE/

I read it it Google Chrome which auto-translates it to English. Other browsers can view the translated version at translate.google.com.


RE: Should we have a FAQ? - mwaters - 2017-09-21

Here's some information for your FAQ. I learned it today on https://youtu.be/Vjy7iZr-u_Y .

1. We can check how clean our power supply is by selecting the sampling channel at the bottom. Look how noisy the PS that I'm currently using is!

[attachment=3055]

2. We can have the controller alert us to lightning close to us (or at any distance). The screen below is self-explanatory.

[attachment=3053]


RE: Should we have a FAQ? - SiriusGen - 2017-09-21

(2017-09-21, 20:26)mwaters Wrote: Here's some information for your FAQ. I learned it today on https://youtu.be/Vjy7iZr-u_Y .

1. We can check how clean our power supply is by selecting the sampling channel at the bottom. Look how noisy the PS that I'm currently using is!



2. We can have the controller alert us to lightning close to us (or at any distance). The screen below is self-explanatory.


I wondered how the Alarm setting worked. Where on earth did you find a list of the words it uses to bring up the menus? That's all new to me!


RE: Should we have a FAQ? - mwaters - 2017-09-21

I learned it all on that YouTube video.

It's about 56 minutes long, but the good stuff is near the end. You can probably skip the first 10 minutes.

Some of the Red info applies to System Blue, some does not. You'll see. :-)


RE: Should we have a FAQ? - readbueno - 2017-09-22

Hi All, Despite having a measured, with a DVM, a voltage of 5.02 Volts at the usb mini "B", the voltage that is showing when I look at Vin on the signals page is giving me 3.96 Volts.
I have tried several different power supplies and these two figure only vary by a very small amount.
What is the problem?
What should I be looking at to fix it?
Thanks,

Brian. Huh


RE: Should we have a FAQ? - kevinmcc - 2017-09-22

Measure the voltage on the 3.3v regulator for the CPU.

IC502 between the CPU and the buzzer.

Should be asking in the internal forum under troubleshooting.


RE: Should we have a FAQ? - mwaters - 2017-09-22

(2017-09-22, 10:30)kevinmcc Wrote: Should be asking in the internal forum under troubleshooting.

Brian, Kevin is right! Posting your problem there would be best for you.

I should have posted what I did so far in this thread to a new thread of its own. And I plan on doing that from now on. Anyone who wants to start a FAQ page can look at mine and many others' threads.


RE: Should we have a FAQ? - mwaters - 2017-09-22

(2017-09-18, 10:03)readbueno Wrote: Hi Pasense, Unfortunately, also many of the threads just fizzle out without any conclusion. ... However there are still many blanks, I have several pages of questions that reoccur many times, many of which are possibly still relevant.
The Blue Documentation has not kept up with the board versions.

Agreed. Lots of folks have 'complained' about that.

With all due respect to them, the developers are likely not going to update the Blue docs as we would like them to. Nor should we expect them to! They have stated that they have families, this is a hobby for them, and they don't have time. What is more, the devs are concentrating on the important tasks of improving the hardware and software. And we should be grateful to them for that.

A FAQ or other detailed help docs should be done by others. (That's us, people! :-)

I have personally experienced that when I either invented or help develop a product --and then wrote a manual for it-- it was utterly confusing for the end-users. Why? Those in that position assume too much. We leave out important details. Any manual, etc. should be written with help from those struggling to use what we created.

I will help as I have time. But I call on others who struggled with figuring out how to get their System Blue working (like me) to roll up their sleeves and help. :-)


RE: Should we have a FAQ? - allsorts - 2017-09-22

An FAQ would be wondeful, the forum search is, erm, "not very good" or at least I can spend ages trying to make it spit out a topic and or post that I *know* is in there somewhere.

I've had half an idea to pull just my posts together into some form of mini "FAQ", that's why some of my posts go into more detail than is probably required. I can also find all those, relatively painlessly, via my profile.

I quite like Wiki's but they can get out of control, they really need someone to set a style, create suitable templates and tidy up entries to match the style.


RE: Should we have a FAQ? - readbueno - 2017-09-23

Hi All, This FAQ would not be a random forum.
1. To start it would have limited write access and a separate public discussion forum for debate and new questions.
2. There are many questions that are asked in the forums that are not answered that most beginners have asked and these should have an organised central page.
3. Forum Searches and Wikis imply that you at least know what question to ask. For many newbies, and others, this may not be the case.
4 We are quite a small Network at the present and the forums are growing. They do contain a lot of information, but also a lot of "Cul de Sacs."
  With growing numbers this will only get worse.
5. It Would be Limited to the most common and basic questions with short answers and links to more detail where required. +Don't forget the discussion forum.
6. If we set this up now, it will be easier to set up and maintain than when we have a 100,000 posts and 10,000 topic all over the forum.
7. It should not just be one person, from experience I know. It should be a fairly small group, so that if one person drops out it will continue to function, with an occasional call out for new volunteers so that there can be some rotation of people and ideas.

Mike is right, this is not a job for people that are already doing so much for the network! "We the people" should be able to get this organised!

Just my 2 cents,

Brian.


RE: Should we have a FAQ? - pasense - 2017-09-26

I started this thread some time ago and I have collected some encouraging and some less encouraging comments from you. This is now my conclusion of what was communicated and my updated proposal (so don't blame anybody else if you don't like it).
  • The FAQ should only be on system blue, because that's where most questions of a general nature will come up.
  • Only relative simple things should be included in the list (see below), specialized technical question will still need to go to the normal forum.
  • The list should be short, otherwise people won't read it anyway. I think it should completely fit onto the screen, say less than 25 lines.
  • The whole effort should be limited and we should gather feedback from readers before considering going on.

This list is an example of what could be in such a FAQ:
  1. What do I have to know to be able to assemble and run such a system?
  2. How do I get one of these system blue?
  3. How do I check where I am on the waiting list?
  4. I received the kit, how do I solder the stuff together?
  5. What power supply should I have?
  6. How do I access the system interface?
  7. How do I test the assembled system?
  8. How can I register my new station?
  9. What antennas should I have?
  10. Where should I place the antennas?
  11. How do I check for noise and why should I?
  12. How do I hunt for noise sources?
  13. Should I use the optional low-pass filters?
  14. How do I solder the low-pass filters?
  15. What are the most important settings in the system interface?
  16. What are these funny wiggles before/ after my signals?
  17. ….



RE: Should we have a FAQ? - mwaters - 2017-09-26

(2017-09-26, 16:21)pasense Wrote: I started this thread some time ago and I have collected some encouraging and some less encouraging comments ...

This is a GREAT start! Thank you for this. :-)

I can't think of anything right now to add. However, as for the text being all on one screen, I assume you mean each point rather than the entire FAQ

On the other hand, the FAQ text could be limited, with links pointing to more detailed threads, both existing and yet-to-be created. Some answers are going to be difficult to put a tight limit the text length.
  • One thing that could (should?) be done is make the points stand out by good text formatting.
  1. A brief summary at the top, a "tl;dr" if you will.
  2. Each main point, subject, etc. in larger and/or bold text. Paragraphs below that in smaller, plain text could be indented for easier reading.
I have a list of useful links to various threads here that I've been meaning to post here. Anyway this is my $0.02 worth for now. Thanks again!


RE: Should we have a FAQ? - JupiterJoe - 2017-09-26

I would like to add maybe a section detailing the settings on the controller area of the board. A few of those settings are unknown on how they technically work and there are little to few answers to people’s questions on the forum about them.


RE: Should we have a FAQ? - readbueno - 2017-09-26

No Blame! This Is a GOOD IDEA!

Hi All, Blue it is, because that is what we have now, there is already a lot on Red that is historically fun to read, but it won't necessarily help you start with Blue.

Here's one that should fit in there some where.

XX.What happens to all the data?
Another
XX. What are the initial settings and adjustments? What more can I do?
And another:-
XX. What do the LEDS do and show? (Most are self explanatory, but Mode, Fault and Alarm need more.)

Explain Effectivity?

I also agree with Mike, we need forums and discussion links, "both existing and yet-to-be created. Some answers are going to be difficult to put a tight limit the text length."

The interference thread:-

http://www.wxforum.net/index.php?topic=20439.0

Is a good example
Layout will be important, First to catch people's attention and to make it easy for people to read.

More suggestions to what we already have:-

This list is an example of what could be in such a FAQ:

What do I have to know to be able to assemble and run such a system? (Space available, extra costs, Internet connection type? etc.)
How do I get one of these system blue?
How do I check where I am on the waiting list?
I received the kit, how do I solder the stuff together?
(What else do I need?) (Cables, Plugs, containers, mounting equipment, Test Equipment etc. For example!)
What power supply should I have? (Very important, and vastly under estimated in the current Documentation. Your average Phone Charger and USB to USB mini B adapter just wont cut it!)
How do I access the system interface?
How do I test the assembled system? (Is it in fact working as it should, but just not up to my expectations, due to other factors. Test points, DVM tests, PC based Oscilloscopes, A full test Lab?  Wink )
"What can I do if it doesn't work?"
How can I register my new station?
What antennas should I have? (The Present ferrites and a short rod antenna are pretty good if there is sufficient network support around you, anything more and there is a great deal already written that is applicable regardless of the system.)
Where should I place the antennas? (I Think more Where should I not place my antennas! Big Grin )
How do I check for noise and why should I? (Time constraints, What is noise?)
How do I hunt for noise sources? (Identify them, The obvious ones in your own house, in the average urban or rural setting! Natural noise, "Huge Noise" that will not be changed, etc., etc.)
Should I use the optional low-pass filters?
How do I solder the low-pass filters?
What are the most important settings in the system interface?
What are these funny wiggles before/ after my signals?
….
We Need to get them in the "right/logical" order?
I wish to help.

Brian. Smile