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Lightning detector

I've built a lightning detector based on a schematic (found here). I added a microcontroller that drives a RGB LED. The color of the LED shows the threat. This way the severeness of the storm can be determined, even when you are not carefully watching the "pulses" LED blink. When a few strikes are detected the RGB LED will go on (blue first). Then, at every flash detected, the LED will flash a bright white. After detection the color is also updated. When red, it's very severe. Yellow is also severe, green is not very heavy, blue is not severe. The sensitivity and the time-frame can be adjusted with the two pots near the microcontroller.

Here are some pictures:

The PCB is very simple, just the detector of pi4raz.nl (or techlib.com) with the LED option, an AVR (Attiny25/45/85) and some pots for the adjustment. Also three MOSFETs to drive the RGB power LED. The source for the AVR can be found at the bottom of this page. It's still a bit buggy, but if you can fix some errors, please send me the new source too so I can update the site.

The power LED I used is a Z-power RGB (excellent colour mixing due to flat "lens") with a reflector.

I've had some problems with the design, especially when driving a power LED. The PWM outputs drive the antenna input insane... The solution was to use shielded antenna wire for the first 20 to 50cm. I don't know if it still detects (distant) lightning this way, but a heavy storm is coming this way tonight, so I'll let you know if I survive the storm.

Ralph Willekes,
Jun 21, 2012, 5:39 AM