Outernet for sailors (weather forecast grib files)

Just curious how this works, Do you drive a bunch of circles and set something using a range bearing ? and I have been running opencpn for years with my ais receiver, it’s familiar to me so I just making it work. The automated chart-downloader is why I started using it.

Files are coming down now.

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@Martin How high up does the compass need to be on a boat in order to avoid the magnetic field of the boat?

Sorry for the late answer, I was away for a week. I guess it should be at least 1 m away from all metal parts. I have a fluxgate compass installed on my mast, and I think the handbook said also at least one meter. I never used that one though. My steering compass is mounted under a wooden hardtop also as far away from metal parts as possible but still there is quite some deviation. I think you can`t really avoid it completely.

I have been trying for while to get something like this http://ozzmaker.com/compass1/

It is definitely not just plug a usb dongle and assume it will work. I have several tablets that do not
a compass built in… why ‘they’ can’t add a $2 chip is for better minds to figure out…

I was hoping to find a little usb plug-in compass… but there seems no demand for that product

I feel like I’m spamming myself, but I’ve had at least a hundred inquiries about when Dreamcatcher would be back in stock and available in Europe. Dreamcatcher v3.05 is ready to ship.

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I did a field test today and I get a stable signal now. Here is a video: https://youtu.be/oPjuLpDfgwY But still the magnetic field is a problem. Placed on my car the pointing was way off. Running inside the car it seemed that it mainly detected the car’s own magnetic field. I’ll try to find a setup with my car to do some tests with a deviation table during winter.
@Syed Are the new Dreamcatcher’s dimensions very different from the old ones?

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Quite impressive WOW :heart_eyes:

I can understand the magnetometer issue - - I’ve had that problem just sighting my system on ships. Have you every thought about using a gyro-compass mechanism? I know they are expensive, but maybe you could fashion a good DIY device. Ken

Yeah, this is pure awesome. The Dreamcatcher 3.05 is similar dimensions, but with pieces cut off (such as corners) so that it has a smaller footprint.

To clarify, we started with the v3.03 board and then started chopping off pieces wherever we could.

I like it, other then the small corner for usb power cable seems vulnerable to snapping off

@all Thanks a lot for your feedback, I am happy you like it. @kenbarbi A gyro-compass would be way out of budget. I thought about using my boats fluxgate compass which is using the Seatalk1 protocol. I may use this and the internal sensor when the fluxgate is not connected. But I somehow prefer a standalone unit. You would have a device you could take with you, put it down, turn it on and it would start receiving. Like when I am in our marina there are a lot of masts and rigging in the way. But like that I can take it to the beach to receive the forecast there. Or when you want to run it on a boat which has no fluxgate or on a camping van or sth like that. It could be a solution if I could interface the Dreamcatcher to read out the signal strength, then run a pattern around the arduino’s pre-programmed position to check if I can get a better signal and then reset it to this position.
@ac8dg you are right about the cable, I also don’t like it, but it was the only cable I had to hand. It is kind of a temporary solution but it’s working so far and when there will be no more changes to the parts and configuration anymore I’ll replace it with a more permanent solution.
@Syed Could I put on the new board without any changes to the distances between the holes for the screws? And are the connections for power and the LNB still in the same position?

@Martin Could you please email me with a request for the .dxf? There were some very minor hole changes.

On the 3.02q I had good results soldering +5v to the jp1 (next to the usb_otg)
and gnd1 on the open spaces for gpio. (power connections)

I don’t know if that is your question ?

@syed can you tell me please which is the manufacturer and the model number of the LNB sold with the new Dreamcatcher? I am currently doing a complete re-design of my tracker and I would like to fit it to the new LNB. I’d like to order one here in Germany so I can get it as soon as possible.

@Martin That is an Avenger PLL-321-S.

@Syed Thanks a lot! unfortunately it seems they are not cheap to get over here. I’m going to use another one for now.


Here is a short update on what I have been doing. The new setup is designed for the Dreamcatcher 3.5 (the grey template) and the new LNB now. I also designed a new smaller PCB and downsized the mechanical parts and reduced their number. The magnetometer was moved away from the motors. I squeezed everything together as much as possible and together with the smaller dimensions of the Dreamcathcer and the LNB it now fits into a PVC pipe I got from the construction market. When ready the whole thing will be inside a cylinder with 15 cm (5.9 inches) diameter and 20 cm (7.9 inches) height, including built-in batteries to use it as a mobile unit as well.
Yesterday I wired and tested the PCB and I hope to have everything finished and working when the sailing season starts again to test it on the water.

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Action videos, please!

Unfortunately, there is nothing new to see. It is just doing the same things as the bigger version. I’ll do the battery part next and then I will make a new video.