lightningmaps.org Node 1445 - Malawi

SMD Soldering Recently the sixth African Lightening node from the lightening network has gone online. We are still the dark continent in terms of lightening nodes, but it is slowly lighting up. The node is based on System Red, Amplifier PCB 12 Ver. 3c 8/2013 and Mainboard PCB 10 Ver. 4 11/2013 which are all self assembled. The antennae are 2 qty 200mm ferrite rods. The system was hand soldered and worked first time without any hiccups. Thanks goes out to Egon Wanke and Richo Andersen for a great design.

The most difficult part to solder is the amplifier PCB, it contains a number of SMD components, which can be tricky to solder by hand using a normal soldering iron. With some skill and patience it can be done though and the result is pleasing. Once the amplifier has been completed, it can be tested for rudimentary functionality. The mainboard is a little easier to solder, although it also contains an SMD GPS receiver, which can be a little tricky to solder. The other components are, well, monotonous.

A potential stumbling block is getting the system online. The firmware needs to be installed and once this is done the rest of the process is pretty much just plug and play. You will need to register an account on if you want to access the backend of the system.

If you are in Africa and have a tinkering spirit, you should consider adding a new node in Africa to strengthen the network. Sofar we are quite under represented, which needs to change. If you are afraid if assembling the hardware yourself, I would be happy to assemble the hardware soldered for you. Please get in touch. You could have the hardware sent to me, I assemble and test and forward the working system to you. System red may no longer be available (except under very special circumstances ie. Africa), but system Blue is the system which is now going live soon.

Resources

System Red - Amplifier
System Red - Main Board
System Red - SMD Soldering
System Red - SMD Soldering