Local News Stories

New 3D Printer Obtained

Friday, 15 December, 2023

Previously, a Snapmaker Original 3-in-1 was the only 3D printer being used, however, the print volume on this unit has become insufficient. As a result, a Creality Ender-3 V3 SE has been purchased. The print size has increased from 125mm x 125mm x 125mm to 220mm x 220mm x 250mm. It looks the XMAS - New Year will be spent coming to grips with the new printer and slicing software.

River Murray Trip Calculator Modified

Sunday, 27 August, 2023

The River Murray Trip Calculator (and its editor) have been modified to allow a location to be hidden without being removed from the data file. A future development will allow selected individuals to view those hidden locations. The objective of this is to allow people like boat club members to include mooring locations that may not be generally available to the public, or will be used for particular club functions.

Storms take out LAN & Sky Camera

Tuesday, 22 August, 2023

Thunder storms last night appear to have caused an issue with the Local Area Network that extends out to the shed in the back yard. The nodes on the LAN were not rebooted until the evening when the issue was discovered.

Migration to Master Page Templates

Thursday, 17 August, 2023

The site will be migrated to using Master Page Templates to allow for easier updates to the menus and footers. It is expected that parts of the website will be migrated in sequence, rather than in a single hit, since the issues with migrating to this set-up are currently unknown.

The initial concept is that each section of the website will have its own master page so that changes confined to a section of the website will not result in the whole website requiring an update.

Activiation of CORS using Access-Control-Allow-Origin

Sunday, 13 August, 2023

The system has been modified so that this site can get a list of the noon sky images and the 24-hour time lapse movies. These images and movies will be displayed from the local Raspberry Pi computer than generates these files. To allow this to be done via Cross Origin Resource Sharing (CORS) using the Access-Control-Allow-Origin headers.

Updated River Murray Trip Calculator & Editor

Saturday, 12 August, 2023

Changes have been made to the River Murray Trip Calculator to optionally include the lower part of the Darling River. An Editor is also being developed to allow for easier editing of the data files used by the calculator.

Modification to Murray River Calculator

Sunday, 23 July, 2023

The Murray River Calculator has been modified to allow it to use different speed and fuel consumption values for the upstream and downstream legs of a voyage. This is required when the river flows are high and there is a significant difference between travelling upstream against the current and downstream with it.

Migration to Commercial Server

Thursday, 20 July, 2023

The migration to the commercial server ( is underway. This is an exercise that will happen in fits and starts are time becomes  Although much of the website will end up on the commercial server, the data from the Personal Weather Station (PWS) will be recorded by the Raspberry Pi, as will the images from the sky camera, although those images are used by the commercial server.

Over time the pages on the site and the sites will diverge. Ultimately the Raspberry Pi will capture the PWS data and display the documentation generated by the local projects. Since it is on the LAN (Local Area Network) of the development computer, those pages can be rapidly updated.

THe Project Manager program running on the development computer will need to be upgraded to handle the new configuration. One of the main things that will need to be done is to make sure that the updating of projects is split into separate threads so that the program doesn't keep timing out due to the communication times when the object computer is not the same as the development computer.

Error Found in Murary River Data Version 0.11.0

Monday, 17 July, 2023

A duplicated entry was found in the Murray River Data file which was causing the calculator to periodically fail.

Change of Hosting Service

Friday, 14 July, 2023

The Primary Brigadoon web server is changing from "" to ",au". The software project documentation will be kept on "", while the more static pages will be on "". This change may take a month or two to complete.

New River Murray Trip Calculator Testing

Saturday, 08 July, 2023

A new River Murray Trip Calculator is being tested. This calculator allows a person to enter and start and end point for a trip on the Murray River in South Australia. The calculator estimates travelling times and fuel consumption amongst other things.

USB Memory Stick Failure Halts System

Sunday, 18 June, 2023

Today, the failure of a storage failure halted the web server for a couple of hours, and it was not restored until the faulty device was removed.

Migration of Website to Raspberry Pi Completed

Thursday, 13 April, 2023

The reception of the readings from the Weather Station is now being recorded by the Raspberry Pi. It was easier to set up the web server on the Raspberry Pi for secure communications than it was with Fedora.

The Raspberry Pi 2B is much less powerful than the X86-64 Linux box, but as this site is not designed for extensive public use, this is not normally a problem. If it becomes a problem, access to the site will be throttled by increasing the areas that are password protected.

A problem arose with the skycamera recording, but this has been resolved for the moment. A 32GB USB stick was added to hold the skycamera images and time-lapse videos as they can consume a lot of space if they don't get cleaned out regularly.

Webserver Offline for Maintenance

Thursday, 06 April, 2023

The webserver was taken offline so that the Raspberry Pi's SD card could be backed up. A trip to the movies intervened and the server was off-line for a couple of hours.

On-Line List of Magazines

Saturday, 01 April, 2023

A list of all the e-magazines has been placed on-line. However, because the magazines are copyright, the magazine list is password protected so that only the webmaster can read view the magazines. The following magazines are catalogued:

Diyode - Australian Electronics Magazine
Make - U.S. Maker Magazine
Nuts & Volts - U.S. Electronics Magazine
RMBOA - River Murray Boat Owners Magazine
AMetA - Australian Meteorological Association Magazine

It is now common practice to have on-line libraries where subscribers can view editions of the magazine that they have purchased, but as time marches on, magazines come and go, and ultimately those libraries can disappear. Give the huge amounts of storage available today, it is not a huge burden to keep a copy of those magazines for as long as you wish, irrespective of what happens to the publisher.

HTTPS Certification Added

Wednesday, 29 March, 2023

The Sandpit computer has been updated to use HTTPS with its web server. This was done as a technical exercise, rather than for a primarily security reasons..

All HTTP traffic will be redirected to HTTPS automatically. Originally, this was set up using self certification, but Google Chrome complained about the certificate being unreliable, so it was changed to a global certification supplier. This solved the problem.

At the moment, the Weather Station is reporting to another computer, although the page that accepts the data from the local weather station has been set up to allow insecure connections, as required by the weather station.

Sytem Restored

Tuesday, 28 March, 2023

The main system has been restored by replacing the motherboard. At this stage, the web server will remain running on the sandpit computer, as it appears to be able to handle the light load resulting from the web traffic. A re-assessment of the LAN functionality will now be undertaken.

Main Server Failure

Saturday, 18 March, 2023

The Server's motherboard is reporting that the CPU is missing or damaged. As a result, the site is running on the Sandpit computer. As a result, the sky camera history before tomorrow (19th March) is not available.

Other pages that are not publicly advertised may also be off-line until the main server is restored.

It is expected that Main Server will be offline from a few days to a week while replacement parts are obtained and the server is rebuilt. An examination of the motherboard using a magnifying glass indicated that some transistors have possibly overheated. The resistors associated with these transistors are running way, way too hot to touch which is not a good sign.. It is not known if the CPU has been damaged.

It is expected to be a week before a new motherboard is delivered,

Issues Updating Raspberry Pi 0

Thursday, 09 March, 2023

The Raspberry Pi 0 has not been booted since October 2022 when development of this project was paused because of the Murray River flood.

sudo apt update indicated that  85 packages needed updating. Attempts to run sudo apt upgrade always ended with the Pi 0 hanging.

The only way that the upgrade could be carried out was to split the packages and run them in block using the 
sudo apt install command with the package list subset. Eventually this allows the upgrade to complete successfully.

River Drop Skewers Boat

Saturday, 25 February, 2023

The Murray River is nearly back to normal at Lock 1 (Blanchetown). Even though the mooring was adjusted just over a day ago, there was a large wind storm and the river level fell about 300mm (1 foot) in a day.

As a result, the front extension on the houseboat moved over a couple of mooring posts and one was driven up through the deck. Luckily, it only snapped a couple of screws, so it will be easy to repair.

The problem of the posts was solved this morning using the ever trusty handsaw to cut the posts off. Unfortunately, I had to sit in the water to get into a good position to doing the sawing. Luckily the water was warm.

Murray River Level Dropping

Sunday, 19 February, 2023

The Murray River level at Lock 1 (Blanchetown) is dropping and there will be an attempt to access the houseboat. If successful, it will be first time since October last year (2022).

It will then be a matter of cleaning up the boat - probably covered in cobwebs and trash from the local trees, etc.

It is expected that it will be in the latter part of March before the flood mooring ropes are removed from across the marina, allowing the houseboat to enter the river. All of the marina power infrastructure has been flooded, so it is unknown how long it will be before the power is restored.

I/O Module Tested

Saturday, 18 February, 2023

The I/O Module has been tested and is waited for the delivery of the terminal strip before it is installed into the outdoors enclosure and used to control the Raspberry Pi fans.

System Shutting Down for Maintenance (16th February 2023)

Tuesday, 14 February, 2023

The main system server may be shutdown for extended periods on Thursday (16th February ACDT) for maintenance activities.

During this period, this website will be hosted from the sandbox computer, but there may be some periods where the network is disconnected causing a total loss of internet access.

Service should be restored to normal by the following day (15th February ACDT).

Second Power Supply Completed

Tuesday, 14 February, 2023

The second power supply for the external enclosure was completed today when the DIN Rail Enclosure was delivered. The power supply has been adjusted to output +5V and +3.3V to power sensors without increasing the load on the Raspberry Pi's power supply.

Although the construction of both power supplies is identical, this power supply has been provided with a yellow indicator LED to show that the two power supplies are adjusted to give out different voltages.

Raspberry Pi Fans Installed

Tuesday, 14 February, 2023

The Raspberry Pi's DIN Rail enclosure had two (2) 5V fans fitted today. The I/O Module is not yet complete, so the fans were wired to both run continuously during the day.

The fans provided about 10°C to 15°C of cooling to the CPU compared to before the fans were fitted.

Each fan will come under the control of the I/O module when it is complete and installed. The CPU Temperature Monitor will be modified to individually control the fans based on the measured CPU temperature.

CPU Temperaure Recording Altered

Sunday, 12 February, 2023

Recording of the CPU temperatures has been altered so that nodes that are inside the house are only recorded every 10 minutes, while the CPU temperature of the Raspberry Pi in the enclosure remains at every minute. This change is recognises that the temperature inside the house is much more stable.

Power Supply Replaced

Saturday, 11 February, 2023

The failed power supply has been replaced and the Raspberry Pi nodes are operational again.

The failed power supply was dissected and it looks like primary power board has failed, but the adhesive on the back of the circuit board prevents any serious investigation into the fault. The circuit board holding the display and voltage/current sensors was removed and it is still functional. It has been put aside for a future project.

Power Supply Failure

Thursday, 09 February, 2023

The failure of a USB power supply has taken out the Raspberry Pi 2B nodes. This takes the local NTP server, the bridge to the Internet and the sandbox web server. It is expected that these nodes will be off-line until a new power supply is sourced.

Initial Installation Commenced

Wednesday, 01 February, 2023

The Din Rails have been installed in the external enclosure, along with the Raspberry Pi, the first power supply and the Software Defined Radio (SDR), Initial testing of the Raspberry Pi over the LAN will commence in a day or two.

Although the SDR is installed, the antennas are still waiting of components to carry out their refurbishment.

Enclosures have been ordered for the second power supply (+5V and +3,3V), and for the sensors, such as the atmospheric pressure that will be installed in the enclosure.

A horizontal mounting rail is to be installed on the mounting posts for the enclosure. This will allow for multiple sensors to be easily mounted with a relatively short cable run back into the enclosure.

Now that the weeds in the ground around the enclosure have been destroyed, it is time to attempt to grow grass in the area again.

Components Start to Arrive

Tuesday, 31 January, 2023

After a bit of a delay, components for the Backyard Sensors project have started to trickle in. The connector strip that converts the Raspberry Pi's IDC to a terminal block that is much each to wire between items of equipment and external cabling has arrived. A 40-pin cable has been made to connect the terminal strip to the Pi.

The first power supply has been mounted on the DIN rail, so it can have its final adjustment before it is used to power the PI. Once the Pi is powered up, it can be connected to the Ethernet cable and that will connect it to the house Local Area Network (LAN). From there, it can be operated using either SSH (Secure Shell) or VNC (Virtual Network Computing).

The SDR (Software Defined Radio) has been installed on DIN Rail Mounts and cabled to one of the USB Ports on the Raspberry Pi. The Discone Antenna to be connected to the SDR is still waiting parts so that it can be repaired and Whip Antenna has not started being refurbished yet.

Sandpit Web Server Replaced

Wednesday, 25 January, 2023

The Raspberry Pi sandpit for the Website was failing to load the projects page with a "502 Bad Gateway Error". This page worked correctly on the main system and the problem was tracked to the fact that the Pi was using the NGINX webserver, unlike the main system that was running the Apache server. The NGINX webserver was replaced with the Apache webserver and the page correctly displayed.

Whether the issue was caused by a mis-configuration of NGINX, or intrinsic fault in the server software is unknown.

DIN Rail Power Supply Testing

Tuesday, 24 January, 2023

The first DIN Rail Power Supply Module has been adjusted and tested. This module is set for +12V output and +5V Output. The Input takes +24V from the External Power cable that comes from the Garden Shed via the DIN terminals. The +12V and +5V output rails terminate on DIN Rail Connectors on ether side of the Power Supply Module.

Because the +5V Rail from this power supply is for the exclusive use of the Raspberry Pi 4, there is only one  set of output terminals. The +12V supply is designed to be used by the analogue Temperature/Relative Humidity Sensor. Later on, the Radiation Counter may require +12V, so an extra set of +12V output terminals will be wired in.

The second DIN Rail Power Supply Module will now be built. All that needs to procured is the DIN Rail Enclosure.

Garden Shed Cabling

Sunday, 22 January, 2023

The cabling from the equipment shelter is being installed in conduit to ensure that it is protected, The cabling run around the walls from the entry point on the northern wall to the Ethernet switch which is located on the southern side of the shed near where the sky camera is installed.

Equipment Shelter Progresses

Tuesday, 10 January, 2023

The equipment shelter for the Backyard Meteorological Instrumentation is progressing. The enclosure has been installed and its support posts concreted into position.

At the moment trenching is occurring to run a 32mm conduit from the shed to the enclosure. However, the summer temperatures are restricting the physical work. After the compost heaps were moved first, the first cut of the conduit was laid so that the trenching could be adjusted.

The conduit will contain the +24V power from the mains supply in the shed, and two (2) CAT6 Ethernet cables to prove communication with the local house network. The second Ethernet cable will be a spare at this time, but may be used for other sensors such as a video camera. Now currently waiting for hardware to connect up the +24V and the cable required for the power and Ethernet lines.

The Raspberry Pi has been mounted in its DIN Rail carrier, but the other carriers to hold the DC-DC Converter power supplies are yet to arrive. Once the power supplies have been constructed and installed, work will commence on the sensor controllers that will also be mount in DIN enclosures.

After the units are installed and tested, work will commence on the external sensors and other equipment such as the radio antenna for the Software Defined Radio (SDR).

Weather Data Not Recording

Tuesday, 03 January, 2023

There was an issue with the rebuilding of the website where the program that captures the data from the local weather station was in the incorrect place. This means that the weather data from the 27-December-2022 to the 02-January-2023 (UTC) was not recorded. This data will need to be recovered from the data recorded in the weather station console.

Local Calendar

NOTE: Public Holidays relevant to South Australia are relevant to this site. The green entries include Australian public holidays and Observance days. Public holidays generally provide a day off work (and increased penalty rates for those working on that day). Observance days celebrate remembrance, awareness and celebrations, but do not normally provide a day off work. It is also worth noting that South Australia has "partial public holidays" where increased penalty rates would apply. Examples of this are the nights of Christmas Eve and New Year's Eve where people are likely to celebrating with friends and family, so additional penalties are applied to recompense those that cannot due to work.

Other News & Events

Makerspace Adelaide is a community workshop with a variety of tools and equipment - from laser cutters and sewing machines to 3D printers and traditional hand tools.
Zonta is a leading global organisation empowering women worldwide though service and advocacy.
The Para District Area Club provides community support in the Salisbury, Playford and Tea Tree Gully areas.
PBA-FM is a community radio station providing entertainment, information and access programs to the local community broadcasting from the TWELVE25 Youth Enterprise Centre in Salisbury.

It is operated by Para Broadcasters Association Inc. as a not for profit enterprise.  Formed in 1978, PBA-FM conducted a successful test transmission in April 1981 and a full licence was granted in November 1982 with broadcasting commencing in 1983.
The River Murray Boat Owners Association (RMBOA) is a group who enjoy the Murray for its beauty, wildlife, vegetation, recreational qualities and priceless value to our country.
Community is at the centre of the Para Hills Community Club’s mission, and they aim to be the leader of community involvement and engagement for the Para Hills area.

Licenced under Creative Commons Attribution Share Alike 4.0 International or better by Mark Little (2022 - 2023)