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Station Operation

1414 words Estimated reading time 6 minutes

After assembly, installing your TOA lightning station is almost plug and play. However, it may take some time to understand all of the aspects of your specific hardware and lightning detection in general. Placing the antennas far away from electric disturbers has the greatest influence on performance.

Keep your system running!

Even if not everything might not work as expected, every single station is an important part of the network. Future (automatic) firmware updates might resolve specific issues or improve performance.

First tests

If the board is built up you should do a first quick test on your desk:

  1. Attach a 5 volt USB power supply to the controller board.
    ✅ You should hear some beeps and some of the LEDs should light up.
    ➡ See here if no LED or just the red power LED lights up.

  2. Connect the controller to your home network via ethernet cable.
    ✅ The green LED on the network connector should be on and the yellow one should flicker.
    ➡ Don't mix up the RJ45 ethernet and amplifier port. ;-)

  3. Try to access the web interface via IP address (DHCP) or just try http://blitzortung.
    ✅ Just look around and familiarize yourself the web interface.
    ➡ There are several ways to get the IP address.

  4. Set up an account (see below).
    ✅ A message should appear for automatic account creation.
    ➡ No message means there's no internet connection.

  5. Connect the GPS antenna
    ✅ After several minutes the blue LED should start flashing every second.
    ➡ Be patient. The GPS antenna should have visual contact to the sky.

  6. Connect the preamplifiers
    ✅ On the connected preamplifiers the red LEDs should be on

  7. Touch the input contacts on the preamplifiers with a finger to generate a signal pulse.
    ✅ A signal should be displayed on the web interface at the "Signals" page.
    ➡ Raise gains until something happens.

IP address

By default the IP address will be assigned by DHCP and the hostname is blitzortung. Check getting the IP address in case you can not find the IP address.

Alt text


If DHCP fails, the following settings will be used after some time

  • IP-Address:
  • Netmask:
  • Gateway:
  • DNS:

Install antennas and wiring

The system should be able to run 24/7 over the whole year. Try to install everything in a way so that it will last for a long time. Protect it against water and UV radiation. Especially RJ45 cables can suffer from UV radiation very fast.

As the antennas should be installed far away from electric disturbers, they are often placed outside high above the ground and above surrounding object. Keep in mind that this also raises the chance of being struck by direct lightning.

GPS antenna

In general, the GPS will receive more satellites when having good view in direction of the equator. That means, if you have only the possibility to place your GPS in-house, you should choose a place on the south side of the building (or north side on the southern hemisphere). This fact is more important, the higher your latitude is.

Setting up an account with

User Account

You only need one user account. You can assign multiple stations to a single user account.

On the top of the web page of the internal firmware web server you find a link to request an account for This link is only visible, if the station is not assigned to a user ID. Follow the instructions in the email you will receive. The account is associated with your email address.

After registration enter your username or email and your password on the login page of ⧉. After a successful login you are on the "Project Area -> User data" page. Here you can complete the information about you and your stations.

If your station is not assigned or you want to assign a new station, enter the processor ID of your station in the line "Assign a new station: (Processor ID)". You find the processor ID of your station on the web page of the station under processor information.

Check the community

With your new account you should also have access to our internal forums. You will find a lot of useful additional information there and you can ask other users for help. Access will be enabled when you go to the forum with Further Info -> Forum ⧉. If that doesn't work and you don't see any internal forums then just ask for help there.


Please don't forward the web interface to the internet. It's not designed for that and it's a security risk. If you want to access the web interface from outside your home network, then use a VPN connection.

Web interface

Most parts of the web interface should be self explaining. In case you see small blue "i" icon, just hover over it with the mouse cursor to see additional information. When you click on the "i" you will be redirected to the Web Interface Reference.

Video overview of the web interface


  • Reset just restarts the controller (resets the CPU). It's almost the same as power cycling, but the GPS module doesn't loose the satellites.

  • BOOT0 enters DFU mode upon reset.

  • BOOT1* is for different purposes on boot or while running.

* On System RED this is the blue button.


System BLUE

LED Color Description
Power red Always on when powered
Mode green On when system is okay, i.e. voltages are correct.
Network green On when connection to is established.
Fault yellow In case your stations receive too much (bad) signals, this LED turns on.
GPS blue Flashes every second when GPS is up an running. Blinking or "off" means that GPS is not locked (yet).
Alarm red Blinks when lightning alert is active.
Signal yellow Flashes on a signal.


The buzzer creates a tick sound on every sent signal. That can be very useful but also annoying. That's why sounds and volumes can be adjusted in the web interface. To disable sounds completely press BOOT1 for some seconds. Typical beep sounds are listed in the following table:

Length High Tone Medium Tone Low Tone
Short End interference mode - Enter interference mode
Medium Found amplifier / first signal Startup Error with Network, GPS
Long New message (i.e. ask for account registration) - Hard fault Error



Only System RED has a LC Display.

On top of the display is the status line, which shows several categories. If there's a problem on a particular category, then its text is inverted. Under some circumstances the text can blink. Here is a list of most different conditions for each category:

  • SYS: Voltages too high/low.
  • GPS: Problem with GPS <-> controller connection, bad position accuracy or bad/missing 1PPS pulse. Blinking if GPS fix has been lost.
  • NET: Network not configured properly or no network cable attached. The symbol is blinking, when there was a error while remote configuration request.
  • AMP: No amplifier connected.
  • SIG: Stays inverted until first signal received after boot. Otherwise inverted on interference mode.
  • STR: Invisible until Lightning alerts are enabled or a AS3935 is detected.

Every category has one or more pages in the main display area. Most of the displayed values should be self explaining. The page category is marked with a horizontal line in the status bar. The page switches automatically every ~8 seconds. You can switch the page by hand when doing a short push on the blue button. After that, the page won't get changed for some minutes. If this page looping is disabled in the settings, then there will be no automatic change to the next page. Some error events can always switch to another page, so that you can see the error message. You can run actions on some pages when doing a medium push:

  • SYS: Opens a menu where you can a) enable the buzzer amplifier buzzer throughput for all channels or b) toggle LCD page looping on/off.
  • GPS: Page 1: Sends initialization string. Page 2: Nothing.
  • NET: Page 1: Nothing. Page 2: Manual remote configuration request.
  • AMP: Opens a menu where you can enable the potentiometer or initialize the selected amplifier (upload/download of gain levels).
  • SIG: Does a manual trigger and sends the signal.
  • STR: Currently nothing.