Friday, August 31, 2018

Replacing Weatherbridge hardware

Ambient Weather WEATHERBRIDGE Universal WIFI IP Ethernet Server for Weather Stations, Compatible with Alexa is pretty sweet for a simple standalone box to upload your weather data to multiple locations. The price ranging as low as  $200 with shipping is pretty reasonable too though if your unit dies after a few years you would probably prefer to just replace just the hub and not a whole new setup including license. Fortunately replacement hardware is pretty cheap look for a TP-Link N150 Wireless 3G/4G Portable Router with Access Point/WISP/Router Modes (TL-MR3020) I found one on Amazon for $28.69

Note you probably have the older v1 version. The one I found was a v3 hub which uses a the smaller USB connector than the V1 and only needs to plug into one USB port on a hub for power.

You just need to follow these instructions after reading the rest of this..
One vital bit is missing. Make sure switch, next to Ethernet jack  is set to AP mode. In other modes the MR3020 is hard coded to come up as and wants to be your router which might cause issues with your network.

If you need to get TFTP running you should be able to google plenty of quick how-tos like this one for CentOS 7.

Be sure and test TFTP is working from another PC like
tftp> binary
tftp> verbose
Verbose mode on.
tftp> get tp_recovery.bin
getting from to tp_recovery.bin [netascii]
Received 8126464 bytes in -5.9 seconds [-11040379 bit/s]
tftp> quit

Note if you do not have a Linux PC to try it from get Cygwin

Now what you might not have caught above is the IP address have to be If you have only a network with addresses in of 192.168.0.X then you should be good. If your network is a more common address like 192.168.1.X then you should still be OK with the ip addr add dev eth0 instruction to fake the address. Problems arise if you have multiple networks, like you should be doing, and one of them has addresses of 192.168.0.X. In that case both the TFTP server and the hub being flashed need to be on that network.

Now holding the button 15 seconds seems like it might be too long or too short. You want to hold it till the second LED starts blinking to trigger the download of the software. I discovered this by trial and error while watching traffic to the TFTP server port.

All that said when I tried this my network seemed to get royally screwed up. Many of the things on the 192.168.0.X network needed repowered, not just rebooted, to get them back online. Might have been coincidence but happened just as the hub came back up. The flash did seem to work though.

That just left the problem of the MAC having changed. Even though you can spoof the MAC in the underlying OpenWrt code (which might fool your router) the Meteobridge software pulls the MAC directly from the Ethernet card so the Meteobridge license and Ambient Weather Network uploader sees it as a new station. Meteobridge says to email them at info(at) with the old and new MACs to transfer your license in the 14 day trial period. I'll have to update whether that works. Ambient Weather Network on the other hand I seem to have to add as a new station. That seems to work on their end but when I tell the Meteobridge to upload to it I get
Meteobridge settings successfully reloaded
Error: Ambient Weather Network: EXPIRED
Still trying to sort that.

Update a week later:

Found my email to info(at) bounced. Seems they use Spamhaus lists and Spamhaus has decided to blacklist Spectrum's network. So I guess if you email them use a Gmail account. Resent email. Still no solution to to the Ambient Weather Network issue but do having it uploading elsewhere

After another week

After sending email to meteobridge from Gmail the license shows good for Meteobridge but not the Ambient Weather Network. Seems the only way to get it working again is to give them $150.  Broke down and paid for a new license but it does not seem to take affect immediately despite having received a confirmation email and rebooted. Will check again tomorrow. If you can get a new WeatherBridge for $200 and need to upload to Ambient Weather Network it might be worth it to get the new bridge instead of saving $20 but having to deal with flashing and getting licenses sorted. As I'm writing this the price diff is only $19.51.

One more day

Finally back uploading to Ambient Weather Network. Which gets me back to where I was before the hub crashed.

Friday, August 10, 2018

Be careful out there!

I ran across something this week you should probably be aware of. I was checking my Spectrum modem was not set to default passwords. Spectrum seems to have stopped setting them up with the factory default passwords. (While bad for people like me that like to monitor signal strength and know the password is changed it is probably a plus over all given how few seem to change their modems and routers from the defaults.) Anyway I googled the common ones used to see if the one (or ones) Spectrum is using might be online. The first link returned took me a page that looked like useful logins to try. But then I started getting warnings that this page was trying to probe my network. Without a paranoid level of network threat management I might not have even known. Note one of the things that set off alarms in my network was it was trying to use https to avoid packet inspection which, due to cert mismatch, triggered warnings. Another was one of addresses it tried to probe was the router for a test network, that while configured, has no devices on it at the moment.

Who cares? Well this is how some newer threats are getting past your firewall to your networked devices. They run probes on your network looking for devices with known exploits that they can then turn into a back doors into your network to take control of even more of your devices and even set them up to monitor your traffic. Then of course there are the malware cryptominers that that suck all your CPU. For an example of the level of adventure see