Below is a point by point recap of the
CloudWatcher hardware and software features. This site has been
published as a "work in progress" in order to meet our tight
timeframes, and as such is staying will basic facts. Check back
for updated pages which will include screen shots and graphical
displays of the system features and functions. We will also have
an online instruction manual.
Cloud coverage is determined as a function of sky infrared
temperature. An Infrared sensor is used to make these
measurements. Clear skies emit very low infrared radiation (i.e.
low infrared temperature) and vice versa.
A very sensitive rain detection pad identifies the very first
drops with immediate data reporting. This allows observatory
auto shut features to engage without parameter analysis or
interlock levels. The unit has adjustable heating elements to
clear the pad and prevent false signals
Sky lightness is measured with a Light Dependent Resistor (LDR).
The unit has the ability to report not only approaching darkness
but pre-dawn light conditions
The software is ASCOM compliant and ddls provide direct
interface to Technical Innovations DDW, ACP and CCDAutoPilot
Software displays four user graphs of ongoing
data collection: "Cloud Condition"; "Rain Condition"; "Daylight
Condition"; and "Ambient Temperature"
User defined parameters:
Clouds – From “Clear” (less than -8 degrees C); to “Cloudy” (0
to 5 degrees C); to “Overcast” (0-30 degrees C)
Rain – From “Dry” (values greater than 2,000 cycles); to “Wet”
(2,000 to 1,700 cycles); to “Rain” (1,700 to 400 cycles)
Light – From “Dark” (greater than 2100k ohms); to “Light”
(between 2,000k and 6k ohms); to “Very Light” (between 6k and 0
Alarm system is built in with different audible
alarms for each condition. Add-ons will include alarm
transmissions to phones and PDAs
The CloudWatcher software allows different PCs on
the same local area network to share the information of the same
CloudWatcher Device. The program runs in "Master" mode
(physically connected PC) and "Remote" mode on any other PC in
Cleaning is the only maintenance required. Use a
clean cotton rag and alcohol to clean the sensor surfaces
The software is open source and add-on features
are invited. There will never be a charge for software
enhancements, upgrades and add-ons.
We are happy to address questions you may have