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Help with rain detection in remote observatory?

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#1 Michael Morris

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Posted 23 January 2013 - 08:40 AM

I’m in the process of trying to set up my roll-off roof observatory so that I can monitor imaging sessions from the warmth of my study. I am trying to achieve this with minimal cost. As I see it I need five things to be in place before I can achieve this.

1.The ability to run all the kit from the computer in my study
2.The ability to monitor the scope so that I can see if it starts misbehaving and slewing dangerously.
3.The ability to detect if it’s cloudy
4.The ability to detect if there is likely to be a problem with dew
5.The ability to detect if it’s raining

Here is my progress to date.
1.The ability to run all the kit from the computer in my study – SORTED - Teamviewer software does this just fine.
2.The ability to monitor the scope so that I can see if it starts misbehaving and slewing dangerously. – SORTED - http://stargazerslou...itoring-webcam/
3.The ability to detect if it’s cloudy – I have a Samsung SDC-435 video camera with a fish-eye lens attached, all enclosed in a weatherproof housing, which acts as an all weather meteor camera. I hope this will suffice as a way of monitoring cloud cover
4.The ability to detect if there is likely to be a problem with dew – A cheap USB temperature humidity sensor should suffice
5.The ability to detect if it’s raining – this is the one I’m having a problem with. I’m useless with electronics and have no programming skills at all, so a DIY rain detector is out. So far the only thing I’ve found that appears to fit the bill is this – http://www.auroraeur...loudSensor.php. However, at over £200 this is presently well above my budget. Any cheap but reliable suggestions gratefully received.

Any comments or suggestions very gratefully received.

#2 Raginar

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Posted 23 January 2013 - 09:18 AM

Boltwood is the only real commercial product I'm aware of. If you're looking for a DIY, check this out: http://goo.gl/UIny3

It's an arduino-based cloud detector.

#3 Tom and Beth

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Posted 24 January 2013 - 12:42 AM

I have been playing with a Dome Camera (uses the 906H chip) and also the Samsung SCB-2000. Either of them are quite capable of detecting clouds with sense up of 64 or higher. They will also alert to rain by using motion detection, but let's be real here...the cloud detection should alert you to shut down, yes? There's plenty of ways of getting the image into your study.

I've just started to learn BackyardEOS. They use a USB Temp and Humidity sensor you get off Ebay for 25 bucks.

http://www.ebay.com/...&_trksid=p39...


You would want this on a USB cable away from the computer (obviously). The comments I've seen in the DSLR group and Yahoo site for BYE seem to indicate it works quite well. Mine is on order.

#4 Michael Morris

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Posted 24 January 2013 - 05:17 PM

In the end I've gone for a rain detection module for around £25 delivered.
http://www.amazon.co...r/dp/B000NI2QJC
This has no computer output, but I have a cunning plan to deal with that. The module will be wired to turn on a simple 12v buzzer and LED light. The light and buzzer will be placed right next to the webcam used to monitor scope slewing. If the rain detector is activated it will activate the buzzer and light and both of these will be picked up by webcam and transmitted to the computer in my study via the Teamviewer link - simple (I hope).

#5 rimcrazy

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Posted 25 January 2013 - 07:55 AM

Don't know if you can get it in the UK but I use the AAG Cloud Watcher from Technical Innovations. (AAG Cloud Watcher)

EDIT - Actually I just found that you can get the hardware from a european distributor Lunatico

Sounds like that is still above your price point that you are looking for. It's about 1/3rd the cost of a Boltwood

The software is from António Alberto Peres Gomes. It seems to work fine and has temperature, rainfall and cloud detection all in one.

#6 Michael Morris

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Posted 25 January 2013 - 08:43 AM

Don't know if you can get it in the UK but I use the AAG Cloud Watcher from Technical Innovations. (AAG Cloud Watcher)

Sounds like that is still above your price point that you are looking for. It's about 1/3rd the cost of a Boltwood


The software is from António Alberto Peres Gomes. It seems to work fine and has temperature, rainfall and cloud detection all in one.


Yes, still way over my budget. I was looking at a system that cost less than £50. In the end I've gone for a cheap rain detector (<£25) from Amazon ( Rain sensor ) and I'll wire this up to a 12v buzzer and light. The light/sound from this will be picked up on the webcam used to monitor the scope.


#7 StarmanDan

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Posted 25 January 2013 - 09:29 AM

This was talked about here a while back. Looks interesting and price is reasonable.

http://www.rainsensors.com/

#8 John Wunderlin

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Posted 06 February 2013 - 11:45 AM

Here's the one I use:

http://fostersystems...hp?productid=81

I was an early adopter and had a few issues early on, but it's been running flawlessly for about a year now. You don't want to wait for rain, though- you should close the roof when it's cloudy, fyi.

This has everything you want except monitoring the scope- for that I'd suggest a low-cost security webcam.






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