Cloud Sensor Notes

CCDAutoPilot accesses the Cloud Sensor via the Single Line Data File, as described in the Boltwood Cloud Sensor documentation.  In order to access the cloud sensor data, you must set up a file name and location for this data file.  Then, CCDAutoPilot must be told where this file is located from the Settings page, Control Settings tab.  This file can be located on a PC different from the one CCDAutoPIlot is running on, allowing multiple observing sites at a single location to use the same Cloud Sensor.

When Abort on Update Loss is checked, the run will abort if the cloud sensor stops providing updated data for the time period indicated.  For most dedicated cloud monitoring programs, this update time should be set to 30 sec.  In some cases, as for example the WeatherWatcher described below, this time should be longer.

Specific Hardware Notes

Boltwood Cloud Sensor: Make sure your temperature settings for cloudy and very cloudy are set properly to indicate the appropriate conditions. You may need to adjust these settings seasonally.

CloudWatcher: The CloudWatcher supports complete networked operation such that each client can set their own thresholds for what constitutes cloudy and very cloudy.  This equipment provides Cloud Sensor I functionality, i.e. monitoring of sky temperature to determine cloudy conditions and a rain sensor.

WeatherWatcher: When integrated with CloudWatcher and an appropriate commercial weather station, a Cloud Sensor II compatible Single Line Data File can be used for CCDAutoPilot input.  This configuration adds humidity and wind speed from the weather station to cloud and rain monitoring from CloudWatcher.  Because weather stations update their data less frequently than CloudWatcher, you may need to adjust the timeout in Abort on Update Loss.  You should set the time to be 3 times the weather station update time.  For example, if the weather station fastest update is once per minute, set the timeout to 180 sec.