Could you share your experience with CloudWatcher devices?

Hi,

I am in the process of automating my RoR observatory and I am considering a cloud watcher device. I have no doubt Voyager plays nicely with any of the most popular devices. I am considering the AAG because is the cheapest commercial Cloud Watcher I can buy from the shelf.

Can you share your experience? Is it accurate? Durable?

If you have another alternative worth inspecting I’ll be glad to hear it.

Cheers,

José

Hello Josè,

I use the AAG unit that’s connected to one of Lunatico’s Solo units. This runs 24/7 and has done for over 18 months. It took some time to get the rain sensor value exactly right in the settings (there is nothing to worry about with that - I just wanted it to detect and do something at the lightest of rain starting). So yes I can recommend this to you. Again Voyager works seamlessly with it.

Regards
Martin

Hi Jose,

I also have a Cloudwatcher which works very well with Voyager. Have used for last 6 months or so with no issues. I don’t have the solo unit, just run it off my observatory PC. You need to spend quite a bit of time (or I did) to fine tune the cloud detection parameters by watching the sky on a day with passing clouds, particularly high clouds so that it is more accurate. Now that I have done that it is quite good. It only looks at a small area of the sky, so doesn’t always represent conditions at your target. There is an oscillation in the light reading of my unit during darkness which is a bit odd - doesn’t occur when it’s light. Have referred this to my local supplier but haven’t received a response as yet. Not a big issue. Ambient temperature readings during the day are also a bit high, but at night they are fine. Other than that it works flawlessly and does what it needs to do. If you’ve got any other queries, let me know.

Leigh.

Thanks Martin,

could you elaborate on the issues with the rain sensor?

Cheers,

José

Hi Leigh,

Thanks for the feedback, I read some comments in cloudy nights about how hard it was to properly set the AAG, however claudynight most of the time is biased and less objective toward non american products.

Cheers,

José

Hello Josè,

Within the setup screen there are numeric parameters that you can set covering where you want the unit to go from safe to un-safe.
So for an example let’s say that a dry day the rain sensor gives out a reading of 4500, when it starts to rain this number will come down lower.
If you sit monitoring the numbers during an actual transition from dry to raining you can see in real time this number come down on the screen.
What I did was select the value I wanted to use that (for me) best represented the point I wanted to take action as it was raining.
When you get the unit you go through a calibration procedure to set the switching point by splashing droplets of water on the sensors surface and looking at the displayed numeric value to set.
My fine tuning is not essential to the units function but gives me a piece of mind that I used rain instead of splashing water onto it.

Hope that helps

Martin

I have a cloud watcher. I found Jamie and Debora at Lunitaco very helpful, I would not hesitate to do business with them again. I can’t speak for long term use of cloudwater as I have not had it running for very long.

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Tthe Voyager & AAG pair works great together. Leonardo recently introduced the wait safe command in drag scrip. I’m excited to be able to launch the script knowing that even after days the telescope will start photographing automatically these are the warnings that reach me on the telegram app. U

nfortunately the messages are in Italian, in essence I am notified if the script restarts at the end of the night because the weather has not allowed to take photos

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Thanks! It looks like AAG + plus a generic I/O card is the way to go.

Cheers,

José