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  #1  
Old 03-12-2016, 10:25 PM
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rogerg (Roger)
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Thumbs up Foolproof rain detection successful!

For years I have had my observatory roof automated and all that time connected to an AAG CloudWatcher, so the roof closes on detection of inclement weather.

The risk with that scenario is that there's a computer involved in the loop. The PC could fail completely, software could operate in an unexpected way, etc such that there remains a small chance the roof wouldn't close if it rained.

I have now got a solution to this problem working!

A cheap rain sensor used normally in the agricultural industry is hooked directly in to my relays for the roof such that if it detects anyrain at all it flicks the relay and the roof closes. There's nothing the computer can do then to open the roof because it still has the circuit closed. When it dries the circuit opens and normal control resumes.

Very happy to finally have this fool proof protection in the loop.

Attached is a pic of normal (no light), green (rain detected) and below is a dropbox link to a video where you hear the roof close.
https://www.dropbox.com/s/6omaf1vkyd...%20pm.mov?dl=0



Roger.
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  #2  
Old 04-12-2016, 12:10 AM
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Atmos (Colin)
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Can it be tripped by heavy dew?
If not... awesome!
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  #3  
Old 04-12-2016, 07:51 AM
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Looks like you can select which mode including condensation detection
http://rainsensors.com
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  #4  
Old 04-12-2016, 09:20 AM
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Nice. Someone with more brains than me could probably also think up an Arduino shield project for those of us without observatories to "phone home" if it rains?
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  #5  
Old 04-12-2016, 09:31 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Atmos View Post
Can it be tripped by heavy dew?
If not... awesome!
It has different sensitivity levels. I think some playing is going to be required to see how well it works. It's a given that it will trip when it rains, but other scenarios I think I will likely need to work on are:
  • sensitivity (dew)
  • how long it takes to realise it's not raining any more (might need a heater to dry off the rain?)

Quote:
Originally Posted by peter_4059 View Post
Looks like you can select which mode including condensation detection
http://rainsensors.com
yeap

Quote:
Originally Posted by RobF View Post
Nice. Someone with more brains than me could probably also think up an Arduino shield project for those of us without observatories to "phone home" if it rains?
There would come a point where an AAG Solo would be a better option ... depending on how smart you end up wanting to make it
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  #6  
Old 08-12-2016, 09:05 AM
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Roger, where did you get the sensor from? I tried to buy one through their web site (www.rainsensors.com) , but they dont ship outside USA.
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  #7  
Old 08-12-2016, 09:07 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AussieSky View Post
Roger, where did you get the sensor from? I tried to buy one through their web site (www.rainsensors.com) , but they dont ship outside USA.
ahh yes I remember that now. It was a year or something ago that I bought it ... http://oceancontrols.com.au/HYS-001.html
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  #8  
Old 09-12-2016, 08:10 AM
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Thanks for the info Roger, I've just ordered one
Greg
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  #9  
Old 06-01-2017, 06:32 PM
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Well after those initial tests I now finally have my Hydreon rain sensor full set up and integrated.

I've ended up connecting it to the motor through my existing relay board, via a NC relay. The relay board is on UPS just as the Hydreon is. It means that I can disable the Hydreon if required by flicking the relay to Open but by default it will function without PC connectivity. I've done this because I'm not 100% sure how the Hydreon is going to behave a after rain and with heavy dew, so at least I have complete control remotely still.

https://www.dropbox.com/s/r7pzt66puq...%20pm.mov?dl=0
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  #10  
Old 09-01-2017, 02:57 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Atmos View Post
Can it be tripped by heavy dew?
or bird poo?

but yeah, good solution

have you added a switch for the retracting roof to trip to turn off any lighting once its opened? (ie in case you forget or computer automation fails?like a momentary on switch as a stopper so lights cant be turned on at all with roof fully opened? I'm so jealous at you guys with your obs
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  #11  
Old 09-01-2017, 03:57 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sil View Post
or bird poo?

but yeah, good solution

have you added a switch for the retracting roof to trip to turn off any lighting once its opened? (ie in case you forget or computer automation fails?like a momentary on switch as a stopper so lights cant be turned on at all with roof fully opened? I'm so jealous at you guys with your obs
Perhaps surprisingly I've never had an issue with birds (on my existing AAG Cloudwatcher that has been up there for years). Every 6-12 months I randomly remember to brush cobwebs off it etc.

Lighting - no integration with lighting. There's not the need, the lights are never turned on in the observatory except on rare occasions I'm in there, and then I turn them off when I leave.
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  #12  
Old 21-06-2017, 09:27 AM
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An update. I have had the roof close twice now due to what I can only presume has been heavy due because they were clear nights without rain. It's been in the early morning before sunrise. I need to tweak the settings I think, turn the sensitivity down a notch perhaps.
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  #13  
Old 12-08-2017, 06:44 PM
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Lots of good info in this thread.

I'm interested to hear what sensitivity setting you've settled with.

I am planning to wire one of these into an observatory for redundancy. I plan to put it inside the observatory, so it should only see rain if the AAG has failed to close the roof. It would be wired back to the roof controller directly and to the interface box that communicates with the PC. If the PC fails, it should trigger the roof controller and if the roof controller/motor have failed, it should send a call for help via the PC.

Thoughts/comments?

Ta
DT
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  #14  
Old 13-08-2017, 06:52 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DavidTrap View Post
Lots of good info in this thread.

I'm interested to hear what sensitivity setting you've settled with.

I am planning to wire one of these into an observatory for redundancy. I plan to put it inside the observatory, so it should only see rain if the AAG has failed to close the roof. It would be wired back to the roof controller directly and to the interface box that communicates with the PC. If the PC fails, it should trigger the roof controller and if the roof controller/motor have failed, it should send a call for help via the PC.

Thoughts/comments?

Ta
DT
I haven't got further with this sorry, it was pushed down the priorities. However your proposed configuration is exactly what I am planning to build in a new observatory at the end of this year and so I have been expecting to make software and tune configuration of the sensor in doing that. I have been keen to review the documentation for the Hydreon because I thought it mentioned dew, and have toyed with the idea of leaving it on maximum sensitivity but installing a weather durable heating element to prevent dew. Need much more info first though, particularly to confirm for sure if it was dew that triggers my false closures.

Regards,
Roger.
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  #15  
Old 13-08-2017, 10:22 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by peter_4059 View Post
Looks like you can select which mode including condensation detection
http://rainsensors.com
Isnt it interesting that Foster Systems appears to sell the very same model, albeit by a different name for $159 compared to $59 by that company.

http://www.fostersystems.com/viewite...106&groupid=13

cheers
Martin
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  #16  
Old 14-08-2017, 03:18 AM
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Thanks for the reply Roger,

I'm planning to wire it up to a sensor input on the Dragonfly interface and see if it records false triggers initially. If it's reliable, I'll wire it into the roof controller directly

I think you'll find it has a dew heater built in and this gets turned off in the condensation detection mode.

Martin - interesting find. Looks like for a $100 markup, they prewire it for you with some short pigtails ;-) Their specs are also wrong - it can operate from 12-30V AC or DC.

Cheers

DT
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  #17  
Old 14-08-2017, 12:20 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DavidTrap View Post
I think you'll find it has a dew heater built in and this gets turned off in the condensation detection mode.
Interesting, I had time just now to check the manual myself and you're right that it has a heater. So I wonder why on those two occasions mine did close the roof. It is possible I have it's switches configured incorrectly such that the heater is disabled.

I think I need to do more of what's you suggested - testing it simply wired to a digital input, keep a log of that, and see when it would choose to open and close the roof. I have a DI unit I can use for that so am keen to do it now that I've thought about it. It'll be very interesting to test the different rain sensitivity settings.

Regards,
Roger.
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  #18  
Old 14-08-2017, 12:50 PM
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Please let me know if you've disabled the heater. I tried changing the sensitivity down from detect first drop to the next level, but one big drop still triggered it. Might need to try a smaller drop or a mist sprayer. I guess a bug landing on it might trigger it.

DT
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  #19  
Old 14-08-2017, 01:04 PM
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Quote:
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Please let me know if you've disabled the heater. I tried changing the sensitivity down from detect first drop to the next level, but one big drop still triggered it. Might need to try a smaller drop or a mist sprayer. I guess a bug landing on it might trigger it.

DT
I remember when I first tested mine i was using a misting spray among other things, anything triggered it.
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  #20  
Old 14-08-2017, 07:47 PM
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Cheapest and best foolproof rain detector I know of.

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