DIY Solar Scintillation Seeing Monitor with FC support

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Re: DIY Solar Scintillation Seeing Monitor with FC support

Post by GreatAttractor » Fri Jun 23, 2017 10:02 pm

GreatAttractor wrote:
Sat Jun 17, 2017 3:35 am
and an LM224AN op-amp; parameters similar to LMC6484
...not really, after a closer look (which also explains the price difference, I guess). Fortunately I found a supplier and got a few LMC6484AIN op-amps.

So far I've assembled and tested the "first stage" (sampling only the averaged light intensity), seems to work fine (I'm using Arduino Micro):
stage1.JPG
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Indeed, I had to put the cell phone's LED-flashlight very close to the photodiode to see some smallish increase in the sampled value. I should have some breaks in the clouds tomorrow for proper testing.

The diode is really tiny, here it is with a pendrive and a chunky 3.3 µF film capacitor:
dc.JPG
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Beside the current (1-second) seeing value and the 10- or 30-second average, I'm also going to display an "average of the best percentage", which I think is more meaningful for us imagers. For example, with my current setup I usually shoot a 15-second video and then stack 30% best frames. The expected image quality should correspond with the average of seeing values of the best 5 seconds out of 15 s.

Another change is using the timer interrupt to calculate the average (and update display/send data to PC) over exactly 1-second intervals ‒ and not by polling the ADC until 10 000 samples are collected. As you can see in the first photo, there were just 7754 read-outs in the last second.
My software:
Stackistry — an open-source cross-platform image stacker
ImPPG — stack post-processing and animation alignment
My images

SW Mak-Cass 127, ATM Hα scope (D=90 mm, LS50 etalon), Lunt LS50THa, ATM SSM, ATM Newt 300/1500 mm, PGR Chameleon 3 mono (ICX445)

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Re: DIY Solar Scintillation Seeing Monitor with FC support

Post by IanL » Sat Jun 24, 2017 11:37 am

Inspired by this thread, I built an SSSM a few months back with good results. I've written a detailed build guide here:

http://www.blackwaterskies.co.uk/2017/0 ... itor-sssm/

- Full strip-board layout diagram included for the less electronically inclined.
- Step-by-step build and test instructions.
- Refactored the SSSM sketch to make it more readable and modular (to support different display types for example).
- Plenty of use of #define and #ifdef blocks so that only required code is included for the functions enabled, minimising sketch size.
(https://github.com/IanLauwerys/SSM/blob ... Sketch.ino)
- Optional OLED display with graph functionality (you can pick up suitable modules from eBay for a few pounds/dollars).

Hope this is useful to someone and thanks to Joachim for bringing this to the masses and the great FireCapture plugin.

The OLED display didn't come out well in this photo, but it does work in practice!

Image

Image

Image
Last edited by IanL on Sat Jun 24, 2017 12:11 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: DIY Solar Scintillation Seeing Monitor with FC support

Post by PDB » Sat Jun 24, 2017 12:03 pm

Ian,

this is a fantastic guide you provided. Also the Arduino code looks very good. (Think I will test it out as soon weather permits)

Regards,

Paul

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Re: DIY Solar Scintillation Seeing Monitor with FC support

Post by GreatAttractor » Sat Jun 24, 2017 12:31 pm

Thank you, Ian. As I've already finished my sketch today, I guess we'll have yet another on Github ;)

UPDATE:

I managed to test today during a short break in the clouds. It was a hot day, I put the rig in front of an open window and got consistently 10-12", which seems too high. Maybe temperature difference from the outside was bigger than I thought... Will try again tomorrow (though it's going to be partly cloudy again).

Sunday Update:

There were still some super-thin uneven clouds today and the SSM always clocked more than 10". I hope it's just the clouds, not some problem with the circuit. I hope it won't be the traditional two cloudy weeks after getting a new toy until I can test properly.
My software:
Stackistry — an open-source cross-platform image stacker
ImPPG — stack post-processing and animation alignment
My images

SW Mak-Cass 127, ATM Hα scope (D=90 mm, LS50 etalon), Lunt LS50THa, ATM SSM, ATM Newt 300/1500 mm, PGR Chameleon 3 mono (ICX445)

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Re: DIY Solar Scintillation Seeing Monitor with FC support

Post by RTJoe » Tue Jun 27, 2017 8:46 am

GreatAttractor wrote:
Sat Jun 17, 2017 3:35 am

I'm wondering about filtering; Seykora's article mentions using filters which gave 220 nm FWHM at 510 nm. If the SSM is used during an Hα imaging session, shouldn't we e.g. slap a red filter on the diode to give more meaningful seeing values? Would there be any noticeable difference anyway?
Some months ago I have asked exactly this question to Mr. Seykora, here is his reply:

"Schott filters with a 220 nm passband centered at 510nm. Nothing is to be gained by using the filters. These filters used in the original Scintillation Seeing Monitor paper were used to relate seeing measured with Scintillations and Angle of arrival fluctuations. Scintillations are very independent of wavelength in the Vis. and near IR wavelengths, angle of arrival fluctuations are dependent on wavelength."

Best regards,
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Re: DIY Solar Scintillation Seeing Monitor with FC support

Post by Spectral Joe » Tue Jun 27, 2017 3:46 pm

With regard to high, thin clouds, these indicate high altitude wind shear that would cause poor seeing. Sounds like you are getting the right number. As for the filters, this combination would give a photopic response in combination with the photodiode spectral sensitivity. This type of detector / filter combination is commonly used in light measurement. As Joachim says, not needed in this application. I've built a slightly different version of this device, since I'm an old timer I prefer watching a needle move on a meter movement so I used digital pins 5 and 6 (on an Uno) for analog (PWM) outputs that represent seeing and level. A switch selects which one is displayed.

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Re: DIY Solar Scintillation Seeing Monitor with FC support

Post by GreatAttractor » Thu Jun 29, 2017 3:47 pm

Good news - it turned out I forgot to connect 2.5 V reference voltage to pin 5 of the op-amp, so the analog input 2 was returning some garbage values. After fixing this I'm getting the expected seeing levels (0.8"-2.5" at the moment, during breaks in passing high clouds).

I've started assembling the final "box" version.
My software:
Stackistry — an open-source cross-platform image stacker
ImPPG — stack post-processing and animation alignment
My images

SW Mak-Cass 127, ATM Hα scope (D=90 mm, LS50 etalon), Lunt LS50THa, ATM SSM, ATM Newt 300/1500 mm, PGR Chameleon 3 mono (ICX445)

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Re: DIY Solar Scintillation Seeing Monitor with FC support

Post by GreatAttractor » Sun Jul 09, 2017 5:22 pm

The box is almost finished; the circuit board didn't turn out much tidier than the test version...:
ft2.jpg
ft2.jpg (140.12 KiB) Viewed 2930 times
The sensor assembly is made out of sawed-off RCA connector:
cz1.jpg
cz1.jpg (77.04 KiB) Viewed 2930 times
cz2.jpg
cz2.jpg (60.35 KiB) Viewed 2930 times
Field test:
ft1.jpg
ft1.jpg (100.36 KiB) Viewed 2930 times
It's attached with a 1 meter long shielded RCA cable, to be mounted on the telescope. I'll make a second, directly pluggable sensor on a right-angle RCA plug for operation in the field (I'd like to take some readings from my favourite mountain in good weather, and maybe from a lake too; probably save them in the Arduino's EEPROM for later retrieval).

I've uploaded my Arduino code to: https://github.com/GreatAttractor/ssm
It uses timer interrupt (via TimerThree library) to sample over predetermined duration, and includes comments for the 4.46 "magic number".
My software:
Stackistry — an open-source cross-platform image stacker
ImPPG — stack post-processing and animation alignment
My images

SW Mak-Cass 127, ATM Hα scope (D=90 mm, LS50 etalon), Lunt LS50THa, ATM SSM, ATM Newt 300/1500 mm, PGR Chameleon 3 mono (ICX445)

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Re: DIY Solar Scintillation Seeing Monitor with FC support

Post by PDB » Mon Jul 10, 2017 7:42 am

Looks Good Filip.
Which Arduino are you using? I don't get your code compiled on the Nano. (It does for the ATMega) Some problem in the Timer file definitions.
Also tested Ian's code, but since use I2C versions of the LCD and OLED display had to do a few modifications in the display settings.
Works fine on the Mega, but displaying 2 graphs on the Nano is just too much and becomes unstable (not enough memory?) If I comment out one of the 2 graphs it works on the Nano as well. (Could see the Micro has slighly more memory, so that could help?)

Regards,
Paul

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Re: DIY Solar Scintillation Seeing Monitor with FC support

Post by IanL » Mon Jul 10, 2017 8:03 am

Paul,

Yes the code is pretty tight on memory. Another option worth trying might be to reduce the number of points stored and displayed for the graphs as they use a fair amount of memory.
http://www.blackwaterskies.co.uk/
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Re: DIY Solar Scintillation Seeing Monitor with FC support

Post by GreatAttractor » Mon Jul 10, 2017 8:30 am

Paul,

I have Arduino Micro. If TimerThree causes problems, one can comment out the whole timer thing and just use a fixed number of samples as in the original.
My software:
Stackistry — an open-source cross-platform image stacker
ImPPG — stack post-processing and animation alignment
My images

SW Mak-Cass 127, ATM Hα scope (D=90 mm, LS50 etalon), Lunt LS50THa, ATM SSM, ATM Newt 300/1500 mm, PGR Chameleon 3 mono (ICX445)

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Re: DIY Solar Scintillation Seeing Monitor with FC support

Post by GreatAttractor » Mon Jul 17, 2017 7:31 pm

The box is a hack job, but at least it's not in pieces anymore ;) The input-regulating variable resistor is accessible via the central hole. The knob is for LCD backlighting (the good thing about black-on-green LCD is that it's also perfectly legible in full sunlight with backlight off).
bo2.jpg
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bo1.jpg
bo1.jpg (106.91 KiB) Viewed 2776 times
bo3.jpg
bo3.jpg (71.2 KiB) Viewed 2776 times
I've also put together (github repository) a simple client (text-mode) to display and store SSM data in CSV format for later analysis, e.g. in LibreOffice Calc. Some data from today's golden evening (timestamps are in UTC, add 2 hours for my local time):
ssm_log.png
ssm_log.png (299.61 KiB) Viewed 2776 times
Not bad, considering that the Sun was at barely 17° down to 8° altitude.

Update – histogram of seeing values:
histogram.png
histogram.png (18.39 KiB) Viewed 2768 times
I'm already thinking of rebuilding into nicer and smaller version 2; already ordered one of those nice small OLED displays like Ian's, I'll probably have a PCB made too.
My software:
Stackistry — an open-source cross-platform image stacker
ImPPG — stack post-processing and animation alignment
My images

SW Mak-Cass 127, ATM Hα scope (D=90 mm, LS50 etalon), Lunt LS50THa, ATM SSM, ATM Newt 300/1500 mm, PGR Chameleon 3 mono (ICX445)

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Re: DIY Solar Scintillation Seeing Monitor with FC support

Post by PDB » Sun Jul 23, 2017 7:41 am

Hi,

first version of the Linux version of a real-time Solar Scintillation Monitor. (on Ubuntu 16.04) Still a long way to go ... Error handling and decent graphs (need to learn more about qcustomplot libraries, but first results are promising. It should work with different versions of the Arduino code (Original, RTJoe, Ian and GreatAttractor) Since there was no sunshine for real testing, I also build in a simulator device generating (erratic) random seeing levels and fixed 0.95 input value. (Thanks GreatAttractor for the coding example :D )
Code is not in a "publishing" state yet, but hope to do that very soon ..

here is a screenshot
Screenshot.png
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Regards,

Paul

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Re: DIY Solar Scintillation Seeing Monitor with FC support

Post by GreatAttractor » Sun Aug 20, 2017 6:19 pm

As was to be expected, I haven't had imaging opportunities since finishing version 1 of my SSM :evil:

In the meantime, I bought a 1.3" mono OLED display and learned to use it; also, version 2 of the board is almost built, and new Arduino code is ready. Not that having a seeing graph is particularly useful, but it was fun to implement:
oled.jpg
oled.jpg (38.22 KiB) Viewed 2251 times
The thicker black line is the central running average (30 s). Using Polish style decimal separator for the screenshot, but it can be redefined to period. As I'm not attempting to keep a copy of frame buffer in SRAM (that would be 128x64 bits = 1 KiB), there's still plenty of memory left:

Code: Select all

AVR Memory Usage
----------------
Device: atmega32u4

Program:   13824 bytes (42.2% Full)
(.text + .data + .bootloader)

Data:        702 bytes (27.4% Full)
(.data + .bss + .noinit)
I think the code is cleanly split into components, so feel free to have a look/reuse: https://github.com/GreatAttractor/ssm/tree/dev/v2/src
My software:
Stackistry — an open-source cross-platform image stacker
ImPPG — stack post-processing and animation alignment
My images

SW Mak-Cass 127, ATM Hα scope (D=90 mm, LS50 etalon), Lunt LS50THa, ATM SSM, ATM Newt 300/1500 mm, PGR Chameleon 3 mono (ICX445)

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Re: DIY Solar Scintillation Seeing Monitor with FC support

Post by GreatAttractor » Sun Sep 03, 2017 5:05 pm

Finally! Two nice cloudless days, and I could at last verify the values reported by SSM. After attaching the sensor so it would follow the Sun:
moco1.jpg
moco1.jpg (187.9 KiB) Viewed 1997 times
moco2.jpg
moco2.jpg (216.09 KiB) Viewed 1997 times
moco3.jpg
moco3.jpg (99.53 KiB) Viewed 1997 times
i started data collection, and captured a 50-second video at 20 fps. It would seem the SSM works correctly, because on a joint graph of the seeing and the (exported from Stackistry) frame quality, I got:
seeing_vs_quality.png
seeing_vs_quality.png (193 KiB) Viewed 1997 times
Frame quality on the right-hand vertical axis (0 = best, 1 = worst). Correlation seems to be quite good.

Quality estimation

Stackistry uses a simple method of determining the quality of an image A; it's the sum of absolute differences of pixel values between A and a blurred version of A:

q = Σ |AAblur|

In other words, the total brightness of the “high frequency component”. If A is already blurred, then the differences, and therefore q, will be small. If A contains a lot of sharp details, they will remain after subtracting the blurred version, and the sum will be higher.

This quality measure is not affected by simple geometric distortion (“rubber membrane”) of images, which might explain imperfect correlation at some moments.
My software:
Stackistry — an open-source cross-platform image stacker
ImPPG — stack post-processing and animation alignment
My images

SW Mak-Cass 127, ATM Hα scope (D=90 mm, LS50 etalon), Lunt LS50THa, ATM SSM, ATM Newt 300/1500 mm, PGR Chameleon 3 mono (ICX445)

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Re: DIY Solar Scintillation Seeing Monitor with FC support

Post by PDB » Mon Dec 11, 2017 9:41 pm

Hi Rainer,

if it will run on the UNO depends on which Arduino code you have downloaded. There are several versions now and some are not compatible with all Arduinos. (Size of data and program for the graphics display, use of timer routines). The most simple version without display, should run on every Arduino.

Mine is running on an cheap Nano, but tested on and UNO and a Mega. If you use a display, then it depends which one you choose. I have been creating some code for a graphical version and small memory footprint but haven't published it yet.

Regards,
Paul

Sorry: can't answer your first question (too little real electronics knowledge)

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Re: DIY Solar Scintillation Seeing Monitor with FC support

Post by rsfoto » Tue Dec 12, 2017 1:04 am

PDB wrote:
Mon Dec 11, 2017 9:41 pm
Hi Rainer,

if it will run on the UNO depends on which Arduino code you have downloaded. There are several versions now and some are not compatible with all Arduinos. (Size of data and program for the graphics display, use of timer routines). The most simple version without display, should run on every Arduino.

Mine is running on an cheap Nano, but tested on and UNO and a Mega. If you use a display, then it depends which one you choose. I have been creating some code for a graphical version and small memory footprint but haven't published it yet.

Regards,
Paul

Sorry: can't answer your first question (too little real electronics knowledge)

Hi Paul,

Thanks for the answer. Ordered also some LMC6484.

Will start with the original sketch in the paper of E.J.Seykora and then work upwards.

I just read a lot about all this and I see that we need 2 values and not just one wn the input is different as they camoe from 2 different pins of the LMC6484.

So I will set up the board as in the original paper.

BTW I found an interesting software package for displaying values on a PC. Easy to implement together with the Arduinos. It is called MegunoLink

regards Rainer
Last edited by rsfoto on Fri Dec 15, 2017 3:44 pm, edited 1 time in total.
regards Rainer

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Re: DIY Solar Scintillation Seeing Monitor with FC support

Post by rsfoto » Wed Dec 13, 2017 8:13 pm

Hi,

I am waiting to get the Photo diodes and the OP amps to start with the building.

What did draw a bit my attention is the follwong in the paper of Dr. Seykora
Care should be taken that the cable is grounded only at the circuit board and not at the detector.
A coax cable has only 2 lines for data transmission, the inner core and the outer mesh ...

So if I do not connect the outer mesh to the cathode of the BPW34 then I will get no signal :-)
CB-COAX-Cable.jpg
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regards Rainer

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Re: DIY Solar Scintillation Seeing Monitor with FC support

Post by GreatAttractor » Thu Dec 14, 2017 8:59 pm

It seems clear to me: "not grounded at detector" = "don't try to attach the outer mesh at the detector to an external ground".
My software:
Stackistry — an open-source cross-platform image stacker
ImPPG — stack post-processing and animation alignment
My images

SW Mak-Cass 127, ATM Hα scope (D=90 mm, LS50 etalon), Lunt LS50THa, ATM SSM, ATM Newt 300/1500 mm, PGR Chameleon 3 mono (ICX445)

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Re: DIY Solar Scintillation Seeing Monitor with FC support

Post by rsfoto » Fri Dec 15, 2017 1:01 am

GreatAttractor wrote:
Thu Dec 14, 2017 8:59 pm
It seems clear to me: "not grounded at detector" = "don't try to attach the outer mesh at the detector to an external ground".
Hi,

Thanks for that. Now if I understood correctly that menas that if I have a metal case for the detector then I should not ground it to that metal case ?

Again thanks :bow2

BTW. I got my BPW34 today and made some mesurements having connected it to an OpAmp. WOW this little buggers are really sensitive :bow

I think I can use them for my ongoing project of the Solar guider I am building.
regards Rainer

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Re: DIY Solar Scintillation Seeing Monitor with FC support

Post by GreatAttractor » Fri Dec 15, 2017 3:26 pm

Now if I understood correctly that menas that if I have a metal case for the detector then I should not ground it to that metal case ?
Right, that's my understanding too.
I think I can use them for my ongoing project of the Solar guider I am building.
That's cool! Also keep an eye on the Planetary Imager – automatic tracking (self-guiding) is in the works.
My software:
Stackistry — an open-source cross-platform image stacker
ImPPG — stack post-processing and animation alignment
My images

SW Mak-Cass 127, ATM Hα scope (D=90 mm, LS50 etalon), Lunt LS50THa, ATM SSM, ATM Newt 300/1500 mm, PGR Chameleon 3 mono (ICX445)

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Re: DIY Solar Scintillation Seeing Monitor with FC support

Post by rsfoto » Fri Dec 15, 2017 3:43 pm

GreatAttractor wrote:
Fri Dec 15, 2017 3:26 pm
Now if I understood correctly that menas that if I have a metal case for the detector then I should not ground it to that metal case ?
Right, that's my understanding too.
I think I can use them for my ongoing project of the Solar guider I am building.
That's cool! Also keep an eye on the Planetary Imager – automatic tracking (self-guiding) is in the works.
Hi,

Thanks. Will take a look at the Planetary Imager Software.
regards Rainer

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Re: DIY Solar Scintillation Seeing Monitor with FC support

Post by rsfoto » Fri Dec 15, 2017 7:06 pm

Hi,

In regard to the Scintillation Monitor ...

Has anyone tried to diminish the angle of entrance ? So far I think everybody is using the full angle of the sensor is active.

Would it mean that using it recessed some values would heve to be changed ?

Looks like my LMC6484 will arrive today.
regards Rainer

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Re: DIY Solar Scintillation Seeing Monitor with FC support

Post by GreatAttractor » Fri Dec 15, 2017 8:51 pm

As long as you don't use any optics in front of the naked diode, I think recessing won't make a difference. The Sun is thousands of times brighter than any other light source you'll encounter on a typical day, so no "background light shielding" should be needed.
My software:
Stackistry — an open-source cross-platform image stacker
ImPPG — stack post-processing and animation alignment
My images

SW Mak-Cass 127, ATM Hα scope (D=90 mm, LS50 etalon), Lunt LS50THa, ATM SSM, ATM Newt 300/1500 mm, PGR Chameleon 3 mono (ICX445)

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Re: DIY Solar Scintillation Seeing Monitor with FC support

Post by rsfoto » Sat Dec 16, 2017 1:49 am

GreatAttractor wrote:
Fri Dec 15, 2017 8:51 pm
As long as you don't use any optics in front of the naked diode, I think recessing won't make a difference. The Sun is thousands of times brighter than any other light source you'll encounter on a typical day, so no "background light shielding" should be needed.
Hi,

Thanks for the input. Well the circuit is ready on the bread board and now I have to see how I do get the sensor into the sun. I guess I will prepare a long cable from my desk to the window :D

Also making up my mind how to eventually integrate this BPW34 photo diode into my solar guider project.
regards Rainer

Observatorio Real de 14 San Luis Potosi Mexico

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