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Any programmers out there?


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I have two video cameras for detecting meteors, each sending it's signal into a separate PC via a USB video grabber.  Each PC runs a copy of the brilliant but completely inappropriately-named 'UFO Capture' software.  The UFO Capture software automatically calculates local sunrise and sunset and you can configure the software start up and shut down at user-set intervals before and after subset/sunrise.

The power supply to each camera is via a 12v transformer plugged into to a simple plug-in timer.  Every month I have to remember to re-programme these timers.  The LCD screens on these timers is very difficult to read and on several occasions I have programmed them incorrectly.

What would be neat would be a small piece of software running on the PC that operates a relay that automatically turned the cameras on and off at user-set intervals before and after subset/sunrise, with the software automatically calculating local sunset/sunrise times.

There are loads of cheap USB powered 12v relays available on EBay ( http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/5V-USB-Relay-1-Channel-Programmable-Computer-Control-For-Smart-Home-CF-/272041590503 ), but I can't find any software to make it work as a sunset/sunrise timer.

My programming skills are non-existent.  I know it's a long shot, but are there any  programmers out there who could write a simple programme to do this?

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Its nice to go the DIY route, but there are now available IoT remote controlled sockets, e.g. http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/ORVIBO-Wireless-WiFi-2-3G-4G-Phone-Remote-Control-Smart-Plug-Power-Switch-Socket-/131392441087?hash=item1e97998aff:g:S7wAAOSwNSxVOe5~

I've not used one, so can't say how good\bad they may be, but maybe worth a look ??

 

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Hi Michael.  I've just replied to your ad on the uk astro buy sell site.  I meandered onto SGL in search of similar goodies and guess who I found while searching for a widefield scope?  It just happens that I'm a programmer as well (the out of work kind at the moment).

Give me a shout and we can have a chat - I sent my mobile number in my reply to your ad.  Meteor tracking is also an interest of mine and something I've worked on programs to do previously as well.  As you say, the UFO Capture is the way to go from my limited exposure to the available 'off-the-shelf' packages.   I wonder if there isn't an easier way to accomplish what you require.

Are you going to AstroFest at all?  I'm sure we have met in a previous lifetime - at a star party maybe?  Salisbury, IoW or Herstmonceux perhaps?

Cheers

Iain

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On 04/02/2016 at 00:50, mwayne said:

'Kinda pricey' is putting it mildly! And I'm going to need at least two timers as well.

 

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On 01/02/2016 at 08:52, Dr_Ju_ju said:

Its nice to go the DIY route, but there are now available IoT remote controlled sockets, e.g. http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/ORVIBO-Wireless-WiFi-2-3G-4G-Phone-Remote-Control-Smart-Plug-Power-Switch-Socket-/131392441087?hash=item1e97998aff:g:S7wAAOSwNSxVOe5~

I've not used one, so can't say how good\bad they may be, but maybe worth a look ??

 

Thanks. They are certainly one idea. With four timers needed (two cameras and two heaters) this might be a bit more than I wanted to spend but might be a compromise solution. However, I still prefer the 'set and forget' solution of a timer that automatically calculates local sunrise and sunset.

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On 03/02/2016 at 21:46, Ruud said:

Might a light sensor switch also work? If it did, you wouldn't need to have a computer running full time.

Thanks Ruud

Light detecting switches would be problematic in my situation and are not really a sensible option.  They would have to be mounted high up on the house making maintenance and cleaning a real pain. The computer runs 24/7 anyway to run the video capture software.

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On 03/02/2016 at 21:30, Mel said:

Hi Michael.  I've just replied to your ad on the uk astro buy sell site.  I meandered onto SGL in search of similar goodies and guess who I found while searching for a widefield scope?  It just happens that I'm a programmer as well (the out of work kind at the moment).

Give me a shout and we can have a chat - I sent my mobile number in my reply to your ad.  Meteor tracking is also an interest of mine and something I've worked on programs to do previously as well.  As you say, the UFO Capture is the way to go from my limited exposure to the available 'off-the-shelf' packages.   I wonder if there isn't an easier way to accomplish what you require.

Are you going to AstroFest at all?  I'm sure we have met in a previous lifetime - at a star party maybe?  Salisbury, IoW or Herstmonceux perhaps?

Cheers

Iain

Hi Ian

Great to bump into you at Astrofest. We may have met and a Salisbury star party a few years ago.

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Or a raspberry Pi (even a Pi zero) and use the pyephem python libraries to work out sunrise sunset and then control relays via the GPIO pins/transistor switches or a relay add on board.

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