Weather Station Software / Hardware

There are three environment monitoring systems used at the LBTO:

Data from these three systems is displayed on the big WEATHERSTATION display. All of the details for the hardware and software of the weather systems are described in CAN document 118s101. This page describes some operational notes for overview and troubleshooting.
For other information see:

More notes are available here (SMT info, precipitation totals, roof cam, telemetry):


Weather System on the Instrumentation wiki contains all the hardware documents for the Vaisala weather station

The hardware sensors are read from serial connections (COM1 and COM2) on a Windows PC called ( in computer room A. The PC runs Windows XP, and is set to auto login to the weather account (account name Polaris, password weather). NetTime is installed to update the system time every hour from since otherwise the clock drifts way too much, and the ENV requires no more than 5 seconds time discrepancy. The weather data drives the ENV, so if the ENV GUI is red, or the WEATHERSTATION information looks incorrect:
  1. vncviewer into this box with the password pvnc
  2. make sure the LBT weather is running, or restart it with the icon on the desktop:
  3. There are three applications running in the weather window - the one below is maximized in the window.
  4. If the weather display is running, but it is frozen, you need to stop the frozen weather display from the File/Exit before you click the icon on the desktop. Only one connection to the MAWS is allowed.


If you get a pop-up like this
when bringing up the weather station, you may not be getting all the data. We've seen this with the front wind sensors before. You may need to reboot the PC once or twice until the port is released.

If you suspect it's not updating, minimize the main weather display using the marked minimize button:


And you'll see the raw data printed in a separate window. The wind data updates every second, other data is on minute update interval:

WeatherServer-Data.png is a Windows XP machine that has the address This PC was designed to be a spare for the weather station PC, and also hosts the software configuring two web cams: webcam06 which is and another These are mounted one on each upper tree house to view the opposing rotators. Audio was enabled on one so that the crunching sounds of the rotator can be heard in the control room. John L found this useful. The 2 cameras should be accessible through a browser, using the IP address. (admin, no pass) but we cannot seem to access webcam06 - Stephen thinks it's a java problem.
There is also some LabView stuff here that it looks like Joe was experimenting with for OVMS.

See WeatherStationBuildInstall for details on the software design and build instructions.

Point of Contacts

Mike Batey (Boulder)

Chris Keenan

All Sky

AllSky on the Instrumentation wiki contains the hardware documents.

The All-Sky camera is mounted on the roof of the VATT. Fiber runs from the VATT to LBTO, level-2 CRA. The software application runs on the Windows PC. The image is displayed on that PC as well as on the WEATHERSTATION GUI.


S/W Operation

If you have to restart the software, you also have to start the image capture. Bring up the control window - often it's a window frame barely visible at the bottom of the window. It has a Start Capture button that has to be pushed to get the image capture going.

Update 2020-01-28 Set the sliders for Maximum Exposure Time to 1 minute, Exposure Interval to Continuous


It takes a long time to go through the startup sequence for the AllSky camera. It takes many darks. It is about 15 minutes before you will see an image like ours and before it is saved to the disk.
Be patient!

The SBIG AllSky-340 software is configured to Save Current Image (JPG) and Save Previous Images (JPG) .
According to the manual:
Save Current Image (JPG Format) Checking this option allows the current (most recent) image to be saved in JPG format to the specified location. The file will be named: AllSkyCurrentImage.jpg.
Save Previous Images (JPG Format) Checking this option allows all the previous images to be saved in JPG format to the specified location. The file will be named: AllSkyImage000000000.jpg . The 000000000 number will be replaced by the current index (which is incremented after each exposure).


The script for the big displays accesses the All-Sky image data directly via a wget to the webserver on the weatherstation-pc PC. The IP address/filename are hard-coded in the script /home/tcs/bin/ running on tcs1.
It copies the file to /web/info/AllSky on the machine for use by the big displays.

The VATT accesses the AllSky camera images there as well, via an outside address: . This address is outside the firewall on a network controlled by Steward.

Other folks use the web server to access image data as well. In July-2014, we copied all the files down to Tucson - split out by year. They are accessible in the following directories:
  • data/old/AllSky for files older than 2013 - we have AllSky data from:
    2009 (some data for Oct/Nov/Dec, no full months)
    2010 (a few days captured in Jan and Mar)
    2011 (almost full months for Feb/Mar/Apr, nothing else)
    2012 (nothing during Jul/Aug, sporadic for other months, but some full months too)
  • data/2013/AllSky for 2013 files - nothing for summer shutdown, and stopped in mid-November, but otherwise a good portion of the year is captured

We would like to use a Linux box for the AllSky application. It looks like the SBIG Linux stuff builds a FITS file but not a JPG like we use. Maybe just need to do the FITS-to-JPG or find out if they have a JPG creation API.

Log File

SBIG produce a log in ~/My Documents/SBIG/AllSky-340/MainLog.txt that has all kind of valuable timestamped information about its operation.

Missing Config File

There is a config file written to constantly by the application. Sometimes it gets corrupted due to power-outage, reboot, or something. If you cannot start the capture due to strange .NET errors or something, check for the file. There is a shortcut on the desktop to the folder where the file is:
The file is: C:\Documents and Settings\Polaris\Local Settings\Application Data\Santa_Barbara_Instrument_\SBIG_All_Sky_Camera.exe_Url_oxl1ojfpszvcseu2u3qrethllqabbtoz\\user.config
If this file is empty or corrupted, edit the copy to have the correct ImageCount value and then copy it to user.config .
The ImageCount should be one higher than the last All Sky image file is out there in C:\Data\AllSky

             <setting name="ImageCount" serializeAs="String">

Check the "Heater On" / "Heater Off" settings by going to setup before you "Start Capture" with the new configuration. Typically, we set it to 4pm MST for ON, 7am MST for OFF. So, ON at 23:00 UTC, OFF at 14:00 UTC.

  • Update 2019/12/30. JH noted "The heater doesn't work - hasn't worked for many years."
While investigating to transfer lag issue (IT7981), MB set it to be Off all times, following the SBIG instructions, So, ON at 13:59 UTC, OFF at 14:00.

Maintenance of All Sky Images

Note Monthly MANUAL Maintenance Required: We manually copy the AllSky image data to sub-folders on the Windows PC, and down to Tucson. All the files are written on the PC in C:\Data\AllSky. We have created subfolders there for years/months. Each month, create a new subfolder in the correct year and move all the AllSkyImageNNNNNN.JPG files for that month to the subfolder.
Also copy to Tucson to /lbt/telemetry_data/tcs/AllSky

To copy the images to Tucson using Windows Explorer, navigate to C:\Data\AllSky and on the toolbar select Tools --> Map Network Drive. Choose\telemetry as the "Folder" then click "Finish". Enter your credentials in the prompt and then you will be able to browse the Tucson directory.

Sky Quality Meter

The Sky Quality Meter (SQM-LE) from Unihedron measures the darkness of the night sky and provides readings of magnitudes per square arc second. This information is displayed on the WEATHERSTATION GUI in the lower right corner (this is a snapshot from daytime):


The process for the big displays accesses the SQM data from the data dictionary. The ENV subsystem gets the data from the SQM-LE directly via the IP address/port: / 10001. This is configured in the env.conf file.

As noted in the document, the SQM can handle only one TCP connection at a time.
It should not be run on the old weather PCs anymore, or the ENV will not have access to the data.

SkyQualityMonitor on the Instrumentation wiki contains the hardware documents.

Additional Tools

SMT Weather Data

We get data from the SMT weather system, described by these notes.

Precipitation Totals

There is a "personal" weather station on MGIO that has a rain gauge.

There is a script ( /home/teladmin/bin/ ) running on to get the previous day's cumulative precipitation total. This data is written to /lbt/telemetry_data/tcs/precip in dated files with a timestamp and the total, with a format like:

                6:35 AM GMT on September 08, 2016,       4.11

Roof Camera

The roof web cam is accessible here:

The last 50 images saved (every 5 minutes) is accessible here:

We configured the camera to have an "Action Rule" of type "Send Images" with recurrence of 5 minutes. See screenshots below for how it was set up.

The AXIS P1354 Network Camera User Manual - all our web cams are supposed to be the same, so this should be useful for any of them

Original requirements from engineering for saving the roof cam images:
On 10/20/2016 8:45 AM, Tom McMahon wrote:
.... From my perspective, we need the following:

- Live feed at the mountain,
- Video archived in sufficient resolution to resolve events on the roof. The footage only needs to be kept for ~3-5 days.
- Ability to download the archived footage to Tucson when and if necessary.


Telemetry for the weather data is provided by the ENV subsystem of the TCS, which also records weather data from the SMT.
fields need update due to changes made in 2015
timestamp secs
temperature C
dewpoint C
pressure hectopascal
windspeed meter_per_second
winddirection degree
raw_winddirection degree
windspeed_front meter_per_second
winddirection_front degree
raw_winddirection_front degree
skybrightnesstimestamp seconds

timestamp time since epoch
wgusts_1 # of 30+ mph wind gusts in last min
wgusts_5 # of 30+ mph wind gusts in last 5 mins
wgusts_60 # of 30+ mph wind gusts in last 60 mins
wgusts_24 # of 30+ mph wind gusts in last 24 hrs
wdirect_1 one minute peak wind direction
wspeed_1 one minute peak wind speed
wdirect_5 five minute avg wind direction
wspeed_5 five minute avg wind speed
wdirect_60 one hour peak wind direction
wspeed_60 one hour peak wind speed
wdirect_24 24 hour peak wind direction
wspeed_24 24 hour peak wind speed
wmax_60 time in last hour for peak wind gust
wmax_24 time in last day for peak wind gust
amb_temp Ambient temperature (deg C)
amb_pres Barometric pressure
humidity Relative humidity (%)
dew_pt Dew point (deg C)
mm_h2o Water partial pressure
tau_0 Zenith opacity
temp temperature
torr pressure
rh relative humidity
wspeed wind speed
wdirect wind direction
refract Refract calc. from data
tauz zenith tau
tau tau
tausigma tau sigma
mmh2o H2o
dp dew point
rain rain detection

  • Weatherstation PC connections:
I Attachment Action Size Date Who Comment
AllSky37.pngpng AllSky37.png manage 1 K 09 Dec 2015 - 16:58 UnknownUser shortcut to directory for AllSky config file
AllSkyCurrentImage.JPGJPG AllSkyCurrentImage.JPG manage 55 K 17 Jul 2014 - 21:37 UnknownUser All-Sky snapshot
AllSkyStartCapture.pngpng AllSkyStartCapture.png manage 21 K 04 Jun 2015 - 16:42 UnknownUser AllSky control window
AxisP1354-Manual.pdfpdf AxisP1354-Manual.pdf manage 1 MB 31 Jul 2017 - 20:33 UnknownUser User Manual AXIS P1354 Network Camera
IEOpenErrorPopup.pngpng IEOpenErrorPopup.png manage 11 K 23 Apr 2015 - 22:29 UnknownUser port error pop-up
LBTWeather.pngpng LBTWeather.png manage 180 K 11 Jun 2014 - 22:31 UnknownUser LBT Weather Station software GUI
LBTWeatherIcon.pngpng LBTWeatherIcon.png manage 1 K 11 Jun 2014 - 22:30 UnknownUser LBT Weather icon
MinimizeWS.pngpng MinimizeWS.png manage 5 K 10 Jun 2015 - 21:09 UnknownUser Minimize weather display
SMTWeatherNotes.pdfpdf SMTWeatherNotes.pdf manage 265 K 31 Jul 2015 - 21:24 UnknownUser Notes on SMT weather data
Screen Shot 2020-01-28 at 12.46.30 PM.pngpng Screen Shot 2020-01-28 at 12.46.30 PM.png manage 107 K 28 Jan 2020 - 19:47 MatthieuBec  
StillImagesSetup.pngpng StillImagesSetup.png manage 13 K 17 Oct 2014 - 20:48 UnknownUser All-Sky still images setup screen
StillImagesSetupOct2014.pngpng StillImagesSetupOct2014.png manage 11 K 17 Oct 2014 - 20:50 UnknownUser All-Sky still images setup screen
WEATHER-SQM.pngpng WEATHER-SQM.png manage 22 K 17 Jul 2014 - 21:34 UnknownUser SQM on the WEATHER GUI
WeatherPCMAWSConnections-sm.jpgjpg WeatherPCMAWSConnections-sm.jpg manage 632 K 23 May 2017 - 18:20 UnknownUser Weatherstation PC connections
WeatherServer-Data.pngpng WeatherServer-Data.png manage 7 K 10 Jun 2015 - 20:56 UnknownUser Data window on weather station software
WeatherStationToWDA.jpgjpg WeatherStationToWDA.jpg manage 1 MB 06 Jun 2014 - 20:04 UnknownUser Block diagram of weather station to ENV and TCS_WDA
roofcam5minRecurrence.pngpng roofcam5minRecurrence.png manage 16 K 01 Nov 2016 - 23:37 UnknownUser roof web cam Recurrence Setup every 5 minutes
roofcamActionRecipient.pngpng roofcamActionRecipient.png manage 26 K 01 Nov 2016 - 23:36 UnknownUser roof web cam Recipient Setup using HTTP to upload images
roofcamActionRule.pngpng roofcamActionRule.png manage 49 K 01 Nov 2016 - 23:38 UnknownUser roof web cam Action Rule Setup to use Recurrence and Recipient (HTTP) to save images
Topic revision: r36 - 28 Jan 2020, MatthieuBec
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