Stickstation USB Weather Station
The data you need
Today’s modern mounts require access to meteorological data in the form of temperature and barometric pressure in order to properly compensate for atmospheric refraction. The information needs to be local and affects both pointing and tracking. It is important to have good sensor data both when operating in an observatory and when going portable. For fixed observatories a number of options are available in the form of various weather station packages, but none of these lend themselves to portable use. Naturally, the Blue Astro USB stick weather station can be used in a permanent setup as well.
Housed in a small package similar to a USB memory stick, the Stickstation draws very little power and does not require any exotic device drivers on your system, be it Microsoft Windows, Linux or OSX. For Microsoft Windows users, the Stickstation application stores your data in a SQLite database and can also generate data files for various astro imaging software packages via a Boltwood compatible data file.
For Microsoft Windows users, we have developed a free weather station application that handles the device, stores the data and makes it available in a user interface. The Stickstation software is “fire and forget” with no configuration necessary if you connect directly to the device — it will search your computer for a device and hook up to it if it is available.
The graph portion of the application shows the temperature and dew point from now (right side) to either 1, 3, 6, 12, 24, 48, 72 or 96 hours back in time. The data in the graph is read from the database every time you change the time length of the graph with the + and – buttons, and new data is added to the graph as it comes in without the need to consult the database. The Y-axis of the graph automatically scales so that all data requested to be shown fits within the Y range.
10Micron mount support
Even though the Stickstation is usable with any system, special support for the 10Micron mounts has been built into the Windows Application. When used with the Frejvall ASCOM driver, the mount will get updated temperature and barometric readings fed right into the control box so that the atmospheric refraction calculations remain valid over your entire imaging session.
The Stickstation comes with a free ASCOM driver with multi-client support. Through this driver, astronomy software, such as Sequence Generator Pro (and more coming) can connect to the Stickstation and use its data. In order to make the Stickstation as useful as possible, the Windows application can connect to the Stickstation unit via ASCOM, thus enabling simultaneous use from many applications while still retaining the user interface, the 10Micron and Boltwood support as well as the storage of data in the SQLite database.
Other software support
We are working on getting support for the Stickstation in other software packages connected to other mounts on the market and will post more information on that when it becomes a reality. For those who like to do their own scripting, the Stickstation data transmission protocol is fully documented and follows established NMEA 0183 standards. It is also worth investigating whether your application supports the ASCOM Observing Conditions interface, in which case you have full support for the Stickstation.
Getting a Stickstation
If you are in the United States of America
Deep Space Products can get you a Stickstation. Get in touch with Edward Thomas through their site at http://deepspaceproducts.com
If you are in Europe
The Stickstation is available through Baader Planetarium resellers. If your favorite reseller hasn“t started stocking it yet, send us an e-mail at info at blueastro dot se and we“ll help you!
We charge only for the stick itself and you get the software for free, as well all future updates of it. In Europe with direct delivery from us, the stick is €85 plus Swedish VAT (add 25% unless you have a VAT number), in the U.S. it is $109. Postage within Europe is €6. We accept PayPal and direct IBAN wire transfers. Prices at Baader Planetarium resellers can vary some, but not much.
We produce the Stickstation in small batches on demand and usually have a reasonable number of units in stock. Due to its low weight it ships as a standard (or registered if you want) letter.
For quality control purposes we track each unit via its serial number and associates it with its first owner. We do not share any information regarding our customers with anyone.