ASCOM Environment SafetyMonitor Driver

The Environment SafetyMonitor showing two UNSAFE observations (generated using random values).
Figure 1: The Environment SafetyMonitor showing two UNSAFE observations (generated using random values).
In order to be able to respond to an unwanted change in weather conditions I decided, encouraged by a befriended amateur-astronomer, to create this Environment SafetyMonitor, which creates a bridge between ObservationConditions (the environment) Drivers and the Safety-input of astronomical software.1
The driver passed Conform and thus is ASCOM-compatible (validation file in included in the download). Version 0.0.10 can be downloaded from my server: EnvironmentSafetyMonitorSetup.zip.
The Environment SafetyMonitor is meant to be used in combination with the Observation Conditions Hub (OCH), which is an integral part of ASCOM and by default installed with it (i.e. if you have installed ASCOM, the OCH is installed as well and can directly be selected). It can as well be used with any other dedicated ObservationConditions driver.


Set-up

The first run of the Environment SafetyMonitor Driver.
Figure 2: The first run of the Environment SafetyMonitor Driver.
When first started the Environment SafetyMonitor starts with an almost empty screen (see figure 1). By clicking on the pull-down list, an ObservationConditions Driver (e.g. the OCH) can be selected (see figure 1A).
Once a selection has been made the Set-up-button will be enabled allowing to set-up the selected ObservationConditions Driver (see figure 1B). This step has to be done at this moment in order to continue.
After the set-up has been finished, the Connect-button will be enabled (see figure 1C). Once connected the settings for this SafetyMonitor can be made (see figure 2).


Entering the first setting for the Environment SafetyMonitor.
Figure 3: Entering the first setting for the Environment SafetyMonitor.
Once connection with the ObservationConditions Driver is made the first settings-row is presented (see figure 3), allowing to add the first rule to the SafetyMonitor.
- At A (see figure 3) the observation-type is selected. Only observation-types that are supported by the ObservationConditions Driver are accessible and therefore shown in black, the ones that are not available are shown in grey and cannot be selected.
- At B the operator (<, <=, =, !=, >=, >) can be selected.
- At C the criterion for the operator is entered (i.e the numerical value at which the SafetyMonitor should be trigered).
Once all three fields have been filled, the Add-button (at D) is enabled, while this is done with the Delete-button (E) as soon as the second rule has been defined. At this moment the rules are not yet parsed on to the driver, this is achieved by clicking OK.


Run-time set-up

The set-up dialog during run-time, showing that there is more rain than wanted.
Figure 4: The set-up dialog during run-time, showing that there is more rain than wanted.
Once the Environment SafetyMonitor is set-up by pressing the OK-button and a connection with the SafetyMonitor is made, the set-up dialog can be opened to view the current state of the SafetyMonitor (see figure 4). At the left hand side of all rows a status-LED shows in green if the selected condition is SAFE and red when UNSAFE. At the far right the current observation is shown.
In figure 4 it immediately becomes clear that an UNSAFE status is generated by rainfall exceeding the SAFE limit of zero millimetre per hour.


A change made during run-time triggers a warning signal (orange LED).
Figure 5: A change made during run-time triggers a warning signal (orange LED).
With exception of the the ObservationConditions Driver C, all SafetyMonitor Settings can be changed during run-time. In order to avoid accidental UNSAFE triggers, the settings are first tested, without making them active. If a new setting results in an UNSAFE situation while the current setting is SAFE, the status-LED at the right will turn orange.


Applying an UNSAFE situation to the Environment SafetyMonitor.
Figure 6: Applying an UNSAFE situation to the Environment SafetyMonitor.
Pressing OK or Apply while the modified setting will cause an UNSAFE situation will cause a warning to pop-up, asking whether or not to accept these new settings (see figure 6). Once acknowledged, the SafetyMonitor will immediately fire an UNSAFE event.


The settings for the SafetyMonitor can be exported and imported by clicking the respective button. The Import-button is only enabled when the SafetyMonitor is not connected.


Changelog

v.0.0.1 - v.0.0.9: First development.
v.0.0.10: Fixed bug that kept timer alive after closing of the setup-dialog.


Disclaimer

[1]: This driver is freeware, it's use is at your own risk! I cannot be held responsible for any damage caused due to improper set-up or malfunctioning of the driver.


If you have any questions and/or remarks please let me know.


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