Trouble with SkyAlert Cloud Sensor

Hello Everyone. I could use some help.

I recently installed the SkyAlert cloud sensor on my observatory. I purchased the unit the after reading in the SkyAlert manual " the program will generate and save a standard one line weather data file (i.e. Boltwood II) to a specified file location." I also talked with the manufacture and they assured me the SkyAlert works with SGP using the Boltwood Ascom Driver. Unfortunately I have not been able to get it to work. SGP consistently reports Unsafe conditions even under clear skies and calm conditions.

I had some clear observing conditions over the weekend which gave me an opportunity to test the SGP Safety Monitor again. I tested with the Boltwood OK to Open driver set to Cloudy, Windy, Wet and Light. The SkyAlert software was showing the conditions as Safe, but I wanted to test if the Boltwood II file it creates was also showing as Safe. Using the Boltwood Safety monitor test application that is installed with the Boltwood Ascom driver I pointed it to the weather data file being generated by the SkyAlert software and for OK to Image the Safety Test application reported Safe conditions. I then opened SGP, confirmed I was using the same OK to Image driver settings and then connected the Safety Monitor and it reported a “red” Unsafe condition.

The next day I copied from the SkyAlert log the weather conditions to a test weather data file for the same time SGP reported in the log that it connected to the ASCOM Boltwood Observing Conditions driver the night before. Both the Boltwood Safety Test application and SGP reported a conditions as Safe. I then swapped in an UnSafe condition weather data into the test weather data file to see that it would read both Safe and Unsafe conditions and SGP reported the correct state each time. So for some reason SGP shows safe conditions when reading a static test file data but when reading the live weather data file that is being updated every 20 seconds it reports conditions as Unsafe. I noticed in the SGP log that it is throwing a “Failed to get…” error when trying to obtain certain environmental data that the SkyAlert I guess doesn’t support, but these same error showed in the log when I was using the test file and it showed a Safe condition so I don’t think it is because of these errors that I am getting the different results.

The weather data file is being saved to a shared NAS drive as the SkyAlert is connected to a different PC then my imaging PC that runs SGP. I thought the issue might just be a data access issue. However, I can run the Boltwood Safety Test software from the imaging PC and it is able to read the file and report the conditions just fine so I don’t think it is a data access issue.

At this point I am pretty much out of ideas and need some help from the experts on this forum. I have placed the SGP log files, SkyAlert Log file for the time I was observing and my test weather data files on my Public OneDrive folder (see link below). I also included some screen shots of the different settings I was using. I would could really use some help from the SGP developers or anyone else on the forum that familiar with the Boltwood ASCOM driver to help me understand what might be going on here. I may have a chance to do some additional testing later this week if the weather forecast proves true. So let me know if there are some additional test I should run. I would really like to get this working as the SkyAlert was not cheap and it will be pretty disappointing if it turns out it will not work with SGP.

OneDrive link with Logs and Test data: Microsoft OneDrive - Access files anywhere. Create docs with free Office Online.. The Boltwood Safety Test application mentioned above can be found in the C:\Program Files (x86)\Common Files\ASCOM\SafetyMonitor\Boltwood directory after installing the Boltwood ASCOM driver. I am running SGP version on Windows 10 with the latest patches installed.

Thanks in advance for help. Please let me know if there is any other information or files that might be required.

Clear Skies,
Andrew J

@Andrew-It sounds like you have everything configured properly. I suggest that you try saving the weather file to a network share instead of the NAS drive. We have had other clients who have had similar issues when attempting to use a network drive. I think it is because the network drives sometimes will cache the file and even though the weather parameters are ‘Safe’, the time stamp is too old and consequently the Boltwood Safety Monitor flags the file as being ‘Unsafe’. We have several clients that (including myself) that are successfully using SkyAlert with SGP so I am certain that it works properly. If you need further assistance, feel free to contact us @

Thanks Wes. I will give that a try. Initially I had the file saving to my OneDrive, but that seemed to have even worse latency issues which is why I moved it to my NAS. I will try just sharing a directory on the SkyAlert host PC and see if that gives me better results.

Thanks again for your response.

Andrew J