SkyEye Camera Instruction Manual

Congratulations on purchasing the SkyEye all sky camera. To get the most out of your camera, please read this manual before operating the camera for the first time.

Before installing the camera in a permanent location, it is important to follow these steps:

Install the camera drivers:

Connect the camera USB cable to a USB port on the PC that you will be using to operate the camera. After connecting the camera, the system will prompt you to load the camera drivers. Insert the CD and navigate to the “Drivers” folder. Click OK to continue.

 Install the camera software:

Navigate to the “SkyEye” folder on the CD, open the folder and run “Setup”. This will install the SkyEye camera software. It may be necessary to download and install the latest Microsoft .NET framework if it is not currently installed on your system. If this is the case, the installer will prompt you to download and install the necessary files.

Acquire dark frames:

Run the SkyEye capture program if it is not already started. Before connecting to the camera for the first time, click on the “Settings” tab and choose a file path for the saved images. Click the “Connect” button to establish a connection with the camera. Cover the camera with a box or towel completely so that no light reaches the camera, preferably in a darkened environment. It is important that no light reaches the camera during this procedure. Click the “Start” button at the bottom of the window and follow the prompts to begin acquiring dark frames. This procedure will take a few minutes to complete and under normal circumstances only needs to be performed once. The program will notify you when the procedure is completed.

Install the viewer software:

Navigate to the “Viewer” folder on the CD. Run “Setup” to install the AllSky Viewer program.

This completes the preliminary installation of the SkyEye camera.

Typical mounting installation

Mounting the camera:

Choose a location for mounting the camera that is as high as possible to avoid obstructions near the horizons. The camera can be mounted on a standard 1.66” diameter satellite dish mount such as the Winegard DS-3000 or on a standard 1-1/4” diameter PVC pipe. Orient the marks on the camera housing so that they are pointing to North if desired.

Settings page descriptions:

Below is a brief description of the controls on the “Settings” tab and their functions.





















1-Path to image files. Click the button adjacent to this field to browse to the folder you would like the image files to be saved to.

14-Create Dark Frames Button. Click to create a set of new dark frames.

13-Anomaly Detection. Selects if an anomaly movie will be created when the camera stops exposing at dawn while operating in Sentinel Mode.

12-Image Filter. Select if dark frame calibration will be used.

11-Image Save Method. Determines weather files shall be saved incrementally or files shall be overwritten.

10-Connect button. Connects or disconnects ftp client from the web host.

9-Upload Progress. Displays the progress of the current upload.

8-Web Host Status. Displays the current web host connection status.

7-Password. Enter the web host password here.

6-Username. Enter the web host username here. i.e. mypages

5-Hostname. Enter the web host url here. i.e.

4-Set Host Credentials. Check this box to enter or alter the web host credentials.

3-Path to Placeholder. Click the button adjacent to this field to browse to an “off-line” image. file.

2-Path to Host. After establishing connection with a host, click the button adjacent to this field to open the ftp file browser.

15-Create Movie. Check box to automatically create a movie at specified intervals.

20-Status. Movie creation and upload status.

19-Frame Rate. Select the desired frame rate of the movie.

18-Update Interval. Select the movie creation interval frequency.

17-Frame Count. Select the number of the most recent frames to be included in movie. creation.

16-Movie Format. Select movie file type. Available choices are Quicktime, Flash, Windows Media and Avi.

Program Overview:

The SkyEye system is designed to operate 24/7 with no user intervention required. During daylight, while in the “Sentinel Mode”, the camera periodically takes an image to measure the average sky brightness (ADU). As twilight approaches and the ADU drops below the “Sentinel Threshold” value, the camera will start acquiring images. After each image is acquired, the image is saved to the computer’s hard drive and simultaneously uploaded to a web host (if connected). If the “Increment Files” tick-box is checked (default), then each image is saved with a numerator appended to the file name. When dawn approaches and the ADU increases above the “Sentinel Threshold” value, the camera goes into the “Idle” mode and an off-line placeholder image is uploaded to the web host. The following evening, the process repeats and the previous evening’s image files are overwritten.

Two separate movie creating methods are available. A standard movie can be created by checking the “Create Movie” tick-box on the “Settings” tab. In this mode, a new movie is created at timed intervals which are user adjustable by changing value of the “Update Interval” setting. The standard movie is created by rendering the most recently acquired frames. The amount of frames included in the movie are determined by the “Frame Count” setting. After each movie is created, it is uploaded to the web host, if connected. Movie format type and frame rate are user selectable.

 Additionally, ”Anomaly” movies can be created. These movies are created using only frames which contain detected moving objects such as meteors and satellites. When the “Detect Anomalies” tick-box is checked on the “Settings” tab, an anomaly movie is created each morning when the camera goes into the “Idle” mode at dawn. The movie is created using all frames containing detected anomalies from the previous evening’s imaging session. After the movie is created, it is uploaded to the web host and saved to the computer hard drive. Anomaly movies can also be created manually by checking the “Create Movie” tick-box on the “Detection” tab and clicking the “Start” button. Using either method, all frames which contain detected anomalies are archived to a date-stamped sub-folder on the hard drive along with the created “Anomaly” movie.

The SkyEye capture program contains several adjustable settings which allow for a great deal of flexibility in the operation of the camera. In most cases, the default values will work well. However, in some cases settings may need to be adjusted to produce more desirable results.

Initial settings:

Before connecting the camera for the first time, select a filename and path for the program to save the image files. Click on the “Settings” tab to open the settings dialog. Click on the button shown below and a file browser dialog will open. Navigate to the folder of your choice or create a new folder and enter a filename for the image files. By default, all images are saved in .jpg format. Use only alphabetic characters for the filename.

Connecting the camera:

Switch back to the “Main” dialog by clicking on the “Main” tab and click on the “Connect” button to establish a link with the camera.

Once the link to the camera is established, the “Camera Status” label will report the current status of the camera.

Main page setting descriptions:

Below is a brief description of the controls on the “Main” tab and their functions.















1-Connect button. Connects and disconnects camera from PC.

14-Zoom button. Opens a seperate window with a full scale image of the most recent exposure.

13-Gamma adjustment. Adjusts the brightness of the current exposure. Recorded exposures will also be affected.

12-Start button. Starts/stops camera exposure operation.

11-Sentinel mode. When checked, camera will start at dusk and stop at dawn according to the “Sentinel Threshold” setting value.

10-Always on. When checked, camera operates constantly regardless of sky brightness.

9-Sentinel threshold. Adjustment for sky brightness to start and stop camera operation.

8-Exposure delay. Adjustment for delay time between exposures.

7-Exposure time. Adjustment for exposure time in seconds.

6-Upload progress. Reports current upload time remaining.

5-Web host status label. Reports current web host connection and operating status.

4-ADU label. Reports average brightness of the current exposure on a scale of 1 to 255.

3-Exposure progress. Reports current exposure time remaining.

2-Camera status label. Reports current camera operational status and function.

Detection page descriptions:

Below is a brief description of the controls on the “Detection” tab and their functions.







4-Create Movie. Create a movie file from the images which contain anomalies. Movie format is determined by selection made on “Settings” tab.

2-Detect Anomalies. Click the “Start” button to begin detecting anomalies in the current image set and save the flagged images to a new folder.

1-Image Data. Displays the frame number and acquistion time and date of the image currently being displayed.

6-Status. Displays the current status of the various processes.

5-Framerate. Set the frame rate for the created movie.

3-Sensitivity. Adjust the detection algorithm’s sensitivity to changes from one image to the next.

Ftp dialog descriptions:

Below is a brief description of the controls on the “Ftp” dialog box and their functions.






Important mast preparation for camera installation:

If you are using a plastic or metal mast, it is important to cut relief slots if the mast is too tight.

There should only be a light snug fit to camera for ease of rotation and removal.

Integrated Dew Heaters:

SkyEye has (2) built-in resistance heaters for dew control and frosting on the plastic dome.  There is a 2.1mm power connector at the base of camera that will require an external (not supplied) 12-18 vdc @ 1amp power source.

At 12 vdc this will produce approximately 2.4 watts of additional heat inside the camera housing.  The camera also produces about 1.6 watts for a total of 4 watts of internal heat.

Up to 18 vdc may be applied to the heaters to produce at total of 7 watts of internal heat for more extreme weather conditions.

NOTE: heaters should be controlled and “ON” only during dewing or very cold conditions.

Dome Maintenance:

This dome is made of polycarbonate and is fairly scratch resistant.  However, it's always best to clean a dirty dome with a liberal solution of window cleaner (Windex) then wipe off with a very soft toilet tissue or Kleenex.  The final dust should be removed with a Micro Fiber Towel.  The Micro Fibers really work great without scratching.


Please use the following settings in the SkyEye camera program for uploading images and videos to the web site:

File Locations:

Path to Image Files: <as desired>

Path to Host:

Path to Placeholder: <Optional, as desired>

Ftp Settings:


Username: <assigned username>

Password: <assigned password>

Movie Settings:

Movie Format: Quicktime

Frame Count: <as desired>

Upload Interval: <as desired>

Frame Rate: <as desired>

Step by step instructions:

Click the "Settings" tab button at the top of the program window and check the "Set Host Credentials" check box.

Type in the "Hostname" field if it is not already displayed.

Type your assigned username in the "Username" field.

Clear the asterisks in the "Password" field and type in your assigned password.

Click the "Connect" button.

After a few seconds, the "Web Host Status" label should display "Connected".

Click on the arrow button adjacent to the "Path to Host" field. An ftp browser window will open and display the contents of your web site folder. Type skyeye in the "Filename" field if it is not already displayed and click the "Save" button to continue.

If you would like to have a customized image displayed during daylight hours when your camera is off-line, click on the button adjacent to the "Path to Placeholder" field and navigate to the image file you would like to be displayed when your camera is off-line.  The image should be in the .jpg format and the image file size should be less than 600K .

All setting and credential information is saved to your hard drive, so in the future you only need to click the "Connect" button to connect to the web server.

*If you cannot connect to the web server for any reason, double check the host credentials and your internet connection. The credentials are case-sensitive and must  match the provided credentials exactly. If you are still having difficulties, please contact for assistance.

*If you already have a web site and would like to have a web page on as well, replace the web host credential information with the credentials provided by your web hosting service and contact with your web site url.

Please do not share your web host credentials with anyone.

SkyEye Web Page Setup

4-Save Button. Click on Save to select the filename shown in the filename field.

2-Filename. Type in the filename you would like to name the uploaded image file as. Alternatively, a filename can be selected from the folder list.

1-Up one level. Moves the folder listing to the next heirarchy level up.

5-Cancel Button. Click to cancel the current operation and dismiss the dialog box.

3-Save as type. On current versions only .jpg is allowed.

Note: Right click the mouse to bring up a file/folder disposition menu.

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