Do you like an eclipse desktop for your pocket PC (PPC) like the image
Here you get it: eclipse.tsk Download the file, send it to your PDA an chose as today screen.
What else do you need? A timer software!
On the right you see my EclipseObserver for PC and PPC. It is designed to remind the observer to the contact times, announce the events by voice output, trigger cameras automatically and, and and...
This software did a great job in the Arctic 2008, when it released my analog cameras for landscape photography. It came from my old photo timer software, written in PASCAL. I converted it, so that it will now run on my pocket PC (ppc) as well as on a Windows-PC.
A nice developing tool for this is BASIC4PPC. So i get a Version, running on a standard Windows-PC as well as on a ppc, with the same source code!
You can test and download both versions here on my homepage. I called the program "EclipseObserver". It reminds your observations by text message or sound output and it is also able to launch other applications eg. camera operating tools or meteo gatherig software.
All configuration data is stored in a textfile, "EclipseObserver.txt". You can edit this file either in advance using a text editor or with "EclipseObserver".
After starting the application you see the main form as seen above. In the upper left there are editable fields containing the contact times C1 .. C4 as well as the time of mid of eclipse, accessed to as "C0" in the calculations described later. Rigtht to these times there is displayed the duration from now to the respecting contact. Below this there is displayed the next contact event and the time to it in large letters. Events in the past are marked pale blue, upcoming events are black. If there are less than 5 minutes to an event, it ist marked red.
The field below shows the actual time.
The lower three lines show the last and the next two events or text messages from the user defined list, which can be acced to by the "Actions" menu button.
To manage complex observation programs, you will like to add more events. A click on the "Actions" menu opens a window a table, containing sounds or program launch tasks and text messages to be displayed in the main window. "Edit" opens a new form to change or add the selected task. With "Copy" the selected item is copied and the copy will be edited. With "ok" the input data will be copied into the task tables and executed. This may last some time on slow machines. To save them click on "Save" in the main form.
Although it is possible to edit the table file (EclipseObserver.csv)
great care should be taken for getting correct data formats. A better
to edit these events is to use the forms in my software.
In the csv-file "C0" stands for the mid of eclipse. The contact event may be followed by a time difference. Alternatively to this relative timing you may use absolute times, started by "A". For playing sounds use the command "PLAY" followed by the sound file name. For launching external applications, use the command "SHELL". Especially for releasing cameras you should use my tool interval photo timer and interval timer, see below.
It is very important for successful eclipse observations to be well
"EclipseObserver" supports you already at home. Check the "Training"
and "EclipseObserver" asks you for the time to second contact. Enter
desired value and test your observation program in real time as often
you like. You can switch off the training mode by unchecking the
check box or via the main form menu.
Download the files for PC and Pocket PC, including source codes and
configuration files here
(updated version july 2008).
For camera control also download intervalfoto.zip.
Unzip and copy the files to any directory on the PC or PPC and execute them.
System requirements: .net 2.0 CF for Pocket PC or for Windows
Known problems yet to be solved:
after a system predefined time, the PPC will turn off the display backlight illumination. Although the source code should prevent this (coorect values are written to the registry, but obviously they are not noted by the system), it seems to work not properly on all machines. In case of external power supply, backlight power down often deactivated. If not, after starting EclipseObserver, you should call the settings dialogs of the windows power management settings. However, the program continues running and announcing sound messages.
Another small timing application is my interval photo timer, releasing one or two Cameras - or more general, the interval timer. It plays sounds and can launch an application periodically. They are designed to work together with the 'Eclipse Observer' but they can also be used as stand alone applications, eg. for long time exposures in astrophotography, lightning photos, meteor photos etc. The photo software uses the serial port to trigger the cameras. A cable connecting the camera release with the RTS line resp. the DTR line over an NPN transistor is needed.
Command line parameters for
the Photo Timer:
auto: starts timer immidiately and terminates it automatically
start: only starts timer immediately
otherCfgFile name: Auto mode with special Configuration file instead of the default "IntervalFoto.txt"
Next file may be specified,
it is loaded after finishing the sequence or "AUTO" or "CLOSE" instead of FileName terminates Application
If you think it will be useful try and download intervalfoto.zip (also containing the Auto Foto software) or intervaltimer.zip. System requirements: .net 2.0 CF for Pocket PC or for Windows
The Auto Foto software
Designed to release one or two cameras either as a remote control or via command line parameters from another software over the serial lines.
Click on the grey field for releasing the camera with the desired exposure time below. If 'B' is checked, the camera is triggerd as long as you hold the button.
Camera 1 is connected to the serial RTS line, with optional metering and AF activation over a TX-Line pulse,
Camera 2 is connected to the serial DTR line.
Switch cameras to 'bulb' mode for long time exposures (some cameras work in this mode down to 1/250 s!, eg. my analog Pentax Z1)
Command line parameters:
first parameter = Cam1 exp time,
second Cam2 exp. time.
Hardware required: (NPN-) Transistor cable switching a ground connect to the camera cable from a positive RTS/DTR pulse
The software is in the intervalfoto.zip. Each software is available for PC or the PocketPC an it is free!
© Dr. Wolfgang Strickling, Drususstr. 15, 45721 Haltern am See / Germany. Tel: +0049 / 23 64 / 16 76 91
My solar eclipse projects
Software for other computers are developed by:
back to Wolfgangs Homepage (German)
last updade was on 2010-12-03
The original URL of this page is http://www.strickling.net/eclipse_ppc.htm