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Connected meters (SQM-LE/LU/LR/DL) / Knightware: Software Support for SQM-LU/LE
« Last post by knightware on December 26, 2012, 01:34:11 pm »
Knightware recently released Deep-Sky Planner 6 software which provides complete planning and logging features for users of Windows XP, Vista, 7 & 8. Knightware also offers SQM Reader (free) and SQM Reader Pro software for Unihedron's connected Sky Quality Meters - models LU, LE and LR.

The logging function in Deep-Sky Planner allows users to read a connected SQM and store the result automatically in a visual or imaging observation. This is the only planning and logging software that offers this feature.

You can learn more about Deep-Sky Planner, SQM Reader and SQM Reader Pro at

Special Offer for US Customers
Knightware offers SQM-LU or SQM-LE + SQM Reader Pro software at an unbeatable price to customers located in the US. This package is available only from Knightware. See
SQM-LU-DL (Datalogging light meter) / Firmware updates
« Last post by admin on December 23, 2012, 02:10:50 am »
A bug has been found in the Datalogger firmware versions 49-56 where subsequent readings from battery power were 0.66mpsas brighter than they
should be. This has been corrected in the latest firmware version 57 which can be installed from the latest UDM version available here:

The firmware is included in the latest UDM software here.

Also, a tool is available to correct existing .dat files for that offset. This tool is accessible as:
  Tools->Firmware 49-56 DL Correction

There have been many updates to UDM recently including some features in the plot utility (accessible as View->Plotter). The plotter can now show Sunrise/set times, and Sun & Moon elevation.

And, you may find some other tools useful as well
 - .dat reconstruct local time
    (for files where the local timezone was not set).
 - .dat time correction
     (when the meter clock is different from the GMT time).
 - .dat to kml
     (to make Google Earth maps using a GPS and connected SQM).

Also, we have recently completed a bracket to mount the connected meters to a car window for use in mapping studies while also using a GPS:

SQM & SQM-L Handheld light meters / Florida coastal lighting survey
« Last post by John on December 19, 2012, 12:52:28 am »
Coastal Lighting Survey in SE Florida was launched October 30th with the following objective:  Convince the Mayors of each of the nine cities in Broward County to reduce beachfront lighting impact on sea turtles.

The Lighting Survey just concluded by (STOP) quantifies direct and indirect lighting produced by each municipality. Because the indirect sky glow lighting is somewhat untouchable, each leader will have to be sold on the idea as to how they can effect change.

Each city will be expected to improve beachfront lighting conditions in order to escape scrutiny by tourists who have a right to experience sea turtle nesting and watch hatchlings rise out of the sand and head to the ocean—instead of the nearest light.

While each municipality will stand on its own, they will also be competing with one another to rise on the turtle nesting popularity ladder. A decrease or no change could be interpreted as a city that does not care about an endangered species and tourists may change their destination venue as a result.

Since correct turtle friendly lighting need only be installed once, will reduce electric consumption, will outlast conventional fixtures and will then meet local and state lighting requirements, there is little reason to object.

While the actual light reading is just a number, each mayor must be convinced it was scientifically developed and can be repeated with accuracy four times each sea turtle season without warning. Our surveyor used the SQM-L straight up and aimed at the offending light source.

Each mayor need do nothing more than “appoint” Code Enforcement or an appropriate commissioner or a staff person to look into the matter and perform simple tasks such as suggesting to the Maintenance Department to point certain lights down or change the bulb. Areas closest to the meter reading are easiest and most simple. But once hooked, each leader must feel obligated to continue.

A presentation with slides, sound, interactivity and links for more information has yet to be designed. Mayors would be able to mouse over their city to learn the meter reader location and results. Photographs of the site will pop up on demand. The offending lights will be easily hyperlinked.

Short clips of giant nesting sea turtles, baby hatchlings crushed in the roadway trying to reach a light source, tourists gasping in amazement should be a riveting experience to remember. Mayors already know their beachfront is the number one attraction—their job must be to preserve it and fill hotel rooms to survive.

Each mayor can see their rating and how it compares to their favorite mayor counterpart perhaps in the city next door—or at the other end of the county with a mouse click over an aerial map. Another slide will show how easy the fix is to accomplish. Links to light vendors and free help will occupy the SOURCE page.

John 8)
SQM-LU / Re: Extending the USB cable
« Last post by admin on November 01, 2012, 10:18:21 pm »
We have only tested that one (IOGEAR) brand. It has the advantage of you using your own cable at your desired length (up to 198164'). And, since it uses Ethernet cable, it can be terminated after the wire is strung through walls etc..

I think the USB extension cables should be just as reliable as the IOGEAR module. The extension cables I saw a while ago did not go up to 198164', that may be different now.

Please let us know if you find one that works for you, or which one you are considering to try.
SQM-LU / Re: Extending the USB cable
« Last post by Rainer on November 01, 2012, 09:32:05 pm »
Hi Anthony,

Thanks for that tip. I am just doing a search for different brands of this type of adapters.

How reliable are they compared to USB extensions ?
General Discussion / IR Filter spec sheet
« Last post by admin on October 27, 2012, 07:08:12 pm »
The SQM products use a HOYA CM-500 filter. The full specification sheet which includes response data points can be found here now.

The SQM response plot can be found in the PDF Report on SQM by Pierantonio Cinzano.
SQM-LU-DL (Datalogging light meter) / Updated manual
« Last post by admin on October 27, 2012, 03:57:45 pm »
Documentation update: An uncalibrated SQM-LU-DL unit may respond to the "Return one logged record" with a leading mpsas negative sign:

Uncalibrated (negative sign):
Sent: L40000000001x   To: /dev/ttyUSB1   Received: L4,00-01-01 1 01:00:01,-11.52, 019.3C,225

Calibrated (no negative sign):
Sent: L40000000011x   To: /dev/ttyUSB1   Received: L4,00-01-01 1 00:00:21,08.51, 018.6C,222

This means that there may be one extra character (negative sign) in the response field. Comma separation is the better choice when parsing this response.

Updated manual here, see section
General Discussion / Turtle studies
« Last post by admin on October 24, 2012, 07:42:21 pm »
Some researchers have used the SQM light meters for studying the effects of artificial lighting on sea turtle habits.

A few points about such studies would be:
  • The Field of View (FOV) may be critical in your tests, see this chart. If you are using the meter as a directional light meter then the SQM-L model would be the best suited to pointing at specific bright spots.
  • If you are taking sample readings over a period of time for comparison, make sure that the meter is located at the same spot and facing the same direction each time. It may be a good idea to have a registration stand (peg in the ground with a holder for the meter) to ensure that the meter is always facing the same direction for each successive sample.
  • Also be aware that the FOV will capture obstructions like your body, so be sure to always hold the meter in the exact same direction above your head (to avoid and shading or reflection from your body into the meter sensor).
  • You may want to gather readings from both Zenith (straight up) and various angles towards and away from the shore vertically and horizontally to get an idea of what the Turtles would see in their travels.
  • Make sure you record the time and date as the Moon will heavily influence sky brightness. Even if the night is very overcast, a moonlit night will provide a wide range if readings. You will get the most consistent readings on moonless nights.
  • If you have the funds, and access to a secure site on the beach, you may want to consider the SQM-LU-DL which can sit unattended for months collecting readings for later retrieval.
  • The meter will likely not saturate at all in the night, even if you point it directly at distant condominium or hotel lighting.
  • Please see this report (by Pierantonio Cinzano) for spectral response of the meter and other scientific details.
  • A longterm exposure photo of the beach-line may be a good base image to obtain relative brightnesses so that light readings can be noted on there.

Here are some resources:
Please reply with your comments regarding details about your own studies or questions.
General Discussion / Notifications
« Last post by admin on October 23, 2012, 05:30:02 pm »
Since many members have come from the mailing list where all messages went to all members, you may like getting emails on every single posting to this forum. This can now be done by going to Profile->Modify_Profile->Notifications

Ensure the following is set:

  "For topics and boards I've requested notification on, notify me: Instantly"

As shown here:

You must also select "Notify" on each board. For example in the "General Disscussion category" board, there is a "Notify" button near the top right side:

This is a new setting being tested (Board Notification Mod), hopefully it works well.
SQM-LU / Extending the USB cable
« Last post by admin on October 23, 2012, 03:47:59 am »
The SQM-LU and SQM-LU-DL come with a standard 15ft (5m) cable which is the design limit for a standard USB connection.

A USB cable extender may be used if you require a longer connection.

We have successfully used the IOGEAR GUCE62 which uses an Ethernet cable (Cat5e, or Cat6) to achieve up to a 164' extension:

* One customer reported problems with a different model (GUCE51), so we now recommend the above GUCE62 which comes with a power  supply (not shown).
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