Rainfall Data Measurement Gadget (Low Cost)

Discussion in 'Embedded Systems and Microcontrollers' started by Jargo, Jul 30, 2013.

  1. Jargo

    Thread Starter New Member

    Jul 30, 2013
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    Currently doing a project and the tittle is Rainfall Data Measurement. The summary work flow of the flow is shown as below:

    Collect RainFall Data into a bucket (Unit - mm) -> System measuring the height of rain water accumulated in the bucket -> Send data to pc at 30m~50m far from the bucket for data recording.

    I planning to install a capacitance based circuit into the bucket and measure the capacitance of the rain water. While the rain water level rising, capacitance increase as well and finally the voltage decrease. Thus the voltages at each height(mm) are different. These voltages value will be read by the microProcessor/Arduino. And finally send the signal to the CPU.

    Thus i have few questions to ask about my idea:
    1) Is this idea possible to work out?
    2) I using battery power supply, is it possible to work more than 3 days without changing the batteries and without any other alternative UPS.
    3) Any methods on how to transmit data to 30-50m receiver with low power supply .

    Thank you very much for any ideas proposed to me. This is my email: JargoJim@outlook.com
     
  2. bertus

    Administrator

    Apr 5, 2008
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  3. Jargo

    Thread Starter New Member

    Jul 30, 2013
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    I checked all the other rain gauges, disdrometer, acoustic rainfall analyzer, supersonic type gauges, laser type gauges and other types of rain gauges. This is a project suggested by my prof. so i plan to do something by myself and i checked the method type is quite interesting. That why i ask something fresh about this idea. I asked this because i try to get something new about this method from other people opinion, but it does not mean i din check the other method. Thank for you reply, Bertus.
     
  4. ErnieM

    AAC Fanatic!

    Apr 24, 2011
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    Invasive (meaning they stay inside and get wet) capacitance level sensors have been an industry standard method for decades. They are simple and cheap and dependable. Additionally, you'll be able to build a sensor as good as you can buy, and if I was a professor I'd give more credit to students who build some components instead of just assembling ready made parts.

    We did one a few jobs back. All the unnecessary parts in the unit were completely due to my boss being impressed with a high parts count. He picked a 555 to use the sensor's capacitance to create a frequency. My part was measuring the frequency, converting it to a voltage, and providing a way to calibrate the unit.
     
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  5. Jargo

    Thread Starter New Member

    Jul 30, 2013
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    Hi, Ernie . . .

    I knew what u meant and i read this experiment before. May i know which type MicroProcessor u used ? Arduino ?

    Thank for the information.
     
  6. tracecom

    AAC Fanatic!

    Apr 16, 2010
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    The late Peter Anderson used a PICAXE and an TS555 circuit to measure a variable capacitance, and thereby calculate humidity. I built a breadboard of it. Here is the link to Prof. Anderson's work. http://www.phanderson.com/picaxe/rh_count.html
     
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  7. ErnieM

    AAC Fanatic!

    Apr 24, 2011
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    This was a commercial (need to make a profit) so that would rule out an Arduino. I forget what PIC we used, but that doesn't matter as it's obsolete (though still in production) and was chosen mostly as it is one of the very rare PICs that has a digital to analog converter.

    Just about *any* micro can do this, PICs included. I would pick one with a built in comparator so you don't need the 555 to make a Relaxation oscillator. The main trick is to let the micro control the power of the other components, and spend most of it's time in sleep mode using very little current. A little piece of the micro still runs to wake it up every so often, make a measurement, transmit the results, then go back to sleep.

    Sparkfun has some less expensive boards for a transmitter and reciever (you don't say what will detect the signal). There are other ways to do this too but these boards (and similar ones off EBay) (from China) might do the trick for you.
     
  8. MrChips

    Moderator

    Oct 2, 2009
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    I made a tipping bucket rain gauge. It uses an opto interrupter to send a digital pulse every time it tips.
     
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