Author Topic: 'Cheap' Rain Collector Heater - Ideas - Plans - Tests  (Read 54071 times)

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Offline Mark / Ohio

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Re: 'Cheap' Rain Collector Heater - Ideas - Plans - Tests
« Reply #25 on: December 16, 2008, 12:12:28 AM »
...Go to lowes and purchase the cheapest landscape light fixture that uses that bulb or close to it. ...

Would one of those directional lamps pointed at the anemometer, maybe a foot away from it, produce enough radiant heat to keep it thawed out during an ice storm?

I've been thinking about trying it.   :-k
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Offline sam2004gp

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Re: 'Cheap' Rain Collector Heater - Ideas - Plans - Tests
« Reply #26 on: December 16, 2008, 06:15:07 AM »
No, I doubt it.  Maybe, and just maybe, an actual heating lamp and bulb might do it, but then your talking 110 volt household current exposed to the elements and the freaking out the neighbors quotient with a large glowing red bulb.  But most of the time you can not feel the heat of a regular spotlight bulb unless you are a few inches from it.
...I also wonder if you took some of the water pipe heating cord and wrapped it around the horizontal mast and around the housing with out interfereing with the normal movement, if the temp would transfer over enough. I would think that would look unsightly as well.
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jwyman

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Re: 'Cheap' Rain Collector Heater - Ideas - Plans - Tests
« Reply #27 on: December 16, 2008, 07:56:19 AM »
Sam,
 the problem with this is it's an auto lamp which produces alot of heat at very close range. You need something like ceramic or breadboard to handle it... Something like a plastic receptacle may melt.... Have to give it some thought. Thanks for the suggestion.

JIm
Anthony,
  The bulb is currently soldered onto the breadboard.. It didn't have a mounting fixture on the base, just 2 leads.
I am still looking around for a recepticle for it which will make it easier to replace bulbs.

Jim
Jim, Thanks for the photos. Nice design work. Whats envolved to change the lamp, unplug & replug?

As for the rest of you. Thanks for doing the math. Now all I have to do is find a funnel with an inside diameter of 7 3/4"


Go to lowes and purchase the cheapest landscape light fixture that uses that bulb or close to it.  And then remove the socket and wire like I did. :idea:


Offline Anthony

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Re: 'Cheap' Rain Collector Heater - Ideas - Plans - Tests
« Reply #28 on: December 16, 2008, 08:13:15 AM »
Sam, As for the hoodlums. It called a 20 guage with buckshot. Fille their butts full one time and they will stay away.

As for the freezing anemometer. I think if we/you could keep the arm warm it would keep the anemometer from freezing.



Thanks,
Anthony
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Offline sam2004gp

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Re: 'Cheap' Rain Collector Heater - Ideas - Plans - Tests
« Reply #29 on: December 16, 2008, 10:25:57 AM »
Sam,
 the problem with this is it's an auto lamp which produces alot of heat at very close range. You need something like ceramic or breadboard to handle it... Something like a plastic receptacle may melt.... Have to give it some thought. Thanks for the suggestion.

JIm
Anthony,
  The bulb is currently soldered onto the breadboard.. It didn't have a mounting fixture on the base, just 2 leads.
I am still looking around for a recepticle for it which will make it easier to replace bulbs.

Jim
Jim, Thanks for the photos. Nice design work. Whats envolved to change the lamp, unplug & replug?

As for the rest of you. Thanks for doing the math. Now all I have to do is find a funnel with an inside diameter of 7 3/4"


Go to lowes and purchase the cheapest landscape light fixture that uses that bulb or close to it.  And then remove the socket and wire like I did. :idea:


Okay no problem, but even some of the cheap plastic body landscape lights use a ceramic receptacle.  That was my un-spoken intention when I said, "Go to lowes and purchase the cheapest landscape light fixture that uses that bulb or close to it."

Your breadboard will work fine.  I would not worry about changing it until the bulb actually burns out, then you can install a new plug-n-play base and bulb to go with it.  In the meantime, I may go with a thermostat who knows.  Whatever suits, right.  :-)
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Offline sam2004gp

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Re: 'Cheap' Rain Collector Heater - Ideas - Plans - Tests
« Reply #30 on: December 16, 2008, 10:29:35 AM »
Sam, As for the hoodlums. It called a 20 guage with buckshot. Fille their butts full one time and they will stay away.

As for the freezing anemometer. I think if we/you could keep the arm warm it would keep the anemometer from freezing.


Anthony, I was not going to try the "anemometer heating mod".  I was just throwing out ideas for Mark.  I wonder how if I do the Rain Collector sensitivity/funnel mod, how it will effect my heated rain gauge now.

......by the way, a Winter Weather Advisory has been issued for my area tonight, so it looks like I get to test it soon.  Perfect timing on my install. \:D/ \:D/ \:D/
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Offline mackbig

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Re: 'Cheap' Rain Collector Heater - Ideas - Plans - Tests
« Reply #31 on: December 16, 2008, 01:06:32 PM »
I am "working" from home today.   I have brought my sensor inside to warm it up (brittle plastic).  I am going to try and whip this up in my spare time.   Never thought of using my low volt light system.  Its already wired back to the rain sensor.  Typically its only on dusk to 11pm, but I guess I could just force it on during precip events....

If it works, I will just pick up a liquidation light system so my mains lights are not on during the day, the cheap ones are only 30 bucks anyway...

Andrew

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Offline sam2004gp

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Re: 'Cheap' Rain Collector Heater - Ideas - Plans - Tests
« Reply #32 on: December 16, 2008, 01:12:50 PM »
I am "working" from home today.   I have brought my sensor inside to warm it up (brittle plastic).  I am going to try and whip this up in my spare time.   Never thought of using my low volt light system.  Its already wired back to the rain sensor.  Typically its only on dusk to 11pm, but I guess I could just force it on during precip events....

If it works, I will just pick up a liquidation light system so my mains lights are not on during the day, the cheap ones are only 30 bucks anyway...

Andrew


Yep. I saw the idea for the light bulb from someone else, but then I thought about the 12Volt landscape lights.  When we have snow, even if it is over 12 inches, the snow always melted a "ring" around the lights because they were in a metal enclosure that acted like a heatsink. And I thought if I could keep the temp down enough it should have no problem heating up the gauge.  Then when the wife wanted to go to a different design for the front sidewalk, I decided to hold onto them in case we wanted to add some in the backyard.  Now I am glad I did, and they did get added to the backyard just not as accent lighting.  ;)
This was the original light fixture before I stole it's innards.
« Last Edit: December 16, 2008, 01:15:31 PM by sam2004gp »
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Offline mackbig

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Re: 'Cheap' Rain Collector Heater - Ideas - Plans - Tests
« Reply #33 on: December 16, 2008, 03:46:11 PM »
Did an 1 hour 45 minute melt test.  My light fixture has a ceramic base that exactly fit some extra screw holes in the sensor base.    could not even feel heat through the metal reflective tape.   If all goes well I will have it in place for 2"s of snow tonight, and 6-7"s on friday.

Andrew

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Offline sam2004gp

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Re: 'Cheap' Rain Collector Heater - Ideas - Plans - Tests
« Reply #34 on: December 16, 2008, 06:08:55 PM »
First Official Rain Collector Heater Activation, I just got back from powering mine up.  Let snow or freezing rain, or whatever it's supposed to be, come down. \:D/ \:D/ \:D/ :grin:
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Offline mackbig

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Re: 'Cheap' Rain Collector Heater - Ideas - Plans - Tests
« Reply #35 on: December 16, 2008, 09:50:26 PM »
I am live too.  my test temps got pretty hot, might have to back off on the wattage, if I see a plume of steam when I wake up, i will know...

I will post pix and notes tomorrow probably

Andrew

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Offline Bushman

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Re: 'Cheap' Rain Collector Heater - Ideas - Plans - Tests
« Reply #36 on: December 16, 2008, 09:56:10 PM »
Anyone ever look at the flexible heater strips from Minco?  They are 5-20 bucks.

Offline mackbig

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Re: 'Cheap' Rain Collector Heater - Ideas - Plans - Tests
« Reply #37 on: December 16, 2008, 11:14:51 PM »
Its working, got a cm or so of snow, so far. 

Unfortunately I just noticed in my data, that although I unchecked the sensor while I was working on it, I forgot to close vws in the interim (I thought I did), anyway with moving it around and working on it downstairs managed to register 16mm of precip in accidental tips....  oh well, the precip after 9pm is real.   deleted the entries from WU, but it still shows 16mm in daily today. 

Cant figure out how to remove from vws in real time, I guess I will just edit the daily bin file tomorrow.  is that correct?

Andrew


I am live too.  my test temps got pretty hot, might have to back off on the wattage, if I see a plume of steam when I wake up, i will know...

I will post pix and notes tomorrow probably

Andrew

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Offline mackbig

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Re: 'Cheap' Rain Collector Heater - Ideas - Plans - Tests
« Reply #38 on: December 17, 2008, 06:37:14 AM »
Well our 5-6cm's of snow, turned into 9-cm's.   heater seems to have worked.  averaging 1-2mm's hourly rate during snow fall.  measured 2mm before midnight, and 4 so far today.

so looks like the NOAA snow chart was pretty accurate
http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/oa/climate/conversion/newsnowfall.html

6mm = .23inch
and the chart says....
2-3" at -2c
3-4" at -2.7c

And 9cm is 3.54inches, and it was minus 2 to minus 4c last night

Andrew

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Offline sam2004gp

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Re: 'Cheap' Rain Collector Heater - Ideas - Plans - Tests
« Reply #39 on: December 17, 2008, 07:07:59 AM »
Mackbig, you got lucky, Our forecasted freezing rain stayed just rain, and never got to freezing.  The lowest temp I got was 34 overnight.  I went out and cut it off before I went to work this morning. 
Good to hear yours is working. As far as the wattage, you may want something around 10 watts or so.  I tried a 20 watt bulb at first and got a sample of temps on the collector around 130.  When I went to 10 watts, it dropped back to around 80.  If you can not find a 10 watt bulb, take two of your 20 watt bulbs and connect them in series.  That will effectively and safely be adding a 50% dimmer to your orginial bulb.  I would advise you to take the time to check those temps with a cheap probe thermometer like I did above.
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Offline sam2004gp

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Re: 'Cheap' Rain Collector Heater - Ideas - Plans - Tests
« Reply #40 on: December 17, 2008, 07:09:08 AM »
Anyone ever look at the flexible heater strips from Minco?  They are 5-20 bucks.

Got a link??? :-)
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Offline Anthony

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Re: 'Cheap' Rain Collector Heater - Ideas - Plans - Tests
« Reply #41 on: December 17, 2008, 07:34:14 AM »
Sam, Doing the rain nod should not affect anything. All it amounts to is adding a great big funnel to the top of the guage and entering an offset in vws.



Thanks,
Anthony
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Offline sam2004gp

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Re: 'Cheap' Rain Collector Heater - Ideas - Plans - Tests
« Reply #42 on: December 17, 2008, 07:39:57 AM »
Its working, got a cm or so of snow, so far. 

Unfortunately I just noticed in my data, that although I unchecked the sensor while I was working on it, I forgot to close vws in the interim (I thought I did), anyway with moving it around and working on it downstairs managed to register 16mm of precip in accidental tips....  oh well, the precip after 9pm is real.   deleted the entries from WU, but it still shows 16mm in daily today. 

Cant figure out how to remove from vws in real time, I guess I will just edit the daily bin file tomorrow.  is that correct?

Andrew

After I installed my rain collector heater, and got/caused some erroneous rainfall values so I had to do the following. 

1. Get a notepad and right down what the correct values for your rainfall should be.
2. You need to remove the error value from the "Rainfall Menu" and return your month and your year values back what they should be.
3. Then you will most likely need to adjust the "correction" in the  "calibration menu" so that your total shown on the Broadcast.jpg is correct.  This helps to offset the number that is contained in the OS-WMR968.  Do not clear out the rain total in your OS-WMR968 or then you will really have a mess of problems.
4.Then You need to edit the following:
   (to edit these, use the menu item "Recall Daily, Monthly, and Yearly Archive"in VWS) 
   BIN file for the year
   BIN file for the month
   BIN file for the day(that it occurred)

   (to edit these files you can just use Notepad in windows)
   NOAA report file for the month
   NOAA report file for the year
   Daily Summary File

{there are usually a "sort of daily temp file" and then the official file, for the next listed files, so sometimes it's two files or more for each}
   Daily Archive file for the day(that it occurred)
   Monthly Archive file
   Yearly Archive file

5. Also you can edit the dbase files for VWS, but if you are like me my updates occur every 1 minute.  So basically you have a ton of entries back to the time the error occurred to clean out.  My dbase file is 250 megs and Microsoft excell crashes when I open a file that big.  So perhaps I will have to come up with something else to edit it.  But you do not have to edit the dbase file. 

If you do the other edits(2,3,4) I listed above it should remove all traces of it except on any graphs you have displayed in VWS.  <<<and that will disappear once your graph scrolls past the event error. 
If you can perform or choose to edit #5, then all traces will be gone. :grin:


See how much fun this can be.  :shock: :roll: :twisted:




« Last Edit: December 17, 2008, 07:59:21 AM by sam2004gp »
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Offline W Thomas

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Re: 'Cheap' Rain Collector Heater - Ideas - Plans - Tests
« Reply #43 on: December 17, 2008, 07:42:31 AM »
The halogen was 8-10 dollars, thremostat/relay unit was $19 after shipping...  Cost of breadboard - $0. Other stuff (i.e. wire, 12volt supply, junction box  already in place).

Jim


Nice job on the "freeze protection" Jim !

If I can keep mine running long enough I plan on making some sort of heat device.. This would be easiest as I have a fair stock of H3 halogen fog lamp bulbs that I could strip down and use..

Wayne

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Offline sam2004gp

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Re: 'Cheap' Rain Collector Heater - Ideas - Plans - Tests
« Reply #44 on: December 17, 2008, 07:44:34 AM »
Sam, Doing the rain nod should not affect anything. All it amounts to is adding a great big funnel to the top of the guage and entering an offset in vws.


Yep, Anthony, I am already on the look out for just the "right size" funnel.
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Offline mackbig

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Re: 'Cheap' Rain Collector Heater - Ideas - Plans - Tests
« Reply #45 on: December 17, 2008, 07:51:50 AM »
halogen bulbs,  the mr11 I used is the same size as my range hood, bot some 20 watts at the depot when one went out a few weeks ago.  $14 each, I thought if these things only last a year, I am not shelling out $45 on bulbs per year.    remembered that Ikea has cheap lights.  2 for $4.39   so if you want a cheap bulb try that.  I dont care if they last half a long, it will take a long time to make the Philips worth while.

My total cost for my rain heater was half of 4.39 plus tax, the rest of the parts were on hand, technically the bulb was too, but I'll put my cost at $2.48.

Andrew

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Offline Bushman

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Re: 'Cheap' Rain Collector Heater - Ideas - Plans - Tests
« Reply #46 on: December 17, 2008, 09:50:46 AM »
Anyone ever look at the flexible heater strips from Minco?  They are 5-20 bucks.

Got a link??? :-)

http://www.electronicsurplus.com/ccp69954-tiny-24v-flexible-heater---200to150degc-hk21747-28a29-26182.htm  I think sticking it to a nice chunk of aluminum (heat sink/collector) should work great!

jwyman

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Re: 'Cheap' Rain Collector Heater - Ideas - Plans - Tests
« Reply #47 on: December 17, 2008, 11:21:15 AM »
confused about the temperature range.. what is the operating temperature?

Offline mackbig

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Re: 'Cheap' Rain Collector Heater - Ideas - Plans - Tests
« Reply #48 on: December 17, 2008, 11:51:36 AM »
Jim,
One thing I noticed in your design. I copied your metalic "shield" between the light and the tipping bucket.  when I put it in, it interfered with the "axle" enough that it prevented tipping. Obviously yours did not ... I just poked a small hole in the makeshift shield that lined up with the axle....

Andrew

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Offline Bushman

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Re: 'Cheap' Rain Collector Heater - Ideas - Plans - Tests
« Reply #49 on: December 17, 2008, 11:58:33 AM »
confused about the temperature range.. what is the operating temperature?


Output (in watts) is entirely  dependant on the voltage applied.  The things are used in avionics so the wide range you see is  the actual operating range of the device.  It gets cold up there.  BTW, some of the heater strips have thermostats built right in!  I have to muck around a bit to see how many volts are needed to be equal to the Davis OEM unit.