Author Topic: How to make a Cheap - Rain Gauge Resolution Modification to your OS hardware.  (Read 48495 times)

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Offline sam2004gp

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Now that I have my rain gauge heater working, I thought I would tackle a modification to give me better accuracy to my rain gauge.  And of course I am attempting to do it as cheaply as possible, and without too much destruction to the gauge itself.

I will keep you guys posted with my progress in the coming days.  And I will try to keep a running total on cost.  I am hoping to do the final working install on Jan 1, 2009 as this is when I am resetting my rain numbers for the new year, and I would rather not screw up my numbers for 2008 so late in the game.

EDIT:  Here is the writeup, and my thoughts about installing it

1. Start off with attaining the needed parts, tools and materials.  You will need a funnel that has an opening to as close as you can get to 7 7/8 inches.  I found one that was 7 3/8 inches wide.  In fact I purchased two in case I screwed up the first or if I lose one to wind or something.  Mine came in a group of 3 funnels from my local Advance Auto Parts store(so now I have extras in the garage). You will need a sheet of cardboard, White Gloss spray paint for specifically plastic uses, a compass (not the kind to find direction, but the kind you used in elementary school to make circles and such.), some white or clear silicone sealant, a hack saw, 10lb fishing line, sandpaper, a black Sharpie, a hobby knife, and an accurate ruler. 








2.  The original opening of the OS WMR-968 Rain Gauge Collection bucket is exactly 3 7/8 inches.  I chose to use my compass and trace a circle of about 1 7/8 inches radius or roughly 3 3/4 inches diameter onto the cardboard.  <<<--- In retrospect I recommend that you bring this number down to about 3 1/2 inches. 
Then take your hobby knife and cut out that circle.







3. Take the cutout sheet of card board and place it down over your funnel and trace the circle with the sharpie onto your funnel.
(I found this to be the best method to "calculate" where to find my "cut point" on the funnel.)






4. You can now use the hack saw and cut across the funnel, using your line as guide.  Then double check the above measurement using the ruler. <<<--- Again I recommend that you bring this number down to about 3 1/2 inches.   






5. Clean off the "burrs" left after cutting the funnel.  Clean the funnel of body oils and finger prints.  Place the funnel in a safe location outside and spray paint it to match the OS rain gauge.  As with any spray paint procedure, apply many thin coats between drying times rather than trying to cover it all at once.  Once the paint on the outside of the funnel has dried well (48 hours for me), flip it over and do it on the inside.  <<<--- I choose gloss paint that way when the rain drops hit the inside of the funnel they will be repelled better and force them down the funnel neck, rather than cling to the side.


...about the second or third coat






6.  Again once the paint has had time to dry (48 hours), you can attach your funnel to your rain gauge.  First, run a bead of the silicone sealant along the top edge of the rain gauge.  And place the funnel on the bead and rain gauge, while the sealent is still wet, adjust your funnel to make sure it is as level as possible.  Wait an hour or so for the sealent to set up a little bit.  then run a bead of sealent along the outside of the funnel, where the rain gauge and funnel meet.  Gently smooth this down with your finger, to fill in the gaps.  <<<<---- I choose the Silicone sealant because it will be easier to remove or replace in the future rather than a "more permanent" Crazy-Glue or adhesive option.





7.  If you use the factory supplied metal screen that came with your rain gauge, you can still use it.   All you have to do is sit it down inside the funnel.  It won't be an exact fit as before, but it does fit well.  While I was there I noticed that the string that was originally on the metal screen disingrated in my hands most likely from dry rot and the Sun's UV rays.  So to secure my screen from getting lost to a brisk wind gust, I used some 10lb fishing line to tie it to my rain gauge shelf, but still with enough slack in it so i could place it in or remove it from the new funnel.





8.  The Physical install is done, now time for the software changes.  (Assuming you are using VWS or other software which allows you to make calibration settings.) 

Now I will have the following Measurements, in regards to my NEW rainfall collection funnel for the OS-WMR968 station.

d=3 7/8 Inches (Original collection funnel size on the unmodified rain gauge.)
D=7 3/8 inches (The size of the NEW rain collection funnel)

So Again using the formulas posted later on in this thread and a little logic we get...
New Gain = (d / D)2     
...or me....
.2760 = (3.875 / 7.375)2

So I will enter into the VWS calibration window a gain of .2760
Be cautious that when you change this value it will alter any previous rain values you have recorded, so backup and write-down your rainfall data and prepare to edit those values.  If you are fortunate enough like me to do this a few days before the new year, this will be a great help.  In fact I am not going to change my gain value until 12:10 am on Jan 1st.  In that way I will not corrupt my rainfall totals for December and more importantly for 2008.

To get the new accuracy of resolution factor we do this math.
(Old Accuracy x New Gain)  or again in my case...
(.04 x .2760) = .01104

Which translates to that after every internal bucket/lever trip that occurs in my rain gauge.  I will record .011 inches of rain., instead of the original .04 inches of rain that occurred with the "Old" version of the rain gauge.


Enter your new gain here in VWS.



9.  Congratulations, you are done.  Now for the "Bean Counters", here is my total cost on items, that I did not have around the house and had to purchase separately.  Your costs may vary.

Silicone Caulk (Sealent)                                 ---  $2.87
Compass (My 11 year olds was broke)          ---  $2.49
Funnel Set (2 Qty-$2.49 Each)                       ---  $4.98
+
Tax (5.0% rate in VA.)                                    ---  $0.51
----------------------------------------------------------------------
Grand Total                                                    ---  $10.86   









I hope everyone finds this helpfull, maybe the mods will make it a sticky.
« Last Edit: January 13, 2009, 06:42:05 PM by sam2004gp »
SAM --->>> http://www.mountcrawfordweather.org
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Offline sam2004gp

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Re: Cheap - Rain Gauge Resolution Modification
« Reply #1 on: December 19, 2008, 09:25:10 PM »
I purchased a "new rain collection funnel" this afternoon.

So after doing some fancy math figuring........

and looking at the following link:
http://www.victoryseeds.com/weather/rainguage.html

...and Credit to WeatherBeacon for these formulas....
Quote
Here are the formulas for anyone who is interested. It's actually pretty straighforward and can be determined without using areas and without Pi.


Let d denote the inside diameter of the manufacturer's funnel (measured at the top).


Let Coarse denote the resolution of the manufacturer's rain gauge (0.04 inches for the OS, for example).


Let Fine denote the finer resolution you'd like from your modified collector (like 0.01 inches).


Then you need a funnel whose inside diameter D (measured at the top) is

       D  =  d * sqrt(Coarse / Fine)


Then set a gain in your station so that it knows each tip of the bucket now represents Fine inches of rain:

      Gain  =   Fine / Coarse.        This is the same as ( d / D )2.


Example:  Suppose your rain gauge has a resolution of 0.04 inches. Suppose the manufacturer's funnel measures 3.875 inches across the top (diameter). Suppose you want to modify the funnel to have a finer resolution of 0.01 inches. So

      d  =  3.875,    Coarse  =  0.04,    Fine  =  0.01,

and you need a new funnel whose inside diameter (across the top) is

      D  =  d * sqrt(Coarse / Fine)   =   3.875 * sqrt(0.04/0.01)  =  7.75 inches,

and you need to set a gain of

     Gain  =   Fine/Coarse  =  (0.01/0.04)  =  0.25

on your station.

Regards,

Kevin...

I will have the following Measurements, in regards to a new rainfall collection funnel for the OS-WMR968 station.

d=3 7/8 Inches (Original collection funnel size on the rain gauge, this was measured when I was installing my rain gauge heater mod, last weekend.)
D=7 3/8 inches (The size of the NEW rain collection funnel, I would of liked this to be 7 7/8 inches, but this is only funnel I could find that was close.)

So using some of the above formulas and a little logic we get...
New Gain = (d / D)2     
...or me....
.2760 = (3.875 / 7.375)2

So once I get everything installed my new gain that I will enter into the VWS calibration window will be .2760

To get my new accuracy of resolution factor we do this math.
(Old Accuracy x New Gain)  or again in my case...
(.04 x .2760) = .01104

Which translates to after my modifications are complete, that after every internal bucket/lever trip that occurs in my rain gauge.  I will record .011 inches of rain.

I did some prefab work this evening.  Tomorrow, if and when things dry up outside enough to set out the ladder I will do some more measuring and test installs.

Total Cost so far $7.85 with taxes.
......hmm, can I keep it under $20?
« Last Edit: December 19, 2008, 09:30:33 PM by sam2004gp »
SAM --->>> http://www.mountcrawfordweather.org
OS WMR-968 with a Dedicated PWS Weather Computer running VWS v13.01 p09


Offline WeatherBeacon

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Re: Cheap - Rain Gauge Resolution Modification
« Reply #2 on: December 19, 2008, 09:58:38 PM »

Good figuring! Happy new rain gauge resolution!

I'm not familiar with the OS station, but I wonder if the console will only show increments of 0.01 inches (and not 0.011). I'm not sure if the OS station will actually record 0.011 inches and send that to VWS, though, or if it will just send increments of 0.01 inches to VWS.

After you install it and change your gain, in VWS click Settings > Precision and change Rainfall Value to 3 and see if it records increments of 0.011 inches.

Regards,

Kevin...
Mae govannen!
Kevin  (Member AMS) http://www.wxbeacon.com               Genesee County, Michigan
Hardware:  Davis Vantage Pro Wireless, Midland WR-300
Software: VWS 14.01p43, WeatherFlash, & GRLevel3

Offline Anthony

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Re: Cheap - Rain Gauge Resolution Modification
« Reply #3 on: December 20, 2008, 08:34:56 AM »
The console it's self will still read in 0.04". Only VWS will calculate the 0.01". Hense the reason for (I believe it's the gain change) in VWS.


Thanks,
Anthony
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Offline WeatherBeacon

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Re: Cheap - Rain Gauge Resolution Modification
« Reply #4 on: December 20, 2008, 04:16:11 PM »
The console it's self will still read in 0.04". Only VWS will calculate the 0.01". Hense the reason for (I believe it's the gain change) in VWS.

I see. That makes sense, Anthony.

Regards,

Kevin...
Mae govannen!
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Offline sam2004gp

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Re: Cheap - Rain Gauge Resolution Modification
« Reply #5 on: December 20, 2008, 07:15:53 PM »
Yep, Anothony is correct.  I did not get anything done on it today, because of holiday prep for my church.  Maybe get some tomorrow afternoon.
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Offline Anthony

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Re: Cheap - Rain Gauge Resolution Modification
« Reply #6 on: December 21, 2008, 08:09:04 AM »
You guys and your fancy mods are giving me to much work to do.

1 dig trench to weather station for power. (pant pant, puff, puff, gasp)
2. install heater mod.
3. do rain meaurement mod.

HELP!!!!!



Thanks,
Anthony
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Offline sam2004gp

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Re: Cheap - Rain Gauge Resolution Modification
« Reply #7 on: December 21, 2008, 08:22:49 AM »
You guys and your fancy mods are giving me to much work to do.

1 dig trench to weather station for power. (pant pant, puff, puff, gasp)
2. install heater mod.
3. do rain meaurement mod.

HELP!!!!!


I would come and help Anthony, but then after seeing your set-up, I may want to head back home, and change more of my stuff, it is a never ending cycle.  Also I got the church play which I am in this morning, and then after that I spend the rest of the day at the inlaws. :roll: ](*,)  So my "Sunday Weather Station Tinkering Time" is already used up for today. :-(
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Offline SlowModem

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Re: Cheap - Rain Gauge Resolution Modification
« Reply #8 on: December 21, 2008, 08:24:25 AM »
If you were closer, I'd let you borrow my backhoe.   \:D/

(On second thought, I don't do toll roads.) :-P
Greg Whitehead
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Offline sam2004gp

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Re: Cheap - Rain Gauge Resolution Modification
« Reply #9 on: December 21, 2008, 08:29:06 AM »
The console it's self will still read in 0.04". Only VWS will calculate the 0.01". Hense the reason for (I believe it's the gain change) in VWS.

....and since the OS does not show you the daily total for today until tomorrow, and the fact that you have to press the "rain" and "memory" buttons twice to see the Station total, I never even bother to look at the console for rain numbers any more.  I just watch it for temps, and those occasional wind gusts that you notice while passing by.
SAM --->>> http://www.mountcrawfordweather.org
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Offline SlowModem

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Re: Cheap - Rain Gauge Resolution Modification
« Reply #10 on: December 21, 2008, 08:50:48 AM »

....and since the OS does not show you the daily total for today until tomorrow, and the fact that you have to press the "rain" and "memory" buttons twice to see the Station total, I never even bother to look at the console for rain numbers any more.  I just watch it for temps, and those occasional wind gusts that you notice while passing by.

That's exactly right.  The console is not very user-friendly.  However, it displays a lot more information at one time than other weather station consoles.  Like you, I just glance at it occasionally.  I have several monitors that display the information I want to see along with the trends.

Greg Whitehead
Ten Mile, TN USA


Offline Anthony

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Re: Cheap - Rain Gauge Resolution Modification
« Reply #11 on: December 22, 2008, 07:56:54 AM »
I'll get it all done on of these days. I could easily send my rain guage to sam or one of the others and let you do the heater mod and then send it back. The rain mod it fairly easy.

1 find 7-1/2" funnel
2 cut of tip.
3 afix to rain guage
4 add adjustment to vws



Thanks,
Anthony
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Offline sam2004gp

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Re: Cheap - Rain Gauge Resolution Modification
« Reply #12 on: December 23, 2008, 11:45:09 AM »
Quick Update- Currently Spray painting new collection funnel.  More to come at a later day.
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Offline sbelmont

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Re: Cheap - Rain Gauge Resolution Modification
« Reply #13 on: December 29, 2008, 03:07:03 PM »
I found a 7 1/4" ID funnel and have my setup ready to change over New Year's day. That means my gain will be 0.285672. I'm not at home and have a question about entering the gain. How many decimal places will VWS take?
Steve B
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Offline sam2004gp

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Re: Cheap - Rain Gauge Resolution Modification
« Reply #14 on: December 29, 2008, 03:38:26 PM »
I found a 7 1/4" ID funnel and have my setup ready to change over New Year's day. That means my gain will be 0.285672. I'm not at home and have a question about entering the gain. How many decimal places will VWS take?

I did a test gain adjustment last week, after I had just backed up by VWS directory, and I was able to enter it down to 4 decimal places or --->>>  0.1234  I think that should be accurate enough for any application since my website and VWS Desktop Display ony show 2 decimal places or --->>> 0.12

UPDATE: I also got mine final installed today.  I did it two days ahead because no precip is expected until friday and I wanted to give mine about 48 hours to set-up good before it gets wet.  Write-up to come soon.
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Offline sbelmont

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Re: Cheap - Rain Gauge Resolution Modification
« Reply #15 on: December 29, 2008, 03:55:41 PM »
Thanks Sam for the info.

I'm like you, no precipitation expected until Saturday. I just probably won't have time now until the 1st. I am going to use a substance called Goop for the glue and then put a bead of clear silicone around the edges. The Goop dries real fast, but the silicone will need a couple days.
Steve B
WMR968

Offline sam2004gp

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Re: Cheap - Rain Gauge Resolution Modification
« Reply #16 on: December 30, 2008, 10:49:28 AM »

The writeup for the modification is done, re-visit the first post in this thread to see it. :grin: :grin: :grin:

Enjoy.....
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Offline W Thomas

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Re: Cheap - Rain Gauge Resolution Modification
« Reply #17 on: December 30, 2008, 04:14:57 PM »
You guys and your fancy mods are giving me to much work to do.

1 dig trench to weather station for power. (pant pant, puff, puff, gasp)
2. install heater mod.
3. do rain meaurement mod.

HELP!!!!!



Fortunately my service was already there as it feeds my outbuilding.. If it wasn't it just might be aerial :)


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Offline sbelmont

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Re: Cheap - Rain Gauge Resolution Modification
« Reply #18 on: December 30, 2008, 05:38:43 PM »
Nice write up Sam. I think I found the same funnel set as you at Home Depot. I need to check my measurement. I kept coming up with 7.25 ID not 7.375.
Steve B
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Offline Anthony

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Re: Cheap - Rain Gauge Resolution Modification
« Reply #19 on: December 31, 2008, 07:20:25 AM »
Sam, Very nice job on the write up. But for future refference. It's better to make a new post than to go back and edit an old one like you did. It's easy for people to miss the edited post.



Thanks,
Anthony
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Offline sbelmont

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Re: Cheap - Rain Gauge Resolution Modification
« Reply #20 on: January 01, 2009, 11:52:21 PM »
I made the same modification to my sytem today and I have a couple questions.

1) I'm using VWS V14. As far as I can tell the gain is only acurate to two decimal places. Is that correct or am I missing a setting someone to modify this?
2) The only rain related gain setting is for total rain. Will this also affect the Rain Rate?
Steve B
WMR968

Offline sam2004gp

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Re: Cheap - Rain Gauge Resolution Modification
« Reply #21 on: January 02, 2009, 11:04:47 AM »
VWS Version 13 is also accurate to only 2 places for the gain setting.  I tried changing it to 4 places in "precision" settings menu, but all it did was add more places to my "Broadcast.jpg", and it did not change the "gain" accuracy value.  So I changed it back.  I just allowed the "new" gain setting to round up.  No other choice.  So then I calculated if I got a rain fall total of 30 inches for the year, and if the 4 decimal point accuracy was there.  In regards to year total again. I only read about .12 inches more of rain.  I am cool with that, considering there are always rain drops that never make it down the funnel and eventually evaporate.


I think Rain rate is calculated from the gain number and "bucket clicks" within a "specified time period", so by adjusting your gain, your rain rate also gets adjusted, so it should be "true".
« Last Edit: January 02, 2009, 11:12:36 AM by sam2004gp »
SAM --->>> http://www.mountcrawfordweather.org
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Offline sbelmont

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Re: Cheap - Rain Gauge Resolution Modification
« Reply #22 on: January 03, 2009, 01:21:00 AM »
Well. we just got our first precipitation of the year and the mod works perfectly. It was a slight shower and the station picked it up with the first reading as .01". My database looks like this:

9:00pm            243          0          0         89       45.5      28.91       0.01       45.5       51.0       42.5      29.95       55.6       36.3       0.01       0.01
9:05pm            263          0          0         90       45.3      28.91       0.01       45.3       51.0       42.6      29.95       55.6       36.3       0.01       0.01
9:10pm            221          4          4         91       45.3      28.91       0.01       43.1       51.1       42.9      29.95       55.6       36.3       0.01       0.01
9:15pm            216          0          5         92       45.1      28.91       0.01       45.1       51.1       43.0      29.95       55.6       36.3       0.01       0.01
9:20pm            214          0          0         92       45.1      28.91       0.02       45.1       51.1       43.0      29.95       55.6       36.3       0.02       0.02
9:25pm            245          3          4         93       45.0      28.91       0.03       43.6       51.0       43.1      29.95       55.6       36.3       0.03       0.03
9:30pm            176          0          4         93       44.8      28.91       0.04       44.8       50.9       42.9      29.95       55.6       36.3       0.04       0.04
9:35pm            216          0          4         94       44.8      28.91       0.05       44.8       51.0       43.2      29.95       55.6       36.3       0.05       0.05

The actual total right now is .054 inches. On wundergroud the rain rate went from 0.03 in/hr to 0.13 in/hr and then to 0.17 in/hr at the heaviest point. It seems pretty acurate for the little cell that moved through. I'm happy.
Steve B
WMR968

Offline tomcj2

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Re: Cheap - Rain Gauge Resolution Modification
« Reply #23 on: January 03, 2009, 02:01:20 AM »
Have you compared it with a CoCoRaHs type gauge? I was shocked at how inaccurate my VP2 is.

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Offline WeatherBeacon

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Re: Cheap - Rain Gauge Resolution Modification
« Reply #24 on: January 03, 2009, 10:19:42 AM »
Well. we just got our first precipitation of the year and the mod works perfectly. It was a slight shower and the station picked it up with the first reading as .01".....
The actual total right now is .054 inches. On wundergroud the rain rate went from 0.03 in/hr to 0.13 in/hr and then to 0.17 in/hr at the heaviest point. It seems pretty acurate for the little cell that moved through. I'm happy.

Awesome!
Mae govannen!
Kevin  (Member AMS) http://www.wxbeacon.com               Genesee County, Michigan
Hardware:  Davis Vantage Pro Wireless, Midland WR-300
Software: VWS 14.01p43, WeatherFlash, & GRLevel3

 

anything