Author Topic: Ultrasonic Snow Depth for the VP2  (Read 632 times)

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Offline dendrite

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Ultrasonic Snow Depth for the VP2
« on: August 08, 2018, 09:44:42 AM »
So for those of you who saw my ultrasonic anemometer thread, I've been talking with Stefan at Hongyuv about their ultrasonic anemometer that is plug & play with a Davis. We've had some more discussion about making their ultrasonic snow depth sensor compatible with a VP2. I'm not sure what the reasonable price point for the VP2 target consumer would be. Here's a link to their sensor...

https://hongyuv.en.alibaba.com/product/60709042917-805298344/HY_SWD2E_Ultrasonic_Snow_Depth_Sensor.html

$535 is a little higher than I would personally like to go for snow depth, but having it plug and play with the VP2 would be a plus.

We've had some debate with which port to use. He suggested using the SUN port. It would send the data in 0.1mm. So a solar output of 0146 would equate to 14.6mm of snow. I have solar and UV sensors so I really wouldn't want to go that route.

I think I would rather unplug the rain gauge in the winter and plug in the snow sensor when the snow starts flying. You already can't use a heater with the new aerocone anymore and evaporation/turbulence cut down on snow catch in the regular cone anyway. Plus those with an Enovy8x or Meteobridge could run a 2nd ISS and use the 2nd RAIN port to measure snowfall. Then the units are already in 0.1"/0.2mm increments and you'd be able to easily switch between units.

Anyway, I'm just looking for some feedback that I can share with him on this. Basically what you'd be willing to spend and a preferred port. If you have any other questions or concerns I can relay them to him as well.
« Last Edit: August 08, 2018, 09:46:13 AM by dendrite »

Offline CNYWeather

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Re: Ultrasonic Snow Depth for the VP2
« Reply #1 on: August 08, 2018, 12:16:37 PM »
Myself, I'd probably go $350 max for an ultrasonic snow sensor.
Yeah, I could build one with parts cheaper I know, but plug and play is the selling point.

I would imagine Brian could get Weather Display to do it's magic to use the data
from that to keep track of and post snow amounts.

I have the old rain sensor and have been running a heater in the winter
and I've got solar and UV, but I also measure for CoCoRaHS and could use
that for my daily rain totals in the winter and put that in WD.

And with  it being on Alibaba, I'm sure the more that get ordered, the lower the price may be.
Tony


Offline openvista

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Re: Ultrasonic Snow Depth for the VP2
« Reply #2 on: August 08, 2018, 01:39:16 PM »
Currently, it appears the sensor is only 220V compatible. They'll need a 110 option. This will, however, require users to have power at their measurement location (not a problem for me as I can tap power lead for AC fan).

Price wise it sounds about right. To be fair, you have compare it to other, comparable products on the market. Spoiler alert: they all pretty much suck. Even the pro gear isn't reliable. Otherwise, the airports, TV stations, road networks would have been using them for years. So this would be a unique product using state-of-the-art technology.

If this thing proves close to accurate (give or take half an inch), I'll snap one up pronto! But... I'm not paying to beta test it or ship it back to China, if it's just another in a long line of temperamental, untrustworthy snow "measurement" instruments.
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Offline EA1EF

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Re: Ultrasonic Snow Depth for the VP2
« Reply #3 on: August 08, 2018, 02:43:50 PM »
Maxsonar snow ultrasonic are direct pluggable in Sun port ISS Davis but does not work because ultrasonic snow gauges have a filtered output and need more milliseconds that Davis use before give a output. The running scheme are: board give power about every minute to sensor pin connector and wait a few milliseconds to read stable output of sensor when close sourcing the sensor. Snow sensors have usually near a second timming, its very rare less than 500 miliseconds.

Only way I know to solve are give a permanent power pin 3v source regulated in the board, but this idea need solve a powerful source solution... Isn't not difficult give a power solution, but a solar panel and batteries is needed

Other solution are reduce to 15 min the reads and ignore 14 zero reads, then can design a very low power temporizer that give the 3v pin and thought power one minute every 15 minutes... But probably drain more power that mobotix permanent source.

Edit: keep in mind that snow measures require a controlled area and specific hardware as pole, stabilized  and horizontally ground and selected site away of wind influences... And others...
« Last Edit: August 08, 2018, 04:44:09 PM by EA1EF »

Offline EA1EF

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Re: Ultrasonic Snow Depth for the VP2
« Reply #4 on: August 08, 2018, 04:17:30 PM »
Can test with any cheap Maxsonar or other brand sensor that give analogic 3v input - ouput
For example to measure a river flow in a well know section as  free fall sections Thomsom rectangular, etc.

Offline Stefan

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Re: Ultrasonic Snow Depth for the VP2
« Reply #5 on: August 08, 2018, 10:53:55 PM »
Hi guys, I am the Stefan dendrite mentioned.
Hopefully, we will lower price of snow depth sensor less than $200.
The snow sensor should be installed horizontally and conduct zero calibration(reset to zero).
Hongyuv technologies is a company focus on detection based on ultrasonic wave or photoelectric pinciple.
So don't worry about our quality, we will test it carefully before we release such a product.
You can find all of our products by visiting  our website at www.hongyuv.com/en
Our website is not fancy, we will make it look better someday...
Here I would like to thank dendrite for introducing me to this forum, so that I can discuss with you guys here.
Snow depth sensor is still on the air, our engineer have serveral project ongoing, the requirements and opinions from this forum are highly appreciated.( our developments are client-orientated)

Offline jas340

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Re: Ultrasonic Snow Depth for the VP2
« Reply #6 on: August 09, 2018, 02:40:50 AM »
My 2 cents...I do not have a UV sensor. I would like the snow sensor to plug in using that port if possible. I would like to keep the solar sensor running year round.

Offline Stefan

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Re: Ultrasonic Snow Depth for the VP2
« Reply #7 on: August 09, 2018, 02:44:50 AM »
BTW, we will make this snow depth sensor solar-powered.
Hongyuv have our own hardware electronic engineer on whom I can rely.
I am very happy to get those useful information from forum members here.

Offline EA1EF

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Re: Ultrasonic Snow Depth for the VP2
« Reply #8 on: August 09, 2018, 03:25:36 AM »
UV port have only 256 steps resolution versus Solar port have 1024 steps resolution.

Filter formula in the snow meters probably are difficult improve. Needed practical snow experiments... Ultrasonic sensors have much tendency to measure any hard thing and obviate soft things as snow... Sensor must read a nearest point in center of cloud of soft points that sound snow surface.

Laser length sensors are well know direct reads with only know problems of Sun light and air particles interferences...
« Last Edit: August 09, 2018, 03:30:47 AM by EA1EF »

Offline openvista

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Re: Ultrasonic Snow Depth for the VP2
« Reply #9 on: August 09, 2018, 08:34:22 AM »
I agree with Dendrite. Plugging the snow sensor into the rain port would be preferable and makes the most amount of sense. I don't understand why anyone bothers to measure precip in the winter when the tipping bucket heaters result in as much as 40% evaporation!

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Offline DaleReid

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Re: Ultrasonic Snow Depth for the VP2
« Reply #10 on: August 09, 2018, 09:07:06 AM »
Sacrifice a solar reading to get the occasional snow depth when and if there are snowfalls, and to monitor compaction and sublimation? 

You must be looking for data points that I'm not from my instruments. 

And all this with a device that costs nearly as much as the whole station might, in some lower cost installations.

You may as well unplug the wind speed, or the temperature or humidity instead of the solar.

Until VP3 or whatever comes along, with the necessary hardware expansion along with software firmware to support this type of device (which I'd love to have) this makeshift approach is lacking in much more than very narrow application, done by those willing to sacrifice function.

But if you have to do something, the rain gauge during true winter, would be the plug to pull.  I'm not sure what to do when we have the once in awhile February rain storm, or for those guys who put plastic bags over the tipping bucket so that melts don't cause 1/2" of rain to appear during a warm spell.

Just saying that brainstorming is good, but so far I've not seen a desirable solution in forcing this onto a VP2 platform.



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Offline EA1EF

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Re: Ultrasonic Snow Depth for the VP2
« Reply #11 on: August 09, 2018, 09:23:35 AM »
On snow observer world the snow depth and snow water equivalent are two well different measures. Both are important but its evidence that have a rain meter first option will be melt snow in it. A economic melt kit will be interest, in the net are many info about melt power surface ratio, in government where try measure real time snow fall use expensive weight meters with chemical melt. Other measure idea are the snow pillow where measure the bars pressure of gelatine ...

Alternative ports to Solar 0-3v port are UV port 256 steps I thing, Davis do not permit more 0-3v sensors except Envoy8x...   As usually snow depth are 5 meters divided 256 are 20mm its too big step. In case 1000 mm range would be 4mm, in snow word usually use 1cm, 2,5 meters range, even 3m meters range with 256 steeps can be perfect in this case of Davis 256 steps ports.
« Last Edit: August 09, 2018, 10:00:21 AM by EA1EF »

Offline dendrite

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Re: Ultrasonic Snow Depth for the VP2
« Reply #12 on: August 09, 2018, 09:37:08 AM »
I have an extra ISS lying around and it's only ~$100 from Ryan @ SI to get a new one. For those with the Envoy8x or Meteobridge Pro, or soon-to-be Nano) can fire that up and have a bunch of new ports to play with. You could add that instromet sunshine hours recorder into the SUN port and then this snow sensor into the RAIN port. RAIN just seems to make sense since the user can freely switch between mm and inches. Would Meteobridge be able to send snow depth data to CWOP like a SNOTEL station?

Offline DaleReid

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Re: Ultrasonic Snow Depth for the VP2
« Reply #13 on: August 09, 2018, 10:06:52 AM »
Dendrite:
Excellent suggestion.

Can those additional data points be ingested and displayed by some customizable software?  Cumulus?  Weather Display?

There was a project awhile ago using a laser diode range finder from Fluke and an interface board from Porcupine, and there were folks doing some development to get the data into Weather Display.  I'm not sure of the current status of that group, but it wasn't just plug and play as much as one would think.

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Offline dendrite

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Re: Ultrasonic Snow Depth for the VP2
« Reply #14 on: August 09, 2018, 02:28:30 PM »
BTW, we will make this snow depth sensor solar-powered.
Hongyuv have our own hardware electronic engineer on whom I can rely.
I am very happy to get those useful information from forum members here.
My concern would be snow on the solar panel or those stretches up here of 5 days straight in winter with clouds and negligible solar radiation. I wouldn't dumb down the sensor too much to bring it down to that $300 mark. If you can keep the same technology, specs, temp/shield, etc that would be great.

As others have said, my experiences with these have been up and down. With the sensors I've experimented with, the best accuracy tends to come with higher density snowfalls and then it dwindles with the fluffy, high ratio snows. If it is truly 0.5% error I would definitely pay extra for that. The IP65 rating is a little concerning (the anemometer you're shipping me is IP65 as well...The Gill WindSonic is IP66). Winter conditions here can be pretty severe with blowing snow, below 0F temps, freezing rain, sleet, etc.

Offline CNYWeather

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Re: Ultrasonic Snow Depth for the VP2
« Reply #15 on: August 09, 2018, 02:52:40 PM »
BTW, we will make this snow depth sensor solar-powered.
Hongyuv have our own hardware electronic engineer on whom I can rely.
I am very happy to get those useful information from forum members here.
My concern would be snow on the solar panel or those stretches up here of 5 days straight in winter with clouds and negligible solar radiation. I wouldn't dumb down the sensor too much to bring it down to that $300 mark. If you can keep the same technology, specs, temp/shield, etc that would be great.

As others have said, my experiences with these have been up and down. With the sensors I've experimented with, the best accuracy tends to come with higher density snowfalls and then it dwindles with the fluffy, high ratio snows. If it is truly 0.5% error I would definitely pay extra for that. The IP65 rating is a little concerning (the anemometer you're shipping me is IP65 as well...The Gill WindSonic is IP66). Winter conditions here can be pretty severe with blowing snow, below 0F temps, freezing rain, sleet, etc.


I'm in the land of fluffy lake effect snow. I wonder if that would lead to problems measuring it?
Tony


Offline dendrite

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Re: Ultrasonic Snow Depth for the VP2
« Reply #16 on: August 09, 2018, 03:58:58 PM »
BTW, we will make this snow depth sensor solar-powered.
Hongyuv have our own hardware electronic engineer on whom I can rely.
I am very happy to get those useful information from forum members here.
My concern would be snow on the solar panel or those stretches up here of 5 days straight in winter with clouds and negligible solar radiation. I wouldn't dumb down the sensor too much to bring it down to that $300 mark. If you can keep the same technology, specs, temp/shield, etc that would be great.

As others have said, my experiences with these have been up and down. With the sensors I've experimented with, the best accuracy tends to come with higher density snowfalls and then it dwindles with the fluffy, high ratio snows. If it is truly 0.5% error I would definitely pay extra for that. The IP65 rating is a little concerning (the anemometer you're shipping me is IP65 as well...The Gill WindSonic is IP66). Winter conditions here can be pretty severe with blowing snow, below 0F temps, freezing rain, sleet, etc.


I'm in the land of fluffy lake effect snow. I wonder if that would lead to problems measuring it?
That was back in the day with those old Parallax PING sensors. They've gotten better with time. MaxBotix has one specifically designed for snow depth. I have all of the parts here for it, but never had the time to put it together.

https://www.maxbotix.com/selection-guide/snow-depth-applications.htm

Those are IP67.
« Last Edit: August 09, 2018, 04:00:37 PM by dendrite »

Offline AF6GL

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Re: Ultrasonic Snow Depth for the VP2
« Reply #17 on: August 09, 2018, 05:11:30 PM »
It might be nice to use the rain port then have a switching circuit board designed into the snow measuring device.

You could have a rain gauge socket in the snow device then plug the rain gauge into it. The circuit board could have some algorithms in it to automatically switch between devices based on temperature over time. I guess the trick might be telling the upload device what measurement you are sending rain vs snow.

Just thinking out loud for those smarter than I.

Offline Stefan

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Re: Ultrasonic Snow Depth for the VP2
« Reply #18 on: August 09, 2018, 11:44:13 PM »
I agree with Dendrite. Plugging the snow sensor into the rain port would be preferable and makes the most amount of sense. I don't understand why anyone bothers to measure precip in the winter when the tipping bucket heaters result in as much as 40% evaporation!
Please take a look at our radar rain gauge Openvista, radar wave is not affected by frozen layer on its top cover, besides it generate obvious heating itself.
This one is similar to Lufft's.
We can make it compatible to Davis, Plug and Play.
The only thing matters is its power consumption: 180mA@12VDC.
So the solar power CAN NOT supply enough power for it, it asks for extra power supply.
It doesn't have evaporation problem, radar wave detect rain drops when they are falling down in the air.
HY-RS2E radar rain gauge cost 430 USD/UNIT/FOB CHINA, and I may be able to apply extra discount for who would like to take first "bite".
I suppose everyone here is waiting for test result from Dendrite, hopefully, we will ship goods to him next week, thank you all for your patience.
« Last Edit: August 09, 2018, 11:48:04 PM by Stefan »

Offline Stefan

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Re: Ultrasonic Snow Depth for the VP2
« Reply #19 on: August 10, 2018, 12:01:40 AM »
It might be nice to use the rain port then have a switching circuit board designed into the snow measuring device.

You could have a rain gauge socket in the snow device then plug the rain gauge into it. The circuit board could have some algorithms in it to automatically switch between devices based on temperature over time. I guess the trick might be telling the upload device what measurement you are sending rain vs snow.

Just thinking out loud for those smarter than I.
Even if you have that digital circuit swtich, in that case you will have to re-organize/sort data based on temperature: >0℃ or <℃ to distinguish rain or snow in person, or do it under help of data processing software.
The easiest way is a small "surgery" on Davis's software, hope Davis will upgrade their software to be a more functional someday.

Offline vreihen

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Re: Ultrasonic Snow Depth for the VP2
« Reply #20 on: August 10, 2018, 07:20:47 AM »
It doesn't have evaporation problem, radar wave detect rain drops when they are falling down in the air.
HY-RS2E radar rain gauge cost 430 USD/UNIT/FOB CHINA, and I may be able to apply extra discount for who would like to take first "bite".

The published specifications claim an accuracy of +/- 10%.  Does wind decrease the accuracy, or is that 10% error the worst case during a typhoon?

One more question.  Are english-language technical manuals available online to read prior to purchase?  I would like to know how complex it will be to write a device driver for weewx or other weather collection software before placing an order.....
WU Gold Stars for everyone! :lol:

Offline thomas

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Re: Ultrasonic Snow Depth for the VP2
« Reply #21 on: August 10, 2018, 05:58:10 PM »
Here is a little article about the snow sensor used her in Grand Rapids (KGRR)  Seem to work pretty well this past winter.

https://www.weather.gov/grr/snowsensor

Offline twcmaster

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Re: Ultrasonic Snow Depth for the VP2
« Reply #22 on: August 12, 2018, 12:52:31 AM »
Hi Stefan,

Thanks for all the helpful information! Can this sensor be used to measure water depth in a shallow marina (less than 4 feet deep)?

Offline schwab

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Re: Ultrasonic Snow Depth for the VP2
« Reply #23 on: August 12, 2018, 07:45:51 AM »
The Fluke Laser Snow Depth setup (~$150) operates independently from the VP2...via (Windows) WeatherDisplay software.  http://www.weather-display.com/index.php

I had difficulty last snow season because I have my VP2 logging via Apple Mac hardware and software (WeatherCat).

After adding a separate laptop PC with WeatherDisplay software for interfacing to the Fluke Laser snow sensor I just could not reliably obtain data day after day...this was my programming issue with Windows-based Weather Display software and not an issue with the Fluke Laser Snow Sensor and it's LR4 software. http://www.wxforum.net/index.php?topic=30975.0  I could obtain manual snow depth measurements using my Fluke Laser Snow Depth Setup.

I am interested in a replacing the Fluke Snow Depth Sensor setup if a new plug & play VP2 snow sensor upgrade is available. WeatherCat 3.01 has added a daily snow depth option.https://trixology.com/weathercat/

I have 110V power at my heated VP2 station during the winter that has always accurately & automatically reported realtime snow meltwater via the VP2 raingauge.  http://www.wxforum.net/index.php?topic=1468.0

Otherwise I also use the wireless VP2 wind and temperature ports...not solar or UV ports.

Thank you for your work on this new project.

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Offline dendrite

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Re: Ultrasonic Snow Depth for the VP2
« Reply #24 on: Yesterday at 07:09:36 PM »
I was looking up some older versions of the APRS packet string protocol and found 24hr snow in there.
Quote
WEATHER REPORT
APRS
uses
the
underline
symbol
character
for
WX
reports.For
these,
the
COURSE/SPEED field is used for the WIND and the remainder of the comment line
contains other weather items.  See WX.TXT
@DDHHMM/DDMM.hhN/DDDMM.hhW_CSE/SPDgXXXtXXXrXXXpXXXPXXXhXXbXXXXXdU2k
r is in hundredths of an inch of rain in the LAST HOUR
p is in hundredths of an inch of rain in the LAST 24 HOURS
P is in hundredths of an inch of rain since midnight
s is INCHES of snow in the last 24 hours
b is in tenths of millibars
h is percent humidity (00=100%)
dU2k is Ultimeter 2000,
U5 is the 500,
Dvs is Davis
RSW is Radio Shack
PIC is a PIC device (K4HG?)
HKT is Heathkit
The first character designates what version of APRS
'd' = APRSdos
'W' = WinAPRS
'M' = MacAPRS
'X' = X-APRS (Linux)
'S' = APRS+SA
Lxxx is luminosity in Watts per square meter 999 and below
lxxx is luminosity in Watts per square meter 1000 and above
L is inserted in place of one of the rain values

Has anyone sending CWOP data with their own script ever tried to fudge a faux s001 in their string to see if snow data shows up in mesowest?