Author Topic: Stratus Rain Gauge - The best or not?  (Read 594 times)

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Online galfert

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Stratus Rain Gauge - The best or not?
« on: July 13, 2019, 02:52:55 PM »
I realize that the Stratus is the official CoCoRaHS gauge. At least I think it is. I'm not planning on reporting to CoCoRaHS. I just wanted a precision rain gauge to use as a way of testing my weather station's rain gauge. I only plan on using it here and there a few times a year just to be sure things are working well with my weather station.

That said is this the best recommendation? It seems to be high up there in the Amazon sellers list with very high ratings. I still have some questions. Everyone seems to be using it to compare the new Davis tipper.

In the amazon listing there is a Stratus for $38 and there is another one for upwards of $60 that has a description of Heat and Frost resistant. Is this really a different Stratus or just one of those silly Amazon 3rd party mishaps? Yesterday it was listed for upwards of $60 and today it is $35 + $27 with shipping. What a silly listing as it appears to me to be the same thing....or is it? They both say they are UV resistant.

Speaking of UV resistant I did read an Amazon review that said that after 3 years in the Arizona desert the thing had turned from clear plastic to a white plastic that was impossible to read. Well I imagine to read it you still can take it apart and but you certainly could no longer glance at it from the distance. So much for UV protection.

I read another review that said to wrap it in aluminum foil and they posted a picture with the whole thing wrapped up in foil. How silly that looks....whats the point in that? The owner said it was still brand new after years of use. But you can't read through aluminum foil unless you are Superman....so I don't get that.

That last point I'd like to make is a question about the durability of the plastic. I took delivery of my Stratus yesterday and the little plastic parts on the bottom of the funnel where there are 4 of them 1 was totally broken off and another was just hanging on by a bit of plastic and as I touched it then it fell off. See picture below? This was brand new out of the box. I looked in the box and I could not find the missing plastic which to me tells me I either got a repackage or it broke before it was but in its box. The tape was not broken from the manufacture. It came in a brown box with a little white sticker to identify it and that tape was intact. Then that box was placed into an Amazon shipping box. All boxes were in perfect condition.

Is this normal? Is the plastic this delicate? In this picture you'll see 2 of the 4 plastic sections broken. These tabs help secure the inner tube in place. Do these easily break off for others? I can see this happening after years of UV breaking down the plastic...but I would not expect this from a brand new out of the box gauge.
 [ You are not allowed to view attachments ]

I've arrange for a replacement from Amazon. So no big deal. It does give me pause though that this thing is delicate.
« Last Edit: July 13, 2019, 02:55:43 PM by galfert »
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Online galfert

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Re: Stratus Rain Gauge - The best or not?
« Reply #1 on: July 13, 2019, 02:56:48 PM »
Why don't they make it out of glass? Sure more expensive but it would be easier to clean and stay clear and be durable ...as long as you don't drop it.
« Last Edit: July 13, 2019, 03:09:52 PM by galfert »
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Offline Bushman

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Re: Stratus Rain Gauge - The best or not?
« Reply #2 on: July 13, 2019, 03:53:49 PM »
Glass. Conant 23" Grande View Rain Gauge
Need low cost IP monitoring?  http://wirelesstag.net/wta.aspx?link=NisJxz6FhUa4V67/cwCRWA or PM me for 50% off Wirelesstags!!

Offline ValentineWeather

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Re: Stratus Rain Gauge - The best or not?
« Reply #3 on: July 13, 2019, 04:12:51 PM »
I would say that's not normal. You can get a replacement funnel only at the Cocorahs store.
 http://www.weatheryourway.com/cocorahs/store.html

These gauges have been around since at least the early 1970's, my only complaint is the funnel is shallow for hail and very heavy rainfall.

An 8" diameter would be better for both, the cheapest manual 8" is one of the forestry gauges but most don't want to spend that kind of money.

https://novalynx.com/store/pc/260-2520-Forestry-Rain-Gauge-p237.htm
« Last Edit: July 13, 2019, 04:15:57 PM by ValentineWeather »
Randy

Offline DaleReid

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Re: Stratus Rain Gauge - The best or not?
« Reply #4 on: July 13, 2019, 04:35:11 PM »
First, I'm glad Amazon as the seller is shipping you a new one.  That is NOT normal.  Maybe Huge Hugh stepped on the package or tossed it over a few rows to another bin during stocking.

Any manual read will have some trade offs.  They are, however, the ultimate in trying to measure rain.  The tippers will always be subject to heavy fall, etc.  But if you don't read often during a hot day, will you loose some from the manual to evaporation?  Yes, and some have gone so far as to try putting a little oil in there to float on top and seal it, sort of like the waterless urinals in the parks.

Why would you use it only a few times a year? Put it out and leave it out for the whole season.  I wouldn't trust it to freeze, though.

If you've ever visited the desert southwest or been to Cape Canaveral, you'll see what sunlight does to everything, paint, boards, people, you name it. 

I'm with the one commenter who said that the bigger the throat the less likely there is for outsplash.  But then, too, strong winds will skew the total in some varying ways, too.  You'll sometimes see the circular fence of hanging panels around some airport manual read stations.

But then, who knows what the accurate amount is, either? I've seen it rain very hard on one side of a farm field, and the other side get little, so variations over even a few rods will make any worry about the real rain not be worth worrying about if you do your best.

I'm happy with an antique Taylor copper 4" (or 3.5, I forget) that was from the early 1900s.  It has three spike feet for trying to get level.  And the ends of the throat has a very keen edge, not quite sharp but close enough.  But one year I lent it to a friend to play with as he tried to measure various tippers for accuracy (all within a few yards radius of one another in an ideal flat surface, no trees, etc setup) and with it he had one of these as you are playing with, my Taylor, a couple of other manual types of the names I forget, and one storm (after many that were within a couple hundredths of each other, there was over a 1/10th of an inch variation.  Surprised the heck out of him.  No hail, measured right after the storm passed.

Still a mystery, but I guess I'm not too worried about variation.  And yeah, considering that insulators on old telegraph and telephone poles can withstand almost anything less than a .22, I think that the right glass formulation would be workable.  Not the kind of glass that they use in the old fashioned yard raingauges that farming companies used to give away.

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Online galfert

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Re: Stratus Rain Gauge - The best or not?
« Reply #5 on: July 14, 2019, 01:29:25 PM »
Glass. Conant 23" Grande View Rain Gauge

Nice but only offers 0.1 (tenths) precision.  :-(
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Online galfert

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Re: Stratus Rain Gauge - The best or not?
« Reply #6 on: July 14, 2019, 01:32:41 PM »
I would say that's not normal. You can get a replacement funnel only at the Cocorahs store.
 http://www.weatheryourway.com/cocorahs/store.html

These gauges have been around since at least the early 1970's, my only complaint is the funnel is shallow for hail and very heavy rainfall.

An 8" diameter would be better for both, the cheapest manual 8" is one of the forestry gauges but most don't want to spend that kind of money.

https://novalynx.com/store/pc/260-2520-Forestry-Rain-Gauge-p237.htm

Novalynx looks like it would hold up but yeah pricey! Bad thing though is you can't get an idea of rainfall until after the rain event because it is not see through.
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Online galfert

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Re: Stratus Rain Gauge - The best or not?
« Reply #7 on: July 14, 2019, 02:05:29 PM »
First, I'm glad Amazon as the seller is shipping you a new one.  That is NOT normal.  Maybe Huge Hugh stepped on the package or tossed it over a few rows to another bin during stocking.

Yep, that's one good thing about shopping with Amazon (for most resellers), free returns. That and my Amex offers buyer protection benefits.

I got my replacement yesterday and it isn't broken. I hope it doesn't break with use. But now I know to be careful with it.

Quote
Any manual read will have some trade offs.  They are, however, the ultimate in trying to measure rain.  The tippers will always be subject to heavy fall, etc.  But if you don't read often during a hot day, will you lose some from the manual to evaporation?  Yes, and some have gone so far as to try putting a little oil in there to float on top and seal it, sort of like the waterless urinals in the parks.

Nice tip on the bit of oil. I hadn't heard that one.

Quote

Why would you use it only a few times a year? Put it out and leave it out for the whole season.  I wouldn't trust it to freeze, though.

I would only use it a few times a year because I don't want the extra work. I'm happy with my stations tipper. I don't need absolute perfect precision. I just want adequate accuracy to compare day by day and month to month. I just want a way of knowing every now and then that my tipper is still working within its design tolerances. I don't have to worry about freezing in Florida.

Quote

If you've ever visited the desert southwest or been to Cape Canaveral, you'll see what sunlight does to everything, paint, boards, people, you name it. 

True. I don't expect anything to last forever.

Quote

I'm with the one commenter who said that the bigger the throat the less likely there is for outsplash.  But then, too, strong winds will skew the total in some varying ways, too.  You'll sometimes see the circular fence of hanging panels around some airport manual read stations.

But then, who knows what the accurate amount is, either? I've seen it rain very hard on one side of a farm field, and the other side get little, so variations over even a few rods will make any worry about the real rain not be worth worrying about if you do your best.

I'm okay with the design of the Stratus because it matches the funnel design of my weather station. Same funnel shape and size. This way I get a control which is only changing one variable, tipper versus manual. I can make adjustments to the tipper for calibration and everything else is equal. Meaning if there is loss due to hard rain then it should be equal on both.

Quote

I'm happy with an antique Taylor copper 4" (or 3.5, I forget) that was from the early 1900s.  It has three spike feet for trying to get level.  And the ends of the throat has a very keen edge, not quite sharp but close enough.  But one year I lent it to a friend to play with as he tried to measure various tippers for accuracy (all within a few yards radius of one another in an ideal flat surface, no trees, etc setup) and with it he had one of these as you are playing with, my Taylor, a couple of other manual types of the names I forget, and one storm (after many that were within a couple hundredths of each other, there was over a 1/10th of an inch variation.  Surprised the heck out of him.  No hail, measured right after the storm passed.

Still a mystery, but I guess I'm not too worried about variation.  And yeah, considering that insulators on old telegraph and telephone poles can withstand almost anything less than a .22, I think that the right glass formulation would be workable.  Not the kind of glass that they use in the old fashioned yard raingauges that farming companies used to give away.

Thank you for the many thoughtful parts to your reply. Very informative.
« Last Edit: December 06, 2019, 02:04:55 PM by galfert »
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anything