Author Topic: ISS heated rain gauge for snow  (Read 500 times)

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Offline JRHill

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ISS heated rain gauge for snow
« on: January 07, 2022, 05:40:03 PM »
Hi folks! I am sure I saw other posts on this but can't get any search results. Last year I added the solar and UV sensors. I love 'em for my purposes. But I've thought for just as long about the heated funnel for the rain gauge. It is frustrating in these times of draught to loose data because the funnel is full of snow and ice and spilling over. So here is my question:

We are off grid. We just went through 2.5 weeks of ZERO kWh into our panels. It was just that overcast, foggy and everything snow covered. So if I added on the heated funnel, how does that really work in the season you actually need it? The ISS is obviously easier to get to than panels on a steel roof but does it only work when there is little or no sunlight to the solar panel? Is there a battery? I mean, just how justifiable is an upgrade? I don't mind going out to clear the little panel but if there is no solar to harvest It seems a waste. OTOH, it can't be a total waste as it never would've come to market. So what's the up and down on this?
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Offline Bashy

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Re: ISS heated rain gauge for snow
« Reply #1 on: January 07, 2022, 09:00:56 PM »
You could poss run the same as i use and that's a 12v 10w car bulb, i think its a 10w, might even be a 5w one, it sits in a bulb holder, wired to a temp switch. that can be run off a 12v battery. You need to insulate the lining of the inside of the cone, i did this by sandwiching small bubbled bubble wrap between 2 sheets of foil, sealed together with just tape along the edges, when you create the cut for the 2 ends to join up, its needs to be on a slant, so it joins in a cone shape. Because its such a small bulb, its not fast thawing but it deffo works for what little snow I've had over the last 6 years'ish
Kind regards
Bashy

Offline JRHill

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Re: ISS heated rain gauge for snow
« Reply #2 on: January 07, 2022, 09:15:51 PM »
I love it, thank you. I have some old 12v starting batteries that are tired but would work great for this. What would you recommend for an in line 30f temp switch that can handle 1 amp?
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Offline chief-david

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Re: ISS heated rain gauge for snow
« Reply #3 on: January 07, 2022, 10:01:04 PM »
Heaters work well in moderately cold temps.  Not so well when it is 0 and a wind chill. If you get that kind of thing.



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Offline Bashy

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Re: ISS heated rain gauge for snow
« Reply #4 on: January 07, 2022, 11:37:01 PM »
You just need sommat like this

Chief-David, Windchill only affects the skin ;)
« Last Edit: January 07, 2022, 11:39:33 PM by Bashy »
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Offline davidmc36

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Re: ISS heated rain gauge for snow
« Reply #5 on: January 08, 2022, 04:36:06 AM »
Wind chill affects anything that has a heater element. It blows away the heat, maybe faster than it can be produced by a small heater.

Offline johnd

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Re: ISS heated rain gauge for snow
« Reply #6 on: January 08, 2022, 05:29:31 AM »
Wind chill affects anything that has a heater element. It blows away the heat, maybe faster than it can be produced by a small heater.

Unfortunately, the term 'wind chill' is not well-defined, at least not without more context. In meteorology, here's one definition from the UKMO: 'Wind chill factor takes into account wind speeds and humidity to assess how the human body actually feels temperature.' So it's impossible to apply calculated wind chill values to inanimate objects.

That said, if some inanimate object outdoors is at a different temperature (hotter or colder) than the surrounding air then how quickly that object gains or loses heat will depend on wind speed, at least as one factor. I an see why people might be tempted to call that wind chill (or heating), but it's really a distinct concept from how the term is normally used in meteorology.
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Offline Bashy

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Re: ISS heated rain gauge for snow
« Reply #7 on: January 08, 2022, 11:29:58 AM »
Wind chill affects anything that has a heater element. It blows away the heat, maybe faster than it can be produced by a small heater.

Unfortunately, the term 'wind chill' is not well-defined, at least not without more context. In meteorology, here's one definition from the UKMO: 'Wind chill factor takes into account wind speeds and humidity to assess how the human body actually feels temperature.' So it's impossible to apply calculated wind chill values to inanimate objects.

That said, if some inanimate object outdoors is at a different temperature (hotter or colder) than the surrounding air then how quickly that object gains or loses heat will depend on wind speed, at least as one factor. I an see why people might be tempted to call that wind chill (or heating), but it's really a distinct concept from how the term is normally used in meteorology.

Thats my take in windchill, as for the latter paragraph, would that be called convection?
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Offline 92merc

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Re: ISS heated rain gauge for snow
« Reply #8 on: January 08, 2022, 11:50:45 AM »
I had a heater when I lived in town.  It worked moderately well.  But this was also on the old cone.  The Davis heater doesn't work with the new Aero Cone.

When I moved out in the country, wind took over.  Not only could the heater not heat the funnel well enough by 0F, the wind stopped snow from even being deposited into the funnel.  So there was no point for me.

So with wind, not only do you have to figure in heat loss, but will the snow even land and stay in the funnel?
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Offline Bashy

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Re: ISS heated rain gauge for snow
« Reply #9 on: January 08, 2022, 12:25:54 PM »
I had a heater when I lived in town.  It worked moderately well.  But this was also on the old cone.  The Davis heater doesn't work with the new Aero Cone.

When I moved out in the country, wind took over.  Not only could the heater not heat the funnel well enough by 0F, the wind stopped snow from even being deposited into the funnel.  So there was no point for me.

So with wind, not only do you have to figure in heat loss, but will the snow even land and stay in the funnel?

It's not always windy ;)
I've not experienced any issues with the wind but then mine is slower than a Davis heater as its non where near powerful.
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Offline 92merc

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Re: ISS heated rain gauge for snow
« Reply #10 on: January 08, 2022, 01:09:31 PM »
It's always windy in North Dakota.   :grin:
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Offline JRHill

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Re: ISS heated rain gauge for snow
« Reply #11 on: January 08, 2022, 01:12:40 PM »
Thanks for all the input folks. The Amazon link to the temperature device got me to wondering if the switching logic can be inverted so the relay closes as the temp drops below the set point instead of closing above the set point. The poor effort at a description in English is difficult to understand. I'm not too worried about wind chill, convection or what ever you want to call it (wink). BTW my wife and I have had words over the same subject. I maintain there is no wind chill unless there is moisture involved that can evaporate for a cooling effect. Then she tells me I'm cooling the house down with running the ceiling fan to distribute the heat from the wood burner. But she's the scientist (literally) and I'm just a lowly engineer.

Anyway, I'm thinking of just a switch so that when snow or sleet I'll just click it to On. We literally walk by the station doing chores every day anyway and no sense in having the heater run needlessly when there's nothing to melt.
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Offline G.Brown

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Re: ISS heated rain gauge for snow
« Reply #12 on: January 08, 2022, 03:30:40 PM »
I use one of these - got a longer sensor for it though

https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/393110444436

https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/224662651812?var=523510265198

ahh edit - its already been mentioned - yes you can change it to n/o or n/c switching and a load of other adjustments too
« Last Edit: January 08, 2022, 03:33:15 PM by G.Brown »

Offline JRHill

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Re: ISS heated rain gauge for snow
« Reply #13 on: January 18, 2022, 03:34:46 PM »
You could poss run the same as i use and that's a 12v 10w car bulb, i think its a 10w, might even be a 5w one, it sits in a bulb holder, wired to a temp switch. that can be run off a 12v battery. You need to insulate the lining of the inside of the cone, i did this by sandwiching small bubbled bubble wrap between 2 sheets of foil, sealed together with just tape along the edges, when you create the cut for the 2 ends to join up, its needs to be on a slant, so it joins in a cone shape. Because its such a small bulb, its not fast thawing but it deffo works for what little snow I've had over the last 6 years'ish

I have a trip to town scheduled and was going to stop by NAPA. I foresee the parts guy drawing a blank stare when I try to shop for a incandescent, bayonet style bulb by wattage. I have an old rig that I can salvage a bulb holder.... I suppose I can start with that and the bulb and use my Fluke to determine the wattage. Any recollection what you used? The dash lights are probably too small and built into the instrument cluster.

I was hoping to find a reed switch instead of a temp controller. Looks to be an expensive option in trying to avoid battery drain.
« Last Edit: January 18, 2022, 03:51:10 PM by JRHill »
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Offline G.Brown

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Re: ISS heated rain gauge for snow
« Reply #14 on: January 18, 2022, 04:03:07 PM »
This is the heater I used with a piece of aluminium above it and an insulation below also insulated the outside of the surround. I had a trial outside when we had some frost a few weeks ago but no sign of any snow - I suspect wind chill may be a problem and need to block the some of the drainage holes in the base.

https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/125053024865?var=426121619469

Offline JRHill

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Re: ISS heated rain gauge for snow
« Reply #15 on: January 18, 2022, 04:41:52 PM »
This is the heater I used with a piece of aluminium above it and an insulation below also insulated the outside of the surround. I had a trial outside when we had some frost a few weeks ago but no sign of any snow - I suspect wind chill may be a problem and need to block the some of the drainage holes in the base.

https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/125053024865?var=426121619469

Ahh, much better than a light bulb. Any idea how many watts it draws? I didn't see that. Here's my idea: your ceramic heating device, an old 12vdc battery, a cheap solar panel and a reed switch that triggers at appox -1c if that is possible - I know reed switches aren't exact but good enough to trigger the melting of snow/ice.

I'm on the cheap? No. Its just I have no desire for yet another buried conduit to the weather station 100' away and I don't want to expend crazy $ to melt snow in the cone. Besides, being off grid, any additional electric load is really scrutinized. And I don't like extension cords laying around esp under snow. Tire chains really mess them up.

Of course, I could just leave an extension cord laid out and plug in a heat gun to melt snow. I'd rather build a fire nearby (wink).
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