Author Topic: $30 Rain Collector Heater - simple!!  (Read 118452 times)

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Offline Mark / Ohio

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Re: $20 Rain Collector Heater - simple!!
« Reply #200 on: November 19, 2010, 11:42:54 PM »
I use a wireless outdoor Christmas light switch for mine.  Along with the transformer for the heater I also have a 12V DC wallwart supply plugged into the switch.  The walwart feeds an automotive side marker lamp I have attached to the bottom of the tool shed visible from the window in the house.  The heater itself feeds through a thermal cutout switch mounted inside the funnel on the heatsink along with the heater (ceramic resistors) for safety on the warm days if I forget to turn off the switch.

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Offline LFWX

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Re: $20 Rain Collector Heater - simple!!
« Reply #201 on: November 21, 2010, 12:17:35 AM »
Re the satellite dish heater.. You probably already know it but there is commercially available heaters for the dishes.  Might be able to copy somehow the designs on them.  On my old 18" round snow on the LNB nose causes more trouble then on the dish.  I've read were simply tying a black garbage back over the whole dish helps most of the time though I have never tried it.

Hotshot

NoSno



Not to change the subject - I think I may have just found a way to heat the Davis anemometer. \:D/

This one is 14" x 2" http://www.solidsignal.com/pview.asp?mc=02&p=HS14ARM&d=Perfect-Vision-Hot-Shot-Arm-Heater-Addon-for-Hotshot-Heaters-14x2-(HS14ARM)&c=Satellite Components&sku=
This one is 2 5/8" x 1 1/8" http://www.cyberestore.com/satellite/dish-heaters/feed-horn-heating-element.html

Does anyone know the distance between the wind vane and the wind cups (the size of the stationary part)? :?:
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Offline d_l

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Re: $20 Rain Collector Heater - simple!!
« Reply #202 on: November 21, 2010, 02:48:15 AM »
"Does anyone know the distance between the wind vane and the wind cups (the size of the stationary part)?" :?:


It is a shade over 2.4" from the bottom of the vane drip cone which moves to the bottom of the cup drip cone which doesn't.
« Last Edit: November 21, 2010, 03:40:06 AM by d_l »
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Offline Bushman

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Re: $20 Rain Collector Heater - simple!!
« Reply #203 on: November 21, 2010, 02:58:03 PM »
Hate to be a wet, cold blanket, but the first heater will only work on metal and the second is a simple kapton element that you can get for 5 bucks but still needs a bunch of circuitry (thermostat etc.)
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Offline dalecoy

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Re: $20 Rain Collector Heater - simple!!
« Reply #204 on: November 21, 2010, 08:49:55 PM »
I didn't see any information about wattage (i.e., amount of heat) either.

Offline LFWX

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Re: $20 Rain Collector Heater - simple!!
« Reply #205 on: November 21, 2010, 09:17:04 PM »
Hate to be a wet, cold blanket, but the first heater will only work on metal and the second is a simple kapton element that you can get for 5 bucks but still needs a bunch of circuitry (thermostat etc.)

I may fashion a piece of sheet metal that will connect to the arm and wrap around the body of the anemometer.
I'm looking for something to help the ice melt quicker (or even prevent light icing) - any heat will be better than no heat.
I have also thought about using a dipstick type oil heater coiled around the body, but wasn't sure if that wouldn't damage the heating element by bending it that tight.

Another possibility would be running antifreeze through a tube, wrapped around the body of the anemometer, circulating back into the house to warm it. (all my wiring passes through a service entrance, so adding the tubing would not be difficult)
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Offline SpartanWX

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Re: $30 Rain Collector Heater - simple!!
« Reply #206 on: October 30, 2011, 12:20:24 PM »
First snowfall here reminds me I need to get this setup here in DC.  Moved from Michigan, where as I understand it, it hasn't snowed yet.

Anyway... updated this with new links to the pics, and the reptile cord.  Looks like the price has crept up a bit.

Offline moehoward4

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Re: $30 Rain Collector Heater - simple!!
« Reply #207 on: October 30, 2011, 01:30:43 PM »
I heat my rain collector with the 'plans' this guy had on his site, www.pdfamily.com/weather. I've been using his set up for the last 4 years and have never had a problem. Liked it so much, when I reset my WWIII, I used it again on that collector.
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Offline smorris

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Re: $30 Rain Collector Heater - simple!!
« Reply #208 on: October 30, 2011, 04:25:36 PM »
A question to anyone who has been running this setup for the three years since this thread started. Has the reptile heater held up? Does it still work after three winters? I have the spare cone, insulation and the 25 watt heater, and plan to epoxy it to the inside of the inner cone like Mike did. I just wondered if this was a short term solution, or if I can expect it to hold up for a few years.

Thanks,
Steve
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Offline SpartanWX

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Re: $30 Rain Collector Heater - simple!!
« Reply #209 on: October 30, 2011, 05:33:55 PM »
A question to anyone who has been running this setup for the three years since this thread started. Has the reptile heater held up? Does it still work after three winters? I have the spare cone, insulation and the 25 watt heater, and plan to epoxy it to the inside of the inner cone like Mike did. I just wondered if this was a short term solution, or if I can expect it to hold up for a few years.

Thanks,
Steve

It works fine for me still.  There's not much too it.  It's a resistance heater is all.  I think their longevity is further assisted by the fact it is mostly static in position.  It's not being flexed all over the place.

Offline weathergirl

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Re: $30 Rain Collector Heater - simple!!
« Reply #210 on: October 30, 2011, 05:42:59 PM »
Steve: Mine has been working fine for a few years now as well. Just have to replace the plug. The last party my kids had here resulted in some vandalism to the plug, as it was yanked off :-x
Ann-Marie
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Offline smorris

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Re: $30 Rain Collector Heater - simple!!
« Reply #211 on: October 30, 2011, 06:09:00 PM »
Thanks Spartan and Ann-Marie.

I didn't know if after a few years the heat wire would burn out. I guess because it is such low resistance and heat, it doesn't consume itself.

Thanks,
Steve
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Offline jeffgod

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Re: $30 Rain Collector Heater - simple!!
« Reply #212 on: November 02, 2011, 07:41:42 AM »
I have ordered a second rain cone from Davis and bought the reptile heating cord. It is nice to have the step by step plans available. I still need to decide whether to use something like the Thermocube or a switched outlet to turn the heater on and off.
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Offline justin470

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Re: $30 Rain Collector Heater - simple!!
« Reply #213 on: November 02, 2011, 07:12:21 PM »
Do you notice a rise in your reported temperature when the heater is on?

Justin

Offline jeffgod

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Re: $30 Rain Collector Heater - simple!!
« Reply #214 on: November 02, 2011, 09:16:51 PM »
I don't have it installed yet, but according to most people, here the heater does not increase recorded temps. I have looked at remote controlled 120 V outlets to control turning the heater on and off.
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Offline AWL

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Re: $30 Rain Collector Heater - simple!!
« Reply #215 on: November 02, 2011, 09:56:02 PM »
I have looked at remote controlled 120 V outlets to control turning the heater on and off.
Going to gather everything up this weekend to build a heater. I was looking at this for control Thermo Cube. They are in stock at the local Tractor Supply for about $16. Wonder how well these would work?

Offline jeffgod

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Re: $30 Rain Collector Heater - simple!!
« Reply #216 on: November 02, 2011, 10:05:05 PM »
I have heard Thermo Cube works well and the price is right. I am also gathering everything for a weekend build.
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Offline SpartanWX

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Re: $30 Rain Collector Heater - simple!!
« Reply #217 on: November 02, 2011, 11:14:46 PM »
Do you notice a rise in your reported temperature when the heater is on?

Justin
None.  It's only 15 Watts.  It's also located above the sensors.  Intuitively I'd say it has zero relative impact considering it is in the black portion of the sensor suite that is exposed to significant heating from the sun on a regular basis.  As the sensors are adequately isolated from the influence of the sun shining on the rain gauge portion of the suite, I am comfortable stating that the effects of the 15 W heater are negligible. 

Offline jeffgod

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Re: $30 Rain Collector Heater - simple!!
« Reply #218 on: November 10, 2011, 10:12:54 PM »
My second rain cone was delivered yesterday, so I have all my parts. I am ready to build the heater tomorrow.
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Offline jeffgod

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Re: $30 Rain Collector Heater - simple!!
« Reply #219 on: November 11, 2011, 05:50:47 PM »
I just finished building my heater. I found a way to switch my outdoor outlet on and off by plugging in a remote control outlet by Heath / Zenith. It is good for outdoor use.
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Offline jeffgod

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Re: $30 Rain Collector Heater - simple!!
« Reply #220 on: November 12, 2011, 04:45:11 PM »
I installed everything yesterday, it all works. Overnight we had about an 1" of snow, the heater melted it all in less than an hour. The rate was 0.13 in/hr and total snow/rain was 0.12". I am very satisfied with how everything went together.
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Offline W3DRM

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Re: $30 Rain Collector Heater - simple!!
« Reply #221 on: November 17, 2011, 01:03:14 PM »
My home-brew heater has been installed since December of 2009. I use the ThermoCube and the Reptile heater (as shown earlier in this thread). I have had no problems of any kind with it.. I swap out the heated version after the snow season and use the second bucket for the summer. Everything just works as I had hoped it would. No perceptible change in temp readings.

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Offline AbuMaia

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Re: $30 Rain Collector Heater - simple!!
« Reply #222 on: December 14, 2011, 07:09:33 PM »
I finally obtained my reptile heater cable, and assembled the foil blanket as per the first post. It went together fairly rapidly and easily. However, when it came time to put the cone back on the rain gauge base (LaCrosse), I could not get it to latch down. I brought the blanket back inside, rearranged the cable and shortened the blanket to better avoid the interior structure of the base, but still no-go. I got it nearly latched, but noticed the tip arm was no longer tipping. It looks like I'm going to have to figure out something else to try.
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Offline smorris

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Re: $30 Rain Collector Heater - simple!!
« Reply #223 on: December 20, 2011, 10:03:01 AM »
I want to re-visit this thread, as I have some interesting data collected.

I've been comparing the precipitation on my VP2 vs my CoCoRaHS rain gauge since mid-September. Contrary to what I'd read here and on other forums, my VP2 was reading higher than the CoCORaHS gauge. Usually in the 5-12% range, excluding the extremes where the gauge tips and the's nothing in the manual gauge. I ignore those conditions.

However, since installing my reptile heater cable to the inner cone to melt snow, I've seen this trend flip the other way. I'm now seeing significantly less precipitation on the VP2 compared to the CoCoRaHS gauge. I have to attribute this to some of the precipitation evaporating before running down into the buckets.

I've left the heater on 24 hours a day so that it would be thoroughly warm when snow arrives. We're in that time of year that the rain could turn to snow at any time.

I installed my heater cable on the inner cone, like Rick (Weather Goose) did back on page 4, not to the inside of the foil insulation like the OP shows.

Here's a link to the Google Docs spreadsheet where I've tracked this data. (All numbers are positive, so you'll have to look at the CoCoRaHS vs VP2's "today's rainfall" to see which is higher.)
https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/ccc?key=0AhiOaCqzSbmedGtwSTdnbEpodTV3UDUzVFViRU8wa0E

Comments? Thoughts? As expected?
Steve
« Last Edit: December 20, 2011, 10:05:26 AM by smorris »
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Offline dalecoy

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Re: $30 Rain Collector Heater - simple!!
« Reply #224 on: December 20, 2011, 11:23:06 AM »
Too many variables to judge fairly, but some thoughts:

1.  You've changed the configuration of the CoCoRaHS, of course. 

2.  The configuration of the VP2 isn't good for handling heavy snow and/or blowing snow conditions.  And if snow builds up (before melting), even more snow is likely to blow past the cone and thus be missed.

3.  And of course, in light snow conditions, some evaporation would be expected because of the heated cone.

 

anything