Author Topic: $30 Rain Collector Heater - simple!!  (Read 118472 times)

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Offline W3DRM

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Re: $20 Rain Collector Heater - simple!!
« Reply #225 on: December 20, 2011, 12:11:30 PM »
After a couple of years you might find yourself like me.  Leaving the heater turned of in hopes of attracting snow to the area.   :lol:

Mark - talk about a delayed response to a posting...  ](*,)

I'm trying your suggestion but, so far this year, we have had only a couple flurries back in November and nothing else since then. Should I hook it up to a 220vac soruce - would that help???

The SIERA mountains around here really could use a good dump of snow...

Don - W3DRM - Minden, Nevada --- Blitzortung ID: 808 --- FlightRadar24 ID: F-KRNO2
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Offline W3DRM

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Re: $30 Rain Collector Heater - simple!!
« Reply #226 on: December 20, 2011, 12:22:21 PM »
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

Steve,

Here's a thought regarding the VP2 readings and the heater configuration. I am wondering if perhaps the difference in readings you are seeing could be due to the heater cable being attached directly to cone itself and thus, causing some evaporation. When I built mine, I used small plastic spacers with notches in them. That allowed me to epoxy the spacers to the cone and to keep the actual heater cable a short distance away from the cone itself. Mine has run just fine since 2009 with no major variations noticed between my CoCoRAHs gauge and the VP2. See my earlier post in this thread with the pictures of the cone setup.


We get very little precipation of any kind here in northern Nevada so your situation is completely different than mine.

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Offline d_l

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Re: $20 Rain Collector Heater - simple!!
« Reply #227 on: December 20, 2011, 02:55:04 PM »
After a couple of years you might find yourself like me.  Leaving the heater turned of in hopes of attracting snow to the area.   :lol:

Mark - talk about a delayed response to a posting...  ](*,)

I'm trying your suggestion but, so far this year, we have had only a couple flurries back in November and nothing else since then. Should I hook it up to a 220vac soruce - would that help???

The SIERA mountains around here really could use a good dump of snow...

Don, it doesn't work.  You are just toasting spiders.  :lol:
--Dave--

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Offline W3DRM

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Re: $20 Rain Collector Heater - simple!!
« Reply #228 on: December 20, 2011, 03:06:24 PM »
After a couple of years you might find yourself like me.  Leaving the heater turned of in hopes of attracting snow to the area.   :lol:

Mark - talk about a delayed response to a posting...  ](*,)

I'm trying your suggestion but, so far this year, we have had only a couple flurries back in November and nothing else since then. Should I hook it up to a 220vac soruce - would that help???

The SIERA mountains around here really could use a good dump of snow...

Don, it doesn't work.  You are just toasting spiders.  :lol:

Dave,

You are probably correct. I'm surprised we haven't heard of the Washoe tribe out doing rain/snow dances around here...  \:D/ \:D/ \:D/ \:D/ \:D/

Don - W3DRM - Minden, Nevada --- Blitzortung ID: 808 --- FlightRadar24 ID: F-KRNO2
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Offline smorris

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Re: $30 Rain Collector Heater - simple!!
« Reply #229 on: December 20, 2011, 04:53:38 PM »
3.  And of course, in light snow conditions, some evaporation would be expected because of the heated cone.

I think this is the key point. We've only had snow once since installing the heater, and it was a slow, light snow lasting all day. So the flakes probably land in the cone but don't run down into the opening. And the rains since have also been all day drizzle or light rain. Perfect example was today's reading. TheCoCoRaHS gauge has .10" of rain, but the VP2 only showed .02". It just all evaporated on contact. Historically, CoCoRaHS readings around .10" would result in VP2 readings .01 or .02 higher, not .08 less! The only day since installing the heater that the reading was even close to normal was the December 16 reading, where the CoCoRaHS read .11 and the VP2 read .12. This was a short, heavy rain nearly 5"/hour.

I'm sure once we get our typical heavy dump of snow, the current setup will be fine. I'll continue to compare them this winter, but next winter I may move the heater coil to the outer surface like in the OP's photos.

Steve
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Offline smorris

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Re: $30 Rain Collector Heater - simple!!
« Reply #230 on: December 20, 2011, 05:01:36 PM »
When I built mine, I used small plastic spacers with notches in them. That allowed me to epoxy the spacers to the cone and to keep the actual heater cable a short distance away from the cone itself. Mine has run just fine since 2009 with no major variations noticed between my CoCoRAHs gauge and the VP2. See my earlier post in this thread with the pictures of the cone setup.

Thanks Don, I think that's the case, too. I saw your clips earlier before I installed my heater and thought that looked like a great idea. But I didn't recognize the clips you used and never bothered to write asking you about them. So, what are they and where can I get 'em?

THanks,
Steve
Steve - Avon, Ohio
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Offline SLOweather

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Re: $30 Rain Collector Heater - simple!!
« Reply #231 on: December 20, 2011, 05:11:17 PM »
So the flakes probably land in the cone but don't run down into the opening.
Steve

So now what someone needs to invent is a rain cone vibrator to help snowflakes and adhered raindrops slide down the cone... :)

Offline AbuMaia

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Re: $30 Rain Collector Heater - simple!!
« Reply #232 on: December 20, 2011, 05:20:26 PM »
When I built mine, I used small plastic spacers with notches in them. That allowed me to epoxy the spacers to the cone and to keep the actual heater cable a short distance away from the cone itself.

What kind of plastic did you use, and how did you mill it? Or was it purchased pre-slotted?
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Offline W3DRM

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Re: $30 Rain Collector Heater - simple!!
« Reply #233 on: December 21, 2011, 12:33:35 PM »
When I built mine, I used small plastic spacers with notches in them. That allowed me to epoxy the spacers to the cone and to keep the actual heater cable a short distance away from the cone itself.

What kind of plastic did you use, and how did you mill it? Or was it purchased pre-slotted?

I had a piece of sheet plexiglass in the shop so I cut it in strips. They were tapered so it would fit all the way down between the inside cone and the outer shell. I then cut the slots with a small hand-saw for the wires to fit in. Each slot was offset from the next so the heater cable wound down into the cone area. I had trouble with the cable falling out of the slots so I used a small bit of epoxy in each one after I inserted the cable.

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Offline dalecoy

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Re: $30 Rain Collector Heater - simple!!
« Reply #234 on: December 21, 2011, 12:39:46 PM »
3.  And of course, in light snow conditions, some evaporation would be expected because of the heated cone.

I think this is the key point.
Steve

Please measure the surface temperature of the cone funnel, with no precipitation, and tell us the difference between the air temperature and the cone temperature.  In other words - if the air temperature is around 25 or 30, what's the cone surface temperature?

Offline smorris

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Re: $30 Rain Collector Heater - simple!!
« Reply #235 on: December 21, 2011, 12:54:47 PM »
Please measure the surface temperature of the cone funnel, with no precipitation, and tell us the difference between the air temperature and the cone temperature.  In other words - if the air temperature is around 25 or 30, what's the cone surface temperature?

I don't have anything that I can measure the surface temp of the cone with.
Steve - Avon, Ohio
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Offline SLOweather

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Re: $30 Rain Collector Heater - simple!!
« Reply #236 on: December 21, 2011, 01:06:54 PM »
Please measure the surface temperature of the cone funnel, with no precipitation, and tell us the difference between the air temperature and the cone temperature.  In other words - if the air temperature is around 25 or 30, what's the cone surface temperature?

I don't have anything that I can measure the surface temp of the cone with.

If you don't have access to a an IR temp gun, you could tape a regular thermometer to the cone with a little folded paper towel over the bulb for insulation, and wait a few minutes for it to stabilize before you read it.

Offline dalecoy

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Re: $30 Rain Collector Heater - simple!!
« Reply #237 on: December 21, 2011, 01:15:22 PM »
Please measure the surface temperature of the cone funnel, with no precipitation, and tell us the difference between the air temperature and the cone temperature.  In other words - if the air temperature is around 25 or 30, what's the cone surface temperature?

I don't have anything that I can measure the surface temp of the cone with.

Perhaps invest $20.00?  

http://www.homedepot.com/h_d1/N-5yc1v/R-100674438/h_d2/ProductDisplay?langId=-1&storeId=10051&catalogId=10053

I see there's a Home Depot just up the road from you, near I90 and Highway 83.  I'd bet you've been there recently.
« Last Edit: December 21, 2011, 01:23:30 PM by dalecoy »

Offline W3DRM

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Re: $30 Rain Collector Heater - simple!!
« Reply #238 on: December 21, 2011, 01:19:08 PM »
Or, HarborFreight has several different models...


Don - W3DRM - Minden, Nevada --- Blitzortung ID: 808 --- FlightRadar24 ID: F-KRNO2
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Offline SLOweather

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Re: $30 Rain Collector Heater - simple!!
« Reply #239 on: December 21, 2011, 01:19:46 PM »
Wow, have they gotten inexpensive!

Offline W3DRM

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Re: $30 Rain Collector Heater - simple!!
« Reply #240 on: December 21, 2011, 01:21:53 PM »
Wow, have they gotten inexpensive!

Yup, but I don't know what the "true" accuracy is of any of these units. Technology just keeps moving forward...  =D>

Don - W3DRM - Minden, Nevada --- Blitzortung ID: 808 --- FlightRadar24 ID: F-KRNO2
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Offline dalecoy

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Re: $30 Rain Collector Heater - simple!!
« Reply #241 on: December 21, 2011, 01:27:24 PM »
Wow, have they gotten inexpensive!

Yup, but I don't know what the "true" accuracy is of any of these units. Technology just keeps moving forward...  =D>



In the usage suggested here, the relative accuracy is what is important -- and true accuracy could be compared by measuring the temperature of a shaded outside object.

Offline smorris

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Re: $30 Rain Collector Heater - simple!!
« Reply #242 on: December 22, 2011, 08:30:59 AM »
I put Rain-X on the cone yesterday when I took my CoCoRaHS reading, and we had a might rain off and on during the day. This morning, the VP2 and the CoCoRaHS gauge both read .04". So, helping the drops slide into the cone alleviates the evaporation.
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Offline mackbig

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Re: $30 Rain Collector Heater - simple!!
« Reply #243 on: December 22, 2011, 08:42:24 AM »
I will do some tests over the xmas break, if it ever gets cold.   But I will get somewhere between +5 C and - 6C.

When I built my OS one, at room temp the middle of the cone was 130F.  The OS cone is much smaller than the vp2 one, and I am using same wattage in both, so the OS one gets hotter just based on interior volume and distance from heat source to inside bottom of cone.

They both melt good, I have see steam coming off OS, but not the VP in the past.

Andrew

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Offline wmcatty

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Re: $30 Rain Collector Heater - simple!!
« Reply #244 on: December 22, 2011, 11:35:44 PM »
When you get your results Adrew, please post them as there are several of us wanting to know the results.  Wayne
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Offline AbuMaia

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Re: $30 Rain Collector Heater - simple!!
« Reply #245 on: December 22, 2011, 11:53:35 PM »
Wouldn't seeing steam be a bad thing, seeing how we're concerned with excessive evaporation in the funnel?
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Offline mackbig

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Re: $30 Rain Collector Heater - simple!!
« Reply #246 on: December 23, 2011, 07:25:29 AM »
Yes, steam bad.
Andrew

Wouldn't seeing steam be a bad thing, seeing how we're concerned with excessive evaporation in the funnel?

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Offline mackbig

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Re: $30 Rain Collector Heater - simple!!
« Reply #247 on: December 23, 2011, 07:30:38 AM »
Well I guess I will need a new IR gun to do this.

I was going to use my Black and Decker thermal leak detector.   It works inside, you take a reference measure, and it shows the temp change as you scan around.  I have used it for doors, windows etc.   I have seen it spot a temp down to -10C

However it appears to start going wonky in lower temps.  I referenced a temp of 20C in the house.  It is about -2C out right now.  I went outside, the temp instantly showed -2c.  By the time I climbed up the ladder it was reading -9.   By the time I got up to gauge height it was -15.  I came back in the house and it was reading 5C.    So I guess the ir sensor can measure low temps if the unit remains warm, but when the body, and actual emitter gets cold it goes crazy.

Andrew

When you get your results Adrew, please post them as there are several of us wanting to know the results.  Wayne

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Offline gvmelbrty

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Re: $30 Rain Collector Heater - simple!!
« Reply #248 on: August 04, 2012, 06:45:52 PM »
At 7400ft it's getting about that time to start thinking about cold weather. Still following SpartanWX's basic design posted 4 1/2 years ago, and with the generous help of W3DRM, I followed his idea for using plastic strips to hold the heater cord element for the rain bucket heater.

For the plastic material, I found a 3-pack of kitchen cutting boards for $10 at a discount store.


Using a hand-held wood jigsaw cutter, I carved out four straight and four curved strips from one of the cutting boards. The curved ones were obviously the hardest to cut. I just guessed at the proper curve, placed them against the cone to test-fit and made corrections as needed. If I had a Dremel tool, it would made the process much easier.


JOE sent me a copy of his CAD insulation template (thanks Joe!). The template is used to cut the Frost King foam insulation material that lines the inside of the bucket.



Zoo Med Repti Heat Cable, 25 watts.


The four curved plastic strips (the ones nearest the drip hole) are glued to the cone with epoxy. The four straight strips are held directly onto the insulation with silicone adhesive. The heating element is held in the slots with silicone as well. Notice the blue ring on the heater cord indicating the point where heating ends.


Notch in bucket and cable secured with plastic clamp.


Shelter mounted behind the ISS houses electrical connection for the heater (and ac-powered DFARS, coming soon).
« Last Edit: December 24, 2015, 05:54:44 PM by gvmelbrty »

Offline chief-david

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Re: $30 Rain Collector Heater - simple!!
« Reply #249 on: August 04, 2012, 06:55:24 PM »
nice job!!!! great ideas.

 =D> =D>



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