Author Topic: $30 Rain Collector Heater - simple!!  (Read 118362 times)

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Offline Bushman

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Re: $20 Rain Collector Heater - simple!!
« Reply #125 on: December 08, 2009, 11:45:50 AM »
http://www.shopxscargo.com/product_catalogue/cat_product_details.asp?category_id=6&product_code=26864&sub_category_1_id=24&category=Weather  About $8.50 US.  I have bought similar ones for under $5 US at this same place.  Maybe Overstock.com has similar?  You can also "remote" the sensor.  I'll post that in a new thread.
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Offline W3DRM

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Re: $20 Rain Collector Heater - simple!!
« Reply #126 on: December 08, 2009, 01:02:16 PM »
Last night and today we had 11" of snow and I was getting continuous bucket tips throughout the snow event. Temps overnight were in the teens with a low of 15.7F. Tonight they are forecasting a low of below zero but no new snow. Another storm is coming in Wed/Thu so will get another shot at seeing how this new rig works.

Did the storm lighten up down there or is there any chance your tipping bucket was rubbing against the reptile cord?  The reason I ask is we got 11 inches here too, but I measured 3X the water equivalent as you.  All the other heated gauges between the Reno airport and your site measured about 0.60 inches too.

Frankly I think my Davis heater was evaporating the light fluffy snow at the start and finish of the storm as well to cause an undermeasurement of the water content. We had a half to an inch of accumulation on the lawn before I even got the first bucket tip.

Dave,

My manual CoCoRAHS reading yesterday morning at 7:00am was 0.21" in the rain gauge (melted snow, that is). That matched the Davis VP2. At that time we also only had 4.5" of snow on the ground. Another 7" fell throughout the day yesterday with the VP2 registering 0.12" for that period (7am - 12:06pm on 12/7/09). None since then. However, this morning the CoCoRAHS gauge had snow in it which melted down to 0.28". That is a huge discrepancy between the VP2 and the CoCoRAHS manual gauge. I have checked the rain bucket to ensure nothing is getting in the way of the tipping mechanism. The heater cord is still in place and well clear of the bucket assembly. I did have several large icicles hanging from the bottom of the VP2 rain bucket but inside everything is nice and dry. One of the buckets is even about half full of liquid water so I know the heater is working just fine (it's still around 6 degrees F outside). I can't believe I am getting evaporation with the temps this cold. We did have some wind yesterday but not high enough that I would think would affect the readings of two gauges sitting next to each other.

Will watch things very closely when our next storm comes in tomorrow or Thursday and see what happens.


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Offline W3DRM

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Re: $20 Rain Collector Heater - simple!!
« Reply #127 on: December 08, 2009, 01:06:38 PM »
Dave,
The storm here in the Carson Valley was quite a bit less than what Carson City and Reno to the north received. I have checked the gauge and do not see anyplace the reptile cord is blocking the buckets. Will watch it again more closely during the next storm coming in later this week.

Just before the latest storm, the NWS discussion talked about ratios of 20 to 30 to 1 for snowfall due to the very cold upper level air. That may be why I had so much snow and little precip.

Don, that's a huge change in snowfall densities over a fairly short distance.  Amazing! That's also the sort of fluffy snow that I think might evaporate before beading and dropping to the bucket if the collector cone is too hot.  I know the Davis heater has a very hot spot that should be able evaporate dry snow, but fortunately it only covers a small area of the funnel.

The heater I have installed shouldn't have any hot spots as it coils evenly around the inner bucket. Again, I find  it hard to believe I am having evaporation problems.  We are at 4800' in altitude so there is some loss from that but very little, I would imagine.
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Offline MarkWX

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Re: $20 Rain Collector Heater - simple!!
« Reply #128 on: December 08, 2009, 07:15:05 PM »
Something I noticed this morning was that the buckets tipped at least twice after the snow had stopped (wish I would have paid more att. to the amount when I left). That would seem to indicate that there was still some snow in the funnel that was slowly melting. I don't have a temp sender in the bucket so don't know what its doing in there. We got 8" and I show .72" water and that seems to line up pretty good with a temp of 26-28 while snowing. I don't have a good winter manual gauge or I would put it out. All I have is one of those plastic wedges from the weather service.

Offline WeatherGoose

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Re: $20 Rain Collector Heater - simple!!
« Reply #129 on: December 08, 2009, 08:51:24 PM »
Something I noticed this morning was that the buckets tipped at least twice after the snow had stopped (wish I would have paid more att. to the amount when I left). That would seem to indicate that there was still some snow in the funnel that was slowly melting. I don't have a temp sender in the bucket so don't know what its doing in there. We got 8" and I show .72" water and that seems to line up pretty good with a temp of 26-28 while snowing. I don't have a good winter manual gauge or I would put it out. All I have is one of those plastic wedges from the weather service.

Yeah... That is normal with a heater.  You will get used to the "delayed" rain data as it may take longer to melt the snow in the bucket depending on how cold it is outside and whether or not you have the heating element around the actual collector cone or not.  I generally don't have too much residual snow left in mine unless it has really been heavy.

Was that .72 before or after the remaining snow got counted?  We got almost 8" of snow and I ended up with .83 on the gauge.


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Offline MarkWX

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Re: $20 Rain Collector Heater - simple!!
« Reply #130 on: December 08, 2009, 09:04:25 PM »
.72 is the total. Was your temp higher while it was snowing? Maybe you had a heavier snow. If not that maybe the really light beginning we had evaporated, I dunno.

Offline WeatherGoose

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Re: $20 Rain Collector Heater - simple!!
« Reply #131 on: December 08, 2009, 09:49:49 PM »
.72 is the total. Was your temp higher while it was snowing? Maybe you had a heavier snow. If not that maybe the really light beginning we had evaporated, I dunno.

What was your average temp during the storm?  I just looked over my WU data from yesterday and I had a span of about 34 down to 29 during the snow event.

http://www.wunderground.com/weatherstation/WXDailyHistory.asp?ID=ISQLSJSJ2&month=12&day=7&year=2009


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Offline MarkWX

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Re: $20 Rain Collector Heater - simple!!
« Reply #132 on: December 08, 2009, 10:30:40 PM »
That would explain it then. I had 25-26 most of the time and up to 32 at the very end. Here is a chart I found this morning when I did a quick search: http://www.cbs3springfield.com/weather/classroom/weathercharts/6550997.html

Offline WeatherGoose

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Re: $20 Rain Collector Heater - simple!!
« Reply #133 on: December 09, 2009, 12:54:30 AM »
That would explain it then. I had 25-26 most of the time and up to 32 at the very end. Here is a chart I found this morning when I did a quick search: http://www.cbs3springfield.com/weather/classroom/weathercharts/6550997.html

Yep!  That definitely shows that temp can make a difference in the difference between the two!  We were up and down on both sides of 32 degrees, so my .83 sounds about right with my measured snow of a little over 7.5 inches.  With that same difference with your lower temps, your liquid to snow looks right too!  :)

Both definitely would appear to put to rest any notion that this heater design causes any measurable amount of evaporation.  :D

Thanks for sharing that URL.  I bookmarked it for future reference.

Cheers.


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Offline Anthony

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Re: $20 Rain Collector Heater - simple!!
« Reply #134 on: December 09, 2009, 08:01:07 AM »
A good rule of thumb with snow is, the warmer the wetter, the colder the drier. Cold air can't hold as much moisture as warmer air can.



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Offline upweather

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Re: $20 Rain Collector Heater - simple!!
« Reply #135 on: December 10, 2009, 01:49:12 PM »
I measured 16 inches of snow in a sheltered wooded area near my VP2 ...high winds and drifting snow didn't help my readings for the rain collector... I measured .44 precp
My cocorahs gauge measured .71  :???: It's in a slightly sheltered area compaired to my vp2.  I need a wind screen like the nws and forest service uses . I'm on a hill and have a good 3 miles straight line NW wind off lake superior. Anyone ever build a wind screen??
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Offline Strgazr27

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Re: $20 Rain Collector Heater - simple!!
« Reply #136 on: December 10, 2009, 09:27:07 PM »
I was able to record .14 inches of precip before it turned to rain here. It was pretty impressive seeing the large flakes hit the bucket and just turn to liquid. Can't wait for a nice steady snowfall to see if it can keep up. With 50 watts and the cone wrapped I should be fine.
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Offline DanS

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Re: $20 Rain Collector Heater - simple!!
« Reply #137 on: December 10, 2009, 09:44:21 PM »
... Anyone ever build a wind screen??

You could use just about anything that will stand up to the elements. Try pressure treated wood slats like a picket fence uses.  Strap them together around the rain gage, not to exceed the mounted height of the gage by more than a couple of inches. Use spacing between and under them to minimize turbulence. Here's one made from metal to give you an idea of a design.  Hope this helps.

Dan
« Last Edit: December 10, 2009, 09:59:28 PM by DanS »

Offline SlowModem

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Re: $20 Rain Collector Heater - simple!!
« Reply #138 on: December 11, 2009, 06:59:07 AM »
... Anyone ever build a wind screen??

You could use just about anything that will stand up to the elements. Try pressure treated wood slats like a picket fence uses.  Strap them together around the rain gage, not to exceed the mounted height of the gage by more than a couple of inches. Use spacing between and under them to minimize turbulence. Here's one made from metal to give you an idea of a design.  Hope this helps.

Dan


Here's a picture of the one we have where I work:

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Offline George Richardson

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Re: $20 Rain Collector Heater - simple!!
« Reply #139 on: December 11, 2009, 09:37:56 AM »
Greg,
Very interesting picture. How high above the rain gauge rim is the top of the wind shield?
George

Offline SlowModem

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Re: $20 Rain Collector Heater - simple!!
« Reply #140 on: December 11, 2009, 09:46:53 AM »
Greg,
Very interesting picture. How high above the rain gauge rim is the top of the wind shield?
George

To the best of my recollection, it's 3 to 4 inches taller than the funnel (I'm not a great photographer, especially with a cell phone).  I don't know how old the screen is (the plant was built in the 1950s), and I think some of the ass'y has been redone over the years (it's sitting on a pallet that's not all that old).  there's a copper line that runs down into the building into a big plexiglass cylinder that has inches marked on it.  It seems to work ok, though.  They read the rain gauge cylinder every midnight.
Greg Whitehead
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Offline d_l

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Re: $20 Rain Collector Heater - simple!!
« Reply #141 on: December 11, 2009, 06:41:25 PM »
Will watch things very closely when our next storm comes in tomorrow or Thursday and see what happens.

Don, we had a light fluffy snow here this morning.  I "eyeballed" it as an inch in the CoCoRaHS gauge and then melted it to 0.025" W.E. this afternoon.  My ISS didn't register anything.  I would have expected it to have measured at least 0.01" so I think there was a chance of evaporation here as evidenced by the difference in the water measurements.  The evaporation would occur either on the surface of the funnel or cooked off from the tipping bucket itself which was heated to about 65-85 F during the day.
--Dave--

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Offline W3DRM

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Re: $20 Rain Collector Heater - simple!!
« Reply #142 on: December 11, 2009, 08:59:36 PM »
Will watch things very closely when our next storm comes in tomorrow or Thursday and see what happens.

Don, we had a light fluffy snow here this morning.  I "eyeballed" it as an inch in the CoCoRaHS gauge and then melted it to 0.025" W.E. this afternoon.  My ISS didn't register anything.  I would have expected it to have measured at least 0.01" so I think there was a chance of evaporation here as evidenced by the difference in the water measurements.  The evaporation would occur either on the surface of the funnel or cooked off from the tipping bucket itself which was heated to about 65-85 F during the day.

Dave,

We had a very light dusting last night with just a few flakes in the CoCoRAHS gauge - not enough to measure. The VP2 collector cone was dry when I checked it this morning. I did not remove the cone assy to see what, if anything, was in the rain collector buckets inside. The exterior of the collector cone was warm to the touch but not hot. The outside temp at the time was in the high teens. So,  I know my reptile heater is working but without more precipitation, I'm in the dark as to whether I have an evaporation problem or not. Another storm is due in here tomorrow and Sunday so will have a chance to observe the readings then.
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Offline upweather

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Re: $20 Rain Collector Heater - simple!!
« Reply #143 on: December 11, 2009, 09:15:31 PM »
I had the same thing happen once already. this is very discouraging  ](*,), I guess the only thing i can do is measure as much as possible.
Keep track of differences between the gauges and make notes.


Will watch things very closely when our next storm comes in tomorrow or Thursday and see what happens.

Don, we had a light fluffy snow here this morning.  I "eyeballed" it as an inch in the CoCoRaHS gauge and then melted it to 0.025" W.E. this afternoon.  My ISS didn't register anything.  I would have expected it to have measured at least 0.01" so I think there was a chance of evaporation here as evidenced by the difference in the water measurements.  The evaporation would occur either on the surface of the funnel or cooked off from the tipping bucket itself which was heated to about 65-85 F during the day.
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Offline W3DRM

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Re: $20 Rain Collector Heater - simple!!
« Reply #144 on: December 12, 2009, 11:21:18 AM »
We had a light storm come through last night and early this morning. It started as all snow and the VP2 started showing precip within a few minutes of it starting and continued throughout the night. This morning we had a rain/snow mix for about 20 minutes which picked up about .04" of precip.

The 24-hour reading on the VP2 was 0.11". The 24-hour reading (of melted snow & rain) in the CoCoRAHS gauge was 0.12". I had previously removed the funnel top and measuring tube due to snow being forecast. So, that makes me feel much better about the heater not causing evaporization in the buckets. Those totals are within one bucket tip of each other so I am very happy of these results. Will continue to watch to see how they compare as we get more precip over the next couple of days.

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

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Re: $20 Rain Collector Heater - simple!!
« Reply #145 on: December 12, 2009, 12:14:38 PM »
The 24-hour reading on the VP2 was 0.11". The 24-hour reading (of melted snow & rain) in the CoCoRAHS gauge was 0.12". I had previously removed the funnel top and measuring tube due to snow being forecast. So, that makes me feel much better about the heater not causing evaporization in the buckets. Those totals are within one bucket tip of each other so I am very happy of these results. Will continue to watch to see how they compare as we get more precip over the next couple of days.
My storm CoCoRaHS W.E. up to this morning was 0.29".  The ISS was 0.23"  Normally my ISS is within 0.01" of the CoCoRaHS gauge nearly all the time.  BTW, the airport had 0.24" for the 24 hrs  period. I think there could be evaporation losses during very light or fluffy snow fall periods.  For this storm I waited until the snowfall was well in progress before powering up the heater to have an accumulated snow layer in the cone that could be melted and not just evaporated, but in the early morning hours there was a period when snow may have stopped or become very light.
--Dave--

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Offline chief-david

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Re: $20 Rain Collector Heater - simple!!
« Reply #146 on: December 12, 2009, 02:47:18 PM »
New question.

I am running the 15w heater.

There are no outlets on the roof at school. No one will let me drill a hole in the building to bring a cord in.

But I have access to the room above me and my room. Is there a thin power cord that can be used to pass through the crank out windows and still have them shut. Part of the cord will be outside.



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Offline Mark / Ohio

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Re: $20 Rain Collector Heater - simple!!
« Reply #147 on: December 13, 2009, 11:33:54 PM »
New question.

I am running the 15w heater.

There are no outlets on the roof at school. No one will let me drill a hole in the building to bring a cord in.

But I have access to the room above me and my room. Is there a thin power cord that can be used to pass through the crank out windows and still have them shut. Part of the cord will be outside.

Door bell wire might be thin enough.  But the small size of the wire could drop the voltage to the heater if you have a very long run and it is not really for outdoor use.  Although I have been using it for several years now (about 7' in length) and it has not deteriorated too badly yet.

Edit 12/15/09: Note: Do not use this type of wire for 120V applications!  This suggestion is for those of us running 12-24 Volt heaters either home brew or from Davis that uses a transformer to both reduce the main house AC voltage and as a side safety benefit provides electrical isolation from earth ground there by reducing shock and fire hazard.


Edit 12/13/09:  According to the Davis manual 22 AWG is good for up to 60ft. run
« Last Edit: December 15, 2009, 09:11:48 PM by Mark / Ohio »
Mark 
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Offline upweather

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Re: $20 Rain Collector Heater - simple!!
« Reply #148 on: December 14, 2009, 01:25:44 PM »
Just picked up 4.5 inches of snow iss measured .08     cocorahs gauge .20 more on target maybe i have to much heat?  there was virtually no wind when it started and 13 degree temp...its warmed to 25 and wind is picking up out of the north after observaton time.. so wind is ruled out this time as being a factor..im frustrated because this is really effecting my logs ....  Maybe i could make a rheostat or something to limit the heat.. any ideas ??
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Offline W3DRM

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Re: $20 Rain Collector Heater - simple!!
« Reply #149 on: December 14, 2009, 03:42:48 PM »
New question.

I am running the 15w heater.

There are no outlets on the roof at school. No one will let me drill a hole in the building to bring a cord in.

But I have access to the room above me and my room. Is there a thin power cord that can be used to pass through the crank out windows and still have them shut. Part of the cord will be outside.

I can understand your frustration in not being able to get power to your heater but, I would not suggest attempting to run any power cord out a window and up to another floor above you. Can you imagine the lawsuits that would occur if anyone, not just students, were to get shocked or even worse, electrocuted. My advice would be to forget it if you can't get power directly and by a code-approved source. Door-bell wire is NOT approved for 110vac usage. Our weather stations are important to us but should not be taken to the point of exposing yourself or anyone else to potential danger.

It's just like amateur radio operators. Every year there are a few who forget about the safety aspect of the hobby and try to erect antennas near power lines and get electrocuted simply because they either didn't think about potential danger or they thought they were far enough away from the lines. A little slip here or there can spell disaster. Just recently four family members died as a result of their attempting to put up an antenna and it got away from them and hit the power lines. All four of them were electrocuted instantly.

Sorry to drag this on but I can't empasize enough the necessity of enjoying our hobby safely. I don't want to hear about any of us doing something we shouldn't do along these lines.

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