Author Topic: Review & Testing of Davis Leaf & Soil Moisture/Temp Station  (Read 18344 times)

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Offline Aardvark

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Re: Review & Testing of Davis Leaf & Soil Moisture/Temp Station
« Reply #25 on: December 22, 2012, 10:43:50 PM »
I have such a site.  I have 8 probes,  one a 4, 12, 24 and 36 inch depth both moisture and temperature.  I ran the wires down through pvc pipe and have the temperature probe with a plastic cable tie to the soil moisture probe.  I augered out the depths and carefully have the bottom of the probe at the bottom of the hole at the correct depth.   It was a process  and then backfilled the hole with dry black dirt and capped the pipe to prevent rain water from getting into the pipes and corrupt the data.   They have been out there quite a time.  I also have the leaf wetness on the north side of the mast along with a separate probe for soil surface temperature to a temp. station.

I continually measure and compare the  readings over time.  I send them via WeatherDisplay to Globe. gov which has all my data.  I send data 4 times a day.
If you scroll down the page, you can see the setup.     http://www.weatheraardvark.com/station_setup.htm

The data is:   http://www.weatheraardvark.com/weatherdata/wx3.html                    http://www.weatheraardvark.com/RainGraphs/soil_history.htm

What I don't care for is how the probe wires fit into the plastic case.   1.  it is crowded especially trying to fit all wires into the grommet.  Some bugs climb into it from the gaps and live in the housing.  they are dead, cold.

The second is how the wires are attached to the terminal, the spring clips are nice, but the plastic tabs break easily and it is almost impossible then to fit the wires into the clamps.

Davis should increase the size of the case of the unit and put in screw terminals for all the wire pairs and get rid of what they have.

Things I have observed.... I have noticed that the soil has depth zones,  3 feet deep it is bone dry and it should as we are in a drought situation here.  4 inch depth will in time raise up to 200 during the winter as the ground freezes and this can be observed .   Soil moisture is slow to change  and  of course a thorough watering of the area to test the probes, will not bring all levels down to saturated for long, water wicks out.

Cost of the Leaf Wetness is expensive for what it is.   I do find in the winter, frost will give me an idea of should I need to scrape the windshield  or not.
The leaf temperature is an odd bird,  the temperature is of soil probe 1.   Again ,  if I am doing leaf temperature, then perhaps the best would be to take a temperature probe and use it with a temperature unit.  Again   maybe a bigger case and a modification of the circuit board for a dedicated temperature probe either separate or integrated into the leaf wetness.

Should you want data,  I have loads of it.   
Davis VP2 Plus; 24h  FARS; Extra Temp Humid sensor (2); Extra Temp Station (2); Soil Moisture/Temp  https://www.weatherlink.com/embeddablePage/show/1c484adbfa914d1aa10a58ad53ccd563/summary;Weatherlink IP;USB; MAC Catalina
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Offline smorris

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Re: Review & Testing of Davis Leaf & Soil Moisture/Temp Station
« Reply #26 on: December 23, 2012, 09:24:50 AM »
Thanks for all the great information, Aardvark!

I've been to your info page before to see how you had your system hooked up. I really like the idea of using PVC to feed the wires. But my station is on the edge of my wife's garden, and as a local garden club member, she's as particular about aesthetics as the beauty of the gardens. So I don't think I'll be doing something as expansive as yours zoo. Eventually, I'd like to build a Stevenson Shelter and relocate the whole thing to another part of the property.

I agree with you on the fit of all the wires through the grommets and into the connector strip. I've already broken a couple of the plastic tabs in just the few times I've changed things around.

I'm on very sandy soil, down at least a dozen feet (ancient glacial lake beach) so my moisture readings are usually pretty linear for the depths I have. If they were more spread out depth wise, like yours, I might see more variation. Same with the temperature. Right now, all three are within a couple of degrees. Oddly, it is the middle one that's warmer.

I use the leaf wetness as an indicator of light rain and when dew starts forming in the evening. As a rain sensor, it reacts much sooner than the ISS' tipping mechanism.

Thanks again,
Steve
Steve - Avon, Ohio
Davis Vantage Pro2 Plus w/FARS, Leaf & Soil Station

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Offline Aardvark

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Re: Review & Testing of Davis Leaf & Soil Moisture/Temp Station
« Reply #27 on: December 23, 2012, 09:41:18 AM »
I have it in my garden, originally I had it with runs of wire all over the place, but after a while, I thought I needed one representative location.   The soil is odd, the top 4 inches is  top soil, it is only good because of 30 years of hitting the old crop with the mower then tilling what was chopped under the soil.  I compost and since my wife is certain that I will drop dead mowing the lawn with this self propelled Toro mulcher, has let me hire a nice company that does it for 40 bucks a pop.  They also do not bag, which is a shame because I would compost all that stuff.

The rest of the soil is clay.  I am of the thought that when our house was put in, in 1941 (I wasn't born yet)  the contractor removed all the top soil and plunked the house down here.  A lot of homes have sumps but we are lucky.   Now my parents had very black soil down at least six feet and I'd love to have that.  Gardening is iffy at times because of the nature of the crop that I can put in. Root crops are a waste because of the soil.

I think any enclosure would be good providing it allowed the solar panel to get the sunlight and the antenna  transmission.  Maybe some day Davis will figure it out as far as how their sensors hook up in that station,  all the other stations are pretty easy.

The sensors  are made by Irrometer   http://www.irrometer.com/sensors.html    and their site has a wealth of information about the soil moisture and sensors as well.  I contacted Davis and was told to remove the sensors from the soil every season.  I contacted Irrometer and they said as long as I am not tilling by the sensors, leave them in the ground all year.  That is why I have them clustered around the transmitter. 

Davis VP2 Plus; 24h  FARS; Extra Temp Humid sensor (2); Extra Temp Station (2); Soil Moisture/Temp  https://www.weatherlink.com/embeddablePage/show/1c484adbfa914d1aa10a58ad53ccd563/summary;Weatherlink IP;USB; MAC Catalina
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Offline wxtech

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Re: Review & Testing of Davis Leaf & Soil Moisture/Temp Station
« Reply #28 on: December 23, 2012, 11:29:35 AM »
I agree with the hard to use wire terminals.  Mine is old and one of the plastic push to connect tabs has broken.  Screw terminals would be best.
My soil station is old.  It had been stored and I couldn't find all the parts when I installed it again this year.  All my temperature sensors are in a verticle stack at the same location.  I have no desire to measure soil moisture.
Soil temp data is here:http://www.weatherlink.com/user/wxtech/index.php?view=summary&headers=0
and 3 months soil temp data on my site here: http://www.lexingtonwx.com/#soiltemp

I like the dual graph showing the soil surface temp and the air temp.


The surface sensor is just covered with topsoil to avoid direct sun exposure.  So, it's actually about 1" below the surface.

I used a PVC pipe with holes drilled at 6", 12", and 24".  The wires go through the holes and the temperature sensors lie horizontal in the soil.  The wires come out the
top of the pvc pipe to let me know the location of the sensors.
My soil is about 8" of topsoil and clay below that.
Al Washington, Lexington, Ga.,  NWS Coop station=LXTG1, Fischer Porter, SRG, MMTS. 
CoCoRaHS=GA-OG-1. CWOP=CW2074.  Davis VP2+ WLIP 5.9.2, VP(original) serial, VWS v15.00 p02. ImageSalsa, Win7 & Win8 all-in-one.

Offline smorris

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Re: Review & Testing of Davis Leaf & Soil Moisture/Temp Station
« Reply #29 on: December 23, 2012, 05:56:54 PM »
The sensors  are made by Irrometer   http://www.irrometer.com/sensors.html    and their site has a wealth of information about the soil moisture and sensors as well.  I contacted Davis and was told to remove the sensors from the soil every season.  I contacted Irrometer and they said as long as I am not tilling by the sensors, leave them in the ground all year.  That is why I have them clustered around the transmitter. 

My last two sensors are Irrometer branded from Amazon. I contacted them too, about leaving them in when frozen before planting them at thedepths the meteorologist was asking for. Like you, they said it would be fine.

We had a 15 foot deep dug well here when I bought the place, and it was sand all the way to the bottom. Who knows how deep it is. There was never any water when I needed it for watering...
Steve - Avon, Ohio
Davis Vantage Pro2 Plus w/FARS, Leaf & Soil Station

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Offline Skywatch

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Re: Review & Testing of Davis Leaf & Soil Moisture/Temp Station
« Reply #30 on: December 24, 2012, 12:00:12 AM »
They sell these Irrometer sensors for 36$ on Hobby Boards http://www.hobby-boards.com/store/products/Watermark-Soil-Moisture-Sensor.html Ryan with Archer Trading matched the price so I was able to get them through him.

« Last Edit: December 24, 2012, 12:02:29 AM by mckTXaws »
I live in an apartment and for the moment am not a home weather watcher.

I am a storm chaser.

Offline smorris

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Re: Review & Testing of Davis Leaf & Soil Moisture/Temp Station
« Reply #31 on: December 24, 2012, 01:45:51 PM »
You know Matthew, you're  right! I did get them from Hobby Boards (or rather my wife did for my daughters to give me for my birthday.)

Steve
Steve - Avon, Ohio
Davis Vantage Pro2 Plus w/FARS, Leaf & Soil Station

CWOP • WU • AWEKAS • CoCoRaHS • Skywarn • MWWN • UK Met • PWS • WeatherBug • Twitter • Facebook

Offline Aardvark

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Re: Review & Testing of Davis Leaf & Soil Moisture/Temp Station
« Reply #32 on: December 25, 2012, 04:31:23 PM »
I have been eying their leaf wetness sensor, it is very low cost and I am wondering about the wire placement and attaching it into spot 2 of the transmitter.   then again.. 85 dollars is too steep for such a unit that is probably worth about 5 dollars tops.
Davis VP2 Plus; 24h  FARS; Extra Temp Humid sensor (2); Extra Temp Station (2); Soil Moisture/Temp  https://www.weatherlink.com/embeddablePage/show/1c484adbfa914d1aa10a58ad53ccd563/summary;Weatherlink IP;USB; MAC Catalina
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Offline Joel

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Re: Review & Testing of Davis Leaf & Soil Moisture/Temp Station
« Reply #33 on: September 15, 2013, 05:47:03 PM »
Hi,

Interesting topic ...

Please find attached the configuration screen of Weatherlink.

Let's suppose I buy a leaf wetness, a soil moisture and soil temp, and an additional temp probe for grass temp.
OK, I guess I must check leaf wetness 1, soil moisture 1 and soil temperature 1.
But what about the grass temp ?

And by the way, I'm using Weather Display.   In "Extra/Misc/Custom Screen Settings", in "Temperature/Humidity/Extra Temp" there is an option do set the "extra temp sensor # to use for grass minimum".   How does I find the sensor # ?

Thanks in advance
Joël.

Offline Aardvark

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Re: Review & Testing of Davis Leaf & Soil Moisture/Temp Station
« Reply #34 on: September 15, 2013, 06:07:23 PM »
the kicker of  this unit is that for some odd reason, the leaf temperature is what temperature 1 for the soil is.  Not the best indicator.  For my  settings,  I am interested in soil temperature and moisture at 4,12,24 and 36 inches,. I was able to auger  holes into the soil at the right depth. The first time I tried it, I got the dang auger stuck on a tree root on the way up  I had to flood the hole with water to enlarge it and then pull it up,  that screwed readings up for a month.

Then I saw on Amazon.com an auger that fit on my power drill for digging bulbs. So I got one that is 2 foot end to end,  drilled down my right depths and took the auger out and used the manual for the remain foot.  I was able to get on ebay, a chap was selling the soil moisture sensors for 8 dollars. They had a five foot lead on them, that I extended with some soldering, water proofing and so forth,  I had the temperature probes anyway, and inserted those in the pvc pipe about a few inches above the soil sensor, cut a hole in the pvc pipe threaded the temperature sensor through that and then used a plastic cable tie  to mount the probe right next to the sensor, inserted the pipe in the ground( I labeled each pipe to make sure it was the right one for the right depth)  back filled with dry soil and used a think threaded rod I had in the shop to tamp the soil in place.  I planted the sensors wet according to directions.

Which leads to the leaf sensor, I am doing moisture.  I am guessing that one would have to use a temperature sensor for that, or if you are only dealing with one temp and one moisture probe,  attach that to station 2  for both and use station 1 by itself for temperature only to pair with the arrangement Davis has.

The other option for leaf temperature would be to buy a temperature station, put as mentioned by someone else the temperature probe by the leaf sensor. use it as a separate measure.

I have never understood why Davis didn't have an additional probe location for the leaf temperature and have never understood why they use the cheap AXX plastic tabs to operate those pinch clamps the wires fit in.  A screw terminal block would be my answer.  It is also for a late winter project.  I have an 2nd soil moisture station  that I had fixed by Davis as I destroyed the plastic tab on one end and had to break off the side of the block to attach the wire with some marine epoxy putty until I gave up and got a new unit.

Anyway,  http://www.desmoinesweather.org/station_setup.htm
Davis VP2 Plus; 24h  FARS; Extra Temp Humid sensor (2); Extra Temp Station (2); Soil Moisture/Temp  https://www.weatherlink.com/embeddablePage/show/1c484adbfa914d1aa10a58ad53ccd563/summary;Weatherlink IP;USB; MAC Catalina
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Offline d_l

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Re: Review & Testing of Davis Leaf & Soil Moisture/Temp Station
« Reply #35 on: September 26, 2013, 04:43:46 PM »
I wired temp sensor #1 to the back of the leaf wetness with some heat sink paste to enhance the temperature transfer from the leaf sensor's metal plate to the thermocouple.   So the leaf temperature readout IS leaf and/or surface temperatures.

By doing this and using air dew points from my two VP2 stations at different heights,  I can correctly estimate when dew, ice rime, fog, and ice fog will occur and persist throughout the day.  Here in the high desert, we usually have high out-going IR at night.
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People always talk about the weather, but they never do anything about it.  Not me.  I'm gonna measure it.  https://www.tceweather.com

Offline JupiterJoe

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Re: Review & Testing of Davis Leaf & Soil Moisture/Temp Station
« Reply #36 on: June 14, 2020, 01:52:23 PM »
I know this is an old, very old post, but I wanted to say thanks for the info. I’m getting the soil and temp station as well as the leaf wetness sensor this week to check out. It looks like it will be pretty useful information.
Thanks again.