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New "digital" Rain instrument

Discussion of this sensor and its uses
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steve
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Re: New "digital" Rain instrument

Postby steve » Wed Jun 13, 2012 7:27 pm

I may be wrong, but wouldn't this device work (or be made to work) with Charlie's 1-wire solution for Cumulus? http://sandaysoft.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=16&t=7390
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Re: New "digital" Rain instrument

Postby gemini06720 » Wed Jun 13, 2012 11:54 pm

Steve, I will have to re-read the thread you proposed.

For the time being, and following other links, it appears that data provided by the Hydreon RG-11 Optical Rain Sensor is not very reliable - as far as the consistency in the amount of rain supplied by the RG-11 compared with other rain sensors. It seems the RG-11 might be more appropriate (as in rapid response) in indicating if it is raining (or has started raining) than indicating the amount of rain that is or has fallen.

Brian (Weather Display) is reading the COM input where the RG-11 can be connected (with an home-made DB9 connector). It also appears the RG-11 can be connected to and used with a 1-wire system, although that information is not really clear...

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Re: New "digital" Rain instrument

Postby duke » Thu Jun 14, 2012 5:28 am

gemini06720 wrote:Steve, I will have to re-read the thread you proposed.

For the time being, and following other links, it appears that data provided by the Hydreon RG-11 Optical Rain Sensor is not very reliable - as far as the consistency in the amount of rain supplied by the RG-11 compared with other rain sensors. It seems the RG-11 might be more appropriate (as in rapid response) in indicating if it is raining (or has started raining) than indicating the amount of rain that is or has fallen.

Brian (Weather Display) is reading the COM input where the RG-11 can be connected (with an home-made DB9 connector). It also appears the RG-11 can be connected to and used with a 1-wire system, although that information is not really clear...


Ray, do you have a link for the "home-made DB9 connector" spec?

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Re: New "digital" Rain instrument

Postby pete_c » Thu Jun 14, 2012 5:52 am

I have my digital rain sensor hooked up to a HB dual counter.

I did take down my Dallas Rain bucket last year. I'll have to install it. I can install it adjacent to the RG-11 to do a side by side comparison using the second counter on the dual counter.

Here's the info on the RS-232 interface.

Rain Gage RS-232 Connection
November 2011 Hydreon Corporation
Overview
The RG-11 includes an RS-232-like connection. Hydreon uses the connection for development
and for unit testing. We are making this available on an “as is” basis. Hydreon is not claiming
that the connection is standards complaint, and we offer no support beyond this document.
The system is talk-only: the RS-232 connection continuously sends data. It does not respond to
data.
Baud Rate
The RS-232 is nominally 1200 baud. It is not crystal controlled, and we do not specify an upper
or lower limit to how far from nominal it may drift.
Hardware Connection
The RG-11 connection is through a 6 position 0.1” pitch pin field. This connector is not
polarized or locking.
DIP SW 5 Must Be Off The RG-11 shares a microcontroller pin between DIP Switch 5 and the
RS-232. If DIP Switch 5 is on (e.g. “It's Raining” Mode), the RS-232 is defeated.
The RS-232 output is an open collector PNP output to the internal +5V supply of the RG-11.
Thus, the RG-11 can only pull the RS-232 line high, and then only to +5V. The connection
must have some external resistive pull-down to some negative voltage.
To connect to, for example, a personal computer, you can use the Receive Data line as the
source of negative voltage. Here is an example RG-11 to PC adapter.

Communications Protocol
Bytes
Individual bytes are sent with this protocol: 8 data bits, 1 stop bit, no parity.
Frames
Frames start with the transmission of an ASCII 's' character.
Each data byte is then sent as ASCII-Hex over , meaning that the upper nibble of the byte is
converted to a single ACII character, 0-9 or a-f. The lower nibble is then similarly transmitted.
For example, if the data byte is a decimal value 108, this would be hex 6C. This is transmitted
as an ASCII “6” followed by ACII “c”. (Yes, lower case is used.)
There is no end-of-frame character.
's'
Data Byte 0 upper nibble
Data Byte 0 lower nibble
Data Byte 1 upper nibble
…D
ata Byte 9 lower nibble
Decoding the Frame Data
The data within the frame is decoded using the guidelines set up in the *.SER file that
corresponds to the software of the Device Under Test. Open this file with your favorite text
editor. (Or, for that matter, your least favorite, it makes no difference.) The comments in that
file explain the decoding.
You do not have the required permissions to view the files attached to this post.
- Pete

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http://BrokenArrow.golffan.us/ - Davis Vantage Vue / Pro2 - Cumulus MX

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Re: New "digital" Rain instrument

Postby apenwith » Thu Jun 14, 2012 7:26 am

Hi
In answer to Duke a few messages ago - one of the RG-11's is recording via a EL-USB-5 data logger which date/time stamps each 'bucket' tip and is then tranferred to my PC.
The other is connected with a DLP108 A/D converter and using Ole's software is recorded on a netbook - again each tip is time stamped in a day file.
Today is the first day since I set up the second RG-11 to have some rain (and it looks as though it will continue for some time) so I should get some comparative readings.

Regards

Alan

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Re: New "digital" Rain instrument

Postby steve » Thu Jun 14, 2012 7:50 am

If sufficient people were intending to buy one of these and use it with the COM interface, I could look at adding support for it to Cumulus. I'm tempted to get one myself (although the 'wired' aspect is an issue for me); Alan, can I ask how much you paid altogether including import tax etc? I assume your A/D converter ends up looking like a COM port so is effectively the same?
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Re: New "digital" Rain instrument

Postby apenwith » Thu Jun 14, 2012 9:04 am

Hi Steve
The first one was $79.00 US (including shipping) and the second 'free' one cost £15.00 in post office handling and import duty. The DLP108 A/D converter is around £20.00 and yes it does just show up as a COM port using FTDI drivers.
I think my earlier optimism about the accuracy might be ill founded but if there proves to be a consistant difference with different sorts of rain a multiplier might work.
I had some very high readings on my original sensor and I suspect it may be responding to leaves on nearby trees waving about in the wind - but that is only a guess. I will try mounting it a bit higher when I get the chance.

Regards

Alan

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Re: New "digital" Rain instrument

Postby gemini06720 » Thu Jun 14, 2012 9:23 am

duke wrote:Ray, do you have a link for the "home-made DB9 connector" spec?
Mark, here is a link to the Welcome to Weather-Above page with information on how to connect/install/use a non-tipping rain gauge (an RG-11 with internal relay) to a DB9 serial connector.

Mark, you might also be interested in reading additional articles on WXforum.net such as this thread on Using the Rainguage with the RS232 serial...

It is interesting (nice) to see some experimentation finally being done/provided on the Cumulus forums... :)

Steve, you interest in the Hydreon RG-11 Optical Rain Sensor is quite 'refreshing' to say/write the least... :D ...And since you are most likely (eventually) to develop some routines within Cumulus to read the data from the RG-11, I think you should mention that to the Hydreon Corporation so you could immediately get your second (and free, except for the shipping costs) RG-11 without having to go through their requirement:
    GET A FREE RG-11 RAIN GAGE
    Want a free RG-11? Take a few pictures of the RG-11 after you have it installed. Email them to info@hydreon.com with a description of how the RG-11 is being used. We'll send you a free RG-11.
    Only 1 free RG-11 per customer. We can use the images as we wish. Include your order number so we know where to ship the free unit. Let us know if we can use your name and/or company name in the description of the image. Include a website to link if you would like.

Alan, you are not the first/only one finding the RG-11 somewhat inaccurate in reading the amount of rain - it appears, from post in other forums, that the 'strong point' for the RG-11 might be its sensitivity in detecting rain rather than its accuracy in determining the amount of rain... :(

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Re: New "digital" Rain instrument

Postby apenwith » Thu Jun 14, 2012 10:35 am

Hi
As my earlier picture shows the RG-11 was very close to my wifi antenna so it may have been interference that caused spurious readings - I've braved the cold (and a ladder) and moved the unit a bit further away on a longer bracket - without major recabling I couldn't go any higher - maybe a future job.
Regards
Alan

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Re: New "digital" Rain instrument

Postby gemini06720 » Thu Jun 14, 2012 11:04 am

Alan, I do not think the inaccuracy of the RG-11 was caused by your WIFI antenna - remember, the concept of RG-11 was based on the Hydreon Rain Tracker "Rain Sensing Windshield Wiper Controls" technology and, if there is a place with lots of uncontrolled interferences it is in a motorized vehicle.

The RG-11 experimenter (on the WXforum.net forums) has moved his (two) RG-11 to different locations, from a few inches above the ground to the top of a tall mast. At times, the amount of rain reported by the RG-11 were quite close to those reported by two different rain sensors (as seen in this picture taken in October of last year):
At other times (most often), the amount of rain reported by the RG-11 were way off, either too little or too much, without any consistent/fixed amount.

But, please Alan, keep the information coming - you might find what causes the irregular readings ... could be the rain in the UK is different from the rain in the USA... :D
Last edited by gemini06720 on Sun Jun 09, 2013 7:02 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: New "digital" Rain instrument

Postby Charlie » Thu Jun 14, 2012 11:25 am

steve wrote:I may be wrong, but wouldn't this device work (or be made to work) with Charlie's 1-wire solution for Cumulus? http://sandaysoft.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=16&t=7390

I had a look at how this device reports data and yes it would work happily with the station I'm offering. But to be perfectly honest, it would work quite happliy with any commercial weather station that uses a tipping bucket rain gauge with a magnetic reed switch such as the Fine Offset or any of the others. The only thing extra required for use with most stations is the power supply for the RG11, which is already available with my station.
At any rate, there is certainly no need for a special interface to Cumulus, unless the future of Cumulus is to eventually become the true weather station, directly supporting all sorts of sensor types (not necessarily a bad idea).

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Re: New "digital" Rain instrument

Postby duke » Thu Jun 14, 2012 3:32 pm

Thanks for the reported data and the links guys, more reading there for all of us ;) .

Steve, before this thread becomes a tangled mess, how about a sub-forum in "homebuilt" for the RG11?
This way we can separate out people "reporting data" from "the how to interface" etc.

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Re: New "digital" Rain instrument

Postby duke » Sat Jun 16, 2012 7:39 pm

@Alan, have you got a link for the DLP108 A/D converter? Google is not being helpful tonight :( .

Also, any one know if WD would see the RG11 connected by either the DLP108 A/D converter or EL-USB-5 or will it only see the serial connection?

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Re: New "digital" Rain instrument

Postby gemini06720 » Sat Jun 16, 2012 11:46 pm

duke wrote:Also, any one know if WD would see the RG11 connected by either the DLP108 A/D converter or EL-USB-5 or will it only see the serial connection?
Mark, you would have a better chance in getting 'positive' replies if you posted the question in the WXforum.net forums - do not bother with the Weather-Watch forums (where Brian Hamilton is the most present) has the thread has been deleted by the author.

Note: Prodata Associates Ltd is now distributing the Hydreon RG-11 Rainfall Sensor for UK/EU customers at £95.00 (the north american price being $59.00 US).

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Re: New "digital" Rain instrument

Postby duke » Sun Jun 17, 2012 8:15 am

gemini06720 wrote:
duke wrote:Also, any one know if WD would see the RG11 connected by either the DLP108 A/D converter or EL-USB-5 or will it only see the serial connection?
Mark, you would have a better chance in getting 'positive' replies if you posted the question in the WXforum.net forums - do not bother with the Weather-Watch forums (where Brian Hamilton is the most present) has the thread has been deleted by the author.

Note: Prodata Associates Ltd is now distributing the Hydreon RG-11 Rainfall Sensor for UK/EU customers at £95.00 (the north american price being $59.00 US).


Morning Ray,

I did notice Brians thread had been deleted, a strange thing to do and probably contained helpful information.

I was going to post in the RG11 thread over at WX if I had no result here. But in the interest of this thread I posted here first.

Still no luck with Google on the DLP108 A/D converter :roll:

Wil PM you later about the other.

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