Author Topic: Ultrasonic Snow Depth Meter  (Read 186 times)

wurzelmac

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Ultrasonic Snow Depth Meter
« on: October 01, 2018, 06:42:21 PM »
A dream comes to reality...

I always wanted to record the snow depth automatically - now this comes to real (I hope):

This is the test-location:


This is a close-up:


This is a view inside the magical white box:


And finally this is the magical bee that receives the data and gives it to WeatherCat via SyntheticChannel:


And this is the reason why I found out what I reported in this thread (the red marked graph & gauge won't upload for whatever reason... :-[ ):
Image removed..., issue solved.  [goofy]
Reinhard


wurzelmac

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Re: Ultrasonic Snow Depth Meter
« Reply #1 on: October 01, 2018, 06:48:56 PM »
Without my son Simon this dream would have stayed a dream forever. It was not me that does the brain-work - it was he!  [rock]
Reinhard


Blicj11

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Re: Ultrasonic Snow Depth Meter
« Reply #2 on: October 01, 2018, 07:43:14 PM »
This is amazing so we want more details. Who made it and where did you get it? What is involved? Inquiring minds want to know more.
Blick


wurzelmac

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Re: Ultrasonic Snow Depth Meter
« Reply #3 on: October 02, 2018, 09:59:16 AM »
John,

the whole construct was built by our own. What we buyed is:

• Ultrasonic sensor ( https://www.maxbotix.com/Ultrasonic_Sensors/MB7334.htm )
• Data cable, power cable
• X-Bee radio transmitter and receiver ( https://www.digi.com/products/xbee-rf-solutions ), there are macOS drivers available ( https://www.ftdichip.com/Drivers/VCP.htm )
• solar panel ( https://www.amazon.de/enjoysolar-Polykristallin-Solarmodul-Solarpanel-CampingCaravan/dp/B076CGBNCP )
• Powerbank ( https://www.amazon.de/Poweradd-Pilot-20000mAh-Externer-Ladegeraet-Schwarz/dp/B00P7QM5UK/ref=sr_1_1_sspa?ie=UTF8&qid=1538467086&sr=8-1-spons&keywords=poweradd+pilot+x7+20000mah&psc=1 )
• My son Simon designed a uniqe PCB that handles the charging of the powerbank, the power for the sensor and the power for the radio transmitter (see the close-up picture of the white box)
• a wooden mast, attachment material that you can see on the pictures, too

To make the data readable for WeatherCat Simon wrote a python script that is accessed by AppleScript that is accessed by WC SyntheticChannel.  :)

Cheers,
Reinhard


wurzelmac

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Re: Ultrasonic Snow Depth Meter
« Reply #4 on: October 02, 2018, 05:39:13 PM »
By the way, is there a way to set the custom graph to a user defined scale? Similar to the custom gauges?

 ???
Reinhard


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Re: Ultrasonic Snow Depth Meter
« Reply #5 on: October 02, 2018, 06:19:48 PM »
Unfortunately not, but good to see your project working  [tup]

That's what we have synthetic channels for :)

The Grand Poohbah

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Re: Ultrasonic Snow Depth Meter
« Reply #6 on: October 02, 2018, 07:15:34 PM »
Nice project and installation. I am impressed. I am also wondering how close the snow level rises to the sensor.

xairbusdriver

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Re: Ultrasonic Snow Depth Meter
« Reply #7 on: October 02, 2018, 08:31:44 PM »
Great  "family" project! Sounds like something you might sell to lots of weather organizations! Remote collection sites, small un-manned airports, etc.

We fire any weatherman who allows any snow accumulations over 3 inches (~76mm) and in two consecutive years! lol(1)

wurzelmac

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Re: Ultrasonic Snow Depth Meter
« Reply #8 on: October 03, 2018, 08:00:34 AM »
Thanks folks!

Stu, can you tell me where the data of the synthetic channels is stored? Is there a possibility to cut off erroneous numbers and replace them with correct ones?
Thanks in advance,
Reinhard


wurzelmac

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Re: Ultrasonic Snow Depth Meter
« Reply #9 on: October 03, 2018, 08:05:43 AM »
Nice project and installation. I am impressed. I am also wondering how close the snow level rises to the sensor.

Grand,
the minimal distance between sensor and snow surface should be 50cm (19.68504 inch  ;D ), below that the sensor will not work. In my case this will measure a snow amount of 150 cm ( 59.05512 inch ) - the past winters we never have had such an amount of snow.
Cheers,
Reinhard


wurzelmac

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Re: Ultrasonic Snow Depth Meter
« Reply #10 on: October 03, 2018, 11:07:21 AM »
Thanks folks!

Stu, can you tell me where the data of the synthetic channels is stored? Is there a possibility to cut off erroneous numbers and replace them with correct ones?
Thanks in advance,

Found them in the .cat file!  [WCSmall]
Reinhard


xairbusdriver

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Re: Ultrasonic Snow Depth Meter
« Reply #11 on: October 03, 2018, 05:37:48 PM »
I am somewhat of a railroad 'nut' and just got the latest "Trains" magazine (Kalmback Media [TrainsMag.com]) today. There is an answer to a readers question about why there are sometimes tanks of Liquified Natural Gas beside the tracks. The LPG is used for heaters on turnouts (movable rails that control the rout for a train) that are usually remotely controlled. During extreme cold and snow, the heaters keep the turnout rails free from ice. The answer mentioned that some of these heaters operate automatically using weather data collected on site. I immediately realized wurzelmac's snow sensor would be a big help in those locations! I think all they have now are rain or moisture sensors which are probably mechanical and therefore subject to failure. His solution looks to be much more functional and sturdy!

If you visit the magazine's site and look along the right-hand side of the page, there is a video labeled "Issue Preview November". The last few seconds of the vid shows a coal, unit-train running over one of the turnouts with the heaters I refer to. Just before the end of the vid you can see two two LPG tanks on the left side of the tracks. The turnout is on the right set of tracks with some control cabinets even further to the right. "A video frame is worth a thousand words!" ... or something like that!  [lol]

elagache

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Gotta stick to the properly seasoned stuff! (Was: Ultrasonic Snow Depth Meter)
« Reply #12 on: October 03, 2018, 11:13:17 PM »
Dear X-Air and WeatherCat users who have other hobbies, . . . .

I am somewhat of a railroad 'nut' and just got the latest "Trains" magazine (Kalmback Media [TrainsMag.com]) today.
. . . . .

 ;) . . . . For shame X-Air! Once again looking at all that new fangled stuff instead of the seriously proven railroad equipment of old!  Instead you should be subscribing to Classic Trains Magazine:

http://ctr.trains.com/

There is where you'll find the beautiful stuff like this!



Alas, even Classic Trains Magazine covers way more diesels than a steam purist like me would prefer . . . . .

Cheers, Edouard  [cheers1]

P.S. Sorry to hijack your thread Reinhard, but this I couldn't resist! . . .

xairbusdriver

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Re: Ultrasonic Snow Depth Meter
« Reply #13 on: October 03, 2018, 11:20:49 PM »
Beautiful stuff often gets replaced by "modern" stuff that is devoid of all beauty. Comparing my video link and your posted image verifies that. [rolleyes2] But "modern" sometimes provides opportunities for some of WC's more gifted creators! ThU5:-)
Perhaps I might get a small "finders fee"?
[lol2]