Snow Depth Measurement Sensor

Posted on Feb 5, 2014

Developing a sensor to measure the snow. If the sensor could be made inexpensively, then the power of the Internet could be used to collect a large number of samples over large areas. The popular weather datacollections sites ( Weather Underground, Citizen Weather Observer Program ) currently don`t provide fields for snowfall, but this is changing. I noticed that WeatherMatrix has started a beta system for

Snow Depth Measurement Sensor
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reporting snowfall. Dan Awtrey has written several articles about using 1-Wire Addressable Digital Instruments for Environmental Monitoring. The 1-Wire devices are very inexpensive and easy to interface with. Many devices can be supported on the 1-Wire bus. I decided to build a system based on them. Using an inexpensive web camera that doesn`t have an IR filter, you can see the beam size and location. In the following images, the sensor beam was aimed straight down (34 CM from sensor face). The spot size has an approximate diameter of 1 CM. Data was taken for an hour (1041 samples) to see the sensor voltage distribution. The mean voltage supply was 4. 98 VDC. The mean range voltage was 0. 799 VDC with a 0. 01 VDC standard deviation. The minimum voltage was 0. 77 VDC and the maximum was 0. 86 VDC. The mean sensor temperature was 78F. The mean light sensor reading was 0. 3 mV. One hundred feet of wire was added between the power supply and the sensor. Another hour of data was collected. The mean voltage supply dropped to 4. 786 VDC. The mean range voltage dropped to 0. 787 VDC with a 0. 01 VDC standard deviation. The minimum voltage was 0. 76 VDC and the maximum was 0. 81 VDC Bright sunlight can interfere with the Sharp sensor. The range sensor voltage and it`s deviation increase when the photodiode reports > 50+ mV. Since it usually doesn`t snow when the sun is out, one approach is not to make measurements in bright...

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