Efficient battery operated rain detection?

Troels Kjær Rasmussen shared this question 7 years ago
Answered

Hi.

I am trying to find a solution for rain detection.

I have tried out the Fibaro Flood Sensor - both with external and default probes and by principle it works fine - only problem seems that the probes drain battery when placed in water.

Since I can´t control the rainfall, the probes will often be in water/wet for hours and hours resulkting in my battery draining within a few days. The amount of water seems to be indicative of how much battery is draining, which only seems natural in the sence of how much voltage is led throug the mass of water. alarm cancellation setting is set to 1 hour, but that doesn´t seem to affect the power drain of the probes.

So, after months of struggling with different workarounds, I have 2. questions...

1. Have anybody found a efficient way of using/fix the Fibaro Flood Sensor as rain detector running only on batteries and not draining a battery per week?

I thought about connecting the external probes to a plasticstring (fishing wire) and lead the water from a small bowl via the strings, but not shure it will work/help?

2. Anyone have other solutions/products which does the job efficiently running on batteries? I looked at the Oregon PCR800 Rain gauge, but I need detection, not only meassuring to control closing of windows, retracting of rollers etc,

Replies (24)

photo
1

Hi,

I should used an arduino(nano) with rain sensor connected to a 433 mhz switch (chacon switch for door bell i.e). It would cost you less than 20 euros nd works on battery.

photo
1

What about trying to use a fibaro doow sensor connecting an rain sensor (like the hunter mini click) to its switch pin?

photo
1

Maybe by using Netatmo rain meter ?

photo
1

Thanks for replies so far. DYIs are fine, but an out-of-the-box solution would be best. NetAtmo with rain gauge looks perfect, except it is not compatible with Zipabox as I can understand from reading community posts about it.

Anyone have experience with the 433 MHz Oregon PCR800 rain gauge? or some of the other z-wave rain detector?

photo
1

Thought of an option to attach a external 3-5v rainsensor plate to the fibaro and connecting the whole thing to a 24v dc car battery/24v dc camping battery with solar cell charging. Since the power leak is the only issue with the fibaro and it has a lot of nice features like alarm cancellation period, thermometer etc the features of the device is very nice.

The device has a feature (param 76, I think) to disable the probes, and with the battery drainage problems I read about all over the internet with this thing, it is a puzzle to me, why fibaro didn´t program it to cut off voltage to the probes after alarm has been triggered for X amount of time.

photo
1

Got the thing to work. With a 12 v dc 4aH motorcycle battery. Will be interesting to see how long the battery lasts before it is uncharged since it is a start- batery and not a cycling one. Battery was cheap, but if it works I´ll get a small solarpanel, charger and real cycling battery for around the clock operation.

photo
1

Did you use an Arduino-like rain sensor? How long after it has stopped raining will it be "active". I am considering a similar solution myself.

photo
1

An other solution is to get the humidity in the air. When its rainning its most over 80%. I do this test to close my store.

The oregon rain station doesn't give you an alert when it starts rainnnig, but only after 1mm of rain....and has yet some bugs, see posts in this forum about it.

Files: rain.JPG
photo
1

So far the camping battery thing is working out great with the Fibaro Flood Sensor, but I´ll try out the humidity sensor approach too. Weather can get quite humid here on the coastline in Scandinavia, even without rain, but I´m sure by a little monitoring I can find the difference between humid air and actual rain :)

photo
1

Troels, in winter, my humidy meters here in Oslo are allmost constantly over 80%. It is probably because humidity is meassured relatively, and when temperature drops, even small amounts of humidity in the air will make the relative humidty high.


Did you end up using the flood sensor without any extra sensors attached?

photo
1

Yes - intermediately just with a couple of normal 2 string copperwires, which works btw, but will hook it up with a rainsensor for arduino i found for aproxx 4 euros and ordered...

photo
1

You could use the rain sensor of RAIN BIRD connected to a binary switch.


The rain sensor of RAIN BIRD just opens a contact if there was rain. You can adjust the rain fall mm and the dry time:

http://www.rainbird.com/landscape/products/controllers/RSD.htm

Manual: http://www.rainbird.com/landscape/products/controllers/RSD.htm

Available at Amazon

photo
1

I think has the right idea, just use a binary sensor, I would hook it up to a fibaro door/window contact sensor (this is batttery operated then). Or use a Zipabox serial module expansion module, but will have to run a cable.

photo
1

I'm using a Hydreon RG-11 rain sensor + a Fibaro universal binary sensor. However, the setup is not battery operated. I connect both devices to a 24V DC adapter. You could probably run them on a 12V battery, but I don't think it's practical due to the power both devices consume.


This setup is much better at detecting rain than normal reservoir sensors, since the RG-11 actually detects raindrops.

photo
1

That looks a great sensor, David! Are you using it in tipping bucket mode? My only concern would be if the pulse is long enough for the sensor to pick it up, but if it works for you, I am definitely buying one.

photo
1

No, I'm using it the raindrop sensing mode, with medium sensitivity. It has a setting where it goes "high" when it detects rain, and doesn't go back to "low" until 15 minutes have elapsed. That's what I use and it works fine for my purposes, which is simply to know when it is raining to close some shutters and things like that.

photo
photo
1

For anyone interested, I now have the setup working on a permanent basis.

SETUP:

Fibaro flood sensor installed in IP44 box in shed (20m from controller)

External probe/sensor attached to fibaro Sensor1+2- used normal wiring and in the other end small rainsensor plate (for arduino - 3 Euro)

External 50W sunpanel + Converter (150 Euro, but needed lights in the shed and back of the garden anyways) - 12v outlet of converter attached to fibaro 12/24v (+/-)

Small motorcycle battery ( 20 Euro) attached to sunpanel setup.

For now this works "out-of-the-box" and is now a self-sustained solution, without having to change batteries every week.

photo
1

Are you using the arduino for the rainsor ? Or does it give an on/off signal ?

photo
1

I guess the Arduino sensor plate is Normally Open and that water makes the circuit close. How much water must hit the plate before the flood sensor picks it up?

photo
1

I´m using only the plate. Only drawback is that the water drops of dew at night also closes the circuit of the plate and will register as flood.

It´s not a problem in my current scenario, because my rules depending on Flood/no flood just ignore late night and early morning flood status


No idea how to workaround that problem. By principle you could have a small heating element attached to the back of the plate - but then it Begins to become trickier DYI and battery consuming.

photo
photo
1

The Hydreon RG-11that David mentioned might work better, in tipping bucket mode. You can define the size of the bucket to be very small. It has some onboard logics to prevent false readings.


A video of how it operates here: https://youtu.be/6iQpc4EpHI0

photo
1

Not sure if this is easier, but buy a Enocean expansion module and use a enocean water sensor such as the AFRISOLab water sensor. No need to ever replace batteries or new wiring, and you can then add other self powered devices to your system. It is actually one of my favourite protocols and so versatile. If range is an issue, just buy a enocean inwall module such as Nodon version and install somewhere between your devices.

photo
1

I must admit that had I known of the AFRISOLab and EnOcean option I would have gone with that, since it would also be a cheaper option than solapanel+converter+fibaro floodsensor+ Arduino rain detector.


Now I needed the solarpanel/current option in the shed anyway, so I´m ok, but if the need is only raindetection independant of battery/AC consumption then I would recommend others to take the enocean path - also gives com,pability with a lot of other EnOcean devices in the bundle buying the module.

photo
1

I am one of those people that likes to choose things carefully, like solar panels, for instance. since it is extremely practical and convenient and also helps to save the environment. Since there is no longer a problem with the account A1SolarStore , I can choose any solar panel from a variety of manufacturers without any issues or markups, and I personally advise doing the same here on the website. This is awesome.

photo
1

Did you have a fix on this issue?

photo
1

Thanks for sharing..

photo
1

Thanksn for information.. MyAdvocateAurora Health

photo
1

This article is really amazing. Thanks for the sharing.


My Merrill Lynch

Leave a Comment
 
Attach a file