A Rain gauge is one of those sensors that is a great addition for your DIY weather station.
Finding a stand alone rain gauge is not that common, so I decided to purchase an off the shelf digital rain gauge monitor and remove the rain gauge sensor off it to make my own arduino powered rain gauge monitor.
In this tutorial, I’ll show you how to make a digital rain gauge monitor by using a rain gauge sensor from an off the shelf product, how this particular sensor works and how to read the signal with an Arduino Uno then finally display the result to an LCD Display. So, keep reading to find out how......or Watch the Video below if that's easier.....
Step 1: How Does the Sensor Measure Rainfall
The rain sensor measures rain by collecting a set amount of water in a tipping bucket. When the preset amount of water is collected, the bucket tips the water out and a magnet swings past a reed switch and activates a single count.
This count is read by the microcontroller's input as a pulse. This particular sensor I'm using is set to 0.8mm per bucket of water. The rainfall detected by the rain sensor will vary between manufacturers.
Step 2: Rain Gauge Circuit and Code
The rain gauge monitor circuit is very simple as we only use one pin of the Arduino which is pin 2. As the sensor component is a reed switch, the only circuit required is a 10k pull up resistor to hold the signal to ground when inactive and pull up the signal to +5V when the reed switch is activated.
The code monitors the pin 2 input and every time it is set to high, the total rainfall value is incremented by 0.8mm. The total rainfall value is then displayed on a 16 x 2 LCD Display.
The code and schematic is available from my website at the following link:
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