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ELECTRONIC RAIN PROBES



Recently, MagRabbit was requested by a client to design and manufacture electronic rain probes. The probes were designed to meet the following concepts:

  • Each rain probe is embedded with an electronic board to measure the rainfall data electronically, log the measurement data, and periodically transmit the data via GPRS/SMS to an operations center.
  • As the probes are installed in remote areas, they are configured and controlled remotely with minimum on-site work by technicians. For example, the probe can be configured to measure and transmit data more regularly in the rainy season and less regularly in the dry season.
  • At the operations center, operations officers can monitor rainfall from hundreds of probes around the country. The rainfall data is useful for flood/landslide alert, dam/reservoir operational support, and weather forecasting.
  • The rain probes are in compact size, easy to mount and install on diverse surfaces and terrains.
  • The probes are expected to be low-cost and suitable to be deployed with mass volume.

Fig 1. A rain probe network

The heart of every rain probe is a tipping bucket. The rainwater flow causes the bucket to move, which invokes an electronic counter to measure rain level. Figure 2 illustrates an electronic board inside a rain probe. The board includes following components:

  • Ultra-low-power ARM Cortex micro processor STM32L151C6
  • GSM/GPRS antenna and wireless module Quectel M95
  • Battery charging controller BQ24298RTWT
  • And other electronic parts.

The firmware which implements the measurement logic is burnt into the flash memory of the microprocessor.

Fig 2. Electronic board inside a rain probe network (front and back sides)

The probe can operate in either electricity mode or battery mode. Embedded lithium-ion battery ensures the probe to survive in at least 30 days in case electricity blackout in hash weather.

In this project, MagRabbit has gone through full life-cycle of the product development:

  • Co-work with the client to develop initial concept for the rain probe and the operation center software application.
  • Design and implement the operation center software application.
  • Design the rain probe, including the electronic board, the bucket, and related components. After finishing limited prototypes, MagRabbit supports the client to monitor the production to make sure the end product meets desired requirements.
  • Support the client with marketing and post-production technical support.

This is a successful case study in which MagRabbit has provided excellence in electronic design service. The service we provided benefited the client not only in high product quality, but also in cost saving and short time-to-market.

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