257-L Soil Matric Potential Block
Reliable Soil Water Measurements
No maintenance required
weather applications water applications energy applications gas flux & turbulence applications infrastructure applications soil applications

Overview

The 257, manfuactured by Watermark, is a solid-state, electrical-resistance sensing device with a granular matrix that estimates soil water potential from 0 to -200 kPa (typically wetter or irrigated soils). It connects directly to your datalogger.

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Benefits and Features

  • Survives freeze-thaw cycles
  • Compatible with most Campbell Scientific dataloggers
  • Contains blocking capacitors in its cable that minimize galvanic degradation and measurement errors due to ground loops
  • Rugged, long-lasting sensor
  • Buffers salts in soil

The "-L" on a product model indicates that the cable length is specified at the time of order.

Images

The 257 includes blocking capacitors in its
cable to mitigate ground loops and galvanic degradation.
The 257 includes blocking capacitors in its cable to mitigate ground loops and galvanic degradation.

Detailed Description

When the amount of water in the soil surrounding the sensor changes, a difference in water potential between the soil and the sensor material is established. This gradient in potential causes a water flux between the two materials. For example, an irrigation or precipitation event results in movement of soil water into the 257 until equilibrium in water potential between the sensor and the soil occurs. An increase in the amount of water in the sensor reduces the electrical resistance between the sensor electrodes.

The datalogger measures the resistance between electrodes, and then converts the resistance measurement to soil water potential by using calibration values supplied with the sensor.

The 257 consists of two concentric electrodes embedded in a reference matrix material. The matrix material is surrounded by a synthetic membrane for protection against deterioration. An internal gypsum tablet buffers against the salinity levels found in irrigated soils. The cable jacket is made of Santoprene rubber, which is resistant to temperature extremes, water, and UV degradation. 

The 257's construction can allow the sensor (in some circumstances) to be left in the soil all year, eliminating the need to remove the sensor during fallow periods.

Specifications

Measurement Range 0 to -200 kPa
Diameter 1.91 cm (0.75 in.)
Length 8.26 cm (3.25 in.)
Weight 360 g (0.8 lb)

Compatibility

Note: The following shows notable compatibility information. It is not a comprehensive list of all compatible or incompatible products.

Data Loggers

Product Compatible Note
21X (retired)
CR10 (retired)
CR1000
CR1000X
CR10X (retired)
CR200X (retired)
CR206X (retired)
CR211X (retired)
CR216X (retired)
CR23X (retired)
CR295X (retired)
CR300
CR3000
CR310
CR500 (retired)
CR5000 (retired)
CR510 (retired)
CR6
CR800
CR850
CR9000 (retired)
CR9000X

Frequently Asked Questions

Number of FAQs related to 257-L: 3

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  1. Most Campbell Scientific sensors are available as an –L, which indicates a user-specified cable length. If a sensor is listed as an –LX model (where “X” is some other character), that sensor’s cable has a user-specified length, but it terminates with a specific connector for a unique system:

    • An –LC model has a user-specified cable length for connection to an ET107, CS110, or retired Metdata1.
    • An –LQ model has a user-specified cable length for connection to a RAWS-P weather station.

    If a sensor does not have an –L or other –LX designation after the main model number, the sensor has a set cable length. The cable length is listed at the end of the Description field in the product’s Ordering information. For example, the 034B-ET model has a description of “Met One Wind Set for ET Station, 67 inch Cable.” Products with a set cable length terminate, as a default, with pigtails.

    If a cable terminates with a special connector for a unique system, the end of the model number designates which system. For example, the 034B-ET model designates the sensor as a 034B for an ET107 system.

    • –ET models terminate with the connector for an ET107 weather station.
    • –ETM models terminate with the connector for an ET107 weather station, but they also include a special system mounting, which is often convenient when purchasing a replacement part.
    • –QD models terminate with the connector for a RAWS-F Quick Deployment Station.
    • –PW models terminate with the connector for a PWENC or pre-wired system.
  2. Not every sensor has different cable termination options. The options available for a particular sensor can be checked by looking in two places in the Ordering information area of the sensor product page:

    • Model number
    • Cable Termination Options list

    If a sensor is offered in an –ET, –ETM, –LC, –LQ, or –QD version, that option’s availability is reflected in the sensor model number. For example, the 034B is offered as the 034B-ET, 034B-ETM, 034B-LC, 034B-LQ, and 034B-QD.

    All of the other cable termination options, if available, are listed on the Ordering information area of the sensor product page under “Cable Termination Options.” For example, the 034B-L Wind Set is offered with the –CWS, –PT, and –PW options, as shown in the Ordering information area of the 034B-L product page.

    Note: As newer products are added to our inventory, typically, we will list multiple cable termination options under a single sensor model rather than creating multiple model numbers. For example, the HC2S3-L has a –C cable termination option for connecting it to a CS110 instead of offering an HC2S3-LC model. 

  3. Many Campbell Scientific sensors are available with different cable termination options. These options include the following:

    • The –PT (–PT w/Tinned Wires) option is the default option and does not display on the product line as the other options do. The cable terminates in pigtails that connect directly to a datalogger.
    • In the –C (–C w/ET/CS110 Connector) option, the cable terminates in a connector that attaches to a CS110 Electric Field Meter or an ET-series weather station.
    • In the –CWS (–CWS w/CWS900 Connector) option, the cable terminates in a connector that attaches to a CWS900-series interface. Connection to a CWS900-series interface allows the sensor to be used in a wireless sensor network.
    • In the –PW (–PW w/Pre-Wire Connector) option, the cable terminates in a connector that attaches to a prewired enclosure.
    • In the –RQ (–RQ w/RAWS Connector) option, the cable terminates in a connector that attaches to a RAWS-P Permanent Remote Automated Weather Station.

    Note: The availability of cable termination options varies by sensor. For example, sensors may have none, two, or several options to choose from. If a desired option is not listed for a specific sensor, contact Campbell Scientific for assistance.

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