CS616 Water Content Reflectometer
High Accuracy and Precision
Designed for long-term monitoring
weather applications water applications energy applications gas flux & turbulence applications infrastructure applications soil applications

Overview

The CS616 measures the volumetric water content (VWC) of porous media (such as soil) from 0% to saturation. The probe outputs a megahertz oscillation frequency, which is scaled down and easily read by a Campbell Scientific datalogger.

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Benefits and Features

  • Compatible with most Campbell Scientific dataloggers
  • High accuracy and high precision
  • Fast response time
  • Designed for long-term unattended water content monitoring
  • Compatible with AM16/32-series multiplexers, allowing measurement of multiple sensors
  • Probe rods can be inserted from the surface or buried at any orientation to the surface.

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Detailed Description

The CS616 is comprised of two 30-cm-long stainless-steel rods connected to the measurement electronics. The circuit board is encapsulated in epoxy, and a shielded four-conductor cable is connected to the circuit board to supply power, enable the probe, and monitor the output.

The CS616 uses the time-domain measurement method to measure VWC; a reflectometer (cable tester) such as the TDR200 is not required. This method consists of the CS616 generating an electromagnetic pulse. The elapsed travel time and pulse reflection are then measured and used to calculate soil volumetric water content.

Response Characteristics

The signal propagating along the parallel rods of the CS616 is attenuated by free ions in the soil solution and conductive constituents of the soil mineral fraction. In most applications, the attenuation is not enough to affect the CS616 response to changing water content, and the response is well described by the standard calibration. However, in soil with relatively high soil electrical conductivity levels, compacted soils, or soils with high clay content, the calibration should be adjusted for the specific medium. Guidance for making these adjustments is provided in the instruction manual.

Specifications

Measurements Made Volumetric water content of porous media (such as soil)
Water Content Accuracy ±2.5% VWC (using standard calibration with bulk EC of ≤ 0.5 dS m-1, bulk density of ≤ 1.55 g cm-3, and measurement range of 0% to 50% VWC)
Required Equipment Measurement system
Soil Suitability Long rods and lower frequency are well-suited for soft soil with low electrical conductivity (< 2 dS/m).
Rods Not replaceable
Sensors Not interchangeable
Operational Temperature 0° to +70°C
Probe-to-Probe Variability ±0.5% VWC in dry soil, ±1.5% VWC in typical saturated soil
Precision Better than 0.1% VWC
Resolution 0.1% VWC
Output ±0.7 V square wave (with frequency dependent on water content)
Current Drain
  • 65 mA @ 12 Vdc (when enabled)
  • 45 μA (quiescent typical)
Power Supply Voltage 5 Vdc minimum; 18 Vdc maximum
Enable Voltage 4 Vdc minimum; 18 Vdc maximum
Electromagnetic CE compliant (Meets EN61326 requirements for protection against electrostatic discharge.)
Rod Spacing 32 mm (1.3 in.)
Rod Diameter 3.2 mm (0.13 in.)
Rod Length 300 mm (11.8 in.)
Probe Head Dimensions 85 x 63 x 18 mm (3.3 x 2.5 x 0.7 in.)
Cable Weight 35 g per m (0.38 oz per ft)
Weight 280 g (9.9 oz) without cable

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
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

Additional Compatibility Information

RF Considerations

The RF emissions are below FCC and EU limits as specified in EN61326 if the CS616 is enabled less than 0.6 ms, and measurements are made less frequently than once a second. External RF sources can also affect the CS616 operation. Consequently, the CS616 should be located away from significant sources of RF such as ac power lines and motors.

Installation Tool

The CS650G makes inserting soil-water sensors easier in dense or rocky soils. This tool can be hammered into the soil with force that might damage the sensor if the CS650G was not used. It makes pilot holes into which the rods of the sensors can then be inserted. It replaces both the 14383 and 14384.

Datalogger Considerations

The reflectometer connects directly to one of the datalogger’s single-ended analog inputs. A datalogger control port is typically used to enable the CS616 for the amount of time required to make the measurement. Datalogger instructions convert the probe square-wave output to period which is converted to volumetric water content using a calibration.


Frequently Asked Questions

Number of FAQs related to CS616: 36

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  1. The CS616 has a faster period output than the CS615-L, so it does not work with the 21X dataloggers.

  2. No. The output is too fast to be measured on the pulse channel of a 21X or CR7.

    • The CS616/CS625 is not receiving power. Ensure that the red wire is well connected to 12V and that the black and clear wires are both connected to G. Also check that the orange wire is well connected to a control port and that the data logger program references that control port as part of the sensor measurement.
    • The data logger is not receiving a signal from the CS616/CS625. Ensure that the green wire is well connected to a single-ended analog input channel and that the data logger program references that channel in the CS616() or PeriodAvg() instruction.
    • The soil is too conductive. If the soil has high electrical conductivity, high clay content, or high organic matter content and the CRBasic instruction CS616() or Edlog instruction P138 is used, the period might be out of range for that instruction. In that situation, it may be possible to use PeriodAvg() or P27 as shown in the program examples of the CS616 and CS625 instruction manual.
  3. Yes, but the CS616/CS625 will need a soil-specific calibration. The high organic matter content of peat will likely cause the CS616/CS625 period to be out of bounds for use with the CS616() CRBasic instruction and P138 Edlog instruction. In that situation, the CRBasic PeriodAvg() instructionor the Edlog P27 Period Average instruction may be used as described in the CS616 and CS625 instruction manual.

  4. No. Although the CS616/CS625 could be calibrated to convert its period reading to the dielectric permittivity of snow, there is not an easy way to relate the permittivity to liquid water content. This is because the density of snow changes over time and the amount of liquid water that can be held in the solid matrix is relatively small. Additionally, the sensor emits infrared radiation that melts snow away from its rods, similar to the way snow melts around the base of a tree.

    The CS616 and CS625 are not appropriate sensors for this application because of the lack of good contact between the rods and the snow, as well as the dynamic nature of the solid matrix.

  5. Some customers have tried to use the CS616 or CS625 to measure the moisture content within a tree, but the calibration proved to be problematic. Campbell Scientific cannot provide any specific guidance for this application.

  6. Yes, as long as the data logger can detect a ±700 mV square wave over a frequency range of 29 to 67 kHz.

  7. Fine roots do not significantly affect the CS616/CS625 reading.

  8. The CS616 and CS625 are water-content reflectometers with measurement electronics built into the probe head. The electronics generate a signal, which is sent directly to the data logger. The CS610-L, and other three-rod probes sold by Campbell Scientific, are TDR probes that have no electronic components and serve as wave guides for a time-domain reflectometer such as the TDR100.

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