The CS650 is a multiparameter smart sensor that uses innovative techniques to monitor soil volumetric water content, bulk electrical conductivity, and temperature. It outputs an SDI-12 signal that many of our dataloggers can measure.Read More
The CS650 consists of two 30-cm-long stainless steel rods connected to a printed circuit board. The circuit board is encapsulated in epoxy and a shielded cable is attached to the circuit board for datalogger connection.
The CS650 measures propagation time, signal attenuation, and temperature. Dielectric permittivity, volumetric water content, and bulk electrical conductivity are then derived from these raw values.
Measured signal attenuation is used to correct for the loss effect on reflection detection and thus propagation time measurement. This loss-effect correction allows accurate water content measurements in soils with bulk EC ≤3 dS m-1 without performing a soil specific calibration.
Soil bulk electrical conductivity is also calculated from the attenuation measurement. A thermistor in thermal contact with a probe rod near the epoxy surface measures temperature. Horizontal installation of the sensor provides accurate soil temperature measurement at the same depth as the water content. Temperature measurement in other orientations will be that of the region near the rod entrance into the epoxy body.
|Measurements Made||Soil electrical conductivity (EC), relative dielectric permittivity, volumetric water content (VWC), soil temperature|
|Required Equipment||Measurement system|
|Soil Suitability||Long rods with large sensing volume (> 6 L) are suitable for soils with low to moderate electrical conductivity.|
|Sensing Volume||7800 cm3 (~7.5 cm radius around each probe rod and 4.5 cm beyond the end of the rods)|
Meets EN61326 requirements for protection against electrostatic discharge and surge.
|Operating Temperature Range||-50° to +70°C|
|Sensor Output||SDI-12; serial RS-232|
|Warm-up Time||3 s|
|Measurement Time||3 ms to measure; 600 ms to complete SDI-12 command|
|Power Supply Requirements||6 to 18 Vdc (Must be able to supply 45 mA @ 12 Vdc.)|
|Maximum Cable Length||610 m (2000 ft) combined length for up to 25 sensors connected to the same data logger control port|
|Rod Spacing||32 mm (1.3 in.)|
|Ingress Protection Rating||IP68|
|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)|
|Probe Weight||280 g (9.9 oz) without cable|
|Active (3 ms)||
|Quiescent||135 µA typical (@ 12 Vdc)|
|Range for Solution EC||0 to 3 dS/m|
|Range for Bulk EC||0 to 3 dS/m|
|Accuracy||±(5% of reading + 0.05 dS/m)|
|Precision||0.5% of BEC|
Relative Dielectric Permittivity
|Range||1 to 81|
Volumetric Water Content
|Range||0 to 100% (with M4 command)|
|Water Content Accuracy||
|Range||-50° to +70°C|
Please note: The following shows notable compatibility information. It is not a comprehensive list of all compatible products.
External RF sources can affect the probe’s operation. Therefore, the probe should be located away from significant sources of RF such as ac power lines and motors.
Multiple CS650 sensors can be installed within 4 inches of each other when using the standard datalogger SDI-12 “M” command. The SDI-12 “M” command allows only one probe to be enabled at a time.
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 were not used. It makes pilot holes into which the rods of the sensors can then be inserted.
Current CS650 and CS655 firmware.
Note: The Device Configuration Utility and A200 Sensor-to-PC Interface are required to upload the included firmware to the sensor.
Number of FAQs related to CS650-L: 53
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Yes. Keeping the sensor rods parallel during installation is especially difficult in gravel, but it can be done. Gravel has large pore spaces that drain quickly, so the water content readings will likely show rapid changes between saturation and very dry. If small changes of water content at the dry end are of interest, a soil-specific calibration may need to be performed to convert period average directly to volumetric water content.
No. The equation used to determine volumetric water content in the firmware for the CS650-L and the CS655-L is the Topp et al. (1980) equation, which works for a wide range of mineral soils but not necessarily for artificial soils that typically have high organic matter content and high clay content. In this type of soil, the standard equations in the firmware will overestimate water content.
When using a CS650-L or a CS655-L in artificial soil, it is best to perform a soil-specific calibration. For details on performing a soil-specific calibration, refer to “The Water Content Reflectometer Method for Measuring Volumetric Water Content” section in the CS650/CS655 manual. A linear or quadratic equation that relates period average to volumetric water content will work well.
The CS650-L has rods that are 30 cm long, and the CS655-L has rods that are 12 cm long. The difference in rod length causes some changes in specifications. For example, the CS650-L is slightly more accurate in its permittivity and water content readings, but the CS655-L works over a larger range of electrical conductivity. In addition, the CS650-L handles a larger measurement volume and provides good accuracy in low EC (electrical conductivity) sand and sandy loam. The CS655-L is typically more accurate in soil, works well over a wide range of soil textures and EC, and is easier to install because of its shorter rods.
Both the CS650-L and the CS655-L can detect water as far away as 10 cm in wet sand. That distance decreases as the soil dries down to approximately 4 cm in dry sand. In practice, a depth of 5 cm will give a water content reading that is within the sensor accuracy specification even if a small amount of air near the soil surface is detected and averaged into the reading.
Note: Campbell Scientific does not recommend installing the sensor in a depth shallower than 5 cm.
Modifications to the CS650-L or CS655-L, including shortening the cable, will void the warranty. However, shortening the cable will not affect the sensor’s performance. If a decision is made to shorten the cable, care should be taken to avoid damaging the cable jacket and exposing bare wire except at the ends that connect to the datalogger or multiplexer terminals.
The permittivity of saturated sediments in a stream bed is expected to read somewhere between 25 and 42, while the permittivity of water is close to 80. A CS650-L or CS655-L installed in saturated sediments could be used to monitor sediment erosion. If the permittivity continuously increases beyond the initial saturated reading, this is an indication that sediment around the sensor rods has eroded and been replaced with water. A calibration could be performed that relates permittivity to the depth of the rods still in the sediment.
The CS650-L and the CS655-L are not ideal sensors for measuring water level. However, these sensors do respond to the abrupt change in permittivity at the air/water interface. A calibration could be performed to relate the period average or permittivity reading to the distance along the sensor rods where the air/water interface is located. From that, the water level can be determined. The permittivity of water is temperature dependent, so a temperature correction would be needed to acquire accurate results.
No. The abrupt permittivity change at the interface of air and saturated soil causes a different period average response than would occur with the more gradual permittivity change found when the sensor rods are completely inserted in the soil.
For example, if a CS650-L or a CS655-L was inserted halfway into a saturated soil with a volumetric water content of 0.4, the sensor would provide a different period average and permittivity reading than if the probe was fully inserted into the same soil when it had a volumetric water content of 0.2.
Probably not. The principle that makes these sensors work is that liquid water has a dielectric permittivity of close to 80, while soil solid particles have a dielectric permittivity of approximately 3 to 6. Because the permittivity of water is over an order of magnitude higher than that of soil solids, water content has a significant impact on the overall bulk dielectric permittivity of the soil. When the soil becomes very dry, that impact is minimized, and it becomes difficult for the sensor to detect small amounts of water. In air dry soil, there is residual water that does not respond to an electric field in the same way as it does when there is enough water to flow among soil pores. Residual water content can range from approximately 0.03 in coarse soils to approximately 0.25 in clay. In the natural environment, water contents below 0.05 indicate that the soil is as dry as it is likely to get. Very small changes in water content will likely cause a change in the sensor period average and permittivity readings, but, to interpret those changes, a very careful calibration using temperature compensation would need to be performed.
Because the reported volumetric water content reading is an average taken along the entire length of the rods, the sensor should be fully inserted into the soil. Otherwise, the reading will be the average of both the air and the soil, which will lead to an underestimation of water content. If the sensor rods are too long to go all the way into the soil, Campbell Scientific recommends inserting the rods at an angle until they are fully covered by soil.