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.
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, 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: 54
Expand AllCollapse All
Modifications to the CS650 or CS655, 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 data logger or multiplexer terminals.
Yes, but the pots would have to be large. The CS650 and CS655 can detect water as far away as 10 cm (4 in.) from the rods. If the pot has a diameter smaller than 20 cm (8 in.), the sensor could potentially detect the air around the pot, which would underestimate the water content. In addition, potting soil is typically high in organic matter and clay, causing the probable need for a soil-specific calibration.
No. 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. When liquid water freezes, its dielectric permittivity drops to 3.8, essentially making it look like soil particles to the sensor. A CS650 or CS655 installed in soil that freezes would show a rapid decline in its volumetric water content reading with corresponding temperature readings that are below 0°C. As the soil freezes down below the measurement range of the sensor, the water content values would stop changing and remain steady for as long as the soil remains frozen.
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 or CS655 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 and the CS655 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 equation used to determine volumetric water content in the firmware for the CS650 and the CS655 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 or a CS655 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 bulk electrical conductivity (EC) measurement is made along the sensor rods, and it is an average reading of EC over that distance at whatever depth the rods are placed.
Some customers have successfully used water content reflectometers, such as the CS650 and the CS655, to measure water content of wet concrete mix to ensure consistency between different batches of concrete. However, after concrete begins the curing process, salts are formed that make the electrical conductivity too high for the CS650 and the CS655 to operate. Thus, these sensors cannot be embedded in wet concrete to measure the water content of the concrete as it cures and dries.
Mine tailings are highly corrosive and have high electrical conductivity. Some customers have successfully used water content reflectometers, such as the CS650 or the CS655, to measure water content in mine tailings by coating the sensor rods with heat-shrink tubing. This affects the sensor output, and a soil-specific calibration must be performed. Care must be taken during installation to avoid damaging the heat-shrink tubing and exposing the sensor’s rods. In addition, covering the sensor’s rods invalidates the bulk electrical conductivity reading. Unless the temperature reading provided by the CS650 or the CS655 is necessary, a better option may be to use a CS616 with coated rods.