CS655 Soil Water Content Reflectometer 12 cm

Overview

The CS655 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. It has shorter rods than the CS650, for use in problem soils.

This product is supplied with a 3 m cable as standard, other lengths available to order.

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Benefits and Features

  • Larger sample volume reduces error
  • Measurement corrected for effects of soil texture and electrical conductivity
  • Estimates soil-water content for a wide range of mineral soils
  • Versatile sensor—measures dielectric permittivity, bulk electrical conductivity (EC), and soil temperature

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Technical Description

The CS655 consists of two 12-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 data logger connection.

The CS655 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 ≤8 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.

Specifications

Measurements Made Soil electrical conductivity (EC), relative dielectric permittivity, volumetric water content (VWC), soil temperature
Required Equipment Measurement system
Soil Suitability Short rods are easy to install in hard soil. Suitable for soils with higher electrical conductivity.
Rods Not replaceable
Sensors Not interchangeable
Sensing Volume 3600 cm3 (~7.5 cm radius around each probe rod and 4.5 cm beyond the end of the rods)
Electromagnetic CE compliant (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 120 mm (4.7 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 240 g (8.5 oz) without cable

Current Drain

Active (3 ms)
  • 45 mA typical (@ 12 Vdc)
  • 80 mA (@ 6 Vdc)
  • 35 mA (@ 18 Vdc)
Quiescent 135 µA typical (@ 12 Vdc)

Electrical Conductivity

Range for Solution EC 0 to 8 dS/m
Range for Bulk EC 0 to 8 dS/m
Accuracy ±(5% of reading + 0.05 dS/m)
Precision 0.5% of BEC

Relative Dielectric Permittivity

Range 1 to 81
Accuracy
  • ±(3% of reading + 0.8) from 1 to 40 for solution EC ≤ 8 dS/m
  • ±2 (from 40 to 81 for solution EC ≤ 2.8 dS/m)
Precision < 0.02

Volumetric Water Content

Range 0 to 100% (with M4 command)
Water Content Accuracy
  • ±1% (with soil-specific calibration) where solution EC < 3 dS/m
  • ±3% (typical with factory VWC model) where solution EC < 10 dS/m
Precision < 0.05%

Soil Temperature

Range -50° to +70°C
Resolution 0.001°C
Accuracy
  • ±0.1°C (for typical soil temperatures [0 to 40°C] when probe body is buried in soil)
  • ±0.5°C (for full temperature range)
Precision ±0.02°C

Compatibility

Please note: The following shows notable compatibility information. It is not a comprehensive list of all compatible products.

Dataloggers

Product Compatible Note
CR1000 (retired)
CR1000X
CR200X (retired)
CR216X (retired)
CR300
CR3000
CR310
CR5000 (retired)
CR6
CR800
CR850
CR9000X (retired)

Additional Compatibility Information

RF Considerations

External RF Sources

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.

Interprobe Interference

Multiple CS655 probes can be installed within 4 inches of each other when using the standard data logger SDI-12 “M” command. The SDI-12 “M” command allows only one probe to be enabled at a time.

Optional Installation Tool

CS650G Rod Insertion Guide 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.

FAQs for

Number of FAQs related to CS655: 55

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  1. Campbell Scientific strongly discourages shortening the sensor’s rods. The electronics in the sensor head have been optimized to work with the 12 cm long rods. Shortening these rods will change the period average. Consequently, the equations in the firmware will become invalid and give inaccurate readings.

  2. 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.

  3. No. It is not possible to disable the logical tests in the firmware. If soil conditions cause frequent NAN values, it may be possible to perform a soil-specific calibration that will provide good results.

    If permittivity is reported but the volumetric water content value is NAN, Campbell Scientific recommends a soil-specific calibration that converts permittivity to water content. This will take advantage of the bulk electrical conductivity correction that occurs in the firmware.

    If both permittivity and volumetric water content have NAN values, it may be possible to perform a calibration that converts period average directly to volumetric water content.

    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. After a soil-specific equation is determined, it may be programmed into the data logger program or used in a spreadsheet to calculate the soil water content.

  4. The CS650 has rods that are 30 cm long, and the CS655 has rods that are 12 cm long. The difference in rod length causes some changes in specifications. For example, the CS650 is slightly more accurate in its permittivity and water content readings, but the CS655 works over a larger range of electrical conductivity. In addition, the CS650 handles a larger measurement volume and provides good accuracy in low EC (electrical conductivity) sand and sandy loam. The CS655 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.

  5. In soil that has a significant fraction of fines (loam, silt loam, silty clay loam, clay loam, clay), the CS655 is a suitable option because these soils tend to be more electrically conductive, and the CS655 operates over a larger range of electrical conductivity than the CS650. In applications where a smaller measurement volume is desired, such as larger greenhouse pots, the 12 cm long rods of the CS655 are preferable to the 30 cm long rods of the CS650.

  6. The volumetric water content reading is the average water content over the length of the sensor’s rods.

  7. A thermistor is encased in the epoxy head of the sensor next to one of the stainless-steel rods. This provides an accurate point measurement of temperature at the depth where that portion of the sensor head is in contact with the soil. This is why a horizontal placement is the recommended orientation of the CS650 or CS655. The temperature measurement is not averaged over the length of the sensor rods.

  8. 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.

  9. The CS650 and CS655 work best when the rods are inserted into the soil as parallel to each other as possible. To make parallel pilot holes before installation, use the CS650G Rod Insertion Guide Tool. Minor deflection of a rod during insertion, such as when it contacts a small stone or root, may not affect the readings significantly, but major deflections may cause the CS650 or CS655 to operate outside of published accuracy specifications.

  10. 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. 

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