Tipping Bucket Rain Gauges for Precipitation Measurements

By on August 16, 2010

What is a tipping bucket rain gauge?

A tipping bucket rain gauge is one of the most traditional tools used for weather station applications. These rain gauges include a rain-collecting funnel, two carefully calibrated “buckets” mounted on a fulcrum, and an electronic switch. Rain is channeled through the funnel to the one of the tiny buckets, or catchments. The catchment area of these buckets is usually only a few hundred centimeters squared. Once it fills, it becomes overbalanced and tips down, emptying itself into the outer shell of the gauge as the other bucket is raised to position for the next reading.

Each time a bucket tips and switches position, a small switch send an electronic signal. The number of times this signal is sent, coupled with knowledge of the carefully defined catchment area of each bucket, provides a reliable calculation of rainfall. Note: Because the rain gauge relies on a balanced fulcrum, it is imperative tipping bucket rain gauges are installed on a level surface. The surface should be sturdy and free from vibration.

Automated Weather Monitoring

Since these rain gauges allow for precise measurement of rainfall intensity and duration, they have become widely used for automated weather stations. Thus, Fondriest Environmental offers tipping bucket systems in its selection of Precipitation Gauges.

Fondriest’s selection of tipping bucket rain gauges include:

The RM Young 52202 & 52203 tipping bucket rain gauges: The bucket geometry and material of this rain gauge are specially selected for maximum water release, thereby reducing contamination and errors. A catchment area of 200cm2 and measurement resolution of 0.1mm meet the recommendations of the World Meteorological Organization (WMO).

Extensive use of molded thermoplastic components ensures maximum performance and value. Leveling screws and bullseye level are built-in for easy and precise adjustment in the field. Measured precipitation is discharged through a collection tube for verification of total rainfall. Model 52203 is an unheated model for use in moderate climates. For colder climates, model 52202 uses a heating element to prevent freezing. A bird ring option is also available to prevent birds from clogging up the rain gauge.

The Global Water RG600 Tipping Bucket: This unit is durable and will provide many years of service with minimal care. All Global Water tipping buckets were designed by the National Weather Service to provide a low-investment, reliable, industrial, tipping bucket rain gauge.

Its simple design assures trouble-free operation, yet provides accurate rainfall measurements. The tipping bucket has an 8″ orifice and is shipped complete with mounting brackets and 60 ft. of 2-conductor cable. The tipping bucket sensor mechanism activates a sealed reed switch that produces a contact closure for each 0.01″ or 0.2 mm of rainfall. The tipping bucket rain gauge can be pole mounted or bolted to a level plate.


For more information about tipping bucket rain gauges, weather sensors, or complete meteorological monitoring solutions, call a Fondriest Environmental product specialist at 888.426.2151 or email customercare@fondriest.com.

One Comment

  1. Pingback: How To Use A Tipping Bucket Rain Gauge – Wythers Wyskers

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