The meter displays the current time. All measurements including the time can be displayed on the data display screen, or they may be individually disabled.
Probes come standard with a 1.2 meter (4 ft) cable. The probe is waterproof, and about 5 inches long. Because it is slender it can be used to measure soil moisture in potted plants, as well as the ground. Because it uses a capacitive based VH400 probe, it never corrodes, is insensitive to soil salinity, and gives very precise readings.
The hand held enclosure is small enough to fit in a pocket, and has in-molded rubber side grips for a comfortable grip.
It runs on 2 AA batteries and because it is so low power, the batteries should last for years, with normal use.
The meter comes in two varieties, one with a USB interface and one without. The version with the USB interface, can stream data to a computer through most communication programs such as Termite, RealTerm or Hyperterminal. The USB version comes with a mini-USB cable.
The meter makes the perfect gift for any avid gardener.
Digital Soil Moisture Meter Videos
Techno Gardener: Soil Moisture Meter and Dead Peas
The Techno Gardener uses the Vegetronix soil moisture meter to figure out why his sugar peas vines are dying.
Techno Gardener: Digital Soil Moisture Meter and Dead Grass
The Techno Gardener uses the vegetronix digital soil moisture meter to figure out why a patch of his grass is dying.
Digital Soil Moisture Meter Applications
- Irrigation and sprinkler systems.
- Moisture monitoring of bulk foods.
- Rain and weather monitoring.
- Environmental monitoring.
- Water conservation applications.
- Fluid level measurements.
Digital Soil Moisture Meter Features
- Low cost.
- Includes integrated VH400 soil moisture sensor.
- Graphical digital display, with LED back light.
- Displays moisture, ambient air temperature, and light levels, and displays time.
- Easy to use.
- Pocket sized.
- Not conductivity based, and insensitive to salinity.
- Probe does not corrode over time.
- Rugged design for long term use.
- Batteries last for years with normal use.
- Precise measurement.
- Measures volumetric water content (VWC).
- The probe can be buried and is water proof.
- Because the probe is slender, it can also be used in smaller house plants without disrupting roots.
- The USB version can be stream data to a PC, and recieve firmware upgrades.
Other Vegetronix Products of Interest
Soil Moisture Meter Pricing and Ordering Info
Contact us for volume pricing information.
|VG-METER-200-BASIC||Professional digital soil moisture meter (no USB) with integrated VH400 sensor.||$88.95||Buy Now|
|VG-METER-200-USB||Professional digital soil moisture meter with USB with integrated VH400 sensor.||$109.95||Buy Now|
Soil Moisture Meter Specifications
|Dimensions||Enclosure: 2.5cm x 6.4cm x 94 cm (1in x 2.5in x 3.7in)|
|Operational Temperature||-20ºC to 85ºC|
|Baud Rate||9600, 8 bits, No Parity, 1 stop bits|
|Sample output rate (USB version)||1 sample/second|
|Cable Length||1.2 meters (4 ft)|
Soil Moisture Meter Operating Manual
To turn the unit on, press the center button.
To scroll up and down through the menu, use the up and down buttons.
To return to the previous menu without saving data, use the left button.
To return to the previous menu and save data, use the center button.
To modify data on a a data input screen use the up and down keys.
The meter has the following menu items available:
- ON TIME Set the number of minutes for the display to stay on before sleeping. Set to zero for always on.
- BACKLIGHT Turns on or off the display back light.
- BATERY Displays the current battery voltage.
- ORDER Adjust the display order of values. Select the value which you wish to move up or down by pressing the center key, and then use the up and down keys to move it up or down in the list.
- SHOW Show or disable the moisture level on the main screen.
- VWC/VOLTS Express the soil moisture reading in VWC (Volumetric Water Content) or in sensor Volts.
- SHOW Show or disable the light level on the main screen.
- SHOW Show or disable the temperature on the main screen.
- UNITS Express the temperature in Celsius or Fahrenheit.
- CALIBRATE Set an Celsius offset or multiplier to fine tune the temperature reading. Note that the calibration coefficents are in Celsius not Fahrenheit. There are two coefficents that you can adjust: a multiplier and an offset. The multiplier coefficent is factory set to 1.00. The offset coefficent, the second number which is preceeded with + is normally what you will use to adjust the temperature. We set this coefficent to an approximate temperature. To adjust it use the up and down keys, for each digit. For example, if the current temperature that is displayed on the meter is too high by 1C, then you should lower the coefficient by 1.
- SHOW Show or disable the current time on the main screen.
- SET TIME Set the current time.
- MILITARY Toggle between standard time(am/pm) and military time format.
- CALIB DRY Make sure the sensor is dry and that it isn't touching anything. Then press the center button.
- CALIB WET Fully insert the sensor probe into a container of water. Then press the center button.
USB Commands for USB enabled Soil Moisture Meter
A serial communications program must be used to access the translator. While thetranslator will work with most any serial communications program, we recommend Termite for Windows and only provide support for it. If you are having dificulties, get it working with termite first, then switch to your desired program.
When you plug a USB Comm device into your computer it will randomly assign a comm port number. To determine which comm port the device has been assigned to do the following:
- Open Windows device manager. This can be access through the control pannel.
- Plug in the USB device. You should see the device under the tree node labled: "Ports (COM & LPT)"
- When you un-plug the USB device, that device should disapear. You now know the correct comm number.
- Open the Termite Program.
- Push the "Setting" button on the too bar.
- Select the comm port that you determined from the steps above.
- Set the Baud Rate to 9600.
- Data bits should be 8.
- Stop bits should be 1.
- Parity should be none.
- Flow Control should be none.
- Under the "Transmitted Text" group box, select "Append CR".
- Select Okay to close the Settings box.
- The meter should now stream data to the terminal window.
When properly connected data will be displayed in the following format:
Moisture, VWC, light, %, time0,VWC,3,%, 27,C,12:18:03 P 0,VWC,3,%, 27,C,12:18:03 P 0,VWC,3,%, 26,C,12:18:04 P 0,VWC,3,%, 27,C,12:18:04 P Make sure that the meter is turned on, by pressing the center button, otherwise the data will not stream. For a volts reading via USB, use the keypad to put the unit in volts mode, as describe above.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
1. Do I have to insert the blade of the probe all the way into the soil?
Answer: You may have shallow pots where the blade will only partially be inserted. The meters are calibrated assuming that the blade is fully inserted, however, you can still take a reading even if the probe is only partially inserted into the soil. The soil moisture sensor takes an average reading over the length of the blade. As a rule of thumb, if you insert the blade only half way, then you will get approximately half the reading you would normally get, if you inserted it fully.
2. The meter is not measuring the soil temperature, what's wrong?
Answer: The meter measures the ambient air temperature, not soil temperature. There is no temperature sensor in the probe. The temperature sensor is in the hand held display.
How to Get Started with Digital Soil Moisture Meters
Vegetronix sells and ships these meters direct world wide. Use the red button above to make a purchase.