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Last Updated On:  Wednesday June 02, 2021



Latest Technical Challenge           Previous Circuits Solutions           Circuit Solutions in Progress

Snow Depth Alarm (7/18/2006)


Challenge:

Design a system that would alert a snowplow driver when the snow depth has exceeded four inches.

 Solution:

I chose an optical approach.  A visible red LED packaged in a 10mm package is pulsed at a rate of about 50Hz with 10uS pulses.  Twenty four inches away a phototransistor detects the light from the LED.  The LED and the phototransistor are housed in a section of inch PVC pipe, forming a waterproof seal.  A piece of PVC plastic covers both the LED and the phototransistor, so snow does not fall directly onto the parts.  At a depth of 4 inches, the snow accumulates to a point, where the light path between the light source and emitter are blocked.  The blocked light path will activate an alarm, placed inside the house.  A rest button on the electronics box can turn off the alarm.  Snow is then cleared off the depth sensor, making it ready for another monitoring cycle.


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