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DESIGN AND CALIBRATION OF THE UNILATERAL SENSITIVE SOIL MOISTURE

SENSOR
ABSTRACT

Reliable and affordable moisture sensors with a simplified calibration process for
obtaining the water content information of soil/soilless substrates were limited. In this paper, an
unilateral sensitive capacitive soil moisture sensor, based on the improved ECH2O sensor probe
structure, was presented. Through simulating the relationship between the ratio of plate space
and plate width (a/b) and probe sensitivity, sensitive depth respectively, the size of the sensor
was determined with ANSYS firstly. Capacitance measurement circuit based on resonant
principle was then designed. The relationship between the output of the sensor and the soil water
content calibration model ( parameter model), was investigated. As a result, we proposed a twostep calibration method. Experimental results showed that parameter model appropriately
described the relationship between the output and the soil water content, the minimum
correlation coefficient R2=0.9554 in the soil, peat, perlite, vinegar residue. The measurement
error of parameter model was less than 0.025 units except in perlite. The error caused by the
change of bulk density was less than 0.025 units in peat and vinegar residue. Therefore, the twostep calibration method is suitable for calibrating the sensor.