101 Industrial Blvd Turners Falls MA 01376 +1 (413) 863-0200 sales@yesinc.com

Model TPC-3000 Total Precipitation Collector

General Description

Designed for fully automatic remote operation, the Model TPC-3000 Total Precipitation Collector consists of a collection vessel, a motor-operated lid and a precipitation sensor. The collection vessel is normally kept covered by the lid during periods of non-precipitation. The user periodically visits the system to recover the precipitation sample for off site lab analysis. A next-generation, CPU-managed precipitation sensor produces the open/closed decision that controls the motor-gearbox assembly.

Often the earliest phases of a precipitation event contain the highest concentrations, and this historical lack of sensitivity has biased sampling. The precipitation sensor represents a major improvement over older technology where the earliest light precipitation events are often missed.

An Infrared Data Association® (IrDA) data port permits interaction with the system to view recent operational event history on a Palm handheld. The TPC-3000 is also expandable, accommodating up to two additional slave systems for multiple chemical assays such as Mercury deposition.


State-of-the-art completely automated precipitation detection and collection

Integrates with a variety of rain gauges

Modular design is lightweight and portable, compatible with legacy sampler mounts

Customer-supplied 12 Vdc battery or 100-250 Vac line power 

Solar Power System option 

Supports operation of large networks


Atmospheric deposition at remote sites

Acid rain and global climate change research

Input for precipitation forecast models

Chemical/Bio agent research

Validation of remote sensing platforms


TPC-3000 (shown on optional stand)

OptiGrid Optical + Grid Sensor

The TPC uses a sophisticated dual technology precipitation sensor that sets it apart from other precipitation collectors. A dual beam, near IR optical sensor, uses synchronous detection to detect precipitation. A second, heated dual grid sensor detects very light precipitation events and also logically qualifies the optical sensor output. This way, spiders and insects cannot fool the optical sensor.

OptiGrid Precipitation Sensor

Distributed Data Collection

Managing a network of precipitation collectors represents a formidable data management and quality control task. Network quality control operations are greatly simplified via TPC data management tools. Collector and rain gauge history can be collected via telephone modems or via IrDA-equipped Palm™ handheld devices that users physically carry to locations with Internet data connectivity back to the central network site.

TPC-3000 with lid closed

TPC-3000 with lid open

Development History

The TPC-3000 was developed in partnership with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and incorporates many features suggested by National Atmospheric Deposition Program (NADP) personnel. Problems such as splash and expandability were carefully considered and rectified. Common operational problems solved included lid freeze-down, motor and precipitation sensor failures, and poor sensitivity to precipitation under windy or very light precipitation conditions.

Model TPC-3000 – front view

Model TPC-3000 – side view


Mechanical Interface – dimensions in inches (cm). Shown with optional stand.


Power Required

Customer supplied 12Vdc battery, input 11-15 Vdc @3.1A (max), 2-12W heater configuration, 80mA (typ) w/o heaters or motor operating; 1 mA disconnected. Average power depends on duty cycle and heater configuration. Inputs protected from polarity reversal, surges, & over-voltage conditions.  100-250 Vac line charges battery. Solar Power System option available (SPS).


38 lbs ( 17 kg) without optional stand battery or collection bucket


Aluminum, 304 stainless steel, bronze and UV resistant plastics

Operating range

+45 to -35° C (YES recommends burying DC standby battery underground).

Analog input

Tipping bucket rain gauge switch contact;
linear 0-5 Vdc rain gauge

Digital output

Wired: RS-232, 9600 baud 8-N-1 9 pin serial D;
and 0-5Vdc TTL "lid state" output
Wireless: IrDA, (via supplied TPC Manager software)