Probe for Windows: Quick Guide

A quick guide to using the CPN 503DR Neutron Probe with Probe for Windows software.

Download Quick Guide in MS.Word format.
Download Neutron Probe Field Guidein MS.Word format - instructions for operators that can be laminated and left in orange box.

Taking measurements with the 503DR Neutron Probe

Aluminium tubes are installed in 100mm dia holes drilled in the soil, typically with 3 tubes in each irrigation management unit.

Each of the tubes will have the same site number, and the readings from the three tubes will be averaged.

The neutron probe is taken from site-site, where the site number is entered, and readings taken and recorded in the neutron probe.

Clearing old readings stored in the neutron probe

At the beginning of each day, after the readings has been uploaded and posted, the neutron probe needs formatting to clear old readings.

Press keyRead
ENTERREADYwake up the probe
FMTREC 662662 is the number of tubes that can be recorded
ENTERDPTHS=8confirming 0 keydata items
ENTERSET FMT?confirming 8 depths
ENTERREC 662set format, space for 662 tubes
ENTERREADYback to 'Ready' mode

Taking readings in the field

The site number should be written on each tube.

Place the neutron probe on top of the aluminium access tube.
Carefully lower the detector to the last stop on the cable.

Press keyRead
ENTERREADYwake up the probe
123KDATA=0enter the site number
STARTCOUNT 8starting a count...
M8 15123count at this depth = 15123
lift the cable to the next stop
and then go to START
ENTERDATA OK?at the top of the tube...
if data is ok press enter
ENTERREADYfinished - go to next tube

These steps assume that you are not entering any keydata items, and (if your are using a pre-1998 503DR) that the date and time that the readings were taken will be entered as the readings are posted.
(The new TDR model probes (1999->) record the date and time automatically.)

Uploading to the PC

After readings have been taken they need uploading to a post file on the PC.

See Uploading for configuring uploading.

The readings will be uploaded and put in a post file called (for example) 12JUN09.PST where '12 June 2009' is todays date.

When uploading is finished you will be taken to Post Readings.

Post readings

You can also get here with ProbeMenu/PostReadings.

The readings should already be in the post file.

Use <edit> to examine the readings to see if there are any errors.


Line 1 is the header line, followed by 16 calibration lines - these lines should not normally need to be changed.

Each of the following lines corresponds to a tube.
The first number in the line ( e.g. 203) is the site number, and if that has been wrongly entered in the field it can be changed before posting.
If you do make any changes the file must be saved (FileMenu/Save) before exiting (FileMenu/Exit).

Prwin will always pause at the first site for you to confirm the date
This is because older probes did not record the date/time

Pause will pause at each site so that you can change the dwu, and also enter any rainfall or irrigation amounts that have been recorded.

You can now look at the readings or graphs to see the new values.

Post Irrigations and Rainfalls

Use ProbeMenu/IrrigationsAndRainfalls to post any rainfalls or irrigations that have occurred so that Prwin can keep track of the water balance.

Gains can be posted to all sites; sites on a farm; or sites in a group.
You can set pause at each site, and then simply <skip> sites that were not irrigated or did not receive rainfall.

Viewing the readings

Use SitesMenu/Show to see a list of all sites, together with the current state of the site and the predicted irrigation dates. The list can be sorted (SitesMenu/Sort) by site name, irrigation date, farm number, or any other item. Use the Farm drop-down at the top of screen to show sites on a single farm.

Use <ReadingsMenu/Show> to see all the readings on a site throughout the season.

Use GraphMenu/Show to see depth, time or both graphs.

Print text report

Use FileMenu/Export to print a text report

Print Graph report

To print a graph report use FileMenu/PrintGraphReport.

Create new season

This needs to be done once only at the beginning of each season.
To create a new season use SeasonMenu/Edit, and then <New>.

Check the season number (default = '2005', where 2005 is the current year) and the name of a data file (default = 2005DATA.MDB).
In subsequent seasons, select copy existing season, plus full and refill points, from a previous season to save having to re-create the sites.

Click <Save> and then <Close.

Choose the new season in the list of seasons and click <Sites>.

Use SitesMenu/New to create the new sites

Create sites

Each site is an irrigation monitoring unit and will normally have 3 aluminium tubes and needs a different site number.
All other details about a site (depths of readings, root zones, etc) will be copied either from a template site, or from the last site created.