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A pyranometer, a device that measures sunlight intensity

  1. Apr 5, 2006 #1
    I am to use a pyranometer, a device that measures sunlight intensity. I am confused about the output unit it produces. It says on it's side [itex]
    4.55 \cdot V/\left( {W \cdot m^{ - 2} } \right) [/itex] but I'm not sure how to interpret this unit. All help will be appreciated...
  2. jcsd
  3. Apr 5, 2006 #2


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    It appears to output Volts, if it reads 1 V out you have 4.55 [itex] \frac W {m^2} [/itex]

    If you could post the name and model number perhaps we could give better information.
  4. Apr 5, 2006 #3


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    That's exactly what it is doing. That's your scale factor for calibration. You should have a calibration curve with the instrument. If it's relatively linear, then it's easy to display what you are reading. If it's not linear the manufacturer would supply a curve fit for the cal interval.
  5. Apr 6, 2006 #4
    Thanks. The number wasn't quite correct though. It is 4.55 µV instead of V. My logging software measures mV and when I tested it on a semi-overcast day it read about 0.02 mV which results in a value of 0.02 mV/4.55 µV = 4.39 W/m2, which doesn't make sense. The number should be much higher, despite the fact that the sky is overcast. One uses 7-800 W/m2 as an estimated maximum for direct sunlight, so 4.39 is ridiculously low. Any idea why? Or am I doing something completely wrong?
    Last edited: Apr 6, 2006
  6. Apr 6, 2006 #5


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    Perhaps on a voltage that low, your acquisition might not be capable to measure that low of a voltage. Perhaps you need some signal conditioning prior to the readout.
  7. Apr 6, 2006 #6


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    That doesn't seem rediculously low to me. Our perception of light intensity is not linear, so it doesn't seem at all unreasonable for the intensity of a cloudy day to be 1/200th of direct sunlight.
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