Campbell Scientific CS120A: Atmospheric Visibility Sensor

The CS120A uses tried-and-tested, infrared forward-scatter technology, and it uses the proven 42° scatter angle to report meteorological observable range (MOR) for fog and snow in the range of 5 to 75,000 m (16.4 to 246,063 ft). It combines a high specification with a very competitive price. The CS120A is ideal for stand-alone applications or in combination with automatic weather stations in road, aviation, solar-energy, and wind-energy environments.  For aviation applications, users can be assured that the CS120A complies with CAA and ICAO guidance and meets or exceeds all recommendations and specifications. (This includes CAP437, CAP670, and CAP746.) The CS120A is certified by Deutscher Wetterdienst as suitable for use to control wind turbine obstruction light systems as specified by 506/04, General Administrative Rules for the Identification of Aircraft Obstructions.

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Benefits and Features

  • High performance sensor at a competitive price
  • Sensor design minimizes airflow disruption at measurement volume
  • Incorporates automatic dew and hood heaters for all-weather operation
  • Simple field calibration using optional calibration kit
  • Low power - suitable for remote application
  • Automatic status check for faults or window contamination
CS120A: Atmospheric Visibility Sensor
Maximum Reported Visibility 75 km (46.6 mi)
Minimum Reported Visibility 5 m (16.4 ft)
  • ±8% at < 600 m (< 1968.5 ft)
  • ±10% at 600 to 10,000 m (1968.5 to 32,808.4 ft)
  • ±15% at 10,000 to 15,000 m (32,808.4 to 49,212.6 ft)
  • ±20% at 10,000 to 75,000 m (32,808.4 to 246,063 ft)
Resolution 1 m (3.3 ft)
Mounting Stainless-steel V-bolt bracket that attaches to a pole with a 32 to 52.5 mm (1.25 to 2 in.) outer diameter
Electronics Supply Voltage 7 to 30 Vdc
Total Unit Power < 3 W while sampling continuously (including dew heaters)
Standards Frangible masts are available to customer requirements to meet ICAO recommendations (typically placing the sample volume at 2.5 m [8.2 ft]).
Sensor Dimensions 540 x 640 x 246 mm (21.26 x 25.2 x 9.7 in.) including mount
Sensor Weight ~3 kg (6.6 lb) depending on mounting system


LED Center Wavelength 850 nm
LED Spectral Bandwidth ±35 nm
Light Pulse Rate 1 kHz


Operating Temperature Range -25° to +60°C (standard)
Extended Operating Temperature Range -40° to +70°C (This extended version is available as a special. Contact Campbell Scientific for more information.)
Operating Humidity Range 0 to 100%
Sensor Sealing Rated to IP66
Wind Speed Up to 60 m s-1
Sensor Heater Threshold
  • < 35°C (dew heater on)
  • > 40°C (dew heater off)
  • < 5°C (hood heater on)
  • > 15°C (hood heater off)

DSP & Dew Heaters

Power 2 x 0.6 W (total of 1.4 W) for dew heater
Typical Current Consumption @ 12 Vdc
  • 200 mA (continuous sampling, dew heaters active)
  • 110 mA (continuous sampling, dew heaters disabled)
  • 21 mA (no sampling, dew heaters disabled)
  • 200 mA (dew heaters active, RS-232 communications)

Hood Heater

Supply Voltage 23 V dc or ac
Power 2 x 30 W (total of 60 W)


Serial Interface RS-232 or RS-485, 8 bit data bytes, 1 stop bit
Serial Data Rates 1200 to 115,200 bps (38,400 bps default rate)


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