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Riffle: an Open Source Water Monitoring Approach

25,532 views | Last edited by stevie about 2 years ago | #10000

The Riffle is a collection of designs that take an open source approach to water monitoring, with the intent of making gathering water information easier and more accessible. It is part of Public Lab's Open Water Project.

For an overview of the design philosophy behind the Riffle, and what constraints and uses it was aimed at, see this wiki page.

Public Lab has supported development of an Arduino-compatible Riffle version - a datalogger enclosed in a water bottle. This is great, because the Arduino community is huge, and lots of knowledge and troubleshooting resources are now applicable to the Riffle project. (The first Riffle design was an ARM-based datalogger board enclosed in PVC)

Riffle Water Monitor Designs

By now, several instrument designs have been constructed around the Riffle, some of which of are described in an array of Github repositories:

Sensor Designs

We've started to summarize some of the approaches to sensing water parameters like conductivity and turbidity:

Activity grid

Here are some activities the Public Lab community has conducted using the Riffle

Add an activity  or request an activity guide you don't see listed

Activities should include a materials list, costs and a step-by-step guide to construction with photos. Learn what makes a good activity here.

Project Status

2017: A second small order of Riffle_328 boards was shipped on May 30th, and is on its way to the Public Lab kits department in Portland, Oregon. From there it will be sent to Public Lab community members who ordered them. The Riffle was available for pre-order until March 17.

2016: A small order of Riffle_328 boards arrived late April 2016, and were sent to Public Lab community members as a way of testing the design and informing further development.

Projects using this riffle can be found at and

How to get a Riffle Datalogger

The Riffle is open source, so if Public Lab is not currently offering it for sale, anyone can take the designs above to a PCB fabricator and have one made, copy and remix the design, or investigate other dataloggers.

Riffle Alternatives

The following dataloggers also have a real time clock and log to a micro SD card as the Riffle does. All of them are based on Arduino and will run more or less the same sketches. These are all open source hardware.

  1. EnviroDIY Mayfly Logger. Designed at the Stroud Water Research Center and commercially available through Amazon but currently out of stock (as of Feb 2017).
  2. Adafruit Feather M0 and Adalogger FeatherWing RTC + SD Add-on. These are two commercial products which snap together.
  3. Cave Pearl Project logger. Ed Mallon's design for a DIY data logger made from very inexpensive clone components (Arduino Pro Mini, SD card board, RTC board). Requires soldering and care.
  4. see more open source data loggers collected on the Data Logging page


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All updates related to the Riffle

Title Author Updated Likes
Willow Creek Water Quality Monitoring @MadTinker about 2 years ago
How do I install a bootloader on a Riffle data logger? @warren about 2 years ago
data loggers for PH ? @MadTinker about 2 years ago
What would be a good basic activity to test out a data logging device in water? @stevie over 2 years ago
What are the differences between the Nano Data Logger and the Riffle? @warren over 2 years ago
What are some lessons learned using the Riffle? (Especially Underwater) @pdhixenbaugh over 2 years ago
How to use Alkaline Batteries with the Riffle? @pdhixenbaugh over 2 years ago
A Sensor Journalist’s Story @mlamadrid over 2 years ago
The Riffle: DIY and Open Source @mlamadrid over 2 years ago
Blink a LED - Write a 'Sketch' and build a breadboard circuit for the Riffle @pdhixenbaugh almost 3 years ago
Riffle and Thermsistor @pdhixenbaugh almost 3 years ago
Testing Riffle Documentation - 1wire @pdhixenbaugh almost 3 years ago
Organizing the Riffle Area @pdhixenbaugh almost 3 years ago
Draft Meta-Riffle Part 2: All about pins @pdhixenbaugh about 3 years ago
Particle Electron @kinasmith about 3 years ago
Riffle Device: Water Conductivity Sensor @rebeccah about 3 years ago
Planning for a new Riffle conductivity circuit @pdhixenbaugh about 3 years ago
More Riffle Data - Voltage droppin slowly @pdhixenbaugh about 3 years ago
Remixing Kina and Don's Code - low power temperature logging @pdhixenbaugh about 3 years ago
Riffle Beta project - Methane Gas Sensor @Bob over 3 years ago
In the heat of the pile @cfastie over 3 years ago
*FIXED* Riffle SD card Power Consumption @kinasmith over 3 years ago
Compost is hot, says Riffle @cfastie over 3 years ago
Riffle Power Consumption @kinasmith over 3 years ago
One way of using the RTC Alarms to schedule logging on the Riffle @kinasmith over 3 years ago
Soaring Riffle @cfastie over 3 years ago
Getting Started with the Riffle Beta Test @ddileona over 3 years ago
Riffle campout @cfastie over 3 years ago
Frozen Riffle? @cfastie over 3 years ago
Riffle test data @cfastie over 3 years ago
Riffle first experience @ggallant over 3 years ago
Riffle test 1 @cfastie over 3 years ago
TTL Serial JPEG Cameras + microcontrollers @donblair over 3 years ago
Nalgene submarine @cfastie over 3 years ago
Riffle conductivity caps and other housing ideas @mathew over 3 years ago
Environmental Data Comedy workshop at Middlebury College @kanarinka over 3 years ago
Riffle 0.1.1 Debugging @donblair over 3 years ago
Riffle testing @tonyc over 3 years ago
Conductivity Sensing: Open Questions @donblair over 3 years ago
Riffle CT (Conductivity & Temp) Beta Design: Electronics, Enclosure, Probes, Data Collection @donblair almost 4 years ago
Riffle Beta Release: Feature Freeze this Friday! (12/11) @donblair almost 4 years ago
Random Bits: Atmel Low Power Libraries & RTC wakeup @donblair almost 4 years ago
Turbidity Notes: Absorption Spectrum of Liquid Water @donblair almost 4 years ago
Riffle Beta Release: Feature Requests / Review? @donblair almost 4 years ago
Riffle: one-sided pcb w/ breakaway mounting tabs @donblair almost 4 years ago
Turbidity sensor prototype @donblair almost 4 years ago
Riffle Water Bottle Enclosure: rubber stopper w/hole + silicone sealant: > 8 weeks! @donblair almost 4 years ago
Using a Cellular Modem to post directly to the web & track location @donblair almost 4 years ago
Monongahela Monitoring Marathon - Part I @donblair almost 4 years ago
Suratá Visible -- Part I @donblair almost 4 years ago
Mounting rig for the Riffle @tonyc almost 4 years ago
buoy for water sensor @DavidMack about 4 years ago
Rubba Stoppaz @donblair about 4 years ago
More dock data! @lperovich about 4 years ago
Riffle: sensor board approach @donblair about 4 years ago
Riffle Datalogger: quick development snapshot @donblair about 4 years ago
Dock Test Data! @lperovich about 4 years ago
Dock Test! @donblair about 4 years ago
Turbidity 001 @donblair about 4 years ago
in search of floating spheres... @lperovich about 4 years ago
Frac Sand Tools for Action Event! @stevie about 4 years ago
Riffle-328p version 0.96 :) @donblair over 4 years ago
sensors in soda bottles @mathew over 4 years ago
sketching a waterproof pop bottle sensor system @mathew over 4 years ago
Riffle & Coqui Development Plan @donblair over 4 years ago
The Water Hackathon Report @stevie almost 5 years ago
Riffle-ito Rhapsody: More Data Auralization/Sonification @lilybui almost 5 years ago
Talk science to me - Kenny and Don audtion for Public Lab TV @laurenrae almost 5 years ago
Don explains the theory behind the depth sensor for the Riffle @laurenrae almost 5 years ago
Riffing on the Riffle: the youtube files @eustatic almost 5 years ago
WATER HACKATHON SERIES #2: THE RIFFLE TRAINING @eustatic almost 5 years ago
WATER HACKATHON SERIES #1: BRAINSTORM SESSION @eustatic almost 5 years ago
Calibrating Arduino-based conductivity meter @markwh almost 5 years ago
Visualizing Riffle-ito data @lilybui almost 5 years ago
Coqui BBv1.0 @donblair almost 5 years ago
LEAFFEST 2014 accounting @cfastie about 5 years ago
Air Quality Indoors and in Tent at LEAFFEST 2014 @cversek about 5 years ago
Coqui draft board design on Upverter @warren about 5 years ago
How much are Coqui measurements affected by hot/cold water? @warren about 5 years ago
MapKnitter Annotations: Riffle Data as Map Annotations @justinmanley about 5 years ago
EPA's Advanced Monitoring Tech Demo Day @donblair about 5 years ago
Kayak Deployment on 8/7/2014 @walkerjeffd about 5 years ago
RIffle-ito and Thermistor Deployment @donblair about 5 years ago
First Riffle Deployment: City of Cambridge Water Department @donblair about 5 years ago
Accessible procedure for calibrating conductivity measurements? @donblair about 5 years ago
Water quality instrumentation quality gottchas @neilh20 about 5 years ago
Riffleito-TH @donblair about 5 years ago
Recap: Open Water Workshop, 7/12/14 @donblair about 5 years ago
"Underwater LEDz" -- first test @donblair over 5 years ago
Riffle dev: 'Closer to Conductivity: Measuring 555 Oscillations with an Arduino' @donblair over 5 years ago
Riffle dev: 'Fun w/ Five-Five-Fives' @donblair over 5 years ago
RIFFLE: Confronting Confusing Corrosion Condundrums @donblair over 5 years ago
Strembot @flint over 5 years ago
SNOWFEST the Movie @cfastie over 5 years ago
The Blair House Project @lauradietz over 5 years ago
The RIFFLE Effect: Public Lab's New Pilot Water Monitoring Sensor Tool @lilybui over 5 years ago
Show more

Related Questions

Since the Riffle is Arduino-compatible, here are also some Q&A for Arduinos in general:

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The Riffle is also a part of a larger area on data logging. Here are some Q&A asked more generally:

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