How to read a water meter in a hole in the yard.

We want to read our water meter** that is in a hole in the yard. It is too far to see with our eyesight. It is too close for our binoculars. Our digital camera will only pick up a circular reflection from the glass over the dials with the numbers. Any suggestions?

**we want to see which of two irrigation areas is using the most water and we cannot reasonably get the professionals to come out and read the meter three times in two hours.

magnifying glass?

This probably won’t help, but I would use my wireless closed-circuit camera. It sees in the dark. I would lower it down and leave it there, watching the results on the moniter. Remove it when you have gathered your info.

Thats all I got. :smack:

Something so simple I’m sure you’ve considered and rejected it for some reason, but I’ll mention it anyway: make the hole bigger. Or, if your camera lens accepts filters, a polarizer might get rid of the glass’s reflection.

I think my brother in law has one of those. I’ll try it.


[The meter is in a concrete pipe, digging a bigger hole won’t work. The magnifying glass I have doesn’t magnify enough. A different one might.]

try the binoculars standing up or slightly higher.

Is the flash on? Maybe turn it off. Or sometimes using the “movie” feature of the camera might give you enough “data” to read the numbers.

Movie feature is the closest we’ve gotten. It will pick up the numbers with a black background. Some have a white background.

Try a mirror on a stick.

Could you call the water company and ask them how they read the meter?

Meter is hooked up to some radio transmitter. The water company gets there readings remotely, somehow.

Any water in the hole over the dial?

If so, you need a glass bottom tube.

How far below the surface is the dial ?

Camera have a zoom lens?

Shine a flashlight on the dial and use the little yellow flower that is for macro and zoom in where the camera is only seeing the hole with the dial and make sure it focuses. Should get a usable result that way… Maybe.

This works on my Fuji camera. With & without the macro part. See which works best.

Do not use a wimpy flashlight.

I’m a certified irrigation auditor, you can get good information on measuring how much water you’re wasting just by googling water audit, the meter reading is irrelevant.