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Enabling better global research outcomes in soil, plant & environmental monitoring.


The MiniTrase uses Time Domain Reflectometry (TDR) to instantaneously measure the volumetric water content of soils and other moist media. A variety of connectors and waveguides for depth measurements ranging from 15 cm to 70 cm are available, and can be used in a portable manner or permanently installed for periodic moisture monitoring. The volumetric moisture content is displayed on the Android tablet, and the graph of the TDR pulse can also be tagged for identification and stored for later viewing and analysis on the tablet or PC. All stored data can be transferred either by syncing the tablet to your PC, or via an RS-232 port connection from the MiniTrase to the PC. The MiniTrase unit is designed for rugged field use and is environmentally sealed to prevent damage to sensitive electronic components.


Trase is the only self-contained TDR instrument capable of investigating and monitoring not only soils, but a wide variety of other materials as well. It is fully field portable, and when you need to leave it at a remote site for several days or weeks, it can be accessed from home or office. On site, Trase quickly measures the dielectric and subsequent moisture properties of soil, seeds, or other materials at a specific location, or, with the optional Trase Multiplexer, at up to 256 locations. Trase automatically logs your sensors at intervals ranging from once a minute to once a day. Using diverse waveguide configurations and associated conversion tables, Trase rapidly measures new or unusual materials. (Soilmoisture can supply these non-standard TDR tools or you can develop your own). Your ability to make a measurement using Trase is limited only by your imagination and creativity.


Trase is future-proof. It’s the only TDR instrument constructed with an open system architecture. There are five (5) STD bus expansion slots and you can choose from plug-in options like the 4 MB add-on Memory Board, the Multiplexer Control Board, or any of the other boards and equipment listed in the Trase Accessories Brochure. And because we’re serious about meeting your future needs, we’re continuously developing new options and capabilities for Trase hardware, firmware, and software.


Trase gives you the most complete, detailed information possible about your TDR measurement. More than just a number on a screen, it provides a complete measurement log conformable to “formality of operation” practices. Three primary screen functions (Measure, Data, and Graph) provide immediate ease of operation. The Data Screen function for instance (see illustration), provides access to over 4,000 graphs or waveforms or 120,000 readings in a typical system configured with the optional 4 MB Memory Board. All memory allocations are user configurable into four dynamic storage areas. Help for all functions is as close as the on-line help button. You can work quickly and with confidence, knowing the detailed information you require is there and available when you need it.

The MiniTrase has proven reliability around the world in harsh environments, such as tropical and arid climates under constant use. “Plug and play” STD BUS architecture, plus a wide selection of waveguides and standard and customisable lookup tables. Carry it on your shoulder or use the optional backpack accessory. Aluminium waterproof case, indicator lights, “quick change” batteries and optional multiplexing; this CE device is ready for work!

The new MiniTrase retains all of the superior capabilities that made our Trase System I a valued instrument, but now features: significantly reduced weight, size and cost. MiniTrase provides the largest signal pulse of any standard commercial TDR instrumentation used in soils or dielectric measurements. This means you get a return reflection from waveguide end points buried deep in wet, salty conditions. MiniTrase uses the proven step pulse methodology that is the expected standard for TDR measurements, a fact that is appreciated and acknowledged by discerning scientists worldwide.

With 1,200 point sampling resolution, 5,000 reading capacity and user-friendly operations, there is simply no better piece of equipment on the market than the new MiniTrase. With the largest selection of inexpensive waveguides available, the user can measure large areas at multiple sites and multiple depths at the lowest possible cost per site or area covered.

MiniTrase is small and lightweight an can be used in the field or lab. Power comes from NiCad quick charge, easy to change NiCad battery.

The new MiniTrase Kit consists of the MiniTrase, a standard waveguide connector, a buriable waveguide, Android tablet, Makita battery plus all the necessary cables, chargers, and software to use and download data to your PC. Optional accessory items are the backpack for easier portability, multiplexing card and multiplexing accessories, plus a variety of different waveguides.


Trase utilises the principle of TDR in order to convert the travel time of a high frequency, electromagnetic pulse into volumetric water content. In practice Trase generates a fast-rise pulse and sends it at the speed of light down a transmission line consisting of two parallel Waveguides that are inserted or buried in the soil. The velocity of propagation of the high frequency, broad band 3GHz wave in soil is determined primarily by the water content. The wave is reflected from the open ends of the Waveguides and returns along the original path. By microprocessor, the travel time of the wave is used to directly calculate the dielectric constant of the soil. The actual TDR wave form is displayed on the high resolution graphic LCD display for storage and interpretation. The actual time delay and correlated volumetric water content are also digitally displayed on screen.

Trase uses the latest technology of instrumentation specifically designed to give research scientists, commercial growers, and consultants the power and flexibility to measure and log water relationships of soils and other materials by fast, accurate, easy to use TDR methods. The convenient full featured push button ease of use, and the large graphic display of the TDR waveform, is made possible by a new, very sophisticated and powerful SMT hybrid step pulser and new modular software programs. Trase has been engineered to meet your current and future needs, and has the capability to accept new software and hardware offered by Soilmoisture Equipment Corp.

Some applications include:

  • A viable method for determining soil water content in uniformly wet soils.
  • Detecting and monitoring the progression of wetting front advance through a soil.
  • Irrigation soil moisture analysis
Measuring Range: 0-100% volumetric moisture content
Measuring Accuracy: ±2% full scale or better with the standard waveguide connector
Operating Temperatures: 0 to +45°C
Power Supply: One each NiCad battery, supplied. Total capacity: 1.7 amp hr. Recharge time, internal charges up to 12 hours, optional external charger 35-40 minutes.
Auxiliary power input 18 volt DC, 2.2 Amp AC Power Adapter for independent operation.
External battery input, 12 volts DC minimum, for independent operation.
Connecting Ports: BNC Port – For waveguide connection
DB-9 Serial Port – For data transfer
DB-15 Multiplexer Port – for multiplexing
Power Port – 8-pin DIN
Bluetooth (Antenna) serial data
MiniTrase Memory: Standard 256 Kb memory with storage capacity greater than 180 graphs/ 5,610 readings.
Optional 4 MB memory board increases storage to greater than 3,900 graphs 122,880 readings.
Automatic data tagging with time and date plus user definable Tag field. 0-100% volumetric moisture content
MiniTrase Electronic Particulars: Measuring pulse amplitude 1.6 volt peak
Sampling resolution, 10 picoseconds
Hardware – 5-slot card cage: 3 system boards, 1 optional slot (for optional expanded memory), and multiplexing board

Van Leeuwen, C., Tregoat, O., Chone, X., Bois, B., Pernet, D., & Gaudillere, J. P. (2009). Vine Water Status is a Key Factor in Grape Ripening and Vintage Quality for Red Bordeaux Wine. How can it be assessed for vineyard management purposes? Journal of International Science Vigne Vin, 121-134. PDF

Van Leeuwen, C., Tregoat, O., Chone, X., Gaudillere, J. P., & Pernet, D. (2008). Different environmental conditions, different results: the role of controlled environmental stress on grape quality potential and the way to monitor it. Proceedings of the 13th Australian Wine Industry Technical Conference, 39-46. PDF