Product Review:
Tree Green – Christmas Tree Water Level Indicator and Alarm

By Jeff Mucha
November 29, 2003

Right out of the box the Tree Green Ornament is packed with value and features. This is a brand new product for the 2003 season. This is a device that makes one wonder why something like it wasn't available before. The concept is simple:  You don't want to climb under the tree to find out how much water is in the reservoir; instead this ornament will constantly update you. This is useful for knowing when to fill and how much to add.

Manufactured by Soltronix LLC, the molded plastic housing is in the shape of a star or snowflake and contains a small circuit board that plays sound and flashes 3 colors. From the circuit board stems a green cord that is approximately 5 feet long. The cord ends in another circuit board that has level sensors.

The Tree Green Ornament comes with the following items:

   1. Tree Green Ornament with tethered sensor board
   2. Two green mounting tacks
   3. High tensile strength green hanging thread
   4. Two CR2032 coin sized Batteries
   5. Instruction sheet
   6. Reusable packaging

Steps to Setup the Tree Green Ornament:

   1. Connect the green thread to the Tree Green Ornament.
   2. Insert the batteries into the Tree Green Ornament.
   3. Fill the tree reservoir to 3/4 full.
   4. Insert the level sensor into reservoir with the black markings facing away from the tree.
   5. Take the mounting tacks and attach the sensor to the stump.
   6. Pull the Ornament up through the center of the tree to the desired location
   7. Hang the thread on a branch.

Inserting the Batteries:

The two coin cell batteries are very easy to insert, going right into the back of the unit. Tree Green runs on 6 volts, each CR2032 battery is a three-volt lithium cell often found in cameras. They can be purchased at just about any grocery or retail store.
Taking the batteries out is harder than putting them in, it requires a good finger nail or butter knife. When using a metal object such as a knife, make sure not to short out the batteries, as it will reduce their life. The batteries must be removed at the end of the season. When the Tree Green Ornament first has its batteries installed, it takes readings really fast (approximately every 1.5 seconds) in a "Test Mode" for about 4 minutes.  After that, it enters a "Normal Mode", where it displays readings more slowly (approximately every 3 seconds) as to save on battery power.  Also during normal mode, to prevent false measurements, the unit checks for water ripple during a 15 minute period between water level transitions.



Mounting the Sensor:

Installing the tree green is about as hard as climbing under the tree to water it, but the time you save by installing it will be well worth it. When the tree is fresh, it drinks water real fast. Allowing a drinking tree to go dry will cause the bottom to sap over to the point where it doesn't drink, and a non-drinking tree will start dropping it's needles in around a week and could potentially be a fire hazard. When first setting up a tree, make sure that you get the stump into water as soon as possible. After the bottom is sawed off, it is a race against the clock before the bottom saps over.

Use the little green square tacks provided to mount the sensor to the Tree. The water reservoir should be filled to about 3/4 full when installing the sensor. What the sensor thinks is full should be less water than what is completely full for the tree's water reservoir. When filling water, if the sound goes off you want to stop pouring but you want to give yourself a little bit of extra room because pouring can't be stopped instantly. The Tree Green Ornament is pretty good at playing the sound when it's sensor reaches full, but depending on how the reservoir is being refilled, you probably want some room for some extra water.


Hanging the Ornament:

With the sensor mounted to the stump, take the Ornament and thread it up the center of the tree as to keep the cord out of sight. Hang it on a sturdy branch and position it in a desirable manner. The Tree Green Ornament is now installed.


Other Comments:

The spokesperson for the Tree Green Ornament said the way the Tree Green Ornament operates is a result of two years of thorough testing and development. The way the Tree Green monitors the water level and displays the result has to take into consideration the life of the battery, catching the user when watering is needed, all while being affordable and novel.

The day before this page was written, a freshly cut Christmas tree was installed in my living room. The Tree Green Ornament was installed and left with a full water reservoir overnight. The next morning the Ornament was flashing Yellow Red. I got about a quart of water, poured it into the reservoir and the Tree Green played the sound.

Closing Summary:

With the Tree Green Ornament priced under 20 dollars, it is a relatively affordable high tech holiday novelty. It provides useful features while still looking elegant on the tree. If it’s appearance does not fit your theme, it can be hidden in the branches or on the back of the tree. While it solves the problem of providing an indication of the water level, filling the reservoir still requires that you get under the tree to add water unless you have another method such as a funnel and hose. In my opinion, I think the Tree Green is great. I love waking up in the morning and seeing exactly how much water the tree drank the during the night.

Media Gallery:

Tree Full Sound File
This is the sound in .wav format that the Tree Green makes when the sensor detects that the water level is full.
"Oh Christmas Tree" Sound File
This is the sound in .wav format that the Tree Green makes when it is time to add water to the reservoir.
Filling the Tree Movie
Divx 5 Format (800k)
Divx 5 Format Small (300k)
CinePak Format Small (800k)
This movie shows Tree Green in action playing a sound when the water level is full.

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The author of this page is not responsible for any damages caused by someone following the procedures listed above.
This page is presented for entertainment purposes only. All claims are made from experience and are not necessarily fact.
Various trademarks on items are the property of their respective owners.
Send comments or corrections to: Jeff Mucha

©2003 Jeff Mucha. All Rights Reserved.