James, I really like all the YosemiTech sensors I’ve used, and I’ve facilitated the purchase of approximately ~150 or more for various organizations. The Y511 turbidity sensor with wiper is the most common we use, and everyone is very satisfied with it.
I’ve been working with a water utility, and after doing a careful comparison with their other commercial sensors, they decided to purchase an additional 60 sensors for YosemiTech.
To answer your specific questions:
- Yes, YosemiTech sensors have equivalent data quality to the major brands of commercial water quality sensors.
- Get the sensor with the wiper, always for long-term deployment. I would only get the one without a wiper if I were building “hand meter” sensor system for spot checking.
- The Modular Sensors code on the Mayfly turn off power to sensors between measurement intervals (to save power). The YosemiTech sensors with wipers all spin the wiper each time it is powered on, and I suspect the YSI does the same. You can reconfigure the wiring and the code to do this differently if you want. Brushes definitely require more power, but it is very important to do regularly. That said, I have no problem deploying a YosemiTech turbidity sensor with a 2 W solar panel and a 4400 mAh battery and taking measurements every 15 minutes.
- The DIY Modbus-Mayfly_WingShield costs about US$ 35 in parts and ~1 hour to solder together. The new manufacturable version by @neilh20 costs a bit more than that but no labor (see https://www.envirodiy.org/topic/testing-ttl-rs485-adapters/#post-15553).