Oil tank Level sensor?

Discussion in 'The Projects Forum' started by mpooley, Mar 3, 2010.

  1. mpooley

    Thread Starter Active Member

    Mar 3, 2010
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    Hi all
    I am new to this forum, Have not done any electronics for 30years so I am a bit out of date lol

    I am hoping to make an accurate sensor to record my Home heating oil tank levels on a daily basis to my PC.
    I am a competent programmer and I think I can make the connection to the pc ok.

    What I need help on is the oil level sensor and the wifi send and receive circuits.

    can any one help me ? pleeese lol

    Mike:confused:
     
  2. R!f@@

    AAC Fanatic!

    Apr 2, 2009
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    Im speechless.....
     
  3. mpooley

    Thread Starter Active Member

    Mar 3, 2010
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    why?
    I am only asking for some pointers or ideas?

    is this not the place to ask?
     
  4. nsaspook

    AAC Fanatic!

    Aug 27, 2009
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    Maybe you can get some ideas and info about sensors here. http://www.automatedsonix.com/level_sensors.htm
     
  5. R!f@@

    AAC Fanatic!

    Apr 2, 2009
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    Of course this is the place to ask.
    I was wondering why you didn't do your homework ;)
     
  6. Duane P Wetick

    Active Member

    Apr 23, 2009
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    Nowadays, the most reliable devices for non-contact fuel level sensing are the ultrasonic devices with analog DC outputs. The output can be put into your computer via a signal conditioner;( B&B Electronics.)

    Cheers, DPW [ Everything has limitations...and I hate limitations.]
     
  7. mpooley

    Thread Starter Active Member

    Mar 3, 2010
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    I have looked at loads of sites but was hoping for opinions about the best things to try as I am so out of date but if this forum is not for helping out people such as me then

    forget it and sorry i wasted your time.:mad:
     
  8. R!f@@

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    cool it buddy, I just point out that you haven't' had touch with electronics for 30 years,
    and now you are trying to interface a circuit to a PC.
    This is not just a DIY type of thing, and you should at least learn about the sensors and transducer amplifiers data sheets so that you can refresh your memory.
    Then after that it's really simple.
    and of course I am always glad to help.
    My post intentions were definitely not to discourage you or insult you, but I was just asking that what you have recently learned in electronics.
     
  9. beenthere

    Retired Moderator

    Apr 20, 2004
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    No waste of time.

    Some of this could get down to how much extra crud you have to hang on or in the oil tank. Beside the ultrasonic measurement, you can place a tee on the outlet pipe and use a pressure transducer to signal the quantity of oil remaining. That solution would require three shielded wires and a source of 12 volts.
     
  10. R!f@@

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    Apr 2, 2009
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    @beenthere.
    Is it safe to put anything electronic into an oil tank, I mean we donno what type of OP is talking about.?
     
  11. mpooley

    Thread Starter Active Member

    Mar 3, 2010
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    Thanks That sounds like a good idea i'll have to try and find a pressure transducer.:)

    its totally outside the oil tank too which @beenthere referred to.

    Mike
     
  12. SgtWookie

    Expert

    Jul 17, 2007
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    A pressure transducer could be a really nice solution if your oil tank is a vertical cylinder, square, or perfectly rectangular.

    It's been years since I've seen an oil tank, but those I've seen were either horizontal cylinders, or rectangular with round tops/bottoms. If your tank has dimensions that change from top to bottom, the sensor will have a very non-linear output.

    While you might compensate somewhat for that non-linearity in software, the resolution could be a problem.

    One way to avoid that situation entirely would be to weigh the entire tank, and subtract the weight of the empty tank from the total weight to get the weight of the fuel. Kerosene weighs roughly 6lbs per gallon. Oil ranges somewhere between 6.5lbs to maybe 8lbs/gallon, depending on the grade.

    Then the problem becomes the cost of transducers in that weight range. However, measuring by weight would eliminate any linearity problems if the tank were not a symmetrical design.
     
  13. mpooley

    Thread Starter Active Member

    Mar 3, 2010
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    Thanks fortunately my tank is rectangular.
     
  14. SgtWookie

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    Good that your tank is rectangular.

    When you install the transducer in the oil line, try to get it as close as possible to the level of the bottom of the tank; otherwise you will sacrifice a good bit of resolution.

    For example, were the tank 1 foot tall from top to bottom, and you installed the transducer in a tee 1 foot below the bottom of the tank, you would lose 1/2 of the resolution of the transducer.
     
  15. mpooley

    Thread Starter Active Member

    Mar 3, 2010
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    ah thanks
    Tank is 4ft high and i would try to get a Tee at the tank outlet just past the valve.
     
  16. BillB3857

    Senior Member

    Feb 28, 2009
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    Many automobiles have a brush type electric motor in the fuel tank to pump fuel to the engine. The flow of fuel around the motor keeps it cool. Hard to ignite gasoline from under the surface. Vapor on top, however, ignites very easily. Fuel oil is much harder to ignite than gasoline.
     
  17. beenthere

    Retired Moderator

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    And a pressure transducer teed into the outlet line is hardly in the tank.
     
  18. SgtWookie

    Expert

    Jul 17, 2007
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    Now that I've thought about it some more, I've seen transducers installed something like this:

    [​IMG]

    That way the transducer is flush with the tank bottom, and no resolution is lost. Besides, the transducer is out from under the tank; if there are any minor oil drips, they won't get on the transducer connections.
     
  19. retched

    AAC Fanatic!

    Dec 5, 2009
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    The most accurate for the money is Sgt. Wookies idea. Keeping the transducer level with the bottom (empty mark) of the tank will allow for good resolution with nary a worry about temperature offsets. The tank is vented so as temperature changes, the atmospheric pressure in the non sealed tank won't change.

    A heaping serving of hot glue to seal up the transducer will help from sloppy service folk ruining your sensor.
     
  20. mpooley

    Thread Starter Active Member

    Mar 3, 2010
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    Thanks everyone:)

    I think I shall go with this idea.

    all i need now is either a cheap commercial transducer or some ideas on how to make one with an analog output.

    can I just buy a cheap pressure transducer and glue it into a pipe somehow?

    sorry if that is a really stupid idea, it certainly sounds like it lol but i thought i'd ask.

    Mike
     
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