Sump Pump Well LED Level Indicator

Discussion in 'The Projects Forum' started by trailmixhawkeye, Jun 12, 2013.

  1. trailmixhawkeye

    Thread Starter New Member

    Jun 12, 2013
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    Wondering if someone can help me with building an inexpensive Sump Pump Well Level Indicator.

    I want it to run off of a 9v battery.

    I want it to have four LEDs. Green = Empty, lowest point in well, then three Yellow LEDs showing the various levels, and then a RED LED to show the highest level.

    ideally, would like to have an alarm buzzer if the level opens the Red led circuit.

    I found this on google but it seems to run on 6v ac and I want mine to be 9v dc.

    http://www.projectsjugaad.com/electronicscircuitsdiagram/Water-Level-Indicator-with-alarm-Melody-generator-for-greeting-cards-Brakelight-Flasher-Car-anti-theft-wireless-alarm.html


    I'm hoping someone can help me out and guide me to how to build and get parts, etc.

    I can solder and can follow instructions but do not know schematics fluently.
     
  2. trailmixhawkeye

    Thread Starter New Member

    Jun 12, 2013
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    The reason I want one of these is my sump pump well is a sealed one so if I want to know if it has any water in it I have to open it up which requires removing 6 screws. It is a PITA as I have to move stuff out of the way, etc. I know I am being lazy but should be a simple project I think.

    I'd just like to have something hanging above it with a level indicator by LEDs. quick and simple using water level to close the various level circuits.
     
  3. wayneh

    Expert

    Sep 9, 2010
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    I think a LM3915 "VU meter" would be perfect for the display. The question is how to feed it a voltage that is proportional to level.

    I assume your sump pump has a float to activate the switch. Maybe you could use that somehow.

    Are you sure about the 9V battery? It won't last all that long, which sort of defeats the purpose of anything dealing with a sump pump.
     
  4. KMoffett

    AAC Fanatic!

    Dec 19, 2007
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    The circuit you linked to is powered by 6VDC, not 6VAC. With proportionally changing some resistor values, it would work on 9VDC. If that circuit is powered continuously the electrodes that are continuously submerged will corrode due to electrolysis. However, if it is only powered when you want to check the level, i.e. press-to-test, that will not be a problem. This, however this will not allow for an unattended alarm. I would use that circuit for the water 4 levels. I would add another circuit with two electrodes at the alarm water level point. Though "powered" this circuit would not draw any current until the alarm level was reached.

    Ken
     
  5. trailmixhawkeye

    Thread Starter New Member

    Jun 12, 2013
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    Thanks for the replies... few questions.

    1. If it is powered all of the time, ie. 6VDC, how does one avoid the electrolysis? Or is that not a possibility?

    2. Per that design what do I use to power it with 6VDC? Some sort of AC to DC transformer?

    3. Given the link I posted does the full circuit need in modifications in order to add a buzzer to it?

    3. Where is the best place to buy these electrical items to build this design?
     
  6. KMoffett

    AAC Fanatic!

    Dec 19, 2007
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    1. Use AC drive with stainless steel electrodes. That would be a different circuit.
    2. Yes
    3. The circuit you posted has a buzzer.
    3. (#2 ;) ) Mouser, Jameco, Radio Shack...

    Ken
     
  7. trailmixhawkeye

    Thread Starter New Member

    Jun 12, 2013
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    Where would one get stainless steel electrodes?
     
  8. trailmixhawkeye

    Thread Starter New Member

    Jun 12, 2013
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    Also, does the 6VDC Plug In AC Adapter need to have a millamp rating too or any 6vdc will work?
     
  9. Dodgydave

    Distinguished Member

    Jun 22, 2012
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    Here is a good level detector circuit i have built in the past.

    Or this one circuit uses a 0-9 display
     
    Last edited: Jun 13, 2013
  10. KMoffett

    AAC Fanatic!

    Dec 19, 2007
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    That one also would suffer from electrolytic corrosion of the electrodes due to the high DC drive current on continuously submerged electrodes.

    Welding shops

    The most current will be drawn when the buzzer is on. I would say any 6VDC wall wart with a current rating of 200mA or more.

    Ken
     
    Last edited: Jun 13, 2013
  11. gerty

    AAC Fanatic!

    Aug 30, 2007
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    I built one years ago using a stainless TIG welding rod. They are about 3 ' long 1/8"dia and I cut one up to meet my needs.
     
  12. KMoffett

    AAC Fanatic!

    Dec 19, 2007
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    This a version of a circuit I've used in the past. It uses AC drive on the electrodes to prevent corrosion. It has 6 levels, but you can reduce the configuration to meet your needs. Note that the LEDs are high brightness types that require only 2mA to get a bright output.

    Ken
     
  13. Externet

    AAC Fanatic!

    Nov 29, 2005
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    Any project needs details disclosed to be able to suggest best options for it.

    If you have room in the well to fit a PVC pipe all the way down, five of these could be nested inside at the desired spacing and each will signal a LED or buzzer at the surface, with no corrosion problems.

    http://i00.i.aliimg.com/photo/v0/405215382/Mini_Float_Switch_plastic_type_.jpg

    They are sealed reed type, with a sliding magnet float collar.
    A supplier:
    http://www.deeterelectronicsinc.com...es-vertical-liquid-level-sensors-float-switch
     
    Last edited: Jun 13, 2013
  14. wayneh

    Expert

    Sep 9, 2010
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    An "electrode" can be any piece of stainless steel. Your local hardware store will have a selection of stainless steel hardware that you might consider. I'm wondering if stainless wire rope might not be the cheapest form you can get.

    But you might also want to think about other detection methods. For instance, there is this, and I recall a thread in this forum that discussed a sort of "tape" that generated a variable signal based on pressure I think. I guess any pressure sensor in the bottom of the sump hole would tell you how much depth you have.
     
    Last edited: Jun 13, 2013
  15. gerty

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    Aug 30, 2007
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    This is by far the easiest to impliment. Each switch can turn on its own led.
     
  16. crutschow

    Expert

    Mar 14, 2008
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    Just because it's stainless steel doesn't mean it can't corrode by electrolysis as noted here. Better to use carbon electrodes such as these, or perhaps copper with AC excitation.
     
  17. wayneh

    Expert

    Sep 9, 2010
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    Yeah, I think fouling by lime scale and other goodies in sump water are far more trouble than corrosion. Think bio-slime. The electrodes could be solid gold bars but they still wouldn't work if they're buried in a layer of goo.
     
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