I just wanted to share a project I recently work on in case it is helpful to others that may want to do this. The first part is some sensors that will tell me how high the water is in my sump crock. I thought and searched for ways to monitor the precise water level. These methods or sensors were either overly complicated or expensive. I decided to go the simple route and just use float switches.
The switches that I used are not the big floats like you would have controlling your sump pump, but rather small ones. (see image below) These were obtained on eBay for about $3.50 each. Purchase here on Amazon or example on ebay I decided that for the size of the crock, I wanted to have three switches at different levels. I ended up putting them at appx. 4, 8, and 12 inches from the bottom. In retrospect, maybe just two switches would have been just fine — One at just below the level of the sump float switch and one slightly above to indicates that the sump pump was not keeping up.
The next issue was how to mount them. I didn’t want any metal in the assembly that would just end up corroding. Another goal was that I wanted the height of the individual switches to be adjustable. I took a trip to the hardware store to take a look around and went straight to the PVC plumbing section. I didn’t see anything perfect for my application. I ended up using a 1/2 inch PVC pipe and a few elbows. The elbows were attached with cable ties so that I could still adjust the hight of them if I wanted.
If it didn’t want to be able to adjust these at some point later, I would have just used tees instead of the elbows and cable ties.
I have a HomeVision controller that I use for all of my hardware interfaces. I attached these three switches to three of the input on this.
The next part of the water detection that I wanted was leak detection. There are some very sensitive inputs on the HomeVision that are perfect for this. I just ran a wire to each of the locations that I wanted to detect. I had come across a very small pc board called a leaf wetness sensor that I have seen others use in conjunction with DS10As. These are from a site/company called hobby boards. I soldered a couple of wires to these boards and put an RJ11 phone connector on the other end. I don’t know how long these boards will last and just wanted a quick way to replace them.
I created a virtual device for all of these detectors. I created one more device that was the overall status of the sump. It has various values that will correspond to the height of the water. You can see four sections on the graphic. The very top one indicates that it has overflown onto the surrounding floor and is being picked up by the leak detector.
I created an HSTouch display for water detection. Here is a shot of that part of the display…
As you can see I just had a leak detected this morning. The drain for the water softener is right next to the water heater and it had some small spillage that I need to look into. I have a section on here for the cycle time. This is the period between the sump pump turning on. It helps me gauge the amount of water coming into my crock. I also graph this. I will get into how I am doing the graph in a future post. You will also notice a section on this display for the water softener salt level. I will describe this in another post.