Automate Fountain Water Level


This isn't much of an automation project, but I recently used this Nine Dollar Float Switch to keep my fountain filled to a specified level recently.

I wired in the float switch in series with a power supply for my sprinkler controller and plumbed in a valve to a water supply (which was near the fountain) so that valve will turn on when the float gets low, and thus turn off when the float is at its upper travel limit.

Here is a picture (below) of the fountain and the float (the base mount of the float goes in the bottom rear of the fountain (inside that cover) so it is hidden from view).

I am thinking about getting the float level to my Ocelot/Secu16 and have my fountain (controlled via an appliance module) turn off if the water never fills to its level. I am also thinking about monitoring the valve itself and have it turn off if it is on for longer than a minute (overfill). I would do this via an appliance module on the 24 volt wall wart powering the valve.

Like I said, not much of an automation project, but thought I would post this anyways. :D



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Not much of an automation project? This is an excellent project. I have a couple of questions. Is the float switch a n/o style switch when at proper level and when it floats down it closes the circuit? Did you use a 24V sprinkler valve? The supply line, is it a water hose, PVC pipe, small plastic tube?
Hehe, thanks Rupp. Here are some more details:

I already had an existing typical sprinkler valve for a drip system to water plants and trees in my back yard. This valve (bottom one on the picture below) was installed about 40 feet from where the fountain is located. This was very handy because it meant that a water supply line was available close to the fountain.

I installed another sprinkler valve (the top one in the picture) by "tee-ing" into the existing 3/4" PVC supply line (if you live in Las Vegas you know how to do sprinkler system plumbing and accessories). The valve is 24 volt operated and is controlled by a typical "24 volt" sprinkler controller.

I used a flexible "drip" plastic hose (I believe 3/8" diameter) to run between the valve and the fountain. Before I could hook it into the valve though, I had to purchase a pressure reducer and adapter (all in line with the valve's exit port on the right). This is because the "drip" line wants to see a lot lower pressure than the supply line. All of this is available at Home Depot here in Las Vegas and is very cheap (just a few bucks for the adapter and the valve was around twelve dollars).

I already had a multi-conductor cable with spare conductors running from the valve box to my sprinkler controller (located in my garage). So all I had to do was connect the "supply" power for the controller to two wires which went to the valve box. I then connected one wire of the supply line to the valve. The other wire of the valve went to one wire of the float switch. The other wire of the float switch then went to the second power supply line.

The float switch is normally open which means when the float went to the bottom of its travel position it "closed" the circuit, thus creating a complete path for the 24 volt to go to the sprinkler valve (thus opening the valve). When the water was at the top of the float switch travel, the float switch "opened" thus causing the valve (and water supply) to turn off.

If for some reason you needed a normally "closed" float switch (opposite of what I described) you can just reverse the float switch mechanism with an easy removable clip.

If you need anymore details or schematic as always, just ask.




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Just some more quick thoughts. I believe to have the Ocelot/SECU16 "read" the valve/float switch state you would need a 24 volt coil relay, connect it to the switch supply line, and then have the contact closures of the relay go to the SECU16.

You could also do something like have the switched 24 volt control signal (from the Ocelot) control a 24 volt wall wart plugged into an appliance module but you wouldn't have a "direct" connection from the float switch to the valve.

I haven't thought about this much because I don't know if the effort is worth having this monitor.
Have you had any problem with the float jamming or getting crudded up? I get leaves and other junk in my birdbath on a daily basis.