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Thread: Level indicator

  1. #11
    nhengineer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by garage nut View Post
    If you really want to make a project of it you could use an Arduino controller and an ultrasonic sensor and then the shy is the limit. With the appropriate shield it could even send you warnings to your phone.

    Ultrasonic Range Detector Using Arduino and the SR04 Ultrasonic Sensor: 5 Steps
    That one is interesting for sure Mr. Nut but it's a bit above my Arduino awareness level right now.

  2. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Don42 View Post
    Your solution would work, but anything that can leak eventually will and cleaning up a spill in a muddy basement would be a nightmare -- and if you don't clean it up the stink will be unpleasant. I was once on a technical advisory board for oil heat research. A saying in the industry is: "oil stinks, gas explodes".

    Another solution that could not cause an oil spill would be to use an ultrasonic sensor looking from the top to sense the level of the oil in the tank. Such sensors are available very inexpensively, e.g., $2.99 at
    https://tinyurl.com/y7zwej58.

    You would need some additional electronics, though, and a simple power supply -- which could be just some AA batteries. Perhaps you know of an "electron" near you that would enjoy helping you with this. If you lived near me, I love little projects like this -- but I'm in MN. BTW, at 74, schlepping up and down the cellar stairs is good for you unless you have disabilities or the creaky stairs are dangerous for you. At 76, I no longer zoom up and down the stairs like a horny teenager about to miss a phone call, but I do eventually get there. Did two loads of laundry today -- 4 trips up and down. Changed my sheets today. It ain't Easter yet but I don't like to wait until the last minute, ya know...
    That one would work slick Don and, at $3, I'm ready to try it. I do have, however, a few questions.

    #1. The hole in the top of the tank is about 1.6" diameter. The supplier doesn't give the size of the unit. I guess I'd need to buy one on speculation to find out if it would fit through the opening.

    #2. In my ignorance, I'm just a little bit concerned about ultrasound bouncing off the side of the steel tank and giving false readings (not that that dumb float on a twisted strip of beer can isn't also giving false readings).

    #3. What would I use to measure the time between ultrasonic outgo and input? Can you give me a link?

    #4. What would I use to convert that to distance? Can you give me a link?

    #5. What would I do to convert the information in #4 to a visual signal? Can you give me a link?

    Regarding my cellar stairs, they are even older than I am and it's only a matter of time before they just collapse but, of course, the same can be said for me.

  3. #13
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    Not sure if it has been mentioned yet but a simple go no go device would be to use a flat float with a wooden dowel mounted vertically a couple of stripes painted on the dowel indicating high and low would do the trick for being able to view the marks without having to go down in the basement could be done with a light and mirrors adjusted so you could see the stick from the top of the stairs. If there is a pathway to the tank by walking there is an optical path which can be directed to be seen use a very small light aimed at the stick and the first mirror will direct a beam to the rest of the mirrors the cost would be next to nothing, and not dependent on any quirky electronics
    Never try to tell me it can't be done
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  4. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by nhengineer View Post
    That one would work slick Don and, at $3, I'm ready to try it. I do have, however, a few questions.

    #1. The hole in the top of the tank is about 1.6" diameter. The supplier doesn't give the size of the unit. I guess I'd need to buy one on speculation to find out if it would fit through the opening.

    #2. In my ignorance, I'm just a little bit concerned about ultrasound bouncing off the side of the steel tank and giving false readings (not that that dumb float on a twisted strip of beer can isn't also giving false readings).

    #3. What would I use to measure the time between ultrasonic outgo and input? Can you give me a link?

    #4. What would I use to convert that to distance? Can you give me a link?

    #5. What would I do to convert the information in #4 to a visual signal? Can you give me a link?

    Regarding my cellar stairs, they are even older than I am and it's only a matter of time before they just collapse but, of course, the same can be said for me.
    Don, I found one on eBay for $1 with free shipping. How can they do that?
    https://www.ebay.com/itm/1-Ultrasoni...8AAOSw7z1aOcPd

  5. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sleykin View Post
    Or a magnet on a doughnut shaped float around a tube with magnetic reed switches at different depths that would light an LED for you.
    Good suggestion, Sleykin. Any idea where I'd get a doughnut shaped float to fit through a 1.6" diameter hole?

  6. #16
    mklotz mklotz's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by nhengineer View Post
    Good suggestion, Sleykin. Any idea where I'd get a doughnut shaped float to fit through a 1.6" diameter hole?
    It need'nt be toroidal.

    1.5" diameter wooden cylinder (closet rod?) bored to fit over the tube? Shellac the wood to prevent it becoming waterlogged.
    ---
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  7. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by mklotz View Post
    It needn't be toroidal. 1.5" diameter wooden cylinder (closet rod?) bored to fit over the tube? Shellac the wood to prevent it becoming waterlogged.
    Do you mean to have the magnet attached to the wooden cylinder that is acting as a float? How would I attach the reed switches to the rod?

  8. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by nhengineer View Post
    Do you mean to have the magnet attached to the wooden cylinder that is acting as a float? How would I attach the reed switches to the rod?
    I would use a thin-walled plastic tube and cement the reed switches inside it. Plastic caps cemented on the ends of the tube would keep liquid off the switches and provide constraint to keep the wooden cylinder on the tube. The magnets could be cemented into holes drilled in the wooden float.
    ---
    Regards, Marv


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  9. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by nhengineer View Post
    Good suggestion, Sleykin. Any idea where I'd get a doughnut shaped float to fit through a 1.6" diameter hole?
    As Marv said, about any float that isn't eaten by oil will work fine. I have lots of different magnets that would work fine. You would want something on the bottom of the tube to keep the float from falling off the end if the level got too low and also so the float won't drop below the last reed switch. The reed switches would be normal open switches. One switch at 1/2 full and another at 1/4 full. The one at 1/4 full would be the bottom of the plastic or copper tube and would stay lit until the tank is filled. The circuit would be a simple 3 wire 2 AA batteries would operate it just fine. So, all you would need are 2 reed switches, 2 LEDs, the float and magnets and a tube and some wire. I was thinking 3/8" tube would be ideal and the float would not have to be a large diameter. Do you have a lathe or drill press? You could easily make a float out of anything floaty

  10. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by nhengineer View Post
    That one would work slick Don and, at $3, I'm ready to try it. I do have, however, a few questions.

    #1. The hole in the top of the tank is about 1.6" diameter. The supplier doesn't give the size of the unit. I guess I'd need to buy one on speculation to find out if it would fit through the opening.

    #2. In my ignorance, I'm just a little bit concerned about ultrasound bouncing off the side of the steel tank and giving false readings (not that that dumb float on a twisted strip of beer can isn't also giving false readings).

    #3. What would I use to measure the time between ultrasonic outgo and input? Can you give me a link?

    #4. What would I use to convert that to distance? Can you give me a link?

    #5. What would I do to convert the information in #4 to a visual signal? Can you give me a link?

    Regarding my cellar stairs, they are even older than I am and it's only a matter of time before they just collapse but, of course, the same can be said for me.
    #1 If both eyes fit in the hole the entire board would not need to fit.

    #2 The ultra sonic beams are focused pretty tight. Would not be an issue.

    #3,4,&5 You would need some circuitry to generate pulses to the one input and a decoder to read the time spaces on the output. It could possibly be done with a 555 IC and then something on the output to differentiate the waveforms and measure the time between pulse replies. You could also do it with a simple push button switch to pulse the input and then something to measure the time from the switch push to the return pulse in microseconds. It could be done with analog circuits, but from the website "We recommend the NewPing library to use this sensor with your Arduino or compatible." it is intended to be used with a microprocessor and IO interface. Unless you have something like an early RADAR background, you will need to learn some electronics and math to make it work analog. To make it work right you will need to learn to speak to an Arduino.
    I was a Nav Comm tech for the FAA for 35 years and retired 10 years ago. I have let the industry pass me by. I think I could build a circuit to work with this ultra sonic device, but I would have to dust off my slide rule

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