DIY Auto top off
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DIY Auto top off

This is a discussion on DIY Auto top off within the Saltwater Aquarium Equipment forums, part of the Beginner Saltwater Aquariums category; --> i made an automatic top off system using a mercury switch to a relay that activate a small powerhead that sits in a bucket ...

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Old 11-11-2010, 01:26 PM   #1
 
DIY Auto top off

i made an automatic top off system using a mercury switch to a relay that activate a small powerhead that sits in a bucket of ro water . I used it for 5 years without any issues then got tired of filling the bucket with water so.

On my new tank i redesign the mercury switch to activate a sprinkler head solenoid that i got from Home Depot to turn on the city water which then runs thru a ro/di/ then thru a DIY kalk reactorfrom there thru the walls and to the tank. been working for 5 years no problems. This is one of the best things i've ever made because i can go on vacation and never worry about evaporation of the tank and the stabality of the water is unbelieveable.

The beauty of the mercury switch is that it's nonmechanical and therefore cannot fail from jamming or never needs cleaning. it's easy to adjust too.

here's the switch in my sump that i made using a spice bottle and a magnet to adjust for water height.







going to the sprinkler solenoid that sits in the garage so i have no junk in the house.





then to my RO/DI that also is in the garage. You can also see the hole in the dry wall that has the water hose and control wires to the floating mercury switch in the sump..




from there to my DIY kalk reactor that automatically adds calcium and magnesium. This is also in the garage.








and finally to the back of the tank. The refill hose and control wires that then goes to the floating mercury switch in the sump under the stand.






Now i never have to topoff evaporated water. I also put a switch on the solenoid so i can make fresh RO/DI water for my salt mix.


Last edited by reefsahoy; 11-11-2010 at 01:35 PM..
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Old 11-11-2010, 01:39 PM   #2
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Looks very interesting.... I'm a little curious about your switch and kalk reactor, could you feed a junkie with a little more info :D
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Old 11-11-2010, 01:51 PM   #3
 
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Looks very interesting.... I'm a little curious about your switch and kalk reactor, could you feed a junkie with a little more info :D

I used a mercury switch and stuffed it into a plastic spice bottle surrounded by paper towels to level the switch. Sealed it water tight using silicone and used the wire as the level swing arm. I made it a long time ago (before dig cameras were cheap) so i don't have any pics of it being made, sorry.

I got the mercury switch from the old ac thermostat for the house when i replaced it with a digital thermostat.


Here's a better profile of the DIY kalk reactor showing the pump.

I basically bought stuff at home depot and the clear plexi at a local plexi shop cut to size. then i assembled it. Again, i made it before dig cameras were cheap but i figured a pic is worth a thousand words.





and a closeup of the pump section.





This kalk reactor is big enough for me to load it with kalkwasser and run it for a couple weeks without having to reload it. I also add magnesium to it when i go on vacations.
This reactor cost me maybe 20 bucks to make because i had construction going on around my hose with pvc being thrown out so i picked up what ever pieces i needed and bought the plexi for a couple bucks. I then went to depo and got what ever else was needed to complete the job. This design is awesome too because i can replace the pump in 5 mins easily with the quick disconnect i adapted to the side of the reactor.

Last edited by reefsahoy; 11-11-2010 at 01:58 PM..
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Old 11-11-2010, 02:13 PM   #4
 
forgot to mention when i was designing my sump i also incorporated a tab so i could install a emergency shutoff switch in case the water level rises too high. Here is a pic showing just that.




this switch has never activated. This ATO is so accurate that if 12 oz of water has evaporated the mercury switch will trip on the ro unit topping up the water. This is on a 100 gallon tank so the parameters are rock solid due to the accuracy of the ATO. I put a timer on the kalk reactor so the unit mixes inside the reactor only at night so my tank water doesn't get cloudy and the PH swings in not a problem.
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Old 11-11-2010, 02:17 PM   #5
 
sorry for the messy look. my wife gets on me about this too! lol

but at least the living room is clean. here's a old pic of my stand and all the equipment fits under it so there is no junk in the room to be seen



and in the sump area


Last edited by reefsahoy; 11-11-2010 at 02:20 PM..
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Old 11-11-2010, 11:57 PM   #6
 
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Wow

impresive setup...and all behind a wall...sweet...
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Old 11-12-2010, 07:54 AM   #7
 
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very cool... i wonder though does the mercury switch read a temp difference when free of the water and that is why it works or is there another principle at play here? i thin kit s a wonderful idea and as i have access to a bunch of old thermostats i may play with the idea.. i just want to understand how it works before i start to monkey with it...
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Old 11-12-2010, 01:40 PM   #8
 
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very cool... i wonder though does the mercury switch read a temp difference when free of the water and that is why it works or is there another principle at play here? i thin kit s a wonderful idea and as i have access to a bunch of old thermostats i may play with the idea.. i just want to understand how it works before i start to monkey with it...

no the mercury switch has nothing to do with temperature but is attached to the wire which is used as a swing arm. when the water in the sump is at the correct level the spice bottle floats high and the liquid mercury in the switch will break (turn off) the circuit and when the water level goes low the spice bottle floats low and the mercury will make the switch( turn on). I use a 24 volt supply for safety to the solenoid. I was also considering using an alarm magnetic switch at the time but ended up using this instead. There are lots of was to use available electronics for various things in this hobby. You just have to get creative!

Last edited by reefsahoy; 11-12-2010 at 01:44 PM..
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Old 11-12-2010, 07:59 PM   #9
 
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ohhhi get it now.. very cool thank you good sir!!!
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Old 11-12-2010, 08:20 PM   #10
 
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ohhhi get it now.. very cool thank you good sir!!!

No Prob. make sure you use low voltage because SW is rather conductive.
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