Anyone made an arduino ATO?
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Old 12-30-2014, 06:57 AM   #1
shift
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Anyone made an arduino ATO?


I'm looking at designing a tiny auto top off for a fluval edge. Has anyone done this? I don't want big float switches visible which is why I want to do it digitally. If you have made one please share your tips!

My biggest concern is having failsafes to prevent overflowing the tank
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Old 12-30-2014, 02:10 PM   #2
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Hey, I haven't built one but I saw one where a guy used an ultrasonic range sensor mounted on top of the tank. It would activate the water when the tank is low and stops when it's high. You need one accurate enough for centimeters.

I guess if the range finder were to malfunction, it wouldn't activate the water in the first place?
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Old 12-30-2014, 02:30 PM   #3
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I'm working on one as an addition to my raspberry pi aquarium controller.

I have one of these:

Amazon.com: Water Level Sensor Depth of Detection Water Sensor for Arduino: Computers & Accessories Amazon.com: Water Level Sensor Depth of Detection Water Sensor for Arduino: Computers & Accessories

But there are better, more expensive, units available, that I've considered... like this

http://www.adafruit.com/products/463

I like that this has measurements on it as well, to help you place it correctly. But for $40 I'd rather stick to other one for the time being.

Personally, for our applications I'd use two as a fail safe. Take measurements from both and compare the results to ensure they're not reading wrong/malfunctioning.

For water proofing the electronics, I'd probably use hot glue or clear silicone.

I also have two float switches that I was going to put in series. one normally off, one normally on. so if the normally on one gets switched off it means that the water level is too high in the sump and breaks the signal. I feel like the analog set up would be easier and less prone to issues. It just doesn't look as good.
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Old 12-30-2014, 04:51 PM   #4
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I 100% want a fail safe is overflowing (and destroying the laminate) is my biggest worry. I converted one of my nanos into a reef tank (first salty!) so this is what im building it for.. the tank is a fulval edge with a small opening on top so i'm avoiding anything bulky that would take away from the astetics.

ReefFloat makes a fluval edge however its very pricey by the time you ship it and convert it from pounds > http://www.reefloat.com/atu2-pro-auto-top-up.html

They use just an optical sensor.. so they must have all kinds of logic in the code to only work if its within a specific range for a fail safe.


I ordered an optical sensor and a few different float switches to play with.





I'm thinking if you only tell it to top off when the water is within a small range (min max).. a cm or two. then when you change the water it should be to far out of range and not fill.. alternatively as a saftey if it was to fall off it should get a reading out of the "fill range".

Could also set it up to say pump for 5 seconds stop - re-check - then on.
another thought, is making it take multiple readings and comparing them over 3-5 seconds to account for water turbulence giving a false reading
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Old 12-30-2014, 06:00 PM   #5
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i like the idea of multiple reading comparison as well as not filling if the water is too far away. That should protect you in case your tank springs a leak and your ATO keeps trying to fill a leaking tank.

I hadn't thought of that possibility.

I'm going to take a look at that IR sensor as well. My concern with that is it getting dirty from splashed water or water and throwing it off.
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Old 12-30-2014, 06:05 PM   #6
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Default Anyone made an arduino ATO?

I think taking readings over a 5 second period should account for waves and splashes. Alternatively could uses a second or different type of sensor as a backup incase 1 buggers up

I have all then ones above on order..now I'm just waiting on the mail fairy to bring me gifts
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Old 12-30-2014, 11:42 PM   #7
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I'm in the middle of implementing this.

I did a system in the past with just using 1 float switch, and the arduino would control the ATO pump. It worked, but was pretty basic.

In my setup I'm working on now, there is a float switch that looks like this (and I spray painted it black):



Which I put as a backup, at about 1/2" higher than the highest point that I want the water level. If the float switch hits water it turns off my ATO pump no matter what.

I have 2 ultrasonic sensors, one in the tank, one in the reservoir. I've played around with the ultrasonic sensors on my bench, but haven't tested them with water yet, but I've seen other setups where people say they work pretty well. The ultrasonic sensors will trigger the arduino to add water after it senses low water for like 10 minutes straight to avoid erratic behavior, and turns the pump on for minimum 5 seconds.

From my initial tests, I found that the ultrasonic sensors were pretty accurate from about 4 inches to ~2 feet, but closer or farther they lose accuracy.

I also found that you can use the same "trigger" for both sensors, and then collect each "bounce" separately, so 2 ultrasonic sensors only use up 3 digital pins instead of 4. I collect a measurement every second, and average 3 measurements together for a rolling average.

My ATO pump is a bilge pump from a boat with its own float switch, so when the reservoir runs out of water the arduino will keep telling the pump to turn on but it won't. The arduino will alert me if the pump has been on for more than 5 minutes straight without the water level increasing.
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Old 12-30-2014, 11:48 PM   #8
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I combined an ATO into my arduino controller but only have a single float switch to watch the water level. I'm using the Tunze ATO pump so I just measured how long it takes to return 1cm worth of water in my display tank and I have my controller flag an alarm if it runs for longer than that time. It also waits for the water level to read low for an hour straight so it doesn't run too often.

If the switch fails, the controller still won't flood everything since it will turn off after a short time. And if I see that it's flagged the alarm I know I need to look into why. This has been working for a few months now with no problem.
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Old 12-31-2014, 03:30 AM   #9
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Just a thought... if you want the ultimate failsafe you could install some sort of overflow directly to a drain. In the event the tank ever hit that water height it dumps it in the drain.

Only issue is this being salt you might get flooded with freshwater though so I dunno. Worth a thougt.
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Old 12-31-2014, 05:57 PM   #10
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If I had one close enough I would! I guess I could put a little notch as a low spot on the back of the tank and feed a tube down to a bucket... Wouldn't be pretty but would work if you could have it all hidden
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Old 01-03-2015, 02:17 AM   #11
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Rather Than top offs I may just try doing daily mini water changes
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Old 01-03-2015, 05:13 AM   #12
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i am going to order one of those for my arduino build eventually there are quite cheep compare to many others but i would not use without a safety float... For my arduino built :

http://www.aliexpress.com/item/ESM-P...025235530.html

there this too already built.

http://www.aliexpress.com/item/Free-...042805134.html
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Old 01-03-2015, 04:13 PM   #13
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The already built one? Is one sensor a high and a low. Or 2 as a fails safe?

Ideally you would want 2 different sensors as a fail safe
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Old 01-03-2015, 06:09 PM   #14
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I think is low and high but not sure it doesn't say.
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Old 01-05-2015, 04:14 AM   #15
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Does anyone know of a micro sizes float valve? All the ones I find have big bobber floats
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