Auto shut-off power to main pump

RandyL

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I’m looking to protect my main recirculating pump in case the water level falls too low in the sump. The controller I’ve been using finally gave up the ghost.

I’m looking for something relatively inexpensive and reliable that will shut off the power to the main pump if the water level in the sump falls too low. The current design is a float switch connected to a relay that’s outside the sump. If the water level falls too low, the float causes the relay to open, cutting power to the main pump (and other items sitting in the sump).

I’ll admit that I’ve never actually had an emergency where the switch needed to cut the power (knock on wood it won’t happen), but I’d sleep better knowing I had some protection there.

Thanks in advance!
 
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RandyL

RandyL

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Yes, I do have an ATO setup and it’s been running well for many years. It’s actually hooked in to the same shutoff controller.
 
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RandyL

RandyL

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The concern is primarily to protect the equipment in the sump and the main pump should the sump lose water. Perhaps I worry needlessly about that (after all, it hasn’t happened in over 10 years of running). The ATO won’t run out of water since it comes straight out of the RO/DI unit, which is connected to the water mains.
 

VintageReefer

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I guess what I’m trying to understand, to better help, is what would cause the sump to lose water?

First guess was evaporation and no ato. But you have a ato with seemingly unlimited water

Second guess, sump leak?
 
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RandyL

RandyL

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I guess what I’m trying to understand, to better help, is what would cause the sump to lose water?

First guess was evaporation and no ato. But you have a ato with seemingly unlimited water

Second guess, sump leak?
Yes, basically. It’s just insurance against a significant loss of water so that I don’t lose any of the equipment, like my rather large and expensive main pump.
 

VintageReefer

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I bought this and it gives me 4 wireless sensors that detect 1/16” of water below them or water coming in contact with the top of it

Edit forgot link

 
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homer1475

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The only problem with a setup like this.......

Water level drops, shuts off pump. Water then drains down from the plumbing and what bit siphons back from the tank. This then fills the sump making the float raise, kicking the pump back on until the water level drops again. Endless cycle, until the problem is fixed.

I have an reef octopus varios that came with a similar setup(just a float switch to shut the pump off if the water level drops to low), This exact scenario happened one day till the pump shut off, and on so many times it burnt out the pump.
 

n2585722

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If all you want is pump shutoff for water level or a leak a Hydros XS starter kit would give you a wifi power strip controlled by the Hydros XS controller and the XS controller has 4 sense ports which can be used by water level sensors and leak detectors and other devices. It comes with a temp sensor which in this case is not needed but if you don't have other uses for the port you can use it as a secondary temp sensor and send an alert if the temp gets out of the range setup for that input. You can always add to it later on if you decide you want more control on your tank later on by adding another controller and creating a collective. The only issue is MESH networks can be an issue when trying to get communication to work between the controller and the wifi power strips. Also some routers will stop communication between devices on the network since they see them as a security risk. This can also cause an issue but usually can be fixed by settings in the router.
 

Sisterlimonpot

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The only problem with a setup like this.......

Water level drops, shuts off pump. Water then drains down from the plumbing and what bit siphons back from the tank. This then fills the sump making the float raise, kicking the pump back on until the water level drops again. Endless cycle, until the problem is fixed.
This is my concern as well. With a simple relay and water level switch.

Although the cycling on and off will alert you to the problem. If that's what you want, outside of cycling the pump on and off, it will work.

It's tough to do this electromechanically, you'll need some delay that would hold the pump off.

The downside to this is that if you keep all your heaters in the sump and you're not cycling water from the sump then you run into other issue.

I like @VintageReefer implication to where you focus more on what would cause that issue and address that.

If the ATO runs dry, alert and shut off return pump. If a leak alert and shut off pump.

I think those are better options than using a low water level sensor that is directly turning off the pump.
 
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RandyL

RandyL

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I guess what I’m trying to understand, to better help, is what would cause the sump to lose water?

First guess was evaporation and no ato. But you have a ato with seemingly unlimited water

Second guess, sump leak?
Yes, although not so much a slow leak, which I'll see since I walk by the sump everyday. I'm more concerned about some catastrophic failure where I'm not around to address it. Probably highly unlikely that the sump would rupture or spring a fast leak causing the contents to empty, but that was the initial purpose of the switch - to protect against a catastrophic event. However, if it's ever going to happen, it will be when I'm traveling.

I saw some of the other recommendations on devices/controlllers to look at. What I liked about the current setup is it was inexpensive and pretty reliable, so that's the way I was thinking of going again but I'm open to other solutions.
 
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RandyL

RandyL

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DC or AC pump? Any reason you don’t like the contact switch set up you have now?
It’s an AC pump. The switch I have now basically died. The soleoid in the original switch went bad about 8 years ago and I replaced it. This time around, I’d just like to replace the whole thing instead of cobbling it together from parts. I was thinking it would be something relatively easy to find, but evidently I’m an odd duck for wanting to use something like that.
 

n2585722

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You can alway get into a controller to do this and some more. The XS starter kit starts at $200 and you can add either a optical water level sensor for $40 or a float sensor for $30. The XS has 4 sense ports and the starter kit comes with a wifi power strip and a temp sensor. So if you use the temp sensor and get a water level sensor for low level then that will leave 2 sense ports where you can add a leak detector and another sensor. It does not have a pH/ORP port but if you do ever decide to expand you can get another Hydros controller and a command bus cable and at least one terminator and create a collective and add the new controller to the collective. A collective works like a controller with the sump of the inputs and outputs of all member controller. So it is like getting a larger controller without giving up what you already have. The wifi strip has 4 AC outputs that can be controller with the controller individually and 4 USB power outputs that can be controlled together by the controller. A single controller or collective can control up to 8 wifi devices. The wifi strip counts as one device. So you can use one of the outlets to power your return pump but since you would turn off your return you will also want to turn off your skimmer at that time. You can do that with this and add a turn back on delay on the skimmer and have it depend on the return being powered. Using that dependency the delay time would start as soon as your return outlet powers back up. I also used a wifi strip to control my heaters but they were 50 watt heaters and had their own thermostat also so I use their thermostat as a backup. If you already have a heater controller you can use the Hydros as a backup and power down if the temp goes above a certain point. Since my heaters are in my sump they also are dependent on the the return output. So doing this way you can add some more fail safes to other devices as well if you return were turned off. Here is a link to the one I suggested here https://www.coralvue.com/hydros-control-xs-starter-kit . If you are not in a hurry there is a new controller coming out with the AC outlets on the controller instead of a wifi strip. That one has 4 sense port and 4 drive ports along with a pH port and salinity port but it is quite a bit more in price. It also has 4 0-10v inputs in a port so you can add things like button boxes and some other DIY things up to those. It is called Launch. It will be on the same website that the link to the other one is on.
 

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???


$30.00. Cant beat that for peace of mind.
 

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