Does anyone know of a decent float switch?

Joe31415

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I'm trying to re-work my AWC and I'd like it to pump water out for a set amount of time/volume, but then pump back up to a water level sensor (with a timer for back up). This will work similarly to the Hydros AWC.
The float switch I had (just one of those generic white ones), doesn't appear to be at all reliable. Even fully submerged, it would continue to think the water level was still low. It may have just been the magnet I was using, but I still didn't feel comfortable using it.
I do have an extra optical sensor, but it doesn't work by making or breaking a signal. It seems to just send out a high or low signal (ie 5v vs 1v, IIRC), which isn't going to work with a relay and I'm not really looking to get an arduino or any other circuity involved here.

What I'm looking for is something that can open or close a circuit depending on the water level. Essentially something like this, except with better reviews.
Now, an optical switch will work, provided it has it's own electronics that allow me to use it to drive a relay. For example, I was about to get this one, with the intention of replaying the solenoid valve with my relay, but again, the reviews don't make me very confidant.

BRS used to sell a 'smart outlet' that was connected to a water level sensor. It got terrible reviews, however, I don't know how many of those bad reviews are strictly related to people having issues with the sensor in their skimmer.
They also sell a standalone smart outlet, but I have no idea what inputs it expects in order to make/break the connection (0 vs 5v?, 1v vs 5v?).

So, does anyone know of a decent water level sensor/switch or something else that could accomplish this?

I do see the AutoAqua ATO is back in stock. I haven't given up on just getting that (or a pair of Versas), but that's $300-$400 and my DIY method will be close to free since I already have just about everything I need on hand.
 

bobnicaragua

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My ATO is just a timer and float switch from autotopoff.com. When the float switch is up, power to the pump is cut. The timer only turns on for a minute every few hours.
 
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Joe31415

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Maybe something from Autotopoff.com I've used their top off systems and the float switches have been reliable.
Unless those are different then all the other generic white float switches, they're the same as the ones I already have. To be honest, I'm assuming they're a cheap commodity even places like BRS probably gets a different brand each time they order, even if they all look the same.

My ATO is just a timer and float switch from autotopoff.com. When the float switch is up, power to the pump is cut. The timer only turns on for a minute every few hours.
Same general idea, but this is for an AWC not an ATO.

IME, all reed float switches are more or less blah. Some even more cheesier than others. I usually buy a few different brands from Amazon and self test them.
That's what I'm trying to avoid. I'm not looking to spend money experimenting on this project. Partially because I don't want to flood my house or wreck my tank but also because at that point it'll be cheaper to do this the 'correct' way and just buy a ready-made AWC.
Side note: I have no idea what 'cheesier' means in that context.
 

bobnicaragua

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Autotopoff.com has different types of floatswitches. This one is an off/on for electricity.
 

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slythy

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Thats an ato I made, works pretty flawlessly for the last few years.

i also do a similar thing with my Apex where i use 2 cheapo white float switches for level and one for ato reservoir. Thats been working for 7 years no issues.
 
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