Instructables

Remote water tank pump shut off

The community has a water tank on the top of the hill and a pump about 1/4 mile away, nearly line of site. There is a float in the tank that used to send a signal down a wire to shut down the pump when the tank was full but the wire has since corroded and is no more. They do not want to run another cable. We are thinking that a solar powered radio transmitter at the tank could operate a shut down receiver at the pump. (The pump has AC power but there is no power at the tank.) Anyone have any ideas how to make this work?

unklstuart (author) 6 years ago
Thanks for the ideas, I will pass them on. The poeple in need like simple and cheap but are not afraid to over-engineer the water proofing so the RC toy may work. They can buy 3 at that price and regulate top and bottom.
NachoMahma6 years ago
. Most water tank level control systems have at least two switches - a low level sw to turn on the pump and a high level sw to turn it off. (Some will have a third, high level shutdown sw to backup the high level sw and lockout the pump in an overfill condition.) If the logic circuit for the pump is at the pump, then you will need to either send 2-3 signals or move the circuitry to the tank. . If you go with a cheap RC system, as per Rishnai, be sure to budget extra money for frequent replacements and time to make the repairs. Or spend the money up front and get an industrial-grade system.
Ah, yes, I forgot to mention that the cheap ready-made systems like to fail. But if well waterproofed, they can last upwards of a decade. That's how we controlled our well/pump/tank system up in Cascade. The float quit before the electrics did.
> they can last upwards of a decade. . That really surprises me. I would have guessed 2-3 years max, but ... . > That's how we controlled our well/pump/tank system up in Cascade . ... it's hard to argue with success. ;) . > The float quit before the electrics did. . That's why I prefer a pressure switch arrangement. MUCH easier to work on when something goes bad. Floats in tanks are usually a PITA to work on.
They really are a pain to work on. Especially when they get stuck, things overflow, and wash out the access road! The main key to success was overwaterproofing. They were dying every winter until we put them in a sealed plastic box, and put a lot of gypsum wallboard chunks in the box with them. That fixed the corrosion and consensation. Growing a gigantic ice crystal in the middle of your circuit generally doesn't agree with it...
Rishnai6 years ago
Rip up an RC toy and pull out the circuit that transmits to the toy to turn on the motor, with the default position being "motor off." Hook that up to your tank. Pull the receiving bit out of the toy and hook it up to your pump, except make the default "motor on" (for your pump). This could likely be acomplished by simply switching a couple of wires at some point in the RC system. $20-$35 at Wal Mart, max.