Introduction: Christmas Tree Water Level Alarm Ornament: No More Thirsty Trees!

Picture of Christmas Tree Water Level Alarm Ornament: No More Thirsty Trees!

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This Instructable will describe how to build an ornament that flashes whenever there is water in your Christmas tree reservoir.  When the lights go off your water level is low.  I will describe how to position the sensors so that you know how much to fill the reservoir.  

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Step 1: Building the Circuit

Picture of Building the Circuit

First, let me give credit for the circuit.  You can find the circuit in the following Instructable.  I used the 3V version.  It worked perfectly for this project.

https://www.instructables.com/id/Simple-Water-Sensor/

Hats off to Cyberscann54.

I built everything on a perfboard.  It's really a pretty easy circuit.

Step 2: Build/Modify the Case to House the Electronics and Batteries.

Picture of Build/Modify the Case to House the Electronics and Batteries.

I used NiMH batteries so that I can recharge them thru the holiday.  The case I used was an old cigar box.  I made a slot in the back of the sliding cover to allow the wires for the ornament to come thru.  I drilled a 7/8 inch hole for the on/off rocker switch and a 1/4 inch hole to allow the sensor wires to exit.

Step 3: Optional: Have a Beer. It's Thirsty Work!

Picture of Optional: Have a Beer.  It's Thirsty Work!

Our beer today is Great Lakes Christmas Ale.  Cheers!

Step 4: Insert LED's Into the Ornament

Picture of Insert LED's Into the Ornament

You can use any ornament and any 3V LED.  Make the holes snug so the LED fit well or use some hot glue.  The LED's  I used were from Amazon.com.  They are RGB and cycle different colors.  They were 50 for $7.  You can order them here: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B006LUZLNY/ref=oh_details_o01_s01_i00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

Step 5: Glue the Sensors Into the Tree Stand

Picture of Glue the Sensors Into the Tree Stand

I used JB Weld epoxy made for water exposure to cement the leads in place.  I used heavy copper wire for the leads.  One lead goes to the bottom of the reservoir while the other stops half way down.

Step 6: Connect the Sensor Wires to the Sensors Using Alligator Clips

Picture of Connect the Sensor Wires to the Sensors Using Alligator Clips

Use alligator clips to attach the leads to the sensors.  You will want to switch sides every week because the constant DC current will start to corrode one electrode and plate the other.  If you switch them you can minimize the damage.

Step 7: Using the Ornament

Picture of Using the Ornament
At the end are two videos.  The first demonstrates the prototype and the second is the finished version.

To use the Grinchombulax:
  1. First pour water in the reservoir until the lights blink.
  2. Then measure how much water you pour until the water level is about one inch below the top.
  3. Anytime enough water evaporates to let the lights go out do the following
  4. Pour water until the lights begin to blink again.
  5. Then use the same amount of water from step 2 to raise the level to within one inch of the top again.
Note: I use a long-stemmed funnel so I don't have to bend and feel.




Comments

How2MakeThat (author)2013-12-08

Very cool!

Grunambulax (author)How2MakeThat2013-12-08

Thanks How2MakeThat! I'm glad you like it.

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