Instructables
Picture of Keurig Coffee Maker Automatic Filler Circuit
Reservoir Sliding Magnet.jpg
This is a really neat project, it makes the Keurig even easier to use. It also prevents a common problem that occurs with my model of machine (B40): sometimes the float on the reservoir doesn't register and thinks it is empty.  I just make it fill, just before it is supposed to register as empty.  Here is the unit in action:



There are three main parts:
1) Plumbing
2) Electronics
3) Float sensor
and the last section (4) contains some notes on testing

Don't be intimidated, these are not that hard, but you do need some electronics experience to make it easier.  If you feel you can't trust your soldering skills, it might be a good idea to use a chip socket for the 555 chip that we use.

Generally, the design works with the fact that the water reservoir uses a magnet (right side of closeup picture) to sense that it is empty.  We will use a reed relay, which can be activated by this magnet, to initiate a fill cycle.

You will need to read through the whole process to be assured you can do all of the steps, and that you have everything you need.
 
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Step 1: Plumbing

Picture of Plumbing
Shut-off Valve.jpg
12VDC Fill Valve.jpg
This step requires:

-shut-off valve
-electric valve ( search Ebay for 12V valve 1/4", make sure pressure rated.  example http://www.ebay.ca/itm/12V-DC-1-4-Electric-Solenoid-Valve-Air-Water-Diesel-/180784450198?pt=Pneumatic_Hydraulic_Valves_Parts&hash=item2a1797ca96)
-fittings to connect hoses to electric valve (thread to hose adaptation as required), with Teflon fitting tape, or paste.
-high pressure 1/4" (cloudy white color) hose
-1/4" clear hose
-bushings / collars for hose ends
(all items above at home center except electric valve)

By far the most expensive parts in this step are the two valves (shut-off & electric), which are about $10-15 each.

You will need to start by putting in a tap from an existing water line.  Make sure you turn off the water and relieve the pressure before installing the valve.  I would NOT buy a cheap 'saddle valve' , the kind that pierces the pipe by itself.  I went through a couple of these before giving up.  They are not worth it, and even illegal in some places because they can leak terribly!

Since the hose between this valve and your electric valve will be under pressure, I would get the (cloudy) 1/4" higher pressure hose and not the clear stuff.  After the electric valve, I would use the 1/4" clear hose, as it is easier to work with, and not under pressure.  You will need some of this anyway, to insert the level sensor we'll be making later in step 3.

It might be an idea to buy an ice-maker kit (which you would otherwise buy for your fridge), which includes the shut-off valve, hose and some other stuff.  I realized this after I bought all the other parts piecemeal.
panderson176 months ago

I have an extra complete ice maker install kit for my Kenmore fridge. Can I use it to make an auto fill system for my Keurig K 60?

maclakey1 year ago
What about using a float sensor instead of a reed switch?
I have built one from another instructable simply using a relay and a float sensor, but now I'm wishing I had some sort of timer to force it to wait a while until the machine is done using water. The system I have right now stutters quite a bit and is a little annoying, but it works.
Can't thank you enough for this, Mike. Thanks for the idea, the schematics and the answers to my PM's. I've got it working just as you described. I'm in agreement with your comment about the reed switch. It can be finnicky positioning it in place and keeping it there. I may look into popping the bottom off to see if it can be placed inside the unit (near the float magnet).

What a cool project! :-)
frollard2 years ago
Love your instructable, and I think I'll be doing something very similar. Only thing I'd change is having the machine (in my case) near the sink, in a dish tray that overspills into the sink -- just in case.

One could also make a parallel tank that fills the keurig tank on a siphon, and then have the filler circuit fill the parallel with a float valve/overflow line. -- same unaltered keurig with overflow safety.
soshimo2 years ago
A comment regarding your diode. It's always a good idea to place a diode in parallel with any inductive device that is connected directly to any kind of IC. What is happening is when you remove current to the inductor coil (the relay or solenoid for the valve) a fly back action occurs. Basically a reverse voltage spike is generated and current flows in the reverse direction. The reverse biased diode in parallel allows for a current path to ground when that occurs and protects your IC from those nasty voltage spikes.
Good Idea!
Another good cheap level sensor would be a mercury switch (HVAC Thermostat), inside of a small float (fishing bobber), on a lever (stainless wire). The mercury switch is sealed in glass so there could be no contamination. Drill and stick the switch and wire in the bobber. You then could coat foam bobber in latex then enamel paint. That would seal it so you don't get stuff growing inside the foam.
MikeG-EET (author)  mr.incredible2 years ago
Thanks mr. incred.
One of my goals was to make something that did not alter the coffee maker in any way, so that in the case of warranty, there would be no problems. It might have been a challenge to mount the lever in the reservoir without altering it in a warranty sort of way.
But it would work if you are out of warranty anyway, as long as you can get past the fact you have mercury (albeit safely) situated in your water.