I have a 3-teir fountain in my front yard, which I think looks great! The problem was every 2 days or so I would have to get out the hose and refill the fountain. And of course when I would forget or go away the pump would run dry and make loud noises the neighbors didn't enjoy and eventually burn out the pump. So I was determined to come up with a simple solution, at first I was going to go overboard and get micro-controllers involved, then I took a step back and decided go for a more simple and elegant solution. The project is very simple and only required simple soldering and heat shrinking skills.
This is my first instructable, so any suggestions to make this better are appreciated. I am working on an LED project, that is pretty involved, so any feedback on structure I will apply to my next guide.
Step 1: Gather Supplies
For this project you will need:
- 1 - Rain Barrel
- Found Mine on Facebook Marketplace for $10.
- Length of 5/16" Inner Diameter tubing
- Had on hand.
- Length 18 AWG wire
- Had on hand.
- 1 - 12V power supply
- Had 1AMP ps on hand.
- 1 - Submersible Pump:
- 2 - Float Switches
- 1 - Weatherproof Box
- Metal to mount float switch on Fountain.
- I used a 2" piece of flat bar aluminum that I had on hand.
- Framing Metal (or something heavy) to hold the float sensor on the bottom of the barrel.
- I used a 6" square piece of metal that I found at work.
- Wire Strippers / Wire Ties
- Solder / Soldering Iron
- Heat Shrink / Heat Gun
- Drill & Drill Bits
Step 2: Install the Rain Barrel
I kept it simple and chose not build a base for my barrel as I will not use the water tap and my HOA is finicky! So this was as easy as cutting the gutter and routing it to the top of the barrel.
Step 3: Wire the System Together!
The wiring is rather straight forward. You are basically putting the float sensors in series, so both need to be 'on' in order for the pump to receive power. 1 thing to note is you can flip the float to have the switch be on in either direction to match your installation.
As you can see in the pictures above, the float sensor I used is inside a 4x4 piece of aluminum which holds it at the bottom of the barrel. I then have the pump next to that to ensure there is always water available for the pump to pump.
Step 4: Mount the Float Sensor and Tubing on Fountain
To mount the sensor and tubing, I used a piece of flat bar. I was able to bend this around the fountain to hold it in place and somewhat blend into the fountain. When I first did this I planned to paint the metal, but I didn't and now it is rusted, which doesn't bother me, though I may paint it at a later time.
Step 5: Never Drag Out the Hose Again!
I will now no longer have to worry about filling my fountain!