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Birdbath - Turn off submersible pump when water get too low or it will burn / stop working. Answered

I have two birdbaths. I need a way to move / circulate the water to stay fresh.

I bought two mini 3-6v submersible pumps but they don't have the auto shut off feature to prevent motor burn out.

I know there are water / soil moisture detector sensor modules for pumping water in when water get too low.

BUT what I want is to control the submersible pump in the birdbath. Turn ON the submersible pump when water is high or full. Turn OFF the submersible pump when water is too low or empty.

I have searched all over the internet (eBay, Amazon, YouTube, and here) but found nothing.


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2 years ago

I saw them when I searched the internet. I was hoping to find modules that don't require any programming like Arduino.

Right now I'm currently testing the water level controller relay module setup I have put together as shown in the picture I have attached. The only way to avoid damaging or killing the pump (in the birdbath) is to use a big water container that last for days or a week if possible.


2 years ago

I have this on my list of projects. I wanted to add a radar-style animal detector to only drive the motor when birds are nearby. This is because I'm thinking of using a solar panel to keep the battery topped off.

So 2 things have to happen: Water is not low, and there is at least one bird nearby. But it is the same issue whether you have 1 or 10 sensors. You are just telling something (I'd use a µC (abbreviation for "microcontroller"), like an ATTiny) to turn the pump on or off.

The big decision is whether you want to drive the motor via a pin from the µC (very limited current, so look up your pump & µC), or from a motor driver chip or board/module designed for the purpose. You can also use a transistor powerful enough to take the load of the motor, using the µC output on the base, if things are simple, and avoid other active components.

µCs, based on your question, might not be familiar to you. They are relatively simple devices, taking input from outside the chip on it's pins (Is there water? Is it daylight? Are there birds present? ...), using a program you uploaded to it to make a decision (Turn pump on?), then communicating that decision on other pins on the chip to something else-like a pump. In the case of making a decision to turn a pump on or not, the output could go to the pump itself, or to something able to drive the pump without burning out the components (pumps & motors draw a lot of current when compared to, say, an LED.

So 'intelligent' designs are possible when µCs are involved, as they are well suited to determine what an output should be. They can also be dirt cheap, reprogrammed, and repurposed. And those pins I mentioned? There are tons of pins on a µC to use-sensing/sending both analog & digital signals, communicating with all kinds of sensors-and even another µC or a PC.

How much of the above are you already good with? The answer will tell us which gaps in that knowledge to fill in.

P.S. If you have heard of Arduino, and have not used it, it is simply a platform to do the above. By platform, I mean it has an editor to write code & upload to your chip, and contributed libraries to correctly communicate with anything outside the µC itself you would need to talk to to make the decision to turn the pump on or off. Arduino is not a chip, nor is it a language, though you will see the term used that way. I bring up Arduino as it is an ideal platform to get familiar with how µCs work if you have no prior programming/hardware preferences.

Looking forward to more info!

P.S. As for no examples, you may not be looking where you can most likely find something similar. Remember from above that the fact this is a bird bath is immaterial-just as the fact you are sensing water & driving a pump. Just look at any project that takes inputs in, makes a decision to drive a motor, then sends a signal out to do so to a waiting motor.

P.S.S. Here are the results of a search for Arduino water sensor, and here is one specifically for what you said was not out there Arduino drive submersible pump

You can also find a ton of people doing the same thing on the website Arduino.cc, along with other things Arduino to inspire you.