We have about 50 staff in our office, and one of the things I have to start the day is an iced espresso. Only problem was the fact no one would ever fill up the water container. Having played with arduino, I thought it would be a cool project to create an auto filler. I looked at the costs and what happens if the power goes out and decided to scrap that idea and go with a water float valve instead. the cost of the valve was about $15 shipped.
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Step 1: Material List
The parts list.
1) 1/4" icemaker line kit from homedepot
2) 1/4 push in shut off valve
3) 2 small zip ties
4) 1/4" Water Float Valve from Ebay search for "Water Float Valve Water Level Control Valve Ball Top Vert" shows it ships from South Korea
*** Note on the water float valve ****
the one I purchased is shown in the picture above. Check the size of your water container to verify the dimensions of the float will fit. I used the top vertical because I used the strength in 1/4 water line to hold it down. they call it a BT-FV-100 in the pictures but you can't search ebay for that number
Step 2: Assembly
1) Install the Ice Maker line kit as instructed with it's install kit
2) We drilled a hole in our counter to bring the line through (shown in picture)
2) Cut a 2 foot piece of the 1/4 line to be used between the shutoff valve and the espresso machine.
I have the shutoff valve installed within reach of the espresso machine for a few reasons.
1) if you want to clean or move the machine, it's safer to shut off the water line.
2) if you don't plan to use it for a while, you should turn off the water line
3) our model runs a descaling mode where it uses the full tank of water to clean the machine. You need to turn off the water so that the cleaning cycle does go on for ever.
3) The water jug on our machine had a handle, I remove the handle and pushed the line into the water container and then attached the float valve.
4) Adjust the height of the float valve to the level of water you want in the tank.
5) use the two zip ties to hold the water line in place.
6) the strength of the water line will hold the float down
I set it for about 2 cups of water. I didn't want the tank to be filled to the top because I liked the idea of it always being fresh water.
I put a mark on the side of the tank at the full water level so that I could make sure the float valve wasn't leaking.
Step 3: Disclaimer
This is a do it at your own risk type project. I can't make any guarantees on the quality of float valve you purchase or the strength in the water line from the ice maker kit. We have been using ours for about a year now and the water fill line is consistent. For the first couple of nights you might want to turn off the water valve in case it does leak and flows out of your espresso machine.