Electric Float Switches

Discussion in 'Lighting, Filtration & Other Equipment' started by FishyReef, Feb 7, 2012.

  1. FishyReef

    FishyReef Broke Reefer!

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    My LFS recommended that I get an electric float switch to put in my refugium in order to turn off the pump that will pump water to the refugium if the return gravity-based siphon fails. I've been to a few home depots and they don't carry these switches, and the ones I've seen online (at BRS or Drs Foster-Smith) are running around $100 and appear to require that I rewire the pumps to get them to work. I'm handy, but not sure I'm that handy! Ideally, I'd love to find an electric float switch that works similar to a GFCI plug adapter, where when water reaches a certain level, the circut is tripped and shuts off anything that is plugged into the adapter. Does anyone know if something like this even exists? If not, any suggestions for how I can set up a float switch to shut off pumps that won't require cutting the cords and rewiring my pumps? I am such a novice when it comes to this kind of thing!

    Thanks!
     
    FishyReef, Feb 7, 2012
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  2. FishyReef

    Dturner Reefer Madness

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    I am going to bump this because I am wondering the same thing. Sorry that I don't have an answer for you.
     
    Dturner, Feb 10, 2012
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  3. FishyReef

    Dturner Reefer Madness

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    I found a very reasonably priced float switch. Click here to view it. I am definitely going to be ordering one of these next paycheck at the low price they are asking.
     
    Dturner, Feb 12, 2012
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  4. FishyReef

    x19 VIP Member

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    A number of folks on the site use the AutoTopOff.com switch. Personally, I just use a float valve with a gravity fed top off. I like to keep things simple.
     
    x19, Feb 12, 2012
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  5. FishyReef

    FishyReef Broke Reefer!

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    Do non-electric float valves turn off the power to pumps?
     
    FishyReef, Feb 12, 2012
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  6. FishyReef

    FishyReef Broke Reefer!

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    I'll be very curious to hear how this one works for you and what your thoughts are on it! I found a few emergency shut off switches on some pluming supply websites, primarily used for sewer pumps, etc. The only downside is that they all contain a very audible alarm that goes off when the switch is tripped. I don't want an alarm, I just want the pump turned off! (My office mates wouldn't very much appreciate an alarm lol)
     
    FishyReef, Feb 12, 2012
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  7. FishyReef

    x19 VIP Member

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    No, they are mechanical. Essentially your top-off water needs to be at a level higher than the float valve. When the float is open (water level low) gravity kicks in bringing water through a tube from your top off reservoir through the valve.

    IMO these seem less likely to fail as they are a simple mechanical part with no electronic components (Switch or pump).
     
    x19, Feb 12, 2012
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  8. FishyReef

    FishyReef Broke Reefer!

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    I see.... I think I'm looking for something a little different because I'm not using it for a top-off system. I am setting up a siphon from my refugium to my sump. Water enters my refugium via the output section of my skimmer (I am going to set up a pvc pipe splitter with ball valve to control the flow from my skimmer to the refugium, the rest will dump back into the sump). I would like to be able to set up something to turn the pump off on my skimmer or close off the section of pipe that drains water into the refugium in case the water level in the refugium gets too high (for example, if I get an air bubble in the siphon that sends water back to the sump and siphon stops working). I'm not sure the mechanical float valve would accomplish this (although I've never seen one work in person so it is a little hard for me to picture how I could rig it up to work on my set up). Ideas?
     
    FishyReef, Feb 12, 2012
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  9. FishyReef

    wontonflip I failed Kobayashi Maru

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    Hubby ended up diy'ing my ATO. He bought 2 or 3 float switches from ebay (I believe they came in from China), all 3 for around $7 total. Then built the housing out of pvc. Paid around $10 for a dosing pump.

    I had to replace the floatswitch once, though....we had a lot of poweroutages that first year -- lots of rapid on/off outages, too, wreaking havoc on my equipment.

    Eventually I'll probably switch to a floatvalve. But for now, my electric one works great.
     
    wontonflip, Feb 12, 2012
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  10. FishyReef

    bjohanson1234 .........

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    Just to point out, that float switch actually turns on something when the water level is low.

    This will not work if you want to shut off the return pump if the water level gets too low. It is used as an auto top off for when there is too much evaporation.
     
    bjohanson1234, Feb 12, 2012
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