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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I've been thinking about the "WhatIfs" with the sump I am building. I have built sump before but this sump I will be using Poret foam dividing a 75g tank in the middle. With this setup I will have the water level @ 5 inches below the rim so there will be about 50 gallons of water in the tank. This is a lot more than the traditional wet/dry filters.

So if the overflow does get blocked/restricted a lot of water will be pumped into the tank and will spill water on the floor. I'd like to have a float switch of some sort that's able to shutdown the pump if the water level in the sump is too low.

Any ideas where I can get a setup like it?
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
What I am looking for is not the regular auto fill devices. And the dishwasher switch is probably beyond my capability.

I see there are controllers out there in the reef world maybe this is a more suitable question in reef forums.
 

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You can buy float switches that will turn the pump off when the level gets too low or too high, depending on your needs. You may have to do a little web searching, or maybe a plumbing store. Even try the box stores.

Search for "normally open" and "normally closed" float switches.
 

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Why not just position the pump or the pump intake near the surface of the sump. That way in the event of a blockage only a couple of gallons will be sucked up before the pump stops working. Most pumps will stop working when the intake starts sucking in air, so the pump does not actually run dry and overheat.
 

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pistolpete said:
Why not just position the pump or the pump intake near the surface of the sump. That way in the event of a blockage only a couple of gallons will be sucked up before the pump stops working. Most pumps will stop working when the intake starts sucking in air, so the pump does not actually run dry and overheat.
+1
 
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All the float switches I've seen and used for this purpose are reversible. You remove the snap ring and pull the float off and turn it over and put it back together for which ever purpose you desire. You want the contacts on the float in the display tank to open when the water gets too high. Indicating a plugged or loss of siphon in the overflow. You will need at least a single pole relay contolled by the float switch to power the line voltage to the outlet for the pump. When the water level is ok the relay is pulled in sending line voltage to the outlet and the pump is on. If the water gets too high the power to the relay is shut off and the relay drops out and the pump stops running. I use 24volt coils on my relays through my float switches as it is harmless if something shorts out and it is easier on the float switches themselves. You will need a 24 volt transformer for control voltage. This is not brain surgery but it is not easy for someone who does not understand how these things work. What you want to do is about as simple as it gets but again for the unknowleged it can be daunting. There was a product available some time ago called the ATO (auto top off). I beleive it was capable of either refilling water lost by evaporation or the opposite like you want. It was pricey but may be worth avoiding the trouble if you don't think you're up to it. I have engineered all my auto water change systems and safety controls with off the shelf components and can provide help and info if wanted.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
discussmith said:
All the float switches I've seen and used for this purpose are reversible. You remove the snap ring and pull the float off and turn it over and put it back together for which ever purpose you desire. You want the contacts on the float in the display tank to open when the water gets too high. Indicating a plugged or loss of siphon in the overflow. You will need at least a single pole relay contolled by the float switch to power the line voltage to the outlet for the pump. When the water level is ok the relay is pulled in sending line voltage to the outlet and the pump is on. If the water gets too high the power to the relay is shut off and the relay drops out and the pump stops running. I use 24volt coils on my relays through my float switches as it is harmless if something shorts out and it is easier on the float switches themselves. You will need a 24 volt transformer for control voltage. This is not brain surgery but it is not easy for someone who does not understand how these things work. What you want to do is about as simple as it gets but again for the unknowleged it can be daunting. There was a product available some time ago called the ATO (auto top off). I beleive it was capable of either refilling water lost by evaporation or the opposite like you want. It was pricey but may be worth avoiding the trouble if you don't think you're up to it. I have engineered all my auto water change systems and safety controls with off the shelf components and can provide help and info if wanted.
what do you think about this:

http://cgi.ebay.com/NORMALLY-OPEN-FLOAT ... 500wt_1156

Does it already come with the mechanism to plug in a regular power cord?
 
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Too big and too expensive. It's also a line voltage float for a sump pump. Do a google search for "float switches". You will be given sites like "chicagosensors.com". A small low voltage wired float should run $6 to $7. You can do it with one of those like you showed but I just don't like having all that line voltage in my water.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
I will have a 75 gallon sump so there's enough room I guess. But that one definitely look promising. The only thing with any sump switch is that it will be used in the ON position while it is designed to be mostly off. I am not sure if that's a problem although I can't think of any.
 

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Here's the reply from Glentronics Technical Support. I asked if there would be any problem using their float switch with a pump that runs continuously. I explained that the switch would be used to prevent the pump from running dry and that it would be on 24-7.

"That should work with our float switch. You would only need to plug the main
pumps power cord into the front outlet on the switch box. The pump would
then come on and off based on the water level. Once activated the float
allows the pump to run an additional 10 seconds then it turns off."

Seems like the main difference between this and what discussmith is using is that this is 120V and he is using 12 or 24V.
 
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Sorry I've been away and missed your replies. I like Fishflakes device. Even though it probably uses 120v in the floats the price is right. I doubt you could buy the float, transformer, and relay to build your own for that price and it's already to go. I like that it's a package deal designed for the purpose even though it's designed for a regular sump pump it is designed for water and does what you need. Let us know how it works if you do use it. If you don't I can take pictures for you of the equipment and wiring I use.
 
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