I have been tossing around many different ways to mount the master float switch. I have looked on the web and at the many different hardware stores for ideas and quite frankly, nothing. I stood in front of the tank with the idea that something would just come to me. Nothing. I went ahead and did some tidy work putting ends on the various other float sensors in the system like the three for the sump and the three for the top-off tank. In doing so I ran a single little pair of wires up to the top of the cabinet, but I didn’t know whether to run it up the center or off to the side.
My skimmer and first stage of the filter sits in the center of the tank, so that would be a great place to put the float, but I just could not visualize how to mount it there. To have a precise level adjustment, I would have to mount the float switch where the isn’t any other movement. The way my skimmer is made, is that the plastic is formed as a inverted U shape with an adjustable skimmer box on the inside vertical part of the plastic. If I was to mount the float on the side of the actual skimmer, then it would go up and down whenever the skimmer was adjusted. That would simply not work. I had to come up with a different angle. I thought to myself that I needed to make some sort of bracket and somehow attach it to the fixed part of the frame. As I thought about a bracket, I knew I had to go from where the bracket was mounted with an angle or a twist to accommodate the float. Also, being that the tank was for saltwater, so using any metal bracket was out. The idea of bending or twisting plastic was a problem since I do not have any equipment for doing anything like that. Plus, I wanted whatever I ended up with to not look too homemade or jerry-rigged.
I took the skimmer assembly and put it on the floor in front of me along with the float and just stared at them. I held the skimmer assembly in my hand and moved the float all around trying to visualize some sort of mounting arrangement. I did this several times and finally a solution came to my mind. I would add a length of tubing to the end of the float switch and insert it in a hole yet to be drilled in the top of the skimmer assembly housing and mount the float just behind and to the side of the inverted U where the skimmer attaches to the assembly frame.
That location sits on the water side of the tank and is in an excellent location as it is partially protected with the glass of the tank on one side, and the skimmer on the other. Although I plan to build some hysteresis into the Arduino main float subroutine, I still don’t want a bunch of waves hitting it trying to trigger the switch. Although not perfect protection, it’s still much better than simply mounting the float switch in the open.
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