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My new Auto Top-off System The DATO


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  1. #1
    dakar - Reefkeeper CR Member
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    Sep 2004
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    Western Louisiana
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    Dave

    Default My new Auto Top-off System The DATO

    Before I head down to my little shop and put this together I figured I'd share my new top off design. Features a new toy I found, the Aqualift water pump (3.5 gph and burns only 3 watts of power). I wanted a reliable, but simpler design than using float switches, relays, wall warts, and most of all no messing with fitting hoses to a powerhead that likely would have come from the junk bin (waiting to fail). Additionally no siphons worry about maintaining or breaking for gravity fed systems, and no electricity involved at the sump side.

    Design is simple, a 24 gallon reservoir, an AquaLift pump, some 1/4 tubing, and a 1/4' JG Tee fitting (John Guest) and a float valve. How it "should" work, the pump runs continually, drawing water from the reservoir (red line) and pushes it downhill ( ~4" drop) on the output towards the Tee and float valve, if the valve is open water will take the path of least resistance and goes to the sump, if the float valve is closed water will take the higher resistance path back to the reservoir (yellow line).

    Not sure it could get any simpler. I've not seen a system quite like this, so I'll claim patent for now and call it the DATO :razz:
    Every electronic device is manufactured with smoke stored deep inside... only a true genius can find a way to set it free.

  2. #2
    dakar - Reefkeeper CR Member
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    Sep 2004
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    Western Louisiana
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    Dave

    Default

    Parts List:

    Aqualift pump: $10 (F&S)
    1/4" Tubing: $2
    JG 1/4 Tee - $5
    Float Valve: $15
    Reservoir: Rubbermaid Tub

    Optional: For topping off the reservoir as needed without contant on/off of RO/DI unit.
    Additional Float Valve in reservoir
    JG ball valve
    Every electronic device is manufactured with smoke stored deep inside... only a true genius can find a way to set it free.

  3. #3
    dakar - Reefkeeper CR Member
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    Sep 2004
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    Western Louisiana
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    Default

    I set the flot valve on a piece of 1/4" acrylic with a 90 degree bend that sits under my skimmer to hold it in place. Drew half a gallon of water from the sump to test it, and within a few minutes the sump was right back to to the level set by the float valve... Going to let her run in this fashion for a while before drilling the sump wall to permanently mount the float valve.

    Tested and working perfectly. At this point I'll call it a sucessful DIY!

    The float valves have some level of adjustment for the floats height so it's quite versatile.

    Something to be said for simplistic designs, no snails or anything in the sump to worry about them getting into the float valve to make it stick open, but if it does the reservoir would run dry before it can overflow the sump

    Any and all comments/suggestions/improvements will be appreciated.
    Every electronic device is manufactured with smoke stored deep inside... only a true genius can find a way to set it free.

  4. #4
    dakar - Reefkeeper CR Member
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    Default

    I marked the sump and the level has remained perfectly constant for over 72 hours now... Think it actually works!

    On a side note holding the water level the same with no real fluctions in salinity has affected my skimmer, skimmate production has slowed way down as far as quantity goes, it was a medium green tea, but what it is pulling now is horiffically brown and quite.... ummmm... aromatic. The good, make you gag kind of stuff! Almost too dry though, almost daily cleanings are needed.
    Every electronic device is manufactured with smoke stored deep inside... only a true genius can find a way to set it free.

  5. #5
    Woden - Reefkeeper CR Member
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    Aug 2005
    Location
    Wyoming, MI
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    Default

    CONGRATS!! I like it. But where did you get the supplies (namely the float valve), I went to Home Depot and they tried to get me to use a replacement ball-cock valve (the one that fills the tank of a toilet!??!! LOL). I have yet to check my local hardware but just thought I'd ask. The toilet idea would work in theory but it would have to fill the sump from the bottom (LOL) and thatobviously takes away from the simplicity of your design.
    Whats wrong with the tank now! My wallet is empty!

  6. #6
    Woden - Reefkeeper CR Member
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    Default

    OOPS! Sorry about the "censered" thing there in the name of the vavle...but thats really the name.
    Whats wrong with the tank now! My wallet is empty!

  7. #7
    dakar - Reefkeeper CR Member
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    Western Louisiana
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    Default

    I got the float vlave from either Fosters&Smith or Marine Depot....they run about $15 or so. You will not find float valves or suitable float switches at any local hardware stores... I've been through them all pretty thoroughly.

    They are one of the the little things I like to tack onto orders to boost the total cost of orders for free shipping or whatever... odds and ends tupe stuff, great to have around when you need them for a project.

    The problem with the ballcock valves for toilet use is they often have metal parts, copper or brass to resist corosion, but not stuff you want in your reef. A lot of the newer stuff hitting the shelves is ABS, but not all of it.

    But definately simpler is better, but an added benefit I'm finding with this design is the return loop keeps the water moving in the reservoir, not just sitting there.
    Every electronic device is manufactured with smoke stored deep inside... only a true genius can find a way to set it free.

  8. #8
    dakar - Reefkeeper CR Member
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    Western Louisiana
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    Default

    hahahaha yeah the word censor is on and obviously working.... some of it I have set for the 'context' but mostly it just matches the words and replaces them with censored or something humorous. No foul.
    Every electronic device is manufactured with smoke stored deep inside... only a true genius can find a way to set it free.

  9. #9

    Default

    Nice design! Can kalkwasser be used since you are circulating the resevoir? Seems to me that would stir up the paste that settles. I'm looking for a top-off solution and have considered using kalkwasser but it's not in stone yet :D
    Andy

  10. #10
    Iconz - Reefkeeper CR Member
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    Perry, GA
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    700

    Default

    Hmm, dakar, would this work if i had to pump the water up about a 3' head? On my 20g setup, I'm not gonna have a sump. So, I'm tryin to figure out EXACTLY how I wanna do my ATO. I have several ideas pending...

    Thanks,
    JD

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