Ever have the need to see how much water’s in your 5-gallon bucket without cracking open the lid? Well I do … mostly because I’m lazy. I have chickens and use a large bucket to provide them water. There are little poultry “nipples” on the bottom that they peck when they’re thirsty. My dilema is that I want to make sure they have plenty of water before I head out the door to work, but don’t always have time to walk back to my coop and open up the lid.
I’ve rigged up a set of red, yellow green LED lights positioned at the top of my kids old tree fort, which is easily visible from any of my back windows. Only one LED lights up at a time, and as you might guess, it’s red when the bucket’s empty, yellow when it has less than 6″ of water, and green anything above that.
At the heart of this solution is an Arduino Uno, which as been in operation since 2012. I don’t typically use Arduinos in my connected projects since Particle Photons are easier to set up (IMO). That said, the basic functionality is the same, and you can’t argue with the stability of having a platform like this running continuously for nearly 5 years!
The sensor for this project is a 2-level float switch. This basically means it has 2 on/off levels, one for the top sensor and one for the bottom. With this combination of data points, my Arduino code can tell whether the water is above or below both floats, or somewhere in between.
- Elegoo UNO R3 Board with USB Cable (Arduino Compatible) – $10.86
- SOCKiT BOX Small Weatherproof Connection Box – $11.99
- 16 Value Resistor Kit, 10 Ohm – 1M Ohm (Pack of 400) – $10.79
- Stainless Steel 2 Channel Vertical Float Switch, 180 mm – $18.90
- 5W Single Port USB Power Adapter – $6.99
- 25′ Paired Wire – $5.88
SOFTWARE / CLOUD SERVICES
I don’t currently have this device connected to the Internet, but if I did, I would use: