Vera - Smarter Home Control Forum

General => Pool Control => Topic started by: Sammy2 on January 12, 2017, 03:10:43 pm

Title: Fountain / Water Feature Control
Post by: Sammy2 on January 12, 2017, 03:10:43 pm
Not exactly sure where to put this in the forum so I'm putting it here.

We're putting together a water feature that will have the following:

Pump, maybe variable speed
Water level sensor and automatic fill
LED lighting for night time viewing

This is not a typical fountain but more or less vertical on or in front of the fence in the back yard like a piece of art.

I am looking for suggestions as to how to integrate all this with Vera Plus, what sensors, switches and maybe even pumps and valves to get to make it all work. We're doing some landscape work in the yard where this will be and the water and power is in but just stubbed out.

TIA
Title: Re: Fountain / Water Feature Control
Post by: rafale77 on January 15, 2017, 12:44:35 pm
Sounds like a nice project. I am thinking of something similar. For the pump, I would probably just use a zwave plug outdoors. There are a few options to do this. Same for the LED lighting. Now the level sensor is a different story. I suppose it needs to be outdoor and I have yet to have found even a leak sensor outdoors.
Title: Re: Fountain / Water Feature Control
Post by: Sammy2 on January 17, 2017, 01:04:55 pm
Sounds like a nice project. I am thinking of something similar. For the pump, I would probably just use a zwave plug outdoors. There are a few options to do this. Same for the LED lighting. Now the level sensor is a different story. I suppose it needs to be outdoor and I have yet to have found even a leak sensor outdoors.

I agree with you on this but a simple zwave on off switch or plug will not control a variable speed pump, AFAIK.

I was thinking a leak detector, which should work in a wet environment, right? How to make a leak detector check water level instead of a leak? Or is that how they work?

Thanks!
Title: Re: Fountain / Water Feature Control
Post by: XA44Owq26HxCq88 on January 17, 2017, 03:21:58 pm
I had a water sensor (standalone, battery operated) that would detect the presence of water and sound the alarm. Something like that could be  mounted on the side of the water level that you are measuring, and use it's state (water / no water) as a sensor and take action as needed. There's a number of water/leak detectors listed on Amazon that might do the trick if you can overcome the outside/inside limitations

BTW, thanks for the reminder, I intended to get one of these for my home!
Title: Re: Fountain / Water Feature Control
Post by: Sammy2 on February 06, 2017, 11:03:18 am
Any thoughts on this (http://www.econetcontrols.com/product/econet-water-shutoff-starter-kit/) valve controler?

Can I reverse polarity or something to make a valve designed to shut off the water turn it on until the flood sensor tells it there's a flood? I'm sorta trying to do the exact opposite of what these things seem to be designed to do.

TIA
Title: Re: Fountain / Water Feature Control
Post by: jswim788 on February 06, 2017, 12:14:59 pm
I believe that water valve is controllable as an on/off switch, so you should be able to control it through scenes to do whatever you want.  I'm not sure about the package though - it might be customized to do something specific.

Do read the reviews of the valve on Amazon.  Some people are really happy with it, others are not.  I think a lot has to do with the quality and age of the ball valve that you have.  If the valve is easy to turn manually, the Econet actuator will probably work well.  If not, you may have trouble.
Title: Re: Fountain / Water Feature Control
Post by: Mike Yeager on February 06, 2017, 01:07:32 pm
If I may make a suggestion, turn the pump on and off with a Z-Wave double relay. Don't mess with a variable speed pump. As for water level, get a float switch and use it to cut 24v power to a sprinkler valve on the water line. You'll want to limit the flow available to fill the fountain. Since you've probably got a 1/2 or 3/4 inch water line, put an inexpensive valve on it so you can choke it down to a strong trickle. Reason for this is to keep from blasting water out of your fountain and to limit the water loss in case of a malfunction. The lighting can be done off of the other relay unless you're getting complicated with the lighting. If you wanted to have something to alert you to an overfill, either a flood sensor or a fibaro door sensor hooked to a float switch would work....
Title: Re: Fountain / Water Feature Control
Post by: Sammy2 on February 06, 2017, 06:07:45 pm
If I may make a suggestion, turn the pump on and off with a Z-Wave double relay. Don't mess with a variable speed pump. As for water level, get a float switch and use it to cut 24v power to a sprinkler valve on the water line. You'll want to limit the flow available to fill the fountain. Since you've probably got a 1/2 or 3/4 inch water line, put an inexpensive valve on it so you can choke it down to a strong trickle. Reason for this is to keep from blasting water out of your fountain and to limit the water loss in case of a malfunction. The lighting can be done off of the other relay unless you're getting complicated with the lighting. If you wanted to have something to alert you to an overfill, either a flood sensor or a fibaro door sensor hooked to a float switch would work....

Sounds like a pretty good plan.

The variable speed pump idea has already been scrapped, or at least having control of it via Vera has been. We'll play with it to set the speed and only use Vera to turn it on and off using a simple z-wave relay switch.

Do you have recommendations on the float switches? I suppose those would be used to trigger a 24v transformer to the fill valve (sprinkler valve / solenoid is a great idea here!) outside of Vera but we might want to be able to add water on demand too. Is this necessary? IDK, maybe not and the KISS principal should apply.

The lighting isn't too crazy.. Just LED or maybe even incandescent on off and possibly dimmer. That's the easy part!
Title: Re: Fountain / Water Feature Control
Post by: Mike Yeager on February 07, 2017, 10:54:14 am
I'd use a simple switch, there are many of them on ebay. It's only purpose would be to control the 24v power to the solenoid on the sprinkler valve. I'm assuming the pump isn't all that big as most of these water features don't really flow that much water. I'm not sure why you would need to add water manually, the float switch will keep it full on it's own. Keeping it simple is your best bet. Use the automation to control on/off and lighting...
Title: Re: Fountain / Water Feature Control
Post by: Sammy2 on February 07, 2017, 12:28:18 pm
I'd use a simple switch, there are many of them on ebay. It's only purpose would be to control the 24v power to the solenoid on the sprinkler valve. I'm assuming the pump isn't all that big as most of these water features don't really flow that much water. I'm not sure why you would need to add water manually, the float switch will keep it full on it's own. Keeping it simple is your best bet. Use the automation to control on/off and lighting...

You are right. I haven't really had a fountain or water feature before and haven't seen them up close but this seems like a practical no brain way to keep the water level up. I wonder if this has been done like this before? I'm not sure where to look for a float switch but I have this one (https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00H3TJ3P4/ref=ox_sc_sfl_title_4?ie=UTF8&psc=1&smid=A1O77D5UJY7IVU) in my cart at amazon right now. Not sure if it is what I need or not because I don't think I even need z-wave here as it can just be wired directly to a relay at the solenoid or 24V power supply thereto or it can be a z-wave water level sensor wirelessly controlling a z-wave relay. Any other suggestions?

I'd like to put one of these in my salt water pool to control a valve to keep it full too but am worried about corrosion.
Title: Re: Fountain / Water Feature Control
Post by: Mike Yeager on February 07, 2017, 04:21:40 pm
Use something like this...

http://www.ebay.com/itm/Black-Liquid-Horizontal-Water-Level-Sensor-Float-Switch-Tank-Pool-Fish-Bowl-/261897232610?hash=item3cfa4aa0e2:g:DWIAAOSwl8NVXtFK (http://www.ebay.com/itm/Black-Liquid-Horizontal-Water-Level-Sensor-Float-Switch-Tank-Pool-Fish-Bowl-/261897232610?hash=item3cfa4aa0e2:g:DWIAAOSwl8NVXtFK)

It uses a magnet and a reed switch and won't corrode. No need for Z-Wave in this part of the project at all. Not sure I'd put one on the pool as a malfunction could get real expensive (which is also why I suggested a valve to throttle the water WAY back)...
Title: Re: Fountain / Water Feature Control
Post by: rstrouse on February 07, 2017, 05:16:31 pm
I have always had a pool filler float on every pool I've owned.  20+ years no failures.  Always brass and you can probably find one at Home Depot.  The fish tank one might be a bit of a problem with even a small freeze.
Title: Re: Fountain / Water Feature Control
Post by: Sammy2 on February 07, 2017, 06:21:25 pm
Use something like this...

http://www.ebay.com/itm/Black-Liquid-Horizontal-Water-Level-Sensor-Float-Switch-Tank-Pool-Fish-Bowl-/261897232610?hash=item3cfa4aa0e2:g:DWIAAOSwl8NVXtFK (http://www.ebay.com/itm/Black-Liquid-Horizontal-Water-Level-Sensor-Float-Switch-Tank-Pool-Fish-Bowl-/261897232610?hash=item3cfa4aa0e2:g:DWIAAOSwl8NVXtFK)

It uses a magnet and a reed switch and won't corrode. No need for Z-Wave in this part of the project at all. Not sure I'd put one on the pool as a malfunction could get real expensive (which is also why I suggested a valve to throttle the water WAY back)...

Thanks! The cost of this little project is going WAY down.. Enough to get things going for the pool float and fill valve there. The fountain is on a little bit of a hold.. Security cameras and getting our newer to us back yard ready to plant for spring are up to the top of the list. I need a cheap in line sprinkler valve, a cheap float sensor switch and a dual z-wave relay for the pump on off and lights..
Title: Re: Fountain / Water Feature Control
Post by: Mike Yeager on February 07, 2017, 06:28:37 pm
You can get the sprinkler valve at your local hardware store (Lowe's or Home Depot have them as well, maybe cheaper). You'll just need a 24v AC wall wart or other suitable power supply (available in the same dept as the sprinkler valve). Wire one wire of the power supply through the switch and back to the valve. Connect the other wire to the second wire on the valve. Easy as can be. May sure to properly insulate everything and follow electrical code. Most likely you just need to provide a GFI for that circuit....
Title: Re: Fountain / Water Feature Control
Post by: Sammy2 on February 07, 2017, 06:34:09 pm
I have always had a pool filler float on every pool I've owned.  20+ years no failures.  Always brass and you can probably find one at Home Depot.  The fish tank one might be a bit of a problem with even a small freeze.

Thanks! I'm happy to report that my Jandy / Autelis vera "plug in" you developed last spring is working great. The other day I was freaking out about the lights only to find that the GFI had tripped, probably due to all the rain and that particular GFI feeding some lights and electrical in the BBQ area.. Any chance that will be in the plugin store? Either way, nice work!

As far as the float control, I need something wireless, suppose it doesn't need to be z-wave but I can't rip up concrete to wire to a valve controller on the pool fill. Any suggestions?

(PS. My thread and I can go OT if I want!)
Title: Re: Fountain / Water Feature Control
Post by: Sammy2 on February 07, 2017, 06:41:18 pm
You can get the sprinkler valve at your local hardware store (Lowe's or Home Depot have them as well, maybe cheaper). You'll just need a 24v AC wall wart or other suitable power supply (available in the same dept as the sprinkler valve). Wire one wire of the power supply through the switch and back to the valve. Connect the other wire to the second wire on the valve. Easy as can be. May sure to properly insulate everything and follow electrical code. Most likely you just need to provide a GFI for that circuit....

Yup. Pretty simple. I have a box of old wall warts. I keep them when the electronic device they go to is either broken or no longer useful. My wife says I'm a hoarder. I say I have what I need when I need it most of the time!

This circuit is on GFI already, BTW and once I'm under 50 volts to ground, the CEC / NEC no longer applies, IIR.

Thanks again!
Title: Re: Fountain / Water Feature Control
Post by: rstrouse on February 07, 2017, 06:42:26 pm
@Sammy

Why wouldn't you simply do something like this.

https://www.amazon.com/Pool-Float-Valve-Water-Leveler/dp/B000ZOCCIY/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1486510651&sr=8-1&keywords=pool+filler+valve (https://www.amazon.com/Pool-Float-Valve-Water-Leveler/dp/B000ZOCCIY/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1486510651&sr=8-1&keywords=pool+filler+valve)

for a filler.

Simply put a pipe into the body of water and a reservoir outside where the float sits.  The water level will equalize with the reservoir and the float setting will maintain the water level.  No muss no fuss and always perfect level.
Title: Re: Fountain / Water Feature Control
Post by: Sammy2 on February 07, 2017, 06:45:58 pm
@Sammy

Why wouldn't you simply do something like this.

https://www.amazon.com/Pool-Float-Valve-Water-Leveler/dp/B000ZOCCIY/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1486510651&sr=8-1&keywords=pool+filler+valve (https://www.amazon.com/Pool-Float-Valve-Water-Leveler/dp/B000ZOCCIY/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1486510651&sr=8-1&keywords=pool+filler+valve)

for a filler.

Simply put a pipe into the body of water and a reservoir outside where the float sits.  The water level will equalize with the reservoir and the float setting will maintain the water level.  No muss no fuss and always perfect level.

To be clear, are we talking about auto fill for the fountain or my pool? For the fountain this is possible but for the pool it isn't practical as the pipe from the filler valve under the patio on the back of the house is under the concrete and comes out in the pool wall of the pool. I'm not sure how this would control that valve? I need something electrical and wireless to fill the gap between the float and the valve. This one is a great idea and I think used quite often for pools under construction but not for retrofit, unless I'm missing something?
Title: Re: Fountain / Water Feature Control
Post by: Mike Yeager on February 07, 2017, 07:12:15 pm
I hadn't seen a valve like that but I had seen a few that looked like toilet tank valves. That would work though. As for using it for a pool, wherever the fill line is accessible out from underneath the slab, you'd have to install a reservoir that came up to above the full level of the pool and install the valve there. It's doable, but you'd have to decide if it was something you wanted to do.  :)
Title: Re: Fountain / Water Feature Control
Post by: Sammy2 on February 07, 2017, 07:43:11 pm
I hadn't seen a valve like that but I had seen a few that looked like toilet tank valves. That would work though. As for using it for a pool, wherever the fill line is accessible out from underneath the slab, you'd have to install a reservoir that came up to above the full level of the pool and install the valve there. It's doable, but you'd have to decide if it was something you wanted to do.  :)

Not really aesthetically pleasing. That's why a float switch with wireless (z-wave or otherwise) in the strainer basket area to send a signal to a valve controller is really the only way. I suppose this maybe will have to wait until we remodel the pool so it'll be a while.
Title: Re: Fountain / Water Feature Control
Post by: rstrouse on February 07, 2017, 08:22:34 pm
Sammy,

Not familiar with the construction of your pool.  However, this is typically done by boring a 3/4" line into the side of the pool below the water level and out under the deck or into the deck.  Then a pool filler reservoir is placed there.  This is the same as a skimmer reservoir without the flat inlet in the front.  The level of the water is controlled by the device I specified previously which is connected to the pressure line piped into this reservoir.  As the level drops in the pool the level drops in the reservoir and the reservoir is refilled to increase the level of the pool.  This also has the added benefit of not being affected by splashing or rough water caused by windy days and the like. 

In a retrofit this will require boring on the plaster below the beam and finding a location anywhere around the perimeter of the pool for the reservoir.  BTW I would avoid those that look like they belong in a toilet tank as these are typically made of plastic which is susceptible to freeze and temperature change.  While you are at it a good addition is an overflow for when it rains so that the water level never goes to the coping.  Water can seep under the deck just below the coping causing damage to your pool deck.

However, there is another solution that might also work for you if you already have a manual filler line piped into your pool.
http://ezautofill.com/ (http://ezautofill.com/)
Title: Re: Fountain / Water Feature Control
Post by: Sammy2 on February 08, 2017, 08:17:51 am
Sammy,

Not familiar with the construction of your pool.  However, this is typically done by boring a 3/4" line into the side of the pool below the water level and out under the deck or into the deck.  Then a pool filler reservoir is placed there.  This is the same as a skimmer reservoir without the flat inlet in the front.  The level of the water is controlled by the device I specified previously which is connected to the pressure line piped into this reservoir.  As the level drops in the pool the level drops in the reservoir and the reservoir is refilled to increase the level of the pool.  This also has the added benefit of not being affected by splashing or rough water caused by windy days and the like. 

In a retrofit this will require boring on the plaster below the beam and finding a location anywhere around the perimeter of the pool for the reservoir.  BTW I would avoid those that look like they belong in a toilet tank as these are typically made of plastic which is susceptible to freeze and temperature change.  While you are at it a good addition is an overflow for when it rains so that the water level never goes to the coping.  Water can seep under the deck just below the coping causing damage to your pool deck.

However, there is another solution that might also work for you if you already have a manual filler line piped into your pool.
http://ezautofill.com/ (http://ezautofill.com/)

It is already installed under the concrete deck and about 3" below the bottom of the tile so the automatic filler in the link would have to be modified I think as the pictures for it show the fill line coming out in the tile but thanks. I'll research some more but I guess I'm coming to the realization that not everything needs to be z-wave or whatever to be automatic!
Title: Re: Fountain / Water Feature Control
Post by: doinitsideways on June 16, 2017, 12:58:35 am
Hey there,

For my pool i was looking at an electronic solution till i finally decided that salt water and electrics dont play nice.

I eventually got a 150 dia PVC, glued an end cap on one end, cut it 600 long and glued a screw on cap on the other end. I then put a toilet cistern fill valve inside with a 40mm connection to my pool and then just set it to stop at the right height, drilled an overflow above that height and plumbed that away for when it rains and my pool over fills... job done and has been maitenance free and worry free for 2 years now.

I can take a few photos of my setup if you think its something that you would be interested in looking at?
Title: Re: Fountain / Water Feature Control
Post by: Sammy2 on July 12, 2017, 09:14:53 pm
Hey there,

For my pool i was looking at an electronic solution till i finally decided that salt water and electrics dont play nice.

I eventually got a 150 dia PVC, glued an end cap on one end, cut it 600 long and glued a screw on cap on the other end. I then put a toilet cistern fill valve inside with a 40mm connection to my pool and then just set it to stop at the right height, drilled an overflow above that height and plumbed that away for when it rains and my pool over fills... job done and has been maitenance free and worry free for 2 years now.

I can take a few photos of my setup if you think its something that you would be interested in looking at?

Sorry. Just saw this now. Please do! Thanks.
Title: Re: Fountain / Water Feature Control
Post by: doinitsideways on July 13, 2017, 04:48:58 pm
No worries, ill grab some this weekend and post them along with a parts list from bunnings to show what it cost me.

Cheers,

Josh