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  1. #1
    Senior Member boyohboy's Avatar
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    Another float switch problem ><

    Be4 I've tried hooking a floatswitch directly to 120VAC wire and that didn't work. Apparently the high voltage/current fused the floatswitch's contact.


    So now I just made up a very simple auto-topoff with another old floatswitch I bought long time ago. It worked for less than a day and now the floatswitch seems to get stuck (at "ON"). But if i shake it around abit then it will get unstuck, but once I put it back in the water, it'll get stuck again after 1-2 on/off cycles.

    So for this new setup, I found a very small fountain pump. this pump has a transformer at the plug, so the electricity in the wire to the pump is "post-transformer" so to speak. The output from the transformer is only 12VAC, 300mA & 2.5W. I thought that ought to be ok... but perhaps still not?! I dun remember what's the spec on the floatswitch, but it's an old one from AC, the floaty is blue in color.

    So any idea what's happening? is the current after the transformer still too much? the floatswitch itself is faulty/leaking?

    Assuming I'll need a new floatswitch (probably looks like I will), will the one from Aquakit works directly with my small fountain pump?
    http://aquakit.ca/product_info.php?products_id=29
    It says max 70W, 300VAC??
    Hardwares: 50G reef tank, 30G sump & ~55lb Indo/Fiji LR. Finnex 36"x4 T5 lights, Coralife Superskimmer 220g, Mag9.5 return and SEIO820+MJ600 PH.
    Corals: zoosss, mushrooms, hammer, torch, fogsprawn, blasto, crocea clam, RBTA
    Fish: Percular clown PJ cardinal, royal gramma, yellow watchman goby, 3x chromis.

  2. #2
    Moderator ShipWreck's Avatar
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    Electrically if you are post transformer then that float switch should work. It is however possibly that when the pump starts there is a higher inrush that causes the switch to fail. If you continue to have problems another method is to use a relay and have the float switch activate the relay swith side (usually 12 or 24 vDC) The contacts side of the relay (rated 120) is then what enables/disables the power to the pump. This way you could also mount everything in a nice box and help keep it safe then plug any pump (sized correctly) into the outlet.
    Rob
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    Upgrade in the works! Keep looking for an update.


  3. #3
    Moderator cres's Avatar
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    You could also use a relay with the 12V from the transformer.

    i.e. use a low current/low voltage through the float switch to power the relay that in turn will switch the higher current to the pump.

    I've been running 12V to a float switch (bought from Ivan) which powers an AC rated relay for over two years with no issues (except algae slightly gumming it up).

    The 70 watt float switches will likely withstand the higher current draw of driving the pump directly, but, I'd still prefer to use a relay.
    Sarchasm: The gulf between the author of sarcastic wit and the person who doesn't get it.

  4. #4
    Senior Member boyohboy's Avatar
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    yeah I've read about the 12v relay setup, & was actually thinking of getting 1. But for one I really have no clue how to set that up yet, and that I found this small voltage fountain pump which I thought should work, so I gave it a try. I was thinking, well a 12V relay is 12V... this pump is 12V too...


    So for the initial (potential) surge of electricity when the pump starts up, how much of a surge can it be usually (and how much the transformer will withstand too)? If the transformer is 12VAC/300mA/2.5W, while the switch is rated max for 300VAC/70W (assuming my old AC one is similar to the current Aquakit one that is), how likely is a surge to blow the switch? Is it the volt, amp or the wattage that matters most?


    Does DC (if using a relay) or AC matters to the switch?


    Electricity stuffs is quite confusing
    Hardwares: 50G reef tank, 30G sump & ~55lb Indo/Fiji LR. Finnex 36"x4 T5 lights, Coralife Superskimmer 220g, Mag9.5 return and SEIO820+MJ600 PH.
    Corals: zoosss, mushrooms, hammer, torch, fogsprawn, blasto, crocea clam, RBTA
    Fish: Percular clown PJ cardinal, royal gramma, yellow watchman goby, 3x chromis.

  5. #5
    Senior Member boyohboy's Avatar
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    Okie... so I went home, playing around with the switch. I tapped, shaked the switch abit out of water, and it worked fine out of water (tested on/off consecutively for like 20 times). But once I put it in the spot on the water where I wanted it to be, it stopped working once every few on/off cycle. I checked the float itself is freely moveable for sure, nothing was stuck there visually.

    Aside from over-voltage causing the float switch contact to melt and remain "on" permanently, will over-voltage or anything makes the switch works intermittently? It just seems strange. Could it just be a faulty floatswitch??!?!
    Hardwares: 50G reef tank, 30G sump & ~55lb Indo/Fiji LR. Finnex 36"x4 T5 lights, Coralife Superskimmer 220g, Mag9.5 return and SEIO820+MJ600 PH.
    Corals: zoosss, mushrooms, hammer, torch, fogsprawn, blasto, crocea clam, RBTA
    Fish: Percular clown PJ cardinal, royal gramma, yellow watchman goby, 3x chromis.

  6. #6
    Moderator ShipWreck's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by boyohboy View Post
    Could it just be a faulty floatswitch??!?!
    Most definately, they can and will fail.
    Rob
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    Upgrade in the works! Keep looking for an update.


  7. #7
    Moderator cres's Avatar
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    Your assumption that the early float switches are rated for the same current as the new ones from AquaKit is wrong. Sorry.

    The early switches were much lower amperage, though, they claimed the ability to switch higher voltage AC, it was a recipe for failure.

    I'll see if I can sketch up some wiring diagrams for you, wiring a relay is pretty simple and will give any float switch a longer life expectancy.
    Sarchasm: The gulf between the author of sarcastic wit and the person who doesn't get it.

  8. #8
    Moderator cres's Avatar
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    Another question I have, is what is near the float switch where you want it to be? They are magnetic devices -- a small magnet in the float causes the blades in the float switch to come together and carry current. If it works out of water, but, not where you want it ... does it work anywhere in water? If it is close to a pump or magfloat or magnetic mounted powerhead, it could interfere.
    Sarchasm: The gulf between the author of sarcastic wit and the person who doesn't get it.

  9. #9
    Senior Member boyohboy's Avatar
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    arh, magnetic interference.... that's quite possible. The spot I wanted it to be is sorta near a Mag9 return pump, so it could be a big suspect. But I *think* I've also tested it in the sump away from the Mag9 return and still got it stuck (not quite remember about this tho).

    I guess either way, I'll need to buy new floatswitches, whether mine is faulty or not, as you said the old switch is of low amp tolerance.
    Hardwares: 50G reef tank, 30G sump & ~55lb Indo/Fiji LR. Finnex 36"x4 T5 lights, Coralife Superskimmer 220g, Mag9.5 return and SEIO820+MJ600 PH.
    Corals: zoosss, mushrooms, hammer, torch, fogsprawn, blasto, crocea clam, RBTA
    Fish: Percular clown PJ cardinal, royal gramma, yellow watchman goby, 3x chromis.

  10. #10
    Senior Member Bonaqua's Avatar
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    check for cracks or holes on the switch.
    Could be a leakage problem.

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