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 > Sequential use of small water jugs with pump

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ItsMeOK

MidWest

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Posted: 07/06/22 12:04pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Searched and searched for this but came up empty.

I want to have several plastic jugs for water (jerry can size)
I want to have all connected to the same hose and T'd off connected to the same pump.
But I don't want them all to be used at the same time and have the levels go down evenly. I would like for it to use one tank fully, then the next tank, etc. This way I can just take out 1 or 2 empties and fill and replace.

I am trying to come up with something that wouldn't take a CPU and programing to accomplish.

I was thinking of solenoids, but they take constant power depending on either always open or always closed. I see there are electronically controlled ball valves that seem to be the right road, with a ball valve at the top of each jug.

Then I was thinking of a switch that would sense if the preceding tank was empty and to then open the next tanks valve.

This is where it gets confusing. If the 1st one is open and empty, then trigger the 2nd one's ball valve. But now there is still the 1st one that is open and empty so the pump would suck in air too, right?
Is there a type of check valve that would allow water but not air?

How would one sensor trigger its valve to close then next one to open?

Has then been figured out already?
Is there a simpler way?
An existing product that I just don't know the name of?

Thanks

Edit. OR
What if I just had each tank have a tube that ran to the bottom and then to the top of the next tank. The water pump could pump out of the first tank.

Then have and air pump on the last tank and pressurize the last one so that it forces the water out and into the next tank and repeats causing the first tank to end up with all the water and the others are empty?

* This post was edited 07/06/22 12:12pm by ItsMeOK *

Gdetrailer

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Posted: 07/06/22 01:08pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Sound like a RUBE GOLDBERG MACHINE to me..

"We normally like to keep things simple and do things the easy way, but we’re completely fascinated by Rube Goldberg machines. They require a level of skill and patience we doubt we’ll ever posses and they’re the ultimate expression of doing something just because you can, as the trademark of the machine is using complication to complete a simple task."

Your overcomplicating a very simple task with electromechanical systems and possibly computers and software code for a task that can be done with a simple turn of a valve by hand.

If you water jugs have valves, just turn on only a couple valves at one time. Once those are near empty, turn the valves off on the empties and open your next set of valves..

Now you are free to disconnect and refill the empties but still have a couple of jugs with water..

tommyznr

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Posted: 07/06/22 02:19pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Sounds like a simple pre PLC control system from the 80's.

You need double acting solenoids (power to open, power to close, fail last) if you don't want constant power to the valve.

You need a low level switch for each jug, probably installed in the piping at the outlet of the jug.

You need a series of relays to perform the "logic" OR this could be better accomplished with a drum controller which is programmed via DIP switches.

When Mr Google was consulted I got a real definition for a drum controller but the actual product results were for controlling a percussion instrument.

Like Gdetrailer said, a pretty complex automation solution to a simple manual problem. But if you are into control DIY projects, it would be a fun one.


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nickthehunter

Southgate, MI

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Posted: 07/06/22 02:25pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Not a problem, you just need 2020 era Programmable Logic Controllers, with a level sensor and electric operated ball valves for each jug; and a supply of plastic tubing. "Relays" you really are dating yourself.

way2roll

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Posted: 07/06/22 02:52pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Sounds like you are engineering a solution in search of a problem. Just manually open and close the valves. You have to manually pull the jugs to fill anyway. Or have a bigger reservoir and use the jugs to fill it up - this is really the entire premise of a fresh water tank in an RV.

Sounds like a lot of work and money but to each his own. Good luck.


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time2roll

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Posted: 07/06/22 03:09pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

If they are sealed just stack them. The highest pair will empty first so a refill can be made.


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Tal/IL

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Posted: 07/06/22 03:39pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Shouldn't be difficult with a Raspberry Pi or Arduino programmed to control a system of water level sensors and actuators/valves


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2112

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Posted: 07/06/22 06:17pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Tal/IL wrote:

Shouldn't be difficult with a Raspberry Pi or Arduino programmed to control a system of water level sensors and actuators/valves
I would use an Arduino, latching solenoid valves and a single flow meter. If they are 5 gal jugs, sequence the valves every 4.8 gals metered. You would need either a relay board or MOSFET (SSR) board to drive the solenoids.

Or better yet, have 1 larger tank to pump the water out of and several smaller, lighter jugs to transfer the water to the larger tank


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wnjj

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Posted: 07/06/22 11:26pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

time2roll wrote:

If they are sealed just stack them. The highest pair will empty first so a refill can be made.

^^^
This.

Gravity will take care of the issue. Lay them on their side so the exit is at the bottom then stack them one above the other. The separate cans will act like one large one, emptying from the top downward.

wildtoad

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Posted: 07/07/22 05:11am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

wnjj wrote:

time2roll wrote:

If they are sealed just stack them. The highest pair will empty first so a refill can be made.

^^^
This.

Gravity will take care of the issue. Lay them on their side so the exit is at the bottom then stack them one above the other. The separate cans will act like one large one, emptying from the top downward.


Agree. Stack them, have each can feed the one below it, attach pump to the bottom tank. Each can will need an water input and output feed AND an air input valve. Air valve closed on all but the top can. Might want to use translucent cans so you can visually check water levels.

Several types of stackable water containers on Amazon. With minor alterations should do what you want. Let gravity work for you.

* This post was edited 07/07/22 05:21am by wildtoad *


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