With the internet full of how to’s and do it yourself ideas, you can arm many home systems with intelligent ways to save water if you are willing to pay for the convenience. For example, there are highly technical water management systems for your yard and landscaping that can manage water administration according to the weather predictions or most recent data from the Weather Channel. Those options work if you’ve dropped the cash to add that capability or you live in an area that receives evenly distributed rainfall over miles. But what if your rainfall is much less than it is two blocks down? What if you don’t want to spend thousands on a new water management system and pay monthly fees to have your systems on the internet? You still care about the health of your yard and responsible water usage, so what’s the alternative?
Well that’s where a simple proximity sensor comes in
Here’s what to get next time you take a Saturday morning errand trip: a rain gauge with a float, magnets from the local Hobby Lobby or other craft store and a PRX+1500 from HSI Sensing (available online at Allied Electronics).
- First, attach the magnet to the float inside the rain gauge and experiment with magnet size and type until it activates the sensor located on the outside of the tube.
- When you get home, mount the rain gauge in an appropriate location and attach the sensor to the tube at the rainfall level you want to detect.
- Many systems allow for digital inputs and you can set it up to turn your system off when the rainfall reaches a certain level. For instance, if you set the gauge to trip at ½ an inch, it will keep the system off for two days.
The wiring and setup of your system will vary in complexity so I won’t try to discuss that here, but the signal that’s needed to trigger an intelligent decision is easy and inexpensive!