Bird Bath Auto Water Fill

start pic

I bought my bird bath second hand for £10 and have had it for several years, I’ve always hated the colour and topping it up with the watering can every day was getting to be a pain.

So I thought I would ‘ kill two birds with one stone’, (I know, not the best phase considering the context), anyway, a nice little project in the making.

My original design ended up way to complex, the plan was to use a Programmable Logic Controller to drain the bowl and refill it everyday, plus some other tweaks such as overfilling the bath to flush out waste and only draining down at night etc.

I did a relality check and simplified the design to simply fill when the level in the bowl gets low, however, the plumbing manifold was made to allow auto draining if I choose to do it later.

Current Operation – This is very simple and needs no manual intervention. With the water supply and power on, the liquid level controller keeps the solenoid fill valve closed as long as a circuit is made via the water from the common connector (metal tank connector) to the low level brass stud.

When the water level drops below the low level stud and the contact to the common connector is missing, the controller, after a short delay, powers the fill solenoid valve and water enters the bird bath, once the water touches the upper contact (high level), the solenoid power is removed and the valve closes.

How it was made – As the bird bath is made of plastic and the top bowl lifts off the column, I was able to put hardware out of view inside the base.

First job was to drill and fit the 15mm Tank Connector (£2.79) and a small length of 15mm copper pipe in the top bowl, this will connect to the filling manifold via a push fit coupling, the copper stub will also act as a ‘Common’ connector for the level sensor circuit.

dish
dish top
visio

The manifold is made of 15mm copper pipe with end fed fittings, the manifold is connected via a 15mm ‘push fit’ connection to the bowl stub, thiis makes maintenance very easy as it all comes apart quickly. The finished pipework is fully lagged.

inserted manifold

The liquid level control PCB was off eBay (£3.65 and) fitted neatly inside an IP rated enclosure I already had, in the picture above you can see an earth wire which is soldered to the stub pipe from the bowl and the black cable is a two core to the high and low level stud contacts.

Studs

The solenoid is 1/2″ version, 12vDC and connects to the water supply via 15mm tap connectors with fibre washers (£1.50 @ B&Q), I fitted a flywheel diode across the terminals to avoid pitting the PCB relay contacts, the valve was off eBay and cost £4.32.

The studs are Pan Head 12mm x 4mm brass machine screws commonly used for metal conduit box lids, the studs are positioned at the low level and high level marks. On the underside I have used hot melt glue to secure the sensor connecting wire.

Finished bb

Finished project and a new colour, Winsor Green. The water supply to the bird bath is via a hose from an outside tap, the connection at the bird bath is via a hozelok connector with an isolating ball valve, the valve is ‘gagged in’ so the when the solenoid opens, the bath fill is quite slow,

12vDC to power the circuit board and solenoid is fed from an external IP rated socket with a small plug in PSU.

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UFH Controller Upgrade

I installed 150W/M electric underfloor heating in the kitchen and utility, each area was controlled using a seperate TS700 programmable touch screen controller, these were bought off eBay for £20 each.

ts700
TS700 UFH Controller

TS700-Thermostat-instructions

The TS700 worked fine but wasn’t very user friendly to programme and so you ended up not making any changes after the initial setup.

Looking for an alernative controller which will be within my buget and fit the same footprint as the TS700 and be Smart, I came across the BHT-002 series of WiFi enabled Thermostats on Aliexpress.com.

The Smart aspect means I can use an App (Beca Smart) to control and programme the controller, also as its App based, I can share permissions with familiy so they also can control the floor heating, another bonus is the ability to have control via Alexa.

Moes
BHT-002-GBLW UFH Controller

BHT-002 Series Instructions

The BHT-002 Series of controller has different versions, the one I selected was 240v AC and capable of switching 16A, it has a backlit display and WiFi connectivity.

Connection to the iPhone App was painless and the instructions an setup are considerably easier than the TS700, the cost from Aliexpress was £20 each, unfortunatly I had to pay £11.07 Customs Duty when they came into the UK, but they were a breeze to swop over from the TS700 and work perfectly.

A nice touch is the comfort light on the controller to show it is powered, all in all, a really good move to make the change.

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