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Cultivated Reef

Conductor that won't rust?


Nyxis

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Is there any decent and relatively inexpensive conductor I can use in my tank without it rusting/poisoning everything? Designing for ocean environments isn't really discussed here in the prairies.

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Conductor of electricity, I plan to use the water level in my tank as a switch so I will need some kind of electrode in the tank which is capable of conducting electricity and will not rust.

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Conductor of electricity, I plan to use the water level in my tank as a switch so I will need some kind of electrode in the tank which is capable of conducting electricity and will not rust.

Stainless steel will conduct. You could try using the tungsten filament posts from a light bulb.

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Stainless steel will conduct. You could try using the tungsten filament posts from a light bulb.

 

Stainless will eventually rust/corrode.

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Titanium does conduct elec. I think they use it for the aquarium grounding probes I've seen for sale, just alot more expensive and harder to solder wires to if he's using it for a level probe/switch.

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Why wouldn't a Float Switch work? What is your application?

 

Application is an ato, a float switch would work however they were the weak link in my last system design and I want reliability mechanical switches just can't offer. If I can remember where I put my circuit design I'll post it.

 

Edit: Almost forgot thanks Dave.

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lil'wrasse cool

are you going to have two probes and once the water level goes under the probes that will open you curcuit? sounds very dangerous. From a electricians view their is lots of swiches out there. maybe goggle moter contol switches. Get help from a pro when working with electricity. I see alot of fish rooms that are unsafe. just a heads up and if you do this get a gfci plug. Its just xtra safety.Sorry if it seems like I ranting :) or try a dyi drip system realy easy to build and they are adjustable to your evap rate

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It's ok to rant I would do the same thing, I guess I should have mentioned that I'm an electronic eng student, the ac will be isolated from this switch. I just want to use the water level to trigger a monostable and tie that to a relay or some kind of isolation device. This way I get an ato that can't be screwed up by snails and won't toggle on and off all day long.

 

Edit: I know nothing about steel grades where can I find some stainless steel that would work?

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neanderthalman

If you're that concerned about reliabilty, Nyxis, why not use three float switches and 2 out of 3 voting logic? What you're talking about sounds unnecessarily and vastly overcomplicated from an engineering standpoint.

 

Three float switches and a quad nand gate can solve your reliability issues without involving exposed probes and conduction in your tank water. As for the hysteresis, you can use the output of the nand gates to trigger a monostable timer circuit, similar to how you were planning. Snail related problems are also easily solved through the use of pill bottle snail guards on floatswitches.

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If you're that concerned about reliabilty, Nyxis, why not use three float switches and 2 out of 3 voting logic? What you're talking about sounds unnecessarily and vastly overcomplicated from an engineering standpoint.

 

It may sound overcomplicated, which I guess would be a failure on my part because the hardest part about this is finding a conductor to use. I always hate talking about something I haven't got working so I will make sure my idea will actually work today and post it.

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If you're that concerned about reliabilty, Nyxis, why not use three float switches and 2 out of 3 voting logic? What you're talking about sounds unnecessarily and vastly overcomplicated from an engineering standpoint.

yes

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Well the switch works but I got some electrolysis happening which never crossed my mind as a potential problem so back to the drawing board.

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... some electrolysis happening...

 

Mmmm! Chlorine (and some H2 and O2) gas! Yummy...

 

How's about you use a silicone-coated conductor? You would only need to have a very small area on the ends exposed. That would cut down your electrolysis, though you'd still have a little.

 

Also, how much current goes through them? Aren't you concerned about stray current (pardone the pun) in your tank?

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Mmmm! Chlorine (and some H2 and O2) gas! Yummy...

 

How's about you use a silicone-coated conductor? You would only need to have a very small area on the ends exposed. That would cut down your electrolysis, though you'd still have a little.

 

Also, how much current goes through them? Aren't you concerned about stray current (pardone the pun) in your tank?

 

The current in the last one was a fraction of a mili amp, my new simulation is telling me if I use a comparator I can take that down into nano amps (it lies to me all the time however). Current that low really dosen't concern me but maybe that's just because I don't know any better lol.

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neanderthalman

Sorry if you thought I was bashing your idea Nyxis, I didn't mean anything harsh by my suggestion. I was merely concerned about the unknowns surrounding exposed probes in a saltwater environement. The electrolysis is a good example of the sort of random thing that can happen with new designs. I'm really surprised that you observed electrolysis, to be honest, I was more concerned with stray current influencing your fish and effects of a biological nature. Electrolysis is entirely out of left field. What voltage are you applying across the probes? I always thought you needed a substantial voltage for electrolysis.

 

I just thought of a neat idea, based on Fosi's suggestion of insulated probes. Why not measure the capacitance between two entirely insulated probes? The absence of saltwater in the gap would change the capacitance, triggering the ATO. It would eliminate the floatswitches and take care of the electrolysis issue.

 

Edit - what simulator are you using? multisim? spice?

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Used to generate hydrogend with a 6V lantern battery. I agree in the end from an engineering standpoint level switches would be best unless you want to get into some of the boiler level controllers and those run about $90 for the sensor and controller.

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