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The purpose of the Simple Water Level Indicator is to caution a
person that a water tank has been filled up to a particular level.
This circuit exploits the simple fact that water is a good
conductor of electricity. The system is capable of indicating the
water level in two ways- visual (by the means of an LED) and
audible (by the means of a sound generated by a piezoelectric
buzzer). The placement of two probes (with connections from
the circuit) inside the water tank determines the minimum
detectable level (MDL). When the water reaches this height in
the tank (or any other fluid container); the buzzer is activated
and the LED is turned on.

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ë ÀSemiconductors:|
T1 - BC547 transistor
T2 - BC107 transistor
D1 - 1N4003
D2 - Red LED
ë Resistors (all ¼-watt, ±5% carbon):
R1 - 470 kilo-ohm
R2 - 220 ohm
R3 - 3.3 kilo-ohm
ë Capacitors:
C1 - 50ȝF (or 47ȝF), 16V
electrolyte
ë Miscellaneous:
Piezoelectric Buzzer
Printed Circuit Board (PCB)
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The 1N4003 is a semiconductor diode which basically conduct
electric current in only one direction.The most common function
of a diode is to allow an electric current inone direction (called
the diode¶s forward direction) while blocking current in the
opposite direction (the reverse direction). This unidirectional
behaviour is called rectification, and is used to convert
alternating current to direct current. In the water level indicator
circuit, 1N4003 acts a half-wave rectifier to rectify AC voltage
available at secondary of the transformer to DC current. This is
further filtered by the capacitor C1. In its simplest form, a half
wave rectifier can be implemented using a single diode as
shown:
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The BC547 and the BC107 are general purpose transistors used
for switching and amplification purposes. In the Water Level
Indicator circuitry, these two transistors are being basically used
as switches i.e. they operate in the following two modes:
‡ Saturation (or conduction) mode: With both junctions
forwardbiased, a BJT is in saturation mode and facilitates high
current conduction from the emitter to the collector. This mode
corresponds to a logical ³on´, or a closed switch.
‡ Cutoff: In cutoff, biasing conditions opposite of saturation
(both junctions reverse biased) are present. There is very little
current flow, which corresponds to a logical ³off´,or an open
switch. Transistor T2 (BC107) switches from ³off´ to ³on´ state
in order to generate a sound output through the piezoelectric
buzzer, while transistor T1 (BC547) switches in order to provide
visual indication through the red LED. This way, both visual and
audible indication of the water level is generated.
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The most basic role of resistors is current limiting i.e.precisely
controlling the quantity of electrical current that is going to flow
through a device or a conductor. Resistors can also be used as
voltage divider, in other words they can be used to generate any
voltage from an initial bigger voltage by dividing it.
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Reservoir capacitors are used in power supplies where they
smooth the output of a full or half wave rectifier.While half-
wave rectification suffices to deliver a form of DC output, it
does not produce a constant-voltage DC. In order to produce
steady DC from a rectified AC supply, a smoothing circuit or
filter is required. In its simplest form this can be just a reservoir
capacitor or smoothing capacitor, placed at the DC output of the
rectifier. In the water level indicator circuit, capacitor C1 serves
this purpose.

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The water level indicator employs a simple mechanism to detect
and indicate the water level in a tank or any other container. The
level sensing is done by a pair of probes, the resistance between
which depends upon the water level in the tank. These probes
can be placed in two ways on the walls of the tank or container:
1. Both the probes can be placed at different points on the wall
lying at the same level/height from the bottom. This height
determines the minimum detectable water level, or
2. The probes can be placed at different points lying at two
different heights from the tank bottom. In this case, the probe
which is placed higher than the other determines the minimum
detectable water-level. When the water-level is below the
minimum detectable level (MDL), there is infinite impedance
between the two probes. Hence, transistor T2 remains in the cut-
off mode and does not conduct. However when water-level
reaches MDL or is above it, the connection between the probes
gets completed (through the conducting medium of water) and
the base voltage of T2 increases. This causes the base-emitter
junction of T2 to get forward biased and the piezoelectric buzzer
is turned ³on´ to generate an alarm sound. The path from the
emitter of T2 through resistance R3 is responsible for forward
biasing the base of transistor T1. This switches T1 from cut-off
to conduction mode, thereby driving the red LED to glow.
Hence, at each instance when water reaches the MDL, both the
buzzer and LED indicate this simultaneously.

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Preparing the soldering iron:
‡ Place the soldering iron in its stand and plug in. The iron will
take a few minutes to reach its operating temperature of about
400°C.
‡ Dampen the sponge in the stand.
‡ Wait a few minutes for the soldering iron to warm up. You can
check if it is ready by trying to melt a little solder on the tip.
‡ Wipe the tip of the iron on the damp sponge. This will clean
the tip. Melt a little solder on the tip of the iron. Soldering the
components:
‡ Use the component overlay on the PCB to insert the
components and solder them in the following order:
1. Resistors
2. Capacitor
3. Transistors
4. Diode and LED
5. Piezoelectric Buzzer
‡ Hold the soldering iron like a pen, near the base of the handle.
Touch the soldering iron onto the joint to be made. Make sure it
touches both the component lead and the track.
‡ Hold the tip there for a few seconds and feed a little solder
onto the joint. It should flow smoothly onto the lead and track to
form a volcano shape. Apply the solder to the joint, not the iron.
‡ Remove the solder, then the iron, while keeping the joint still.
‡ After all the components have been soldered, check the
soldering closely for any breaks. Inspect your work carefully
under a bright light. The solder joints should have a µshiny¶ look
about them. Check that there are no solder bridges between
adjacent pads. Connectivity in circuit can be tested by the help
of a multi-meter
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‡ It is preferable to use multi-thread wires for connection with
the piezoelectric buzzer, rather than single thread copper wires
since they tend to break upon soldering.
‡ Also note that the red wire from the piezoelectric buzzer is
connected to the supply end while the blue wire is connected to
the negative/ground end.
‡ The three-legged transistor should be carefully placed into the
correct drill holes on the PCB. Make sure that for transistor
BC107, the direction of the notch marked on the PCB coincides
with that of the component.



‡ Insert the plug into the AC supply mains and be careful to not
touch any naked wires.
‡ To perform a test on the level indication mechanism, place the
probes on the walls of the tank using one of the two ways
described under ³working principle´. After this placement, fill
the tank at least up to the MDL.
‡ This should cause the loudspeaker to generate an alarm. If this
does not happen then check whether the toggle switch is in the
ON position or not. If not, change the position of the toggle
switch to hear the alarm sound.
‡ When the alarm is generated, it can be silenced by
disconnecting the AC supply from the circuitry.

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If the circuit is not working as desired then proceed as below:
‡ It is preferable to begin trouble-shooting process from output
stage onwards and then proceed to the input side. To begin,
apply a voltage of 5-6V to the loudspeaker directly and ensure
that it is operating at this voltage properly. If it is working fine
then proceed to the next step.
‡ Check the connections of the base, emitter and collector of the
transistors and whether all the resistances being used are of the
required value. Verify that you have the right components in the
right place.Once the circuit problem has been resolved your
Water Level Indicator is ready to be installed and used.

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During summer months, the problem of over-flow while filling


desert coolers is common. The water-level indicator described
here can be implemented to overcome this problem. Each time
the desert cooler has been filled to the brim, the level indicator
will sound the alarm as well as light the LED thereby checking
the wastage of water!