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Thread: Questions about transmitters and receivers

  1. #1
    Associate Engineer
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    Questions about transmitters and receivers

    First off let me say that I was registered on this site many years ago but have been absent long enough that I had to re register. This is my first post in a long while. Sure glad this site is still operating.

    A bit of background for my question. I am a farmer and we have installed a water system where we are pumping water from a well up a hill to a water storage tank which then gravity feeds several frost free hydrants around the farm for livestock and irrigation of garden crops. Now the well only produces about 4 gallon per minute- thus the storage tank. The tank is underground so the system can be used in the winter if necessary. The system is in place except for a float in the tank and the wire necessary to connect the float to the system. The reason that this is not yet connected is directly related to cost. The tank is 450 plus feet from the well and normally the system would be installed with a wire running to the float switch and another wire running back down to complete the circuit when the float called for water. The pump is 3/4 horse and although it is 300 feet down in the well, it can be operated with a 20 amp double pull breaker in the shop (closest building to the well) and currently has #8 gauge wire to the pump from the shop. . However, I am concerned that if I am to run wire up the hill 450 plus feet to the float and tank, I would need to run #6 wire up the hill for the distance and that starts to get real expensive to the tune of $1500 plus just for the two wires to the float from the well. My thinking is that I would probably need to replace the #8 wire with #6 as well. Let me know if I am off on this. I was quoted $1.69 per foot for #6 gauge wire making the cost for the wire to the float over $1500.00 and another $600 plus to replace the existing wire.

    Now my next idea was to run smaller gauge wire and connect it into the shop to a contactor like a magnetic switch that would drop in the bigger wires to the pump when the float called for water. I like this idea but, several people have mentioned that trying to fish and pull these smaller wires (#16 or 18 gauge) all that distance might be difficult and we might end up breaking the wires in the process. Since I am not experienced in pulling wires that far through plastic pipe, I cannot argue their concerns. I am not even sure how to get a string that far to allow for the pulling.

    My last idea and thus this thread is to put a float in the tank and connect it to a transmitter that would send a signal to a receiver at the shop when the float required water. The receiver would then drop in a contact that would allow electricity to the pump. Once the float was satisfied in the tank, the transmitter would send another signal to the receiver to allow the contactor to drop out of the circuit and disengage the pump. This sounds simple enough in theory and I know that there are this type of systems sold commercially but, again they are expensive. (about $1300.00 for one I found online). Also I believe you needed electricity at both locations for this to work.

    So, my question is can we purchase economically a transmitter and receiver (the transmitter would need to work off battery power) that could transmit say 750- 1000 feet that would allow me to make this work? Digikey is offering one made by Lynx that says it reaches that far but, I am so unsure of just what I need in order to do what I want that I wanted to ask someone with some experience in these things. I can post a link to the transmitters if needed but, didn't want to get in trouble for putting links to other peoples products on here my first time back in such a long while.

    Any help or advice would be greatly appreciated. Sorry this is so long.

  2. #2
    Administrator Kelly Bramble's Avatar
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    First thought I have is that there is underground wire (conduit not required) available for which ever option you choose. The wire can be quickly placed underground with a walk behind vibratory plow.

    I prefer the high amperage contactor (relay) near the pump approach in that you need only run a smaller gauge wire over the distance. Two-pole industrial contactors are readily available. My well pump is triggered by a pressure switch that is remotely located relative to my well pump. The pressure switch operates a simple
    contactor providing electrical power to the pump.

    There are "wireless relay options" available - not cheap, see http://migro.com/irrigation.htm.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kelly Bramble View Post
    First thought I have is that there is underground wire (conduit not required) available for which ever option you choose. The wire can be quickly placed underground with a walk behind vibratory plow.

    I prefer the high amperage contactor (relay) near the pump approach in that you need only run a smaller gauge wire over the distance. Two-pole industrial contactors are readily available. My well pump is triggered by a pressure switch that is remotely located relative to my well pump. The pressure switch operates a simple
    contactor providing electrical power to the pump.

    There are "wireless relay options" available - not cheap, see http://migro.com/irrigation.htm.

    Thank you Kelly. If using direct bury wire I would need to get it down at least 30 inches as it runs across fields that sometimes get sub-soiled to 24 inches to break up the hard pan. The pipe is already burried and available from the well to the tank. I could use the direct bury from the shop to the well though as there is no pipe there for this as yet.

  4. #4
    Administrator Kelly Bramble's Avatar
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    I would focus on the least expensive installation that gets the job done. I once operated a rented walk-behind trencher to run a underground cable to a hot tub. I think the trencher dug to about two feet though I would bet there are trenchers that will dig deeper.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kelly Bramble View Post
    I would focus on the least expensive installation that gets the job done.
    That's why I was looking into the circuitry needed to go wireless. I know what is available and assembled on the market may not be cheap but, there has to be a way to build those circuits, if only I knew how that would how, way cheaper then what is currently available. That is where I am stumped as I do not know. Thank you and you are right I will probably need to go the route of running the wires to a controller if no one with the know how on these circuits stops in to give direction. Have a good one.

  6. #6
    Administrator Kelly Bramble's Avatar
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    Consider the following:

    Place a on/off contactor switch actuated by pressure between the pump and the storage tank. At the storage tank have a water level on/off flow switch that mechanically shuts off flow from the pump line to the tank.

    When the tank is full the water level switch shuts off flow from the pump and the pressure switch near the pump shutoffs the pump at the desired pressure.

    This system is very similar many well pump systems except the water level switch.
    Last edited by Kelly Bramble; 07-30-2013 at 05:40 PM.

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