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hpr3217 :: Sump Minion

My first Internet of Things device, without using python

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Hosted by Brian in Ohio on 2020-12-01 is flagged as Clean and is released under a CC-BY-SA license.
raspberry pi, slackware. (Be the first).
The show is available on the Internet Archive at:

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Duration: 00:18:26

Hobby Electronics.

Building electronic devices and kits, repairing electronics and learning about components and their uses.

1 introduction

1.1 back in Ohio using my regular voice
1.2 espeak is no worse than operat0rs audio and we all love his shows.

2 the problem

2.1 where i live the water table is high and basement flooding is a problem
2.2 to counteract the water table problem houses have sumps in the basement

sump closet
sump closet

sump close up
sump close up

2.2.1 sumps consist of a basin where outside water is collected
2.2.2 a pump, usually electric, that drains the sump
2.2.3 also a good sump system will have some type of backup pump

2.3 the 'real' problem happens when the sump pump(s) fail
2.3.1 primary pumps fail in many ways, mechanical motor failures, floats sticking electrical outage
2.3.2 secondary pumps also fail battery problems, mechanical problems
2.3.3 i wanted a notification system that would let me know that the water level in my sump was rising. i wanted it set so that if the water level hits where the secondary system kicks in i would get some ind of notification. i wanted a system that would not use python or some kind of 'home spy' system available from some friendly corporation.

3 the solution

3.1 a raspberrry pi, a simple transistor circuit, a c library that allows access to the pi's gpio's, mutt mail client, some bash scripting and a cron job

The probe is meerly 2 wires on the end of a pvc pipe. one wire is higher up on the pipe than the other when both wires are submerged, the circuit is complete. the wires are just some old stuff from a stripped out ethernet cable. you could easily cascade anumber of these circuits and provide a water level meter something like this,
water level meter
, instead of running leds, you'd hook each end to a gpio pin on the pie.

In picture 2, the closeup you can see the probe its the small pvc pipe with the blue wires running along the side. I attached the end of the wires to the pipe by stripping the ends and wrapping them around a small 1/2" self tapping screw. then I screwed one in towards the bottom and on higher up. the one higer up determines when the water alarm goes off.

4 implementation

4.1 raspberry pi 3b+
4.1.1 install slackware
4.1.2 access to gpio's initially sysfs, its deprecated i was unable to get libgpio to compile other solutions python. wiringpi, project dead a library pigpiod slackbuilds pigpiod
4.1.3 the circuit a rework of a forrest mims water alarm circuit

circuit diagram
circuit diagram

4.1.4 mutt
4.1.5 email to text
4.1.6 the script




#if its 6am send system running sanity text
if [ $(date | cut -c 12-16) == "06:00" ]; then

#check to make sure daemon is running
if [ "$(pidof pigpiod)" == "" ]; then
   echo "Something is wrong, pigpiod is not running." | mutt -s "mutt message" $ADDRESS1
   #make sure pin 4 is input, pin 17 output
   if [ "$(pigs modeg $SENSOR)" = $OUTPUT ]; then
      pigs modes $SENSOR R
   if [ "$(pigs modeg $RELAY)" = $INPUT ]; then
      pigs modes $RELAY W
      echo "System running." | mutt -s "mutt message" $ADDRESS1

#if its the first wednesday of the month, run a system test
if [ $(date | cut -c 1-3) `= "Wed" ] && [ $(date | cut -c 12-16) =' "12:00" ] && [ $(date | cut -c 9-10) -lt "8" ]; then
   echo "Monthly Test." | mutt -s "mutt message" $ADDRESS1
   pigs w $RELAY $ON
   sleep 1

   if [ $(pigs r $SENSOR) = 0 ]; then
     echo "Test Passed!" | mutt -s "mutt message" $ADDRESS1
     echo "Something is wrong!" | mutt -s "mutt message" $ADDRESS1

#check to see if water is rising, has the reading on pin 4 been driven low?
if [ $(pigs r $SENSOR) = 0 ]; then
   echo "Alert! The water is rising!" | mutt -s "mutt message" $ADDRESS1

testing on breadboard
testing on breadboard

strip board
strip board

final installation
final installation

5 conclusion

5.1 fun project, shows the power of linux and floss and hope it inspires you


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