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DIY Topoff

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by Luukosian, Feb 6, 2009.

  1. Luukosian


    +1 / 0 / -0

    For those of you without the 200 bucks for a fancy topoff system I thought I would share my build. A basic understanding of soldering and a few simple tools is all that is needed.
    Tools needed:

    Wire Stripper
    Soldering gun/pencil
    lighter or heat gun
    AC source line(cut off old lamp or something around the house)
    2 Madison M8000 float switches
    A few PVC peices(optional for snail/splash guard)
    3'  flexible tubing
    Solid state relay with DC control
    DC transformer(old cell phone charger, ect.)
    Heat shrink
    Wire terminals
    Project box from radio shack
    Fountain Tech FT-70 pump
        The float switches, pump, tubing and snailguard were all purchased from autotopoff.com because their prices are pretty much the same as you can purchase them elsewhere and the float switches come with nifty brackets already on them. The float switches are 9.55 directly from madison but are only 11 dollars from autotopoff.com with the bracket.  Other more inexpensive floats can be used but I used them because they are proven to work in our application.
      The relay can be found relativly inexpensive from a local supplier or ebay and can be found for under 10 dollars. You are going to be using a 12V transformer from a cellphone charger or other old device so you want a relay that has a DC control(ussualy they are rated for 2-24V or similar).  As far as the transformer, you can really use almost any 12V transformer you happen to have in a drawer or closet that you dont need, we all have a couple laying around. Now, if you aren't comfortable with solder and heat shrink it is possible to just use wire nuts and electrical tape but solder is really the way to go and the heat shrink will give you a far more water safe seal than wire nuts and is more asthetically appealing as well. Remember, whenever dealing with electricity(especially the AC side) if you are in doubt, ask questions.
    One float will be out of water as a safeguard(optional) just above the first float, in case the first float fails the second float will close the circuit and stop the pump.
      If you have questions about a particular relay you are thinking of using, feel free to PM me with a link. Depending on interest in this I do have pictures of the relay I used and the float switches and various things, but here is a simple schematic. I tried to make it simple so that someone without circuit knowledge could understand. I haven't really written a step by step here but I can if needed.  Autotopoff does have some ready to go set up's but I found that I saved quite a bit of money wiring it up myself and buying some components myself(such as relay and transformer).
  2. glaspie69

    glaspie69 Experienced Reefkeeper

    +41 / 2 / -0
    I don't know what your total cost is but you can usually pick up an autotop off for around 50 bucks
  3. Luukosian


    +1 / 0 / -0
    yeah I probably only saved like 20-30 bucks or so but, money is money I guess. If you built it with one float, had a  spare pump(like most of us do somewhere) and got a cheap ebay relay you could build it for 15-20 bucks.
  4. Waverz

    Waverz Expert Reefkeeper

    +5 / 0 / -0
    I like saving 20-30 bucks, way to burst the guys bubble Jason!

    Lukk, I'll still trade ya some frags if you make me one, let me know what you want.

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