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Thread: Float Cut off Switch for Glass Beaker

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    GT250 I think you are getting ahead of yourself. There's quite few members here including myself, who distil spirits and to my my knowledge, nobody has 'automated' the process yet. There is too much variability in the distillate from start to finish, to be a set-and-forget system. Most distillers I know just keep an eye on temperature and taste during the run, to make the cut from 'heads' to 'main-run' then 'tails'.

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    Quote Originally Posted by GT250 View Post
    G65: Not sure if you are aware that this float sensor operates from 5vdc to 24vdc. Hence my question if it might be ok at 28vdc, that old 10% variance thing
    I wasn't refering to the voltage of the float sensor, I was talking about the contactless level sensor. From what I read on the link it was rated at 5V @ 30 Ma.
    Check again for the specs. From what is written above I may have got it wrong or there may be different models.

    I do not know how those floar levels work. The ones I have used were the horozontal Type and were just a switch. If the stainless ones linked are the same, I don't see why voltage up to at least 100V DC would matter as long as the amperage was kept in spec. If these things have some sort of variable output and a circuit or resistance built in, then yes, that extra voltage May matter. Electronic components have rated voltages and there may also be current limiting devices that are rated up to a certain input. Exceed that and the output goes up ant that may exceed the rating of other components. These float switched may be just that, an on/ off switch and if that is the case I can't see how the extra voltage would hurt. I don't know how they work so don't know if the extra 4V matters or not.

    I can't give a definitive answer on what voltage they would take but I would say when you don't know how something works, best to stick to the recommended parameters.


    Would it be possible for you or F666 to diagram the connections? the F666 img no longer comes up as a full pic.
    Sorry, I couldn't do a graphic of a circle. I'm sure other more skilful people with those programs could help you out though.


    I'll order two of these non contactless level things now.

    G65, If I use a 12vdc PS, do I still need this 'current limiting sensor' ?
    Current and voltage are entirely different things. You could run 3V and potentially need a current limiting sensor or you could potentially run 50V in the thing and not need one. It's not the voltage that counts on it's own, the current is the thing you have to watch here.

    That said, I don't know if you need one at all. Just trying to warn of a potential fun spoiler I see. If I was building this myself, I'd get a multimeter and hook one up and see what the current was. I have some of those SSR's sitting on my desk in front of me as well as a few Multis behind me. I could hook one up and measure the current but unless you had the same SSR, It could be different and what was fine for mine could blow the snot out of your level sensor. There are a bunch of different makes of Those SSR's even though the have the same outward specs.

    Myself, I wouldn't even use an SSR as they are basically a MOSFET and they are a lot cheaper than an SSR. I'd build a simple circuit using the mosfet and some resistors and a diode and Incorporate the power supply as well. I'd tap off the 240 for the load supply, drop the voltage down and rectify it and put it all in a box and that would be it. In doing so with my very basic knowledge it' would probably be a poor circuit to what someone knowledgeable would design.
    I'm the twit who just built a box to control the Christmas lights sensing when it got dark to turn them on and then used a cap bleed to turn them off. Then when I was done, I realised like a Moron I could have just used a timer I have a few of laying round. DUH!

    I understand though that when you don't understand this stuff that a pre packaged unit you can just wire up is the difference between being able to do something and not which makes price irrelevant.

    Perhaps instead of worrying about SSR's it might be easier for you to just use one of these boards and connect the sensor and pump to this.


    Gulp! I'm scared now... Didn't expect a finished wash this week. Collect it on Friday afternoon, with the Still and Filter.
    Going what others experienced in this process have said, maybe you are better off doing it by feel rather than trying to automate it anyway?
    You Might have a fear of Fking up but sometimes that's the only way to learn and it's definitely the way to get experience. I know with a lot of things I have done, I have spent money on equipment. lots of money, that couldn't do the job near as well as I could and heard the same from many others. Keeping a log book may help but from there it will probably come down to gut feeling and intuition that makes the difference between a good batch and an ordinary one.

    I get the idea from what I have read about brewing and distilling it's a lot like playing music. It's not about pressing the right keys on the piano in the right order at the right time, it's everything else that can't be taught or put into words that makes the difference between someone that can play the piano and a renowned concert Pianist.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Onefella View Post
    nobody has 'automated' the process yet.
    The only thing I'm trying to 'Automate', is the cutting off of the Still when the beaker level reaches 700ml.
    As I work full time, it'd be nice to have it running whilst I am not here.

    Yes, you're correct with getting ahead of myself. And I didn't expect a prepared wash this week. So as I am waiting for the gizmos to arrive, this first wash will be all manual and I'll have to 'cut my teeth', on this

    I spoke to a experienced stiller yesterday and his trick in making Cointreau was to add 5 drops of Orange Extract into per liter.
    He also said - as you have said - that it takes time to learn.




    George65:
    Here's the specs of the one I have ordered.


    Working temperature: 0~60C
    Working voltage: DC5~24V
    Output current: 300mA
    Response time: 30 seconds
    Output voltage: 0.5V
    Current consumption: 5mA

    Many thanks for your help people, I do appreciate it.
    GT250

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    If that is the non contact sensor, you wouldn't need a current limiting resistor going to the SSR. 300Ma will be more than enough to drive it. You Might want to check the output of .5 V however, that's very low and I would assume it.s more like 5V which will be OK.
    You can run off a 12 V Plug pack and be fine.
    Last edited by george65; 11-12-19 at 07:53 AM.

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    GT250, you probably have this worked out by now, but I am trialling a new vector editing program and I needed something to draw.

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    George64, this is the eBay listing.
    And you're correct that the output voltage is listed at 0.5v (might be 5.0), but I don't think so.
    I didn't think about (or know truthfully), that such a low out put voltage might not work with the SSR.

    As you said, a 12vdc PS should work fine. I'll try and get hold of a old fashioned copper one - not the electronic rubbish as of today.




    Onefella: That's a pretty good drawing there, considering you're trialing it...
    Yes, that's pretty much as fandtm666 did - same thing really - but you 'touched' it up a little LOL!!!

    As yet nothing has arrived, those 1ltr beakers. The Sensor should be here in 7-10days.


    Had to laugh to myself if (I'm sure it will work), this level cut off still at 700mm set up works, all I need to do is then have a pump (run dry off pump), to move the 700mm to the top of the filter, then with a stepper motor open the drip tap to the 1 drip per second setting...

    So when I get home it's been stilled and filtered... LOL!!!

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    I looked at a few listings for these things. they are like so much else a generic unit probably made by the same company and offered by 100 sellers all probably drop shipped.

    Like a lot of things sold by Chinese Clueless sellers, I believe the specs are mixed up.

    I would take the specs to be most likely 9-12V , 5V@30 ma output, .5 sec response time.

    Those numbers make sense. Having something powered from 12V or more and having an output of .5 V would be highly unusual. 300Ma also sounds on the high side to me and wouldn't gel with .5V. Nothing that runs that low a voltage would need 300Ma to drive it. That does not add up.

    The numbers I put above I believe would be much more logical and believable.

    You are going the wrong way about this.
    Use a upper and lower controller on the beaker. That way when the beaker is empty, the pump shuts off. Also you don't want a stepper motor, run the booze into a holding vessel and through something like a brass carburettor jet to get the metering you want. :0)

    Is there any reason you can't do multiple passes of the filtering by recirculating the booze through the filter more than once? If this is Distilled, what exactly are you filtering out?
    I thought the distillate did something like 100 re condensations before it left the still. If it's been that purified, what does a filter remove?

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    BTW, Do a search for those level monitors. There are plenty available a lot cheaper than the one you linked to.

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    Hi George65,

    My idea of having it 'all automated' was a tongue in cheek comment - however, it could be done. And as you say, a double filtering set up could be possible.
    At this stage I'm happy to put 4ltrs of wash into the Air Still and get 700ml out (With hopefully the Still powering off).
    Yes, there tons out there, so I've ordered a few and will see how they go.

    As for filtering, this is a similar filter I am getting. The top of mine is a lot thinner though. I can put 3ltrs at a time into the 'Barrel'.



    Have been told to adjust the 'drip tap' at the bottom to 1 drip per second - or - 2 drips ps, and then re-filter it at 2dps.
    I intend to do 1dps, twice. Each Carbon fill (250ml - $10), apparently does two 25ltr washes. I know (now), I can get 1kg for $13 (not sure about delivery). If anyone recommends a certain 'Carbon/Charcoal', I'm happy to give it a go

    I was told this about the main steps to getting a good spirit.

    1) The wash should be done in a temperature controlled environment.

    2) The Filtering is very important.

    A 'third' step, is the quality of the Essence - and - if any infusion/additives have been added. This is where I think the 'Dark Web/Secrets' all reside... lol!

    I bought some Juniper seeds today - $60kg...!! nearly died... never seen one!
    So got 250gms and there's a lot of them.

    My idea (as I love a good G&T), is to use the 'infuser' dish (optional $22 extra in the air still), to give the 'REAL' Gin taste.

    When you hold one, there's no smell. You have to break the skin into the 'flesh', and then with a bit of rubbing of fingers, you can certainly get that GIN smell.
    So my idea (don't laugh!), is to put some crushed Juniper seeds onto the infuser dish and see what happens...
    All good fun..

    Tomorrow I pick up the prepared wash and the Air Still, Filter and a few essences.. So over the weekend, I'll be having a go...!

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    Quote Originally Posted by george65 View Post
    Is there any reason you can't do multiple passes of the filtering by recirculating the booze through the filter more than once? If this is Distilled, what exactly are you filtering out?
    I thought the distillate did something like 100 re condensations before it left the still. If it's been that purified, what does a filter remove?
    The air still produces approx 60% alcohol that leaves 40% impurities a lot of which have an undesirable taste. Most people make a netural spirit and then flavour it so the goal is to make a spirit with as little tast and smell as posible.The quality of the wash plays a big part but the more pure the alcohol from the still the better the finished product will be (unless you are trying to make a specific flavour profile).

    I know the big brands sell multiple yeast strains and sugars plus filters and carbon for polishing the spirit but I have had very good results from TPW (tomato pase wash) and a still that will produce >90% alcohol.
    Don't worry, it only seems kinky the first time.

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    So you mix the alcohol with water and add the essences?
    Leave out the booze and it sounds like the Cordial Kids make.

    Tomato Paste? I have over 50 Tomato plants atm. I'm bringing in about a KG a day and they are just starting to come on now. Was making delicious dried tomatoes with them, maybe I should be putting them in a pot with sugar, water and yeast or something??

    I detect a Fast buck that could be made here. Put the essences in water and sell it to certain customers whom are rather partial to the odd drop.
    You get done by the cops, what can they do, not like you are breaking any laws selling grog. Bet the customers wouldn't even know the difference. Especially if you added a bit more flavour to it.

    " Dat one dere, him a gooood drop that one Brudda! Plenty for all da fellas in dat 25L drums he sellin. "

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    TPW From Aussie Distiller forum:

    For a 25L wash.

    5kg sugar
    80grams bakers yeast
    1/4 tea spoon citric acid
    200 grams leggo's tomato paste.

    Mix sugar, tomato paste, citric acid and 10 liters hot water into your fermenter to disolve all the sugar.

    Top up with cool water and hopefully you've got it at about 30c

    Pitch yeast.
    This wash will clear on it's own to a pale pink colour, there is no need for any sort of filtering.
    therefore, there is no home brew shop additives or agents required.

    Happy stillin' Folks
    Don't worry, it only seems kinky the first time.

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    Hi all,
    A bit of an update.
    House is stinking like a brewery, lol!
    I do intend to move all this 'operation' to the back shed. Just wanted to 'look and see' how it all works.

    George65: Yes you're right, that you mix the alcohol (Spirit), with the Cordial.

    However, (from my very virgin understanding), and what I am trying to do, is 'play around' with the 'spirit'.
    I have ordered a Infusion tray that sits at the top of the still. Some guy puts rosemary leaves in for his Gin.
    My Juniper berries ($60 kg), are sat in the fridge. I ordered 250gms.
    Some have said put the whole berry in the wash.
    Crack them open or leave them whole...?
    So one can 'play round' with the spirit taste during the stilling process, so maybe it's not just a 'Mix with Cordial', G65

    I completed my first 25lt wash today - actually, the last liter is going through the filter now. And boy, WHAT A LONG TIME it all takes...!!

    The Still is fine for time. Approx 2hrs for 700ml@60%.
    But I am now finding out that the filtering is the biggest time issue!

    Had beginners stuff working out the drip rate. The lower part of the filter (a cotton wool stuff), actually got warm after about 15mins, as I poured my first 1tr@40% into it.
    I let it my first liter 'sit' for 15mins. Then had to fiddle with the drip lever - that was fun..

    As for the 'Activated Carbon', I found out that there is cheap 'nasty' AC, out there...!

    It was a doh! Moment that the spirit has to 'absorb' into the carbon and it was a juggling act to know what was filtered or not.
    I put back in the first 100ml, as advised.
    After ages I got it to about 2 drips per sec (DPS). Some times as I was fiddling, it was a dribble, then I cut it back, then to slow, then to fast... !!!!

    I took my First filtered sample to my expert and he said that it should have a Vanilla smell. Well, mine sort of did and "Wasn't bad at all". Then I was told that a second filtration should be done and that I'd done this first filtration to quick - of which I probably had
    I was told that one guy waits for three days for 700ml...

    It's torture watching a drop, per drop, per drop....
    I have managed to get about 4 liters and a bit of 40% out of a 25ltr wash after the first filter.
    I'm quite surprised at the accuracy of the alcohol measuring floaty thing!

    I've ordered another filter setup. So looking at 1- First filter, 2 - Second filter at the same time. Slower is better, said the Bishop

    BTW: I'm a beer man. I only like a G&T now and again (lucky to get through a bottle in 8 weeks). However, I know people who like a Rum and Vodka
    Just a game for me, really! Quite nice to see how the thing works..

    Rocket: Quite interesting your Tomato paste (as G65 mentioned), recipe...
    I'm going to show my contact this recipe and see what he says. He's quite happy to have a play with any 'setup'.

    NB: I get my 25ltr wash done in a professional brewery temperature controlled environment.
    AFAIK, the key(s), to a good result is 1) The Wash. 2) Stilling +/- infusions and 3) The Filtering. 4) The Essence/flavour of your choice...

    As in the OP - the auto cut off for the still when the beaker reaches 700ml is my main concern. According to the my contacts (and in the actual Manual), the 1st 700ml is the best. One can go to 800ml, but the rest after 1000ml is not advised.

    So the 'proper' filtration is crazy slow! Not that I'm worried to much about the evaporation loss. I intend to get a 3ltr bottle/jar (already ordered), for the filtering of each filter, so I can go to work and not worry about over filling as each filter holds max 3ltrs.

    But the Still: I'd like to pour 4ltrs in it and go to work and have 700ml@60%, waiting for me when I get home - with the still turned off.
    All good fun.

    Cheers,
    GT250.
    Last edited by GT250; 13-12-19 at 07:55 PM.

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    GT250 you haven't mentioned cutting the foreshots and heads. Just making sure you aware about the dangers of not separating the foreshots from your run. I know this is basic stuff, but you haven't mentioned it up till now.

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    Ive been using an Air Still for many years - and there is nothing in the manual , or on the forum , about removing the heads from the spirit. our local home brew place said thats not required with that system.
    dont know how accurate that is though.

    I make 800ml @ 60% then cut it down to 40% using tap water which has been boiled then allowed to cool. approx 1.1 litres which is the only quantity i make anyway.

    Although its slow using the AS filtering system i use 2 filters going at once and it gets the job done ok.

    I make a 1.1 litre bottle for about $14 so thats fine by me. And since i go OS i lot i just buy 1125 ml bottles for anywhere between $18 and $25 each duty free depending on the airport.

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    Quote Originally Posted by VroomVroom View Post
    Ive been using an Air Still for many years - and there is nothing in the manual , or on the forum , about removing the heads from the spirit. our local home brew place said thats not required with that system.
    dont know how accurate that is though.
    The fermenting process produces a certain percentage of Methanol which is highly poisonous and is what kills young people in Bali. Admittedly our modern fermenting process produces a lot less Methanol than some Indonesian villager with a 44-gal drum in his chook-shed, but there is still an amount of Methanol that will boil out first, and should be removed from the main product. Also, the foreshots and the heads are quite bitter, and will give you a nasty hangover. Repeated small amounts over time will damage your eyes.

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    Update people:

    This subpost is about an issue I had with the 1000ml Beakers I had ordered.
    So this is just a FYI post ok.
    Note that at the start of this post I provided a picture of 'a' graduated beaker.

    I ordered two 'lab grade' Graduated Beakers from
    What arrived was not Graduated to 1000ml. It stopped at 900ml
    And also pouring, I found it nigh impossible to pour the contents without it dribbling in excessive amounts down the side of the glass...



    I contacted the seller and they provided me a link as the 'pro's and cons of buying lab gear' - of which I thought was very nice of them!!!!


    I was told that [SIC] "The beakers are considered a vessel and not a measuring tool and that is why you will find that approx vol is printed on the beakers, so my suggestion will be if you are using beakers as a measuring tool, the measurements will not be accurate"

    Humm, I thought, I wonder what 'approx' meant?
    I have very accurate gram weighing device - never let me down. I weighed 700gms of water @25C and poured it into this Beaker - you can see the photo.
    I poured this 700gms into a common 1tr Pyrex cooking jug and it was virtually spot on!



    So there you go. A Beaker is a 'Vessel' and doesn't have to be graduated to the amount that is can actually hold! Plus the amount indicated may not be accurate so you cannot use it a measuring tool...
    Pretty bad for the Science lab industry...

    I have asked to return these beakers for some that actually have 1000ml marked on them.

    What do you people think?

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    Quote Originally Posted by GT250 View Post

    What do you people think?
    TBH, I wondered why you bought beakers straight off and not something like a Pyrex measuring cup or better still, a flask. A flask has a smaller opening which would limit evaporation and are, far as I knew, calibrated with some accuracy. They will also pour a lot better I think.

    Definately got me thinking about having a go at this. Not interested in it for drinking but would like to see what was involved for fuel and what it took. I think the cost of the sugar to get any qty would probably make it pretty non viable. Also I don't have any Raw material like fruit or Veg to put in it to use. Could get manure but that's for methane I think not Booze.

    I do have plenty of electricity to distil it though. I get the idea one would want a pretty high purity for fuel as the more water the lower the energy value and the more potential problems I see with it.

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    Some years ago, when I was doing screen printing and photography, I purchased several "measuring cylinders" from Selby Scientific in order to measure liquid chemicals accurately.

    They were calibrated for scientific lab. work and had a pouring lip on them.

    Edit: A quick check reveals that .
    Last edited by tristen; 16-12-19 at 10:15 PM.

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    To tall Tristen.
    I'm going to get Conical flasks. Have asked the seller to confirm that 1000ml is marked and the graduations are in 100ml increments.

    I'm only after 700ml @ 60% ABV from the still and then 'top it up' to 1000ml to 40% ABV.
    Also hoping that the accuracy is within a good % and not way out as the original beakers I bought - of which I have been offered a refund.


    Well people all the parts for the - Auto Still Turning Off @ 700ml - mission have arrived.

    Just a quick question:
    The Liquid sensor has a black flat surface that (I assume), is to be attached the side of the Flask/Beaker/Vessel.

    What can I use to adhere it to the side that won't interfere with the signal?
    There are no instructions at all and none of the eBay site. So I'm not sure as to its 'range'.
    I will also need to test it on the angled conical flask side and

    Just a DOH! moment as I was finishing the post - Double sided tape, should do it?

    Today, I'm going to jerry rig it up for a test.

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