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Thread: Skimmer cup drain using Solenoids

  1. #1
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    Skimmer cup drain using Solenoids

    Hi

    So I’m trying to use a line from skimmer cup to drain plumbing of the basement and use solenoids to prevent crazy skimmer from draining the sump.

    I have a sketch below but basically want to know if the solenoid will work in a skimmate line or if the dirty fluid will make it fail.

    I wanted to use one solenoid from fresh water line to both generate syphon and flush the line and the 2nd solenoid open and close the skimmate line. Only drain once a day for say 3mins etc. and close the solenoid. Backed up by float switch in the skimmer cup so if solenoid is closed and skimmer is going crazy it will shut skimmer off.

    I’m new to Reefing and haven’t had real life experience with things like this so please help if i should or should do this.

    2nd option is avast skimmate locker but still requires opening a very stinky container and cleaning it out. Lol




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  2. #2
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    Could get clogged. Better to use the kiss principle here and just shut the skimmer OFF if it starts going crazy.

    You might be an engineer if...You have no life and can prove it mathematically.

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    Quote Originally Posted by zombie View Post
    Could get clogged. Better to use the kiss principle here and just shut the skimmer OFF if it starts going crazy.

    You might be an engineer if...You have no life and can prove it mathematically.
    I was trying to avoid emptying skimmer cups. So just use a skimmate locker from avast you think?

    Thanks


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    Quote Originally Posted by XLOR8T View Post
    I was trying to avoid emptying skimmer cups. So just use a skimmate locker from avast you think?

    Thanks


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    I have the Avast skimmate locker and love it. I have it connected to my Apex to turn off the skimmer when the locker is full and send me an email alert. Emptying it takes less than one minute and you really don't need to clean it if you don't want to. The built-in carbon filter eliminates odors while the unit is closed.

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    Quote Originally Posted by SuncrestReef View Post
    I have the Avast skimmate locker and love it. I have it connected to my Apex to turn off the skimmer when the locker is full and send me an email alert. Emptying it takes less than one minute and you really don't need to clean it if you don't want to. The built-in carbon filter eliminates odors while the unit is closed.
    Which size do you have and how big is your system and skimmer?

    Thanks!!


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    Frequent Contributor zombie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by XLOR8T View Post
    I was trying to avoid emptying skimmer cups. So just use a skimmate locker from avast you think?

    Thanks


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    A skimmate locker is easier to detect when it starts going nuts. What I was saying is that a solenoid isn't necessary to stop the flow. You only need to cut power to the skimmer for that.

    There may however be value in a solenoid simply for detecting when it might have gone crazy by pairing it with a float switch and latching the skimmer OFF When the solenoid has been off and the float indicated the water level hit the float too quickly. If you go that route, you will want bigger than 1/4" or it is very likely to clog. 5/8 or 1/2 would be much more resistant.

    You might be an engineer if...You have no life and can prove it mathematically.

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    Quote Originally Posted by XLOR8T View Post
    Which size do you have and how big is your system and skimmer?

    Thanks!!


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    I have a Reefer 425 XL, my skimmer is a Nyos Quantum 160, and the medium size Avast skimmate locker with the digital output connected to an Avast breakout box. I also took it one step further and got the Avast Swabbie to automate cleaning my skimmer neck. You can see photos of my Avast skimmate locker setup on my Reef2Reef build, starting with post #78:
    https://www.reef2reef.com/threads/su...4#post-4652708

    and photos of the Swabbie in post #98:
    https://www.reef2reef.com/threads/su...5#post-4702775

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by SuncrestReef View Post
    I have a Reefer 425 XL, my skimmer is a Nyos Quantum 160, and the medium size Avast skimmate locker with the digital output connected to an Avast breakout box. I also took it one step further and got the Avast Swabbie to automate cleaning my skimmer neck. You can see photos of my Avast skimmate locker setup on my Reef2Reef build, starting with post #78:
    https://www.reef2reef.com/threads/su...4#post-4652708

    and photos of the Swabbie in post #98:
    https://www.reef2reef.com/threads/su...5#post-4702775
    Awesome setup. How often are you emptying the container?


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    Quote Originally Posted by XLOR8T View Post
    Awesome setup. How often are you emptying the container?


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    About every 2-3 weeks. However, I'm still cycling my tank so I don't yet have any livestock, so I'm sure that will change once I have more of a bio load to deal with. I'm also still fine tuning my skimmer and one time it filled the locker prematurely.

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    Quote Originally Posted by SuncrestReef View Post
    About every 2-3 weeks. However, I'm still cycling my tank so I don't yet have any livestock, so I'm sure that will change once I have more of a bio load to deal with. I'm also still fine tuning my skimmer and one time it filled the locker prematurely.
    Thanks!


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  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by zombie View Post
    Could get clogged. Better to use the kiss principle here and just shut the skimmer OFF if it starts going crazy.

    You might be an engineer if...You have no life and can prove it mathematically.
    I absolutely agree with this statement!

    I do think a skimmate container, such as the Avast one is doable, then put a float switch in there so you can get a notification that the collection vessel is full. The Avast and Reef Octopus ones come with power outlets that will shut your skimmer off for you. You could use this or have Apex do it for you.

    But I will also add that your skimmer cup still has to be cleaned regularly. The skimmate sludge buildup works against the skimmer and reduces its ability to collect skimmate, especially if you skim on the dry side. Mine is cleaned twice a week and is not a chore I mind at all. I use the opportunity to check the whole system over. I have automated just about everything, including top off, water changes, dosing and feeding. I am even about to automate filling my ATO and salt water change containers. But wiping the glass and cleaning the skimmer are the two things I prefer manual.

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    Quote Originally Posted by clsanchez77 View Post
    I absolutely agree with this statement!

    I do think a skimmate container, such as the Avast one is doable, then put a float switch in there so you can get a notification that the collection vessel is full. The Avast and Reef Octopus ones come with power outlets that will shut your skimmer off for you. You could use this or have Apex do it for you.

    But I will also add that your skimmer cup still has to be cleaned regularly. The skimmate sludge buildup works against the skimmer and reduces its ability to collect skimmate, especially if you skim on the dry side. Mine is cleaned twice a week and is not a chore I mind at all. I use the opportunity to check the whole system over. I have automated just about everything, including top off, water changes, dosing and feeding. I am even about to automate filling my ATO and salt water change containers. But wiping the glass and cleaning the skimmer are the two things I prefer manual.
    Just so you are aware, the Avast skimmate locker comes equipped with a pressure switch at the top of the canister, so there's no need to add a float switch. Once the skimmate reaches the pressure switch tube, the switch it triggered. You can adjust the height of the tube by about 6 inches to give you more or less advanced warning that the canister is nearly full.

    You can also automate cleaning your skimmer neck with the Avast Swabbie, which is a motorized wiper blade that can be controlled by an Apex or other controller. I have mine set to wipe the skimmer every 6 hours.

    (I don't work for Avast...I just really like how these two products have helped me further automate my system.)

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by SuncrestReef View Post
    Just so you are aware, the Avast skimmate locker comes equipped with a pressure switch at the top of the canister, so there's no need to add a float switch. Once the skimmate reaches the pressure switch tube, the switch it triggered. You can adjust the height of the tube by about 6 inches to give you more or less advanced warning that the canister is nearly full.

    (I don't work for Avast...I just really like how these two products have helped me further automate my system.)
    That is true, but does not provide any notification, which is one of the greatest features of Apex. Unless you can tap into the switch with an isolated relay for Apex, you will need a second sensor.

    I have to look into the Swabbie

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by clsanchez77 View Post
    I absolutely agree with this statement!

    I do think a skimmate container, such as the Avast one is doable, then put a float switch in there so you can get a notification that the collection vessel is full. The Avast and Reef Octopus ones come with power outlets that will shut your skimmer off for you. You could use this or have Apex do it for you.

    But I will also add that your skimmer cup still has to be cleaned regularly. The skimmate sludge buildup works against the skimmer and reduces its ability to collect skimmate, especially if you skim on the dry side. Mine is cleaned twice a week and is not a chore I mind at all. I use the opportunity to check the whole system over. I have automated just about everything, including top off, water changes, dosing and feeding. I am even about to automate filling my ATO and salt water change containers. But wiping the glass and cleaning the skimmer are the two things I prefer manual.
    Thank you!

    Yes avast has a barewire version to go to breakout box for notification and shutting off the skimmer.


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    Quote Originally Posted by clsanchez77 View Post
    That is true, but does not provide any notification, which is one of the greatest features of Apex. Unless you can tap into the switch with an isolated relay for Apex, you will need a second sensor.

    I have to look into the Swabbie
    Sorry if I didn't make it clear, but the pressure switch is connected to my Apex, so the Apex turns off the skimmer and sends me an alert. Perhaps you were thinking of Avast's standalone model which only controls the skimmer power outlet. But they have two additional models; one that has a connection for a breakout box and another that plugs directly into the Apex 6-pin port if you don't have or don't want a breakout box.

  16. #16
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    I agree keep it simple...... Add the 5/8 or 1/2 hose to the basement drain and use one of these in the skimmer cup https://www.bulkreefsupply.com/smart...-autoaqua.html or a just a float switch connect to your APEX if you have one. or both

  17. #17
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    You could always use an electric ball valve for the skimmer drain instead of a solenoid. It'd never clog, but you still run the risk that if it doesn't shut off if the skimmer is going nuts, all that water down the drain.

    I use a swabbie (connect to the apex) and the avast locker as well. Great combo.

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