Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Floatless Valve Gotcha!

It took me a bit of time to figure this thing out.. so maybe this post will save someone else the trouble.

Typical floatless valve. There are many brands, all work and look exactly the same

Floatless fill valves are excellent for farm use. Originally designed for the tank of a toilet, these things are extremely accurate on water level, and operate with no externally moving parts inside the water tank.  There are, however, a few gotchas!

1. always install near the bottom of the tank, the max water level allowed is about 2 feet. If you need water deeper than that, just move the valve higher up the side of the tank.

2. Use a standard toilet tank water connector to connect hte supply. This will adapt the weird 5/8 inch thing on the bottom to standard male pipe threads. You can then use 1/2 inch nipple and  1/2" npt to water hose adapter.  Simple and dependable.

3. Be sure to install this right!  That is the part that took a while to figure out. This valve work on differential pressure.. it compares the pressure of the water level inside the tank to the air pressure outside the tank. To accomplish this, it MUST be installed exactly as shown.

The valve installes with the top part inside the tank, threads sticking out. It is VERY IMPORTANT to put the black rubber washer INSIDE the tank. It will not work if this washer is outside.  Also, it must be oriented THIS WAY with the wide edge next to the valve.  Do not turn it around, it wont work. 

On the outside of the tank, use ONLY this weird looking washer, and nothing else. See the little hole at the top? This hole is what makes all the magic work. Plug this hole, and nothing! So make sure that this side is the side facing the wall of the tank.  If you turn this washer/nut around the other way and attach, it will RARELY work.  There are tiny grooves in the side of the valve, above the threads, that allow the outside air pressure to leak past this nut into the inside of the valve without letting water out.  This is how the unit senses outside air pressure. 
This is the OUTSIDE of the nut that holds  the valve in place. (the other side of the above pic). This side, with all the little compartments, must face away from the wall of the tank. Turn it around and you will go nuts trying to adjust the level. 
That's it! Installed right, these little jewels can provide years of faithful service, out of reach of animals and whatever is inside the tank. The level is kept constant and it just works!

Auto Fertilizer Setup Added

Last year we had good results with the liquid fertilizer fed into the drip lines. Well.. to be honest, SOME of the fertilizer worked.. some was too heavy and settled out, causing the drip lines to plug a bit.  Lesson learned. BUT, it was expensive!

This year we are cutting corners a bit.. making out own fertilizer tea, right at the garden spot!

It is basically a plastic barrel, with a floatless fill valve mounted at the bottom, and a screened fertilizer injector intake hung through the lid.  That's it! In theory, we fill the bucket with whatever we want to use as fertilizer, and let it run. As the watering happens daily, the fertilizer injector adds the homemade liquid fertilizer at the rate of 2%. The floatless fill valve keeps the water level in the barrel at the preset level so that when the injector sucks out the fertilizer tea, the fill valve periodically opens to add water back to proper level.

This is the complete control area, 6 valves in the center, computer controller at the right, fertilizer injector on the left, filters and intake valve underneath

Here is the fertilizer injector we are using. mechanical and adjustable from 1% to 2% injection rate

The fertilizer tea barrel, water intake at the bottom going to the floatless valve. the pipe out the top is the screened injector intake pipe

This is the floatless valve we used. cost about $10 at any hardware store, and no externally moving parts

 A top view, the brick keeps the top from blowing away.

Lettuce patch in the ground

We managed to get a new lettuce patch in the ground today. Took a total of 3 hours start to finish (well.. the drip lines were already laid out).     Not sure how many plants this will be,  but there is a total of 8 rows of 120 yards each, so about 1000 yards of plants.  We doubled planted these (twice as thick as recommended)  since this is for animal feed.

Hopefully the weather will hold and we will get it all harvested before cold weather sets in. Usually lettuce is ok to plant late since it keeps growing with cooler weather as long as it doesnt freeze.

This leaves one more patch for planting in the summer spot... and then time to start on the winter garden (roots and hearty plant)


Cute pics for the animal lover

Peaceful afternoon!

What a pile of piglets!

Mommy training the little ones to stay close and safe

Mystery Plant?

Does anyone know what this plant is?

A few of these appeared in the garden from somewhere...

beautiful flowers

You can see what might be the starts of a fruit off these shoots

These are some sprouts of the same plant