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System Planing: Pellet Heater Reservoir Monitoring

Hey Guys,


im probably once again in the completely wrong topic category or forum all together but i would like to explain my project anyways. We have a pellet heating system in our home and especially in the winter time we have been running into the problem that our reservoir runs out and we notice it too late. The reservoir is relatively big so it only occurs every few months but when it does, it usually takes 3-4 days until the delivery actually arrives considering it isn't Saturday or Sunday in which case we are left without warm water or heating for up to a week.


Now i was thinking of implementing some kind of sensor into the room which i can program to either monitor or alert me as soon as our reserve of pellets get low. My idea was that i could solve this problem and in parallel learn a bit about programming (Maybe an Arduino?).


The challenges are that once the reserve is fully stocked i predict there will actually be quite a build up of pressure in the reservoir room. Additionally when filled the room will be basically completely dark (Infrared Camera).


I would greatly appreciate some advice / recommendations regarding if this even makes sense in this scope of application and if not so which ecosystem would make sense to pick up some programming etc.


Thank you in Advance,

Greetings from Bavaria,


Budget (including currency): 500€

Country: Germany

Games, programs or workloads that it will be used for: 

Other details (existing parts lists, whether any peripherals are needed, what you're upgrading from, when you're going to buy, what resolution and refresh rate you want to play at, etc): 


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I think an optical sensor would make the most sense, drill a small hole around the "five days left" line and detect when the light level is "too bright" for more than some amount of hours.


That's the way I am instantly drawn towards at least. Might be a better way I'm nog thinking off though

I spent $2500 on building my PC and all i do with it is play no games atm & watch anime at 1080p(finally)...


The Toaster Project! Northern Bee!


The original LAN PC build log! (Old, dead and replaced by The Toaster Project & 5.0)


"Here is some advice that might have gotten lost somewhere along the way in your life. 


#1. Treat others as you would like to be treated.

#2. It's best to keep your mouth shut; and appear to be stupid, rather than open it and remove all doubt.

#3. There is nothing "wrong" with being wrong. Learning from a mistake can be more valuable than not making one in the first place.


Follow these simple rules in life, and I promise you, things magically get easier. " - MageTank 31-10-2016



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Yup, I'll echo @bananasplit_00 here, use a photo cell to accomplish this. You wouldn't even have to learn programming if you didnt want to, you could wire up something like this:




Use that and wire it up to a lightbulb or a buzzer  with a off switch in-line so that you can disable it once you've ordered more pellets. No computation necessary.


If you want to go the arduino/raspi route this would be a great project to learn how to program a pi, using the photosensor as a trigger for an email or push notification to order more. 

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On tractor hoppers and tanks they often use ultrasonic detectors, basically ultrasonic soundwaves that the sensor detects the delay of the echo as the volume changes, usually mounted up top downfiring. Essentially it measures the distance to the solid/liquid, you calibrate it to suit your readings at different capacities and off you go.




Ultrasonic Level Measurement Fig1.jpeg

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