Sunday, August 22, 2010

Automatic Water Level Sensor & Pump Driver

The circuit is based on a 555 IC (Bipolar or CMOS) for sensing the minimum and maximum water levels and turns a MOSFET on/off which directly controls a 12V DC pump motor. Or, it can power a relay coil to switch high currents/voltages, DC or AC.

‘Trigger’ and ‘Threshold’ pins (2 & 6) are used to detect the maximum and minimum levels, respectively. The two voltage comparator op-amps inside the 555 control the output, turning it on/off. Looking at the circuit diagram you will notice that the ‘Trigger’ pin (2) is marked ‘HIGH probe’, despite being triggered (output goes HIGH) when the voltage drops below 1/3 of the supply voltage and, the ‘Threshold’ pin (6) is marked ‘LOW probe’ while it is ‘reset’ (output goes LOW) when the voltage rises above 2/3 of the supply voltage.
The circuit works as follows:

Three (3) probes are immersed in the vessel. (usually from the top)
One is the ‘GROUND’ probe, going to the level a little lower than the minimum desired level. This is the ‘common’ (or ‘reference’) probe. The LOW and HIGH probes are set at the desired levels.

Now suppose the vessel is EMPTY.
Resistors R2 and R1 (1M) tie the ‘Trigger’ and ‘Threshold’ pins (2 & 6) to the positive (+) rail (supply). In other words, both pins are HIGH. Remember (from above), to make the output of IC1 go HIGH, the trigger pin (2) needs to drop below 1/3 of the supply voltage. (4V with a 12V supply)

Since the trigger pin is still HIGH, the output remains LOW. We need to fill the vessel when IC1’s output is LOW. TR1 is OFF. The GATE of the MOSFET switch (TR2) is connected to the supply rail (+12V) with R4 (10k). TR2 is thus turned on and the pump motor is running.
TR1 (BC547) is connected between the IC1s output (pin 3) and the TR2’s GATE. Its purpose is phase reversal. It means that when IC1’s output is HIGH, TR1 conducts and pulls its collector/TR2’s GATE junction LOW, so TR2 is OFF. Since the pump (or relay coil) is connected between the positive rail (+12V) and TR2’s DRAIN, the pump/relay coil is NOT energized.

Now, back to the condition when the IC1’s output is low, TR2’s GATE is HIGH (+12V) and conducting. The pump is operating and water is being filled. As the water level rises, a water ‘bridge’ is formed between the GROUND (common) probe and the ‘LOW probe’ (Threshold, pin 6) This ‘bridge’ constitutes a low resistance, relative to the high resistance of R2 (1M), bringing the voltage at this pin to a low level (at least below 1/3 supply but actual voltage depend on the conductivity of the water). However, this is IGNORED by IC1 since its output is already LOW (in the ‘reset’ mode).

When the water level reaches the ‘HIGH probe’, a water ‘bridge’ is formed between it and the GROUND probe. Just as with the LOW probe, this ‘bridge’ constitutes a low resistance, relative to the high value of R1 (1M), bringing the trigger voltage to below the required level (1/3 supply voltage) and IC1 triggers, its output going HIGH. Now Tr1 is turned on, the bias voltage/current of TR2 is removed and the pump STOPS. The filling cycle is completed.

As the water level falls, the ‘shorting’ water ‘bridge’ between the GROUND probe and HIGH probe (‘Trigger’, pin 2) is removed and the voltage rises above the 1/3 supply level (+4V).
This is IGNORED by IC1. [This pin needs to drop below 1/3 supply (4V) to trigger IC1. However, as long as the voltage on this pin remains below the trigger level (1/3 of supply), IC1 stays ‘triggered’, its output stays HIGH.] TR1 is conducting and so there is no bias supply to TR2’s GATE and the pump is OFF. Once the water level drops below the LOW probe (‘Threshold’, pin 6), the ‘shorting’ water ‘bridge’ disappears and the voltage rises to 2/3 supply voltage (8V), IC1 ‘resets’. (its output goes LOW)  TR1 is now OFF, having no bias current. Its collector voltage rises to the supply rail and TR2’s GATE is now biased so it is turned on and the pump is operating. This is a new filling cycle.

The circuit will repeat these actions indefinitely, as long as power is applied.

Final Assembly:

Final assembly consist of relay driver and TL power supply  

Components Required:
R1,R2,       1MΩ  Resistor
R3,R4,       10kΩ  Resistor
IC1,            555 Timer
D1,              1N4007
C1,C2,         1.uF Ceramic Capacitor
C3,              100nF Ceramic Capacitor
C4,              100uF/50v Electrolyte Capacitor
TR1,            BC547
TR2,            MTP3055



  1. hi, please i need help about this circuit.
    please contact me on

  2. Can you provide a list of components and schematic of final assembly image? i want to use it for 1hp AC motor

    1. remove the TR2, use relay to switch motor and according to the o/p of 555 timer either use npn or pnp transistor to operate the relay.

  3. dear,
    Pl. send me pcb circuit diagram.automatic water level sensor controller

  4. Pl. send me pcb circuit diagram.automatic water level sensor controller

  5. Hi Zohaib.
    Please send me pcb circuit diagram of automatic water level sensor controller.
    my e-mail is