Home made dust bin level sensor

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Forum topic by b2rtch posted 03-03-2013 11:39 PM 7010 views 1 time favorited 10 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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4863 posts in 3248 days

03-03-2013 11:39 PM

Topic tags/keywords: question

I looked around for a home made dust collector trash can level sensor.
I found few ideas but I am looking for someone who would have in fact built one.
This is to install on my CV 1800.
I think that I could use a set of garage door sensors that I have but having never built one before some guidance would be welcome.
I also concerned that these sensors would be too sensitive and go off with any dust.
I am also thinking using a digital personal scale but having never did it before I would like to hear from you?

-- Bert

10 replies so far

View RogerInColorado's profile


321 posts in 2154 days

#1 posted 03-04-2013 12:04 AM

I’ll be watching to see what pops out. I need that same thing in two places.

View rrww's profile


263 posts in 2313 days

#2 posted 03-04-2013 12:16 AM

I have used a bindicator, they use these alot with elevators and ag bins. I used to use them where I worked, we gound up feed into dust and filled overhead bins. There is a paddle that slowy turns , when dust level gets high enough the paddles stop and it sets off a light or alarm or whatever you want for an indicator. You may be able to find these locally, here is a used one on ebay.

View Ross's profile


142 posts in 2172 days

#3 posted 03-04-2013 12:42 AM

Would a low voltage micro switch work with a plastic float? Sort of like the type used on a humidifier or dehumidifier. You could run the line from the micro switch to a red wall light inside the shop.
Just a thought!

-- "Man Plans and God Laughs"

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929 posts in 2273 days

#4 posted 03-04-2013 03:39 AM

there would be som circutry envolved with a bindicator or a paddle indicator. a scale would varry depending on what was being deposited. you could cut a slot in the bin and seal a peice of lexan over the slot that would give you a visual referance without opening the bin. Down and dirty. Fasten a short tube to the top of the bin and get a rod that will feed through the tube. fasten a small disk to the end of the rod in the bin. when you want to check lift the rod to the top of the bin and then let it set back dowmn on the top of the material inside. You could mark the shaft with graduations if you wish. it wont leak because the bin is under negative pressure.

View NGK's profile


93 posts in 2110 days

#5 posted 03-04-2013 03:42 AM

Keep it simple, Roger. If your chip and sawdust container is a tallish box or barrel, just put a rod horizontally through two holes in oppsite sides. Somewhere inside, fastern a metal or wooden paddle on the rod. Position it about 1/4 of the way to the top, and by flipping it you can “feel” the level of debris when it rises to the paddle height.

Similarly, the rod can be vertical through a single hole in the lid. Attach a horizontal paddle so that when you raise and lower the rod you can “feel” the level of the sawdust in the barrel or box.

I suggest dumping at 3/4 full because some powerful collectors swirl so much chips and sawdust that it begins pulling “stuff” through the outlet to plug your bag.

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929 posts in 2273 days

#6 posted 03-04-2013 09:41 AM

NGK your second suggestion was just what I was talking about. you just said it

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4863 posts in 3248 days

#7 posted 03-04-2013 11:00 AM

I did the window thing in the past when the trash can was in my shop.
This one is outside and it very easy to forget to check the level or even to overfill it while working,
The paddle idea has merit but my concern the erratic movements due to the turbulence inside the can.
I have been thing abut installing the can on a platform like scale and installing a micro switch under the platform.
More ideas.
People have been using light detectors, from automatic outside lighting appliances, across the bin or the inlet to detect when ti gets full.
The Bindicator it the best idea so far.Thank you.

-- Bert

View EEngineer's profile


1117 posts in 3813 days

#8 posted 03-04-2013 02:15 PM

I hate moving parts!

I work for a sensor manufacturer. Typically, sawdust sensing applications use capacitive sensors. Looks like you can buy capacitive sensors on the bay for $10 to $50.

-- "Find out what you cannot do and then go do it!"

View b2rtch's profile


4863 posts in 3248 days

#9 posted 03-04-2013 02:36 PM

EEngineer, thank for the information.
I am all hears: how would you build dust level sensor?

I just read on sawmill creek that the paddle type sensor does not work with wood chips made with a spiral head joiner, they are too fluffy.
A spiral head is what I use.
Did you ever hear anything like that before?
Thank you.

-- Bert

View rum's profile


148 posts in 2785 days

#10 posted 03-04-2013 10:47 PM

Curious what pops up…

I tried a Arduino hooked up to a short range ultrasonic proximity sensor (can’t recall which but one of the ones from here: It did NOT work because the beam width from the ultrasonic was to wide and would reflect off of the sides of the bin giving false positives (no loss, it was parts borrowed from someone elses robotics project). It worked well when we tested it in the open against some piles of sawdust but not in the bin so.. meh.

I think an IR sensor might work better but haven’t scrounged one to test.

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