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Prototype for a Dust Collector Fill Monitor

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Forum topic by Marcus posted 11-07-2014 02:22 PM 836 views 0 times favorited 9 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Marcus

1149 posts in 1482 days


11-07-2014 02:22 PM

Maybe I’m the only person that worries about this, but I hate when my dust bin overfills and next thing I know I get dust in my filter and have a mess. I looked for commercial versions, but the cheapest I found was from Oneida for close to $150. I decided to pick up an arduino (a microprocessor on a board with inputs/outputs and power built in) and see what I could come up with. Here’s a first prototype:

Those 2 barrels you see are a sonar sensor. One sends out an inaudible signal and the other receives the signal after it bounces off something. You can then calculate the distance based on how long this takes. From there, I just turn on LEDs and finally and alarm based on how far away the sensor determines something is. Finally, when something gets real close, I turn on an alarm. The idea is that I would put the sonar sensor in the bin and leave a box on the outside with the LED and alarms on it.

I’m a bit concerned in using a sonar sensor in a noisy work environment like a shop, but its a high enough frequency that I think I should be good. I also could use an IR sensor if I needed to, but they’re about 5x more expensive and I would think that saw dust would not be too reflective to light.

A few things I want to change:

I want to get some larger/brighter LEDs. These are just some el cheapo ones I had laying around. You can get some that are considerably brighter that I think would gain a bit more attention. I’ve thought about adding a 12V relay and a strobe light. Once again, that adds a good deal of cost to the unit. Also, I need the alarm to be way louder. Pretty easy to do by just adding in a cheap transformer.

Right now, the prototype is about the the size of 2 decks of cards and cost $25ish all in. I think I can get it to the size of under a single deck of cards and lower the cost a few bucks for a finish product.

Thoughts on improving?


9 replies so far

View Fred Hargis's profile

Fred Hargis

3937 posts in 1956 days


#1 posted 11-07-2014 02:51 PM

So what will the sensor read? The dust buildup in the bottom of the barrel? I’ll be interested in the outcome. there have been a lot of homemade solutions to this documented, but none (to my knowledge) have been absolutely perfect. There is a homemade one on the Pentz site that uses a paddle (like the Oneida, I think) and those may be a little more reliable. But I’m interested in how yours works. Good luck!

-- Our village hasn't lost it's idiot, he was elected to congress.

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Marcus

1149 posts in 1482 days


#2 posted 11-07-2014 02:57 PM

Correct, sensor goes at the top and sends a signal towards the bottom. It will read the distance from the top to whatever it hits (presumably the dust piling up).

I saw the paddle on Oneida’s site and didnt care for it as it just told you when the dust was 6” from the top (or however long the paddle is). I was more interested in tracking how full it from empty to full. Personal preference of course.

View TheDane's profile

TheDane

4997 posts in 3126 days


#3 posted 11-07-2014 03:17 PM

What happens when dust builds up on the sonar sensors? When I empty the trash can on my cyclone, there is always a substantial amount of fine dust caked to the underside of the lid.

-- Gerry -- "I don't plan to ever really grow up ... I'm just going to learn how to act in public!"

View Marcus's profile

Marcus

1149 posts in 1482 days


#4 posted 11-07-2014 03:19 PM

To be see TheDane. They have a fine mesh (very fine) over the actual sensors. The joy of working in a messy environment like a woodshop!

View ChuckC's profile

ChuckC

821 posts in 2398 days


#5 posted 11-07-2014 06:36 PM

Very cool! I’ve been playing around with an arduino too. When I first saw the pic I though you were to place it on top of the can (like you sad) but point it sideways, parallel to the can. When the dust build up it would block the sonar from hitting the other side of the can. Maybe even mount it on the outside of the can and make a window?

Interesting project. I look forward to seeing how it turns out.

View Fred Hargis's profile

Fred Hargis

3937 posts in 1956 days


#6 posted 11-07-2014 07:13 PM

Marcus, is the dust/chip pile going to bounce a signal. I would think it would be a little soft for a good reflection.

-- Our village hasn't lost it's idiot, he was elected to congress.

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Marcus

1149 posts in 1482 days


#7 posted 11-07-2014 07:15 PM

Im actually tossing around a few ideas similar to that Chuck. I plan on grabbing a few IR emitters/receivers and installing them in a stick that is teh full length of the can, maybe have one ever 3”. When dust/debris goes past one, have an LED light up. For some reason my brain is stuck on wanting something that shows how full it through the process, not just an alarm saying its full.

Going into it pretty open minded and enjoy the feedback im getting here…keeps me thinking!

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Marcus

1149 posts in 1482 days


#8 posted 11-07-2014 07:17 PM

Fred -

I tested with a bunch of different stuff I had around the house…bath towel, stuffed animal…anything soft I could get a hold of, all worked. Sadly the one thing I dont have is a pile of dust to test with. Just moved into a new home and finishing a basement workshop…hopefully a few weeks out to actually having some dust!

This project is partially inspired because of the lack of woodworking. My brain and hands want to be moving and usually woodworking is my outlet…electronics tinkering is taking its place for the time being!

View RogerInColorado's profile

RogerInColorado

321 posts in 1417 days


#9 posted 11-08-2014 02:36 AM

Marcus, if you need sawdust, let me know and I will send you some. Your collector must run pretty quietly. There is no way I would ever hear a siren go off while I am wearing the ear protection while the tool and my collector is running. I’d definitely go the strobe light route.

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