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What does the Ford Edge, Whirlpool Refrigerators, an RV holding tank and a sump pump switch have in common? Tough question right? Well once you hear the connection it will make quite a bit of sense.
The common thread begins with a company called TouchSensor Technologies. TouchSensor Technologies is a wholly owned subsidiary of a publicly traded company named Methode Electronics Inc. (MEI). Methode purchased TouchSensor in 2007 from Schott (maker of Kimax glass acid waste and vent piping). Methode purchased TouchSensor because of their experience and establishment in touch technologies.
Pump Guys Make Pumps These Guys Make Switches
OK so who is TouchSensor and what do they do? They are a switch manufacturer that uses a proprietary technology to power 100% solid state switches. This innovative little switch is considered the world’s first and only “field effect” switch that is digital and software free. The touch cell needs 5 volts to operate and when power is applied an electric field is established. The field can be tuned for different applications, from a conductive mass having to press down on the switch with pressure to a conductive mass just hovering over the touch cell. When the conductive mass enters the “field” the touch sensor detects the change and the switch is engaged. The field can be produced through any dielectric surface i.e. glass, plastic and wood and the mass effecting the field can be a human finger, metal or……….water!! TouchSensor Technologies is used on the controls in a Ford Edge, Whirlpool appliances, Precor and Life Fitness Treadmills as well as many other application too numerous to list.
So now that I let the cat out of the proverbial bag let’s go back and talk about how TouchSensor evolved to include the brand LevelGuard. One of the very first products that came out of the LevelGuard brand was SensaTank. SensaTank is an RV/Marine holding tank monitoring system that uses the field effect to detect liquid levels from the outside of the tank. Before Sensa Tank the level detectors used probes drilled through the tank or floats. In both instances corrosion and clogging were an issue. LevelGuard’s SensaTank is now the number one RV and Marine tank level detection sensor in the US.
We’re moving closer, I promise. The next product LevelGuard introduced was the Sensa Level detector for the marine bilge. Using the same type of field effect switch, a bilge high-water alarm was manufactured to detect water in a boats bilge.
Premium Electronic Sump Pump Switch
As you can see there was a natural progression to how LevelGuard entered into the sump pump control field. The field effect can detect fluids and semi-solid materials without ever making direct contact with the material. That’s why field effect sensing is ideal for use for sump pumps, lift stations, well and storm water fluid level management.
So how does the switch work? It has to be installed on a pump that can have its switch by-passed or piggybacked. A piggyback switch has a switch that is separate from the pump. The switch detects the water and the switch tells the pump to turn on. The LevelGuard level detector attaches to the discharge piping with supplied zip ties. You’ll notice two level marks one on the top of the sensor and one on the bottom. As the water rises past the first sensor the switch is ready to engage, as it passes the second high water level the switch is engaged and tells the pump to turn on. The pit is evacuated and as the water level goes down it passes the low water level sensor the switch turns the pump off in two seconds.
So I’m sure there are a few question because I had a few myself. This is the first one I could come up with.
What if there is a splash of water on the top sensor? Will the pump engage when it shouldn’t?
No, first of all both sensor switches must be activated, secondly the field has to detect something with mass. There is one issue that the installer should avoid. The sensor should be placed in a position so as not to take direct water from the inlet pipe. Water running heavily onto the sensor could cause it to go off.
Anyone who has installed sump pumps in their life know there aren’t many pits that don’t eventually have scale build up. Will scale build up on the sensor cause it to give a false reading? No, the sensor can detect water through scale. There is a test LevelGuard does with peanut butter by spreading it along the entire length of the sensor. The sensor is placed in the pit and the water rises and the pump actuates perfectly.
Well we hope you enjoyed our little run down of the new LevelGuard Sump Pump switch,
it’s a great product and a real compliment to anyone who has a sump pump in their home. With basements peace of mind is worth its’ weight in gold.