In addition to the obligatory refrigerator full of soda (or sometimes empty of soda, depending on whether anyone’s filled it recently), we also have a water cooler that takes the big 5gal water bottles. They also sell coolers that can be plumbed into a water line, and a while back I discovered that they’re actually bottle-type coolers that come with a conversion kit. The kit consists of a float switch and a solenoid valve, and a mounting bracket that takes the place of the bottle holder.
There isn’t a conversion kit for the cooler we have, but it looked simple enough, so I made one from scratch. I don’t like float switches, so I used two other methods of sensing the water level (I wanted a backup sensor because certain failure modes could result in an unlimited amount of water on the floor, which would be a Bad Thing). Instead of trying to find the “best” way to do it, I used the components I was interested in learning about….
NOTE: Thanks for the update on “Bean” vs “Beam,” Ron!
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(FYI, its Ron ‘Bean’)
(same with MAKE blog.. wrong name there too!) 😉
Hey Ron! Thanks for the update. Your email to us said “Ron Beam” — check to see if there’s a typo in how it hits us. We are happy to update it — this is a super handy project!