Water pressure sensors?

  • Mod

    Does anyone have experience with water pressure sensors (1-2 bar / 0-10m water pressure)? The sensor needs to be submerged (or perhaps behind a membrane). The Bosch air pressure sensors only handle "normal" air pressures (1.1 bar max).

  • Mod

    What are you trying to measure?

  • Mod

    @gohan the pressure of water/sewage

  • Mod

    pressure of sewage? I am missing the point....

  • @mfalkvidd wouldn't you want flow rate and not pressure? I am assuming this is to calculate water usage, which sewer usage is typically based off your water usage. Maybe my assumption is wrong.

  • Mod

    @dbemowsk in this application, flow rate is often zero, so flow rate is of little interest.

  • Mod

    I wasn't aware sewage had pressure

  • Mod

    @gohan if something is blocking the sewage's way to its final destination, pressure will build up pretty quickly.
    alt text

  • Mod

    for something like that, by the time you get notification it is already too late 😄

  • Mod

    @gohan that's where you are wrong.
    "In many countries there are obligations to measure and report SSO occurrence using real-time telemetry to warn the public, bathers and shellfishery operators."

    From https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sanitary_sewer_overflow

    Now that we've completely derailed this thread, could we get back on topic?

  • Mod

    If you could derive a small pipe from the main sewage line, you could could then have a transducer at the end to measure pressure without requiring it to go submerged.


  • Mod

    @gohan thanks. Yes, that's a solution that could work. (technically, the "inside" part of the sensor would still be submerged which probably is necessary)

  • Mod

    of course the sensor is built to be in contact with water, so that is fine

  • @mfalkvidd Not so.... You can install a sensor on a sealed stack (vertical pipe) as @gohan suggested, sealed to the crown of the sewer or drain (a Tee or saddle fitting), the air pressure from the relative hydraulic head will create air pressure which can be correlated to hydraulic head. Whereas the sensor may get moisture in the air it will never be actually submerged, which you generally do not want in sewage anyway due to grease etc and various objects which customers do deposit...
    Another option is ultrasonics in a vertical pipe venting to atmosphere thereby contact free.. Whether you could get a decent interpretation in a tube from a DYP-ME007Y or similar I do not know, but commercial systems use just such an arrangement....

  • Mod

    Thanks for the input @zboblamont
    I can't mount a 10m vertical pipe on top of the sewage pipe, so I don't think ultrasound is a viable alternative unfortunately.

  • Mod

    I might have found what I am looking for
    https://eu.mouser.com/new/measurement-specialties/te-ms5837-30ba/ is inexpensive, small and handles 0-30bar.

  • Mod

    But it is missing the entire enclosure, it is the bare sensor. The one I posted was ready to be bolted into place

  • @mfalkvidd 10m? Wow, that is one very large hydraulic head you're measuring if it's a storm overflow or similar... Oslo's trunk sewer system? A sealed pressure transducer would be your best bet at that head, holding it in a fixed position and running the cable will be a challenge...
    Oops, just read your follow up...

  • Mod

    @gohan yes, I do need a whole solution. But I'm hoping to find something more compact.

  • Mod

    @mfalkvidd you are a difficult customer 😁

  • @mfalkvidd Perhaps if you expand on the objective and location it might help narrow down options.
    eg - Is this a pressurised pipe below the surface which may be tapped into or a deep well vented to atmosphere? Does the site have power or is this a remote location?

    If the intent is a submerged logger type device occasionally retrieved and downloaded at the surface, an adaption of the cavepearlproject.org format might suit.
    If this is to report to the surface in real time from a vented chamber surcharging to 10m, cabling brings a host of problems, not least low voltage operation... Typical commercial devices for such applications are sealed pressure probes operating at over 9v with a 4-20mA output, and pricetags north of 400 euro...
    A rigid pipe with a transducer sealed and mounted on the top will work when the pipe is purged (compressor/foot pump), the static air pressure thereafter relates directly to depth of hydraulic submergence..

  • @mfalkvidd

    Have a look at freescale sensors. i.e. MXP-type sensors. You could ask for samples (they will provide up to 5 pcs. for free). Cost around $15 pcs. normally.

    You'd mount such a sensor on top of a riser (air-tight) and when the (sewage) water rises, the air-pocket is compressed proportionally. This is how I measure the ground-water level at my location and it helps me to keep my basement free of water. Works flawlessly!


    Boozz1_1525272320306_IMG_E7592.JPG 0_1525272320306_IMG_E7591.JPG

  • @mfalkvidd I still cannot understand why cannot you mount a water sensor in the riser tube or just above bottom?

  • @mfalkvidd how about this if you insist on a water pressure sensor

  • @mfalkvidd,

    I'm guessing this is not a hobby request (based on the photo of the manhole cover). I've looked at pressure sensors for level detection many times for automotive applications and can offer the following:

    1. o-rings don't seal. For your application you need either a hermetic seal or fully potted assembly

    2. open tubes will fill / drain based on condensation temperature changes etc.

    3. Freezing is often an issue but I'll guess at you depth you don't have to worry about it.

    Have you considered a pressure switch? It wouldn't necessarily solve the seal problem but might work for you. Still thinking.... the pressure switch might be hard to self test. At least on the pressure you can see small changes, suggesting the transducer is functioning.

    you might find this link useful: submersible transducer

    If you are looking for a lower cost solution, look for "absolute" pressure sensors as opposed to "gauge" pressure sensors.

    If you want to go the potted route, you might look at this: [link text](absolute xducer). If the cabling was completely potted in a suitable material, this could work for you.

  • Hero Member

    Maybe just measure the height of the effluent? It should be proportional to the pressure. It seems like what you care about most is overflows anyway.

  • I use a pressure sensor on the output of the pump that feeds my solar hot water panel. I think I got mine on Amazon. They use a lot of them in automotive applications. They come in lots of different pressure ranges. On mine I think I first had to figure out how to convert the analog input port reading from a number to a raw voltage. Most important you will first need to take a reading of your sensor in open air. FYI most of these sensors will run with any gas or liquid i.e. air, oil, water, etc.

    The math for the sensors looks something like this:
    PSI=(Sensor Voltage - open air voltage)/7

    This is why we need the open air reading. If your current voltage reading and your open air voltage are the same that means you current pressure would be 0 zero, right?

    The next part the 7 is a little more complicated but remember it's just a number and I think I got mine right off the spec sheet for the sensor. If you plotted a graph for every reading from 0 psi to the sensors max pressure the slope of that line is where the number 7 comes from. Technically it's the slope of the linear regression. But we don't care how we got it because someone even nerdier than than me did the math and it's on the spec sheet. That's why we buy a new one instead of taking one off an old motor at the junkyard.

    With that info I first had to determine the raw sensor voltage. The Arduino returns a value of 0 - 1023 for a voltage of 0 - 5 volts (I mostly use 5V Arduino's) so to find the voltage I use the following line in my code.

    First get the raw sensor value.
    float rawSensorValue = analogRead(tankPumpPressurePin); // Read Pin A15 Value range 0-1023

    Then convert that value into a voltage.
    float voltage = rawSensorValue * (5.0 / 1023.0);

    Then to get the actual pressure I had to do a little more math with the following line. On my sensor the open air reading was 109.

    tankPumpPressure = ((rawSensorValue - 109) / 7);

    The whole thing looks like this.

    void readTankPumpPressure()
    // Read Pin A15 Value range 0-1023
    float rawSensorValue = analogRead(tankPumpPressurePin);
    float voltage = rawSensorValue * (5.0 / 1023.0);
    tankPumpPressure = ((rawSensorValue - 109) / 7); // Should be in PSI.
    currentTankPumpPressure = tankPumpPressure; send(msg_tank_pump_pressure.setDestination(GW_ID).setSensor(Tank_Pump_Pressure_ID).set(currentTankPumpPressure, 1));

    I hope this helped I also take flow reading.

  • @rwoerz
    Sorry to say you can't use a tube submerged in the water. That will only work for a very short time. I was going to use that method to take a pressure reading to see how much head (water depth) was in my water well. The problem as I was told is the air in the tube is eventually absorbed by the water ending with a pressure of zero. If you had a way of blowing the tube clear of water just before you took each reading that would work.

  • @rwoerz Partly true.... There are multiple effects on a compressed air pipe in water (condensation, gas absorption, etc) which reduce effective air volume and pressure over time, but these are in reality very small.
    Blowing the pipe clear before every measurement is an ideal datum but is generally impractical other than in industrial locations. In reality, a periodic purge with a footpump to an inserted tyre valve on the pipe will restore pressure accuracy for many months at a time for a static well scenario.
    The circumstance posed by @mfalkvidd originally is quite different in that a CSO or SSO is a surcharge arising from periodic rainstorms rather than a constant submergence. If the sealed pipe is installed at a level with free discharge when flow abates, it will function very accurately as it compresses from a natural state. All that is required is to add the height of the pipe to Invert and the actual level can be derived. The bigger problem would be installing a 10m rigid airtight pipe..

  • You can also measure the pressure, how much pressure to creating air bubbles

    Below is written by Benoit Drooghaag (just to ensure I provide credit to the author)



  • Mod

    I use a similar setup for my well but I used a compressor from a broken refrigerator and an old pressure gauge 😄

  • @gohan
    gohan great solution wish I had thought of that! Not sure where I got the info that it wouldn't work. They didn't say how long it would take to get bad readings.
    Because the pressure transducer I used is sealed you wouldn't have the same problem. As long as the connection were made watertight the sensor could just be installed at any level and it should work without the extra pump. Assuming you don't install it with the open end pointing down trapping a tiny bit of air in the opening. Not sure that would affect the readings but why take the chance.

  • Mod

    I have the plastic pipe for the compressed air pointing down so it doesn't get clogged and it runs down 60 meters with the pump. Of course the pressure reading is not very precise on an old "analog" gouge but at least I get the idea if I have 40 meters of water instead of 30, I don't really care if the actual level is 41 or 39

  • Mod

    Thanks everyone for your ideas.

    As most of you figured out, this is not for a home DIY project. It is not my project so I can't share a lot of details.

    The "industrial" solutions are expensive (for example, the "submersible transducer" linked by @JohnRob costs $400+) and require big sensors. Often, DIY users have found clever solutions - and several such solutions have been suggested here which has given me a good perspective of the possibilities which I really appreciate. Thanks!

  • Mod

    I don't know if it may fit in the project, but some of these could be used to get a rough idea of the water level

  • @mfalkvidd

    If I were to look for a lower cost solution (vs a full industrial offering) I would talk to Epcos EU.

    I have worked with them in the past and they have a small absolute pressure sensor that may work for you.


  • I just received an email about these Honeywell PX3 series pressure transducers today:

    I didn't read into them much, but you may find a solution with them.

  • Does anyone have an idea on cost efficient water pressure/level measurement in 1000 ft deep groundwater wells? There is a new law in California that made these measurements mandatory and my good friends have to drive some crazy mileage to do manual cord measurements of water level.

  • If you want to measure level in a sewer and get a measurement that can be used for something "that have a high degree of accuracy" it needs to be atmospheric compensated, otherwise the measurement will be off by a lot, because of pressure in the pipe system, normally a sewer system is not open to the atmospheric pressure because of gases.

    If your application is anything like the picture, that would not be a good solution, since a atmospheric sensor would have a small air tube and getting water into those would make it unstable.

    if you can put your vent tube so no water gets in then a pressure level measurement would be a good solution.
    I normally use alibaba for that.

    But if you only want to know when the water level reach a certain height there is the option of using a float switch.

    I often find that there is a need for a combine solution, both pressure/ultrasonic and a float, to keep up a high accuracy, sewer systems are a whole other world when it come to sensor technology, but again it depends on what you need.

  • @ybirch


    above link is an example of a sensor which could be used. Not sure what the level change will be, but the "new law" as you refer to will tell you what accuracy is needed. This sounds to me as a perfect example of a LoRa sensor.
    The sensor goes in the bore hole (same as the manual cord measuremens) and stays there. The electronics (4-20 mA preferrably as 1000 ft is quite a distance) can remain at ground level.

    If you have any idea what the change of level is in the well, you can easily find the range for the sensor.



  • @ybirch Hi did you see the post I posted?
    cost efficient, use a salvaged refrigerator compressor and purchase a long aqaurium airpump hose and a pressure transducer - might be fairly cheap

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