- Four 1" PVC T (Tee) fittings
- Two 1" PVC 90 Degree Elbows Slip x Slip (no threads)
- Two 1" PVC 90 Degree Elbows Slip x FPT (female pipe threads in one end)
- Two 1" PVC Threaded Plugs
- Two Feet of 1" PVC Pipe
- PVC Glue
- One liquid level idicator switch (if you cant find them, email me I have some spares)
- One NEW Windshield Washer Tank with pump (I used a 5 quart unit)
- One AC/DC adapter, 6 to 12 volt (I used 6 volt)
- Misc: Tubing, wire, electrical tape, permanent ink marker
Approximate Project Cost $30
Start by cutting the PVC pipe in to 7 equal lengths; these will connect the elbow and t fittings together, so make sure they're long enough to push all the way in to each fitting. Typically 2.5 inches is long enough. If you have a mitre saw/chop saw this will make life easy, if not, use a vise and hand saw.
Assemble the parts as seen in this picture; this is the DRY FIT NO GLUE YET:
The threaded elbows need to be on the ends with the threaded end facing straight up. Next a piece of pipe you cut, then the t fitting, then elbow, etc.. The t fittings need to sit at approximately a 45 degree angle, it's important to adjust the t fittings so they are as close to the same angle as possible; this affects the water level. Once you have all parts assembled, push them snug together and set the assembly on a firm level surface. Slowly fill with water. Adjust the t fitting so that the water sits at the same level in all fittings. If you don't want the fittings at a 45 degree angle, you can mount them straight up, but you will need to raise the switch and water inlet tubes to compensate for the new height of the water level.
Once all fittings are equalized, get out your marker and mark the intersections of the pipes. This will make the re-assembly with glue much easier.
Next get the threaded plugs. Drill a hole in the center of the plugs. This hole will need to be large enough for the threaded mount on the float switch to pass through. The other plug will be for the water fill hose. Float switch pictured below.
Threaded plug with switch installed:
Screw this assembly in to one of the threaded elbows. Don't tighten it real hard, chances are the switch is longer than the elbow is deep.
Follow the same process for the water inlet using the plug and water tubing. I used "hot melt glue" to secure the hose in to the hole I drilled for it. This can be purchased at any hardware/crafts store and requires the "glue gun" to melt it.
Your assembly should now look something like this.
Install the switch wiring. Connect one of the wires on the switch to one wire on the AC/DC adapter. Take the other wire coming out of the switch and connect it to one of the wires coming out of the pump. Connect the other wire on the pump to the remaining wire on the AC/DC adapter.
Next connect the plastic tubing to the washer tank. Make sure this is a NEW tank, you don't want your chickens injesting the chemicals they put in windshield washer fluid (amonia is common).
Set the tank BELOW the level of the waterer. This is important, if you don't the tank will siphon itself in to the waterer and you'll have a big mess on your hands. I'm looking in to a check valve to solve this issue but it may be a couple of days before I get to it. Fill the tank with water, then plug the AC/DC adapter in. If you've assembled everything correctly, you should hear the pump come on and observe the waterer filling. Be ready to unplug the adapter just incase the water over fills the waterer. If this happens, you should be able to adjust the water level buy tightening or loosenting the plug that the float switch is mounted to. The switch should turn the water pump on and off as needed. In my test I removed 6 ounces of water, the switch turned the pump on and filled the waterer right back up.
Once everything tests out OK, dissasemble, dry all the parts then glue it back together. You can make this device any size you want by adding more T fittings and lengths of pipe. This one is approximately 16" by 12". The openings for the chickens to drink out of are 1 1/4" wide. The lowest part of the drinking opening is 1 5/8" off the ground.