How To Basic DIY ATO

Users who are viewing this thread

35ppt

Department of Agitation and Propaganda
Location
San Diego
Country flag

IMG_20210321_134057_3.jpg

Materials Required:​

Note: I also found this kit with the pump, adaptor, wire and some hose. Not sure if it's enough wire and hose though.

Tools Required:​

Nice to Have:​


Wiring Diagram:​

DIY-ATO-Wiring-Diagram.jpg



Drill holes for the inlet and outlet of the pump. When placing these holes remember to leave room for the voltage regulator and relay on one side or the other as seen below.
IMG_20210220_144108_1.jpg



Then drill holes for the power and switch jacks and mount them into the project box and drill the hole for the voltage regulator. Depending on the project box and voltage regulator you choose you may have to file the PCB a tiny bit to be able to mount it. Again, remember to leave room for your other components. The project box I listed just barely fits these parts.
IMG_20210220_145603_1.jpg



Next you will solder an extension onto the positive lead of the power jack as well as join the negative side of the power jack to one side of the switch jack and add an extension off of that. I also added some shrink tube to the bases of each jack as the wire connections felt a bit flimsy.
IMG_20210402_135917_2.jpg



Now you can start hooking up to the relay. The positive lead from the power jack goes straight to the positive terminal of the input side of the relay along with another lead that will be plugged into the voltage regulator later on. Also connect your power jack's ground lead to one side of the output side of the relay (doesn't mater which terminal) and connect a lead to the remaining terminal of the output side of the relay, this lead will connect to the negative side of the voltage regulator later on. And finally connect the remaining lead from your switch jack to the negative terminal of the input side of the relay.
IMG_20210402_140951_3.jpg



Now you can hook up your voltage regulator.
IMG_20210402_141743_6.jpg



Solder leads onto the pump and plug them into the power out side of the voltage regulator.
IMG_20210402_141933_0.jpg



Mount your voltage regulator and slide the pump in and you should have something like this.
IMG_20210402_142209_5.jpg



Now for the switch! Unscrew the male side of the jack you'll be using for the switch and solder some wire to it. Instead of a positive side and a negative side what we have here is an "in to the switch side" and an "out to the voltage regulator side" that is carrying the negative side of the current going to the pump that is interrupted by the float switches. You can use a tape measure in liew of a third hand.
IMG_20210305_145852_8.jpg



Now, this would be a good time to check your wiring and also confirm that your float switches are working before soldering everything together. Proper function of the switches can be confirmed by either checking continuity with a multimeter or plugging in the switch and power to the box and listen for the pump to turn on and off while you activate the switches. Great thing about these diaphragm pumps, they're self priming and can run dry all you want. Once you're sure it functions properly solder one side of each of the switches together then the remaining sides of the switch are soldered to your wire you put your male jack onto.
IMG_20210305_143805_7.jpg



Then I like to cover up the ugly yellow wires with some shrink tube and it will hold the wires at the position they are at when they cool.
IMG_20210305_144126_7.jpg
IMG_20210305_144334_6.jpg



I ended up shorting out one of the switches during testing so when I wired a new one in I also added a large piece of shrink over the bolt side of the switch so water is unable to get onto the top side of the switch. When they fail that's how I've always seen it. So doing this will dramatically increase the life of these switches. But also using these longer switches makes it so the water wont even go that high when you turn the return pump off.
IMG_20210403_184149_6.jpg



And finally the bracket. I happened to have a 1.4" wide strip of ABS for this part of the bracket but if you don't, plot it out on your ABS sheet, score it with your scoring knife and break out your strip. The bend was put into the plastic by heating the area I want to bend with the heat gun then wrapping around the rim of the tank I'm making it for.
IMG_20210222_151946_1.jpg



Drill and tap.
IMG_20210222_154816_2.jpg



Drill and tap.
IMG_20210222_155917_0.jpg



Next plot out an L shape for the next half of the bracket.
IMG_20210225_144905_4.jpg



Drill the holes for the float switches and create the adjustment slot for mounting to the other half of the bracket. The slot is achieved by drilling two holes and cutting out the slot by scoring and scoring until you can push it out.
IMG_20210225_164958_8.jpg



Clean it up with your files and deburring pen and you should end up with a part looking something like this.
IMG_20210225_172026_8.jpg



The hole for the float switch is also slotted so you can fit the wire in when you mount or unmount the switch from the hanger.
IMG_20210225_173347_2.jpg



Then give it a 90 degree bend.
IMG_20210225_221040_4.jpg



And another one!
IMG_20210225_221309_3.jpg



And another one!
IMG_20210225_221729_9.jpg



And you've just made an ATO!
IMG_20210305_145955_8.jpg



Probably a good idea to also label the jacks and inlet/outlet of the pump.
 
Last edited:

35ppt

Department of Agitation and Propaganda
Thread starter
Location
San Diego
Country flag
Looks like a fun project - do you have a parts cost estimate? DIY for DIY's sake is always valuable and fun but I'm curious.
If you have to buy every last thing on the list it's over $100, but most people are going to have some of these things already. I just had to buy the pump and relay, everything else I already had so my cost to build was like $20. There are also ways to cut corners. You don't really need to have power and switch jacks, they could be hard wired and just drill a hole for them to come out of the box. You don't need to use a nice project box, one of my ATOs lives in a tupperware. But also, if you buy everything on the list you'll have everything you need to make two or three of them, minus the pumps and relays of course.

/Also this thing comes with the pump and tubing, IIRC most off the shelf ATO's do not so you've also got to factor that cost in when comparing.
 
Last edited:

35ppt

Department of Agitation and Propaganda
Thread starter
Location
San Diego
Country flag
The JBJ Nano is $99 with a pump and the XP Aqua Duetto is $119 with a pump. So yeah if someone has stuff lying around you could come in well under that. But even more important is that it's fun do DIY. 😁
Yeah and I forgot about the kit that includes pump, dc adaptor etc. If someone buys that and the rest of what's needed it comes out to $80 not counting ABS/solder/shrink. If you're going to do this you likely already have shrink and solder and the ABS can be had for a couple dollars at the local plastic sheet distributor. So call it ~$82 if you have to buy everything.
 

35ppt

Department of Agitation and Propaganda
Thread starter
Location
San Diego
Country flag
Great write up on a DIY ATO.
This place is a great source for ATO parts. Also there are other pump options available. I have bought parts from them.

Thanks! Yeah, those can be an option. Though, I think you can get a lot of those same parts elsewhere for cheaper. The float switches for sure but $5 for an AC adaptor is a good price. Also I would caution that the relays they use are mechanical. I much prefer solid state for this application as well as diaphragm pumps rather than the impeller pumps they sell but for someone that doesn't want to make it themselves it's the cheapest way to get an ATO for sure. They do have a bunch of RODI related stuff that seems like good prices and only $4 shipping on small stuff. That's pretty reasonable!
 
Top