I'm trying to figure out how to get an automated measurement of a trickle of water over time. (Application is measuring the water output by a dehumidifier; overall output would be a few pints of water per hour.)
Most automated tools for measuring water quantities are for full pipes and/or MUCH higher flow rates. For this type of super-low flow, it looks to my eyes like a tipping bucket sensor would be suited to the job. But the tipping bucket sensor isn't quite ideal for my needs. Specifically, the tipping bucket just dumps out the water after the measurement. I can't just allow the exiting water to dump anywhere because that would encourage mold, so that means I'd need to enclose the tipping bucket in a canister which routes the post-measurement water to a drain.
Currently this dehumidifier output is routed through a nice 1/2" PVC pipe to get the condensate to its proper drain. So, hook up a big canister, which has a tipping bucket inside of it, then routes the spilled water to an internal drain and back to the 1/2" PVC seems like a really clumsy solution. Is there a more elegant way to make this measurement in an automated fashion?
EDIT A few other requirements I should have thought to state up front:
- Reasonable cost (willing to spend up to USD$100 or so on this)
- Was hoping to find a prefabricated solution (for example something like a "picohydrometer"... but that's just a word I made up) rather than inventing something, if at all possible. But that's looking doubtful.