Depth tester made from PVC Toliet pipe (WDV pipe)

The_LED_Museum

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I'm planning on shopping for parts later today, and want to make a test jig to test water resistance of flashlights. I was thinking of using 3" or 4" plastic toilet bowl pipe and having it set up so I have a 7 foot tall column of water, leaving the top open so I can drop in & reel up flashlights to be tested.
Would PVC toilet bowl pipe (sold as waste/drain/vent pipe) withstand the pressure of the water column at its base, or am I asking for a REALLY BIG mess when I drop in a flashlight and the bottom blows out of the thing?

The joints would be sealed with PVC pipe dope (don't laugh, that's what it's called!); should I also consider teflon plumber's tape around the upper part of the joint even if it's not threaded? I don't live in a house where a flood could just be let out the door - a flood here could ruin people's stuff in apartments adjacent to and below mine. That's why I ask about extra protection at pipe joints and at the cap on the bottom.
I also want to have a cleanout plug near the base so I can empty it if I have to move it.
 

lambda

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Craig,

I'm not sure what the "toilet bowl pipe" is you refer to, but PVC pipe, like the 4" - 6" used for drains is quite capable of withstanding the water pressure. Most pipe will be marked something like 250psi, etc. You'd need a pretty tall column of water to exceed any PVC pipe's pressure limit.

"Pipe dope" usually refers to a soft paste used to seal threads, and may not be the best chioce for sealing PVC pipe. You should be able to get an end cap to seal off the bottom of the pipe. Use something like Oatey PVC cement (smelly glue) for sealing the end cap; also clean the joint area with Oatey PVC primer/cleaner.

Oatey is just a brand name common around here, so don't fret over getting something of a different brand.

Just remember, joining PVC pipe is a one way trip; once you clean and apply the glue, as soon as you shove the end cap on it will be permamently fused together. So, push hard and seat that sucker right away.
 

Tater Rocket

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I think Craig is thinking about buying non-pressure rated pipe. The 4 inch pressure rated is around $12 for 10 feet IIRC, and I am thinking that non pressure rated would be around $5, but not sure. Teflon tape will not do any good unless your cleanout plug is threaded (which it will be, so if you have it at the bottom, then I WOULD suggest teflon tape, but only for the threaded part). Personally, if it were me doing this, I would make the pipe capable of testing extended depths by adding a shrader valve (bike and tire air plug) and using a hand pump to pump it up to whatever pressure you wish. You could then do the math (1 atm= about 15 psi) and compare that to your current depth of water to get the simulated depth (so your equation would be depth=(pressure/15)+7). That should work, though I'll have to think about that because the surface area and such may be different and require a higher pressure. It is 7 in the morning so I don't feel like thinking right now. If you WERE to do this, you'd want another screw on lid or plug (and make sure you have a wrench or something to get it off with, those can get fairly hard to remove) and use teflon tape on it every time. You would have to stick the tape on every time you stuck in a flashlight because the tape shreds when you keep screwing and unscrewing. This would probably cost an extra $5 in caps for it. The valves can be had at walmart (not sure about other places) 2 for like $2. I found it in the automotive section. If you decide to do it this way (or anybody else for that matter) I could mail you my other shrader valve since I can't afford another pnuematic spud gun right now (or any time soon). It is easy to install, you just drill a 3/4 inch (I believe it is that size) hole, then stick the valve in through the back, grip it with pliers, and tug very hard. The rubber will deform enough to let it out, then the rubber will seal it. Not sure if this is possible in an apartment or not, but other people can use the idea if they wish too.

Spud
 

LED-FX

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Your`e after the kind of adhesive that is known as `solvent welding`It melts the plastic together like a weld in metal.

Mebbe for a drain put a T piece in the bottom end and seal a tap into a blanking piece on the short bit of the T.

PVC piping will easily take the pressure,rainwater goods might do the job as well.

Adam
 

lambda

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A one inch column of water 33 feet tall weighs 14.7 pounds. This pressure, resulting from the weight of water is called hydrostatic pressure. So at a depth of 33 feet, a diver experiences atmospheric and hydrostatic pressure equal to twice the amount of atmospheric pressure. We call this 2 ATA, one from the atmosphere and one from the water. This is called absolute pressure. That means a diver is under a pressure of 29.4 pounds per square inch (psi). At 66 feet down a diver is at 3 ATA and experiences a pressure of 44.1 pounds per square inch, and so on.

This might be simulated with air pressure, but I would advise doing such outside until thourough testing proves out the design.

The 'trap' or drain near the bottom could be eliminated also, based on the difficulty of opening the trap when the tube is full of water and then being able to catch all of the out rushing water without making a big mess. It would be much easier to just use a garden hose out the window to siphon the water back out.

Craig, is it possible to get something like this mounted on an wall of your building outside below a window? If so, it would give you a lot more room for exploring the idea Tater Rocket had about pumping the system up to simulate depth, and would eliminante any worry about leaks.
 

MrAl

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Hi there again,

<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by The LED Museum:
I'm planning on shopping for parts later today, and want to make a test jig to test water resistance of flashlights. I was thinking of using 3" or 4" plastic toilet bowl pipe and having it set up so I have a 7 foot tall column of water, leaving the top open so I can drop in & reel up flashlights to be tested.
Would PVC toilet bowl pipe (sold as waste/drain/vent pipe) withstand the pressure of the water column at its base, or am I asking for a REALLY BIG mess when I drop in a flashlight and the bottom blows out of the thing?

The joints would be sealed with PVC pipe dope (don't laugh, that's what it's called!); should I also consider teflon plumber's tape around the upper part of the joint even if it's not threaded? I don't live in a house where a flood could just be let out the door - a flood here could ruin people's stuff in apartments adjacent to and below mine. That's why I ask about extra protection at pipe joints and at the cap on the bottom.
I also want to have a cleanout plug near the base so I can empty it if I have to move it.
<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

5 inch diameter pipe contains about 1 gallon per foot, so a 7 foot section would hold
about 7 gallons. Water weighs under 8.4 pounds per gallon, so you have just under 60
pounds of weight total. The cross section of the pipe is about 20 square inches,
so you have about 3 pounds per square inch of pressure at the bottom of the pipe.
This is pretty low compared to the pipe ratings.
Of course there is always the possibility that the joint compound doesnt hold properly
or that something unforeseen comes up that causes a leak, so you should test your
construction outside for the first time and let it stand a few days just to see what
happens. For an extra measure of safety, get a large plastic garbage can and install
the pipe inside the garbage can. If you want, you can install an automatic pump
and water detection alarm to start the pump if any water appears in the garbage can
and pump it down the drain. A small sub-pump used in leaky basements would already
have all the water detection stuff on it. Perhaps just stick the pump in the garbage
can along side the vertical pipe?
For an even greater level of protection, install the first pipe inside a larger
diameter pipe constucted the same way and also pre-tested. If the inside
pipe goes 'bad' or something, the second pipe will be there to take over.

If you really want to get fancy, use a submergible CCTV camera to monitor the
underwater light under test. Some web photos would be really cool.

Make sure you have your bathing suit on during the initial testing :)

Good luck with it,
Al
 

Mr Ted Bear

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<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by lambda:

This might be simulated with air pressure, but I would advise doing such outside until thourough testing proves out the design.
<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

Craig, try to avoid using air pressure; instead try hooking up to garden hose, or even the kitchen faucet.

Mmay maufactures of dive equiptment place their equiptment in "pressurized" vessels like what were talking; but when they explode, they are very dangerous. I saw remains of half a building taken out by such an explosion becuase they were using compressed gasses. Had they used water pressure, the vessel would have bursed open
but not exploded like a bomb.

100 psi(typical city water pressure) is appx 7 atm (7*15=105) or the equivalent 210 feet.
The sport diving limit is 130 feet and that covers over 90% (edit,93%) of the world diver population.

Here is a simple "design". I have build different versions of this to test various pieces of my dive equiptment
8996849-a13a-028001E0-.jpg
 

lambda

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Ah, a real diver to the rescue. Good advice about using the water pressure. Always someone here that knows the right answer, no matter the subject!

Craig, sounds like you better move your testing to the bath tub!

If you are going to presurize the vessel, then you don't need a long collumn of water. How about a 3 or 4 ft 6" tube and run the test in the bath tub with water pressure. Should contain any mess in the tub, and allow test subjects up to 6" in diameter.
 

The_LED_Museum

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From all the replies (thanks!) it appears as though I'm not equipped either structurally or financially to take this on. The only option that would work at all would be the one built in the bathtub. That's the only place I have here that can contain a mess or serve as a drain. I can't change the faucet or install an adapter to the tub spigot either. It's a lease thing.

If I ran a hose out the window to siphon drain such a vessel, the only place it goes is directly above a busy sidewalk and the open windows of apartments below mine.
shocked.gif
And there's no way I could mount or test it outside as there is no outdoor water source anywhere near my building other than a fireplug, and we aren't allowed to mount anything (not even rabbit ears for a TV) to the outside wall of the apartment. Figures I'd get stuck in a place without a balcony.
blush.gif


I guess I'll have to leave this for somebody else to build. Somebody with a real house with a yard, and more than a pocketful of change.
tongue.gif
 
D

**DONOTDELETE**

Guest
that pipe you are (were?) thinking of using is opaque black isn't? I buried a bunch of that here once, and the county made me dig it up (no rational reason), but at the time I tried jack-hammering it with my 45lb makita (solar powered, of course) jackhammer, and it just made little dents...any way, wouldn't you prefer using something clear so you could watch all the little bubbles
rolleyes.gif
? (Wasn't there a string on this somewhere else in the past?) -- you could eliminate any breakage/leakage problems by mounting it in the bathtub, if you have 7 feet from the bathtub bottom to the cieling?
(edit) ok I just read all of Lamda's post, he thought of it first
smile.gif
duh.)
 

Tater Rocket

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Actually, you CAN safely use air pressure. But, you need to have the thing almost completely full of water too. If it is completely full of air, that is a LOT of air to push any pvc shrapnel quite fast should it shatter. If you have it full of water, then you add your air, there is VERY little air actually in there, it simply raises the pressure. Should it then burst, it would be little more dangerous than using pure water pressure. This is the way many people have tested their first pnuematic cannons is to fill them with water, then air, because as you (whoever you may be, I can't remember) pointed out, the water is much safer, so if there is little air, there is little power.

Spud
 

Silviron

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Hey Craig-

Great idea, great addition to your testing.

Do you ever think about leaving that place?

Go somewhere that has no shared walls, no rules and a Wal-Mart close by? Maybe some place that you might have room for all of your equipment & toys?

I know you would miss your team and all, but the "wide open spaces" have a lot going for them.
 

The_LED_Museum

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<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Silviron:
Do you ever think about leaving that place?

Go somewhere that has no shared walls, no rules and a Wal-Mart close by? Maybe some place that you might have room for all of your equipment & toys?
<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

There's no place else for me to go. I can't rent or buy a house on a $4000 a year income, hell I can't even rent a video without putting up a $75 deposit on the f**kin' thing. No car either, so I'd have to find someplace on a bus line served by handicapped-accessible buses. Money may not buy happiness, but it does buy just about everything else.
frown.gif
So I'm afraid I have very little in the way of options for relocating or finding a new place that would be more amenable to hosting various Rube Goldberg test jigs, Tesla coils, used pole pig in the back yard, magnetrons happily beaming their deadly rays into the sky, and other assorted nasties. I'll have to make do with what I currently have, even though that means no pipe or garden hose hanging out the window and no faucet adaptors on the sink or bathtub to fill that pipe with.

Like I said, this project is somebody else's baby now. Whoever finds it on their doorstep is free to do with it what they will.
 

Silviron

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<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by The LED Museum:
[QB]There's no place else for me to go....../QB]<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

Man, that $uc#s.....

He77, Craig, when I get the LED Ranch set up in the wilds of New Mexico, I'll set up a place for you on the back 40. See about getting you set up with a chair accessible vehicle too;
if you are interested.

I'm not necessarily kidding about this. (but don't pack your bags yet, I haven't actually found the "right" land for the LED Ranch yet)
 

Chris M.

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Wasn't there a string on this somewhere else in the past?

Yep. I think it was me who originally had the idea of using a water-filled tube for depth testing. I had a 2 foot long glass tube which I jokingly referred to as the Tube of Death, and my plan was to fill it full and try to drown torches in there
tongue.gif
. Unfortunately the Tube of Death met it`s own death in a shower of nasty litle pointy glass bits when something big and heavy fell on it.


Down in the garage I have a 5-6 foot long piece of plastic drain pipe, and I plan to eventually sort this out so I can use it for testing- the new Tube of Doom as it will be called. I don`t plan to pressurise it and there isn`t any water down in the garage aside from what leaks through the walls and roof in vast amounts. But 5 feet is enough for many claimed-waterproof lights.

I did have an ided to buy a big long bit of drain pipe to fix to the side of the house next to a real one, just outside my window up here. It could be 20 feet long and would allow me to depth-test almost all non dive rated lights beyond their rating. Dunno if I can do this, but it would be nice. I could connect into the guttering somehow to collect rain water in this testing tube, and stick a tap on the bottom so that water can be drained off and put to good use in the garden when I`m done. So I`d not be wasting water filling/emptying it.

I`m full of ideas sometimes. Too bad that only a very few ever get done.


rolleyes.gif
 

MrAl

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Hello again,

If you dont mind using air pressure,
all you need is a small 1 quart or maybe
1 gallon container filled partly with water
with a top that seals completely.
Get a good pressure gauge and install it
on the container. Install an air valve
on the top where you can connect the air
pump line.
Put the flashlight in the water and
seal the top on, then pressurize to
3 pounds per square inch and watch
what happens :)
Time is a factor in water seepage too, so
you may wish to check at various times like
1 hour, 2 hours, etc.

Good luck with it,
Al
 

hmmwv

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I take it all the streetlights will be yellow LEDs - zoning ordinance, right?
wink.gif


I think craig's original idea of a tube designed just for checking the "dunkability" of normal (i.e. non-dive) lights was fine - 4" ABS will hold a collumn of water taller than the room it's in - since we're not talking about 100M dive situations, the pressure vessel ideas aren't needed - just a simple column that would be a test standard (can a WP light stay dunked for 8 hours under 6' of water, as prescribed by the standard CPF test?) (or 4' - whatever the "standard" evolves into.)

If it can survive this, then you could be reasonably sure it's ok to use outdoors, in the rain, around the pool, etc.

I think this could be fashioned without valves, guages, cleanout plugs, etc - just maybe a sinker for those lights that float, and a string to get them back up. As for a camera - aim the light up and put the camera at the top of the tube looking down (where it's dry) - simple way to see it "underwater".
 

The_LED_Museum

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<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by hmmwv:
I take it all the streetlights will be yellow LEDs - zoning ordinance, right?
wink.gif


I think craig's original idea of a tube designed just for checking the "dunkability" of normal (i.e. non-dive) lights was fine - 4" ABS will hold a collumn of water taller than the room
<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

That was pretty much the whole idea to begin with. I have 8 foot ceilings in most of the house, and 6.5' ceilings in the bathroom. Some allowance would need to be made to get a longer flashlight up and over the top edge of the pipe without the ceiling getting in the way, so 6' is about the deepest actual water I could use, assuming I assembled & filled it somewhere in this room. I already have a big reel of fishing line to use as a tether. I bought that last summer to retrieve a houseplant that fell out of my 3-story high window.
smile.gif


Pictures would be a problem though, since I can't stand on my tiptoes long enough to get a camera positioned & focused down the top of a pipe I could otherwise just barely reach anyway. (wheelchair and limited space, remember?). Taking pictures would probably be up to Chris or whoever else builds a "PVC Monster Toilet Pipe Deathtrap".
 

Brock

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Craig I happen to have good access to a 10 foot deep pool
wink.gif
And once the ice goes away I can take any lights to any depth, well... lets keep it above 150 feet. I often take the lights I get to the bottom of the pool and look for tiny bubbles. So if you want me to test them let me know and we can arrange something, I am always up to see some new lights
smile.gif
 
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