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#1902293 - 05/24/12 08:47 AM Unattended DC system  
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Emmery Offline
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I've had an unusual request from a customer who is not around his piano for a good part of the year. She was wondering if a system can be arranged for the DamppChaser tank to be fed water from a larger reservoir tank during the fall/winter part of the year? Has anybody rigged something like this up that is reliable and fool proof.

I was thinking of something like a 5 or 10 gallon plastic gas can on a table beside the piano. It would have a plastic siphon hose attached to the DC tank with the end of it an inch or so below the DC tanks full point. The fill level of both tanks would be equal and as the DC tank emptied, the larger tank would equalize it through a siphon process.

Any thoughts or alternative solutions welcome.


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#1902301 - 05/24/12 09:04 AM Re: Unattended DC system [Re: Emmery]  
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Not sure I'd be comfortable with that, since DC by design is an attended system.


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#1902331 - 05/24/12 10:01 AM Re: Unattended DC system [Re: Loren D]  
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Originally Posted by Loren D
Not sure I'd be comfortable with that, since DC by design is an attended system.


I understand that by design it is an attended system, but if it could be unattended for 6 months, and work, it would be a better system, n'est-ce pas? Siphon systems are simple and fool-proof, the laws of fluids and atmospheric pressure don't change. Since they make tank systems for livestock water bowls that operate long term on the same principles, I don't think it would be difficult to cobble something up for this customer... I was just wondering if anyone has done it and is willing to share their experiences?
The customers' only two alternatives are to hire someone to tend the DC system in the fall/winter every couple weeks, or let the piano sit for 5 months in really dry conditions with an empty tank.
The benefits of a working system would be threefold.

1/It would save the customer the high cost of hiring someone to maintain the system. For a couple hundred bucks, a permanent solution would be more cost effective.
2/ It would allow the system to continue working as intended, better preserving the piano's condition and tuning.
3/ It provides a source of increased revenue for the tech installing such a modification.

(PS: if I had a dollar for every time I show up to an installed DC system with the water light blinking, I could cover the cost for making a system like this for myself. This mod might benefit those people/institutions who are "attendance challenged" with these systems.)

Last edited by Emmery; 05/24/12 10:06 AM.

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#1902341 - 05/24/12 10:18 AM Re: Unattended DC system [Re: Emmery]  
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Originally Posted by Emmery
Originally Posted by Loren D
Not sure I'd be comfortable with that, since DC by design is an attended system.


I understand that by design it is an attended system, but if it could be unattended for 6 months, and work, it would be a better system, n'est-ce pas? Siphon systems are simple and fool-proof, the laws of fluids and atmospheric pressure don't change. Since they make tank systems for livestock water bowls that operate long term on the same principles, I don't think it would be difficult to cobble something up for this customer...
(cut)

Good points, sure enough. It would be interesting to see what Dampp-Chaser's take on this is.



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#1902354 - 05/24/12 11:03 AM Re: Unattended DC system [Re: Emmery]  
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It seems like it would work, but it also seems like that would be a modification or alteration of the product and void the warranty, no?

#1902370 - 05/24/12 11:32 AM Re: Unattended DC system [Re: Emmery]  
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A better solution, if nobody is around, is to turn down the home thermostat. If you keep it at 40°F, pipes will not freeze and the humidity will not be as low. It will save money, as well.


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#1902391 - 05/24/12 12:19 PM Re: Unattended DC system [Re: BDB]  
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Originally Posted by BDB
A better solution, if nobody is around, is to turn down the home thermostat. If you keep it at 40°F, pipes will not freeze and the humidity will not be as low. It will save money, as well.


An excellent suggestion. Then, a person might have to come in only once a moth instead of once a week. Or, an unattended fill system wouldn't have to be as large. And, of course, just floating with the ambient humidity wouldn't be nearly as stressful on the piano.

I have to say, there is a risk to depending on the heat to be functioning for several months. I have seen pianos that were victims of heat going off, pipes freezing/bursting and then heat coming back on -- unattended. It's like a flood. Of course the piano is almost incidental. You never know if there is mold starting to grow . . .

O.P.'s location is listed as Niagara region of Canada. That's south of me (actually, most of Canada's population is south of me), but still there is cold weather there.
Maybe we just haven't been given all the info, but I'd say that there are issues that need to be carefully thought through by the home/piano owner.


Keith Akins, RPT
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#1902419 - 05/24/12 01:47 PM Re: Unattended DC system [Re: Emmery]  
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They might look for a system that could monitor temperature over the internet. If the house is going to be empty, that is a good idea, anyway.


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#1902427 - 05/24/12 02:03 PM Re: Unattended DC system [Re: BDB]  
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I had once (ONCE ) an hygrostat that went mad and was humidifying always. The deshumidifiyng rod never warmed, the piano begin to sound false and the system was asking for water always.
AN unattended system would have ruined that particular piano 5C2 Yamaha)
The system was 2 years old. It may be related to the use of European AC 50 Hz 220 volt, some others where making a buzz noise and had to be changed. I hope you dont have such problems in the USA.

I have a graph of a small C1 in an horrible room with A DC and undercover. The customer recorded for one year the HR and temp (plus the current use) inside the piano (under the soundboard) and inside the room. The system was very efficient with a 15% window around 45% HR. I will provide you a link to the graphs if someone interested.

>hat I dont understand with the DC is that there is no "no action position" the system is humidifying or drying. if no action would occur when the good HR is obtained the defect with the system sending moisture all day night would never happen...
I believe that DC people are too shy to design new circuitry ! Also there is no more control in laboratory for the hygrostat. some time ago each hygrostat had its data sheet glued on it, showing the tests.







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#1902462 - 05/24/12 03:16 PM Re: Unattended DC system [Re: Emmery]  
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Issac, please understand that this unattended system will use a gravity feed syphonning system so nothing can go wrong or cause an overflow situation. It will not use valves or a float that can stick, or pumps and control electronics that can short out or stop working in a power failure. No part of the slave tank will have water at a higher level than the tank in the piano itself. It will not modify the system or void warranty since the only thing that changes, is that a reservoir tank supplies the added water as its used up, instead of a human hand and a watering can doing it.

It would work something like this, where the smaller tank on the left is the one in the piano and the one on the right, thats 10 times larger, is on a table.
[Linked Image]

Water levels will remain in equilibrium at all times. The tank on the right will be covered to prevent evaporation and have a small hole in the cover to allow air in.

Last edited by Emmery; 05/24/12 03:21 PM.

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#1902480 - 05/24/12 03:43 PM Re: Unattended DC system [Re: Emmery]  
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When I go a few weeks away I do that with my normal room humidifier (picture as Emmery; but the pipe just going in from the top on BOTH sides). Worked great.

It is reliable - it can never flood on one side

It is fool proof, once set up it automatically regulates

I'm using a wick filter humidifier, even if the hygrostat would fail and turn it on permanently this type of humidifier will not make the room excessive humid. Only if the humidifier breaks and does not turn on anymore, then the system fails.


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#1902491 - 05/24/12 04:02 PM Re: Unattended DC system [Re: Emmery]  
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Um,

Forgive me if I've missed something, but in order for the this to work, (siphon by gravity), doesn't the larger supply tank have to be elevated slightly higher than the smaller DC tank? Otherwise it's just two tanks of water with a hose between them.

The siphon action will only work if the column of water in the hose on the receiving side is heavier than the column of water in the hose on the sending side.

This seems to suggest that you need to find the "sweet spot" for the elevation of the larger supply tank. High enough so that the siphon action works to fill the DC tank to at least a minimum level as the DC uses up water, and then STOPS when the atmospheric pressure on the surface of the DC water equalizes out the weight of the water in the hose. And then conversely, you don't want the supply tank so high in elevation that the siphon action drains the supply tank continuously all over the floor.

The hose also has to be "primed", i.e. solidly filled with water with no air bubbles in it.

C-


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#1902492 - 05/24/12 04:11 PM Re: Unattended DC system [Re: Emmery]  
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Emmery what I said is that I would not leave a DC system running on its own due to the experience i had. People noticed that something was wrong, but they where present... That was my point.
I had no explanations on the fail, the hygrostat was changed for free.


Last edited by Kamin; 05/24/12 04:12 PM.

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#1902502 - 05/24/12 04:25 PM Re: Unattended DC system [Re: Olek]  
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Originally Posted by Kamin
Emmery what I said is that I would not leave a DC system running on its own due to the experience i had. People noticed that something was wrong, but they where present... That was my point.
I had no explanations on the fail, the hygrostat was changed for free.



For once, I agree with Isaac. smile


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#1902523 - 05/24/12 04:58 PM Re: Unattended DC system [Re: Emmery]  
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I believe with the diagram shown by Emmery the tank with the lowest hose will always be heavier by volume than the DC tank because of the weight of the water.

Even if there is a backflow at some point the slave tank would not overflow because the DC tank does not have enough volume to fill the slave.

Emmery if you want the tank filled manually over a period of months I have a trunk monkey you can rent…… wink


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#1902566 - 05/24/12 06:16 PM Re: Unattended DC system [Re: Emmery]  
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If the piano is left unattended for months, what about using 6 mil poly to create a moisture proof tent around the piano? Then one tank of water should last many months.

In any case, if the expected humidity can reasonably be expected to remain on the dry end of the spectrum, then I would unplug the heater bar for that period of time.

#1902611 - 05/24/12 08:08 PM Re: Unattended DC system [Re: Emmery]  
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I'd suggest switching over to MusicSorb during that time: http://www.musicsorbonline.com/


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#1902644 - 05/24/12 09:24 PM Re: Unattended DC system [Re: Emmery]  
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You know, I wrote to MusicSorb once interested in trying it. They wrote back and were really nice, but then I just never got around to trying it. I'd still like to.

Thanks for the reminder, Scott!


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#1902646 - 05/24/12 09:36 PM Re: Unattended DC system [Re: That Guy]  
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Originally Posted by That Guy
I'd suggest switching over to MusicSorb during that time: http://www.musicsorbonline.com/


Scott, have you tried this? If so, what's your experience been? It looks like you need to replace the cassettes/pouches yearly?


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#1902661 - 05/24/12 10:07 PM Re: Unattended DC system [Re: That Guy]  
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Originally Posted by That Guy
I'd suggest switching over to MusicSorb during that time: http://www.musicsorbonline.com/


I'm dubious about anything without a humidistat being able to manage humidity levels. It seems too much like voodoo to me, but I'm willing to be shown differently . . .


Keith Akins, RPT
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Supporting Piano Owners D-I-Y piano tuning and repair
#1902703 - 05/24/12 11:57 PM Re: Unattended DC system [Re: Loren D]  
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Originally Posted by Loren D
Originally Posted by Kamin
Emmery what I said is that I would not leave a DC system running on its own due to the experience i had. People noticed that something was wrong, but they where present... That was my point.
I had no explanations on the fail, the hygrostat was changed for free.



For once, I agree with Isaac. smile


Anything can happen ! this is a wonderful world wink I offer you a coffe, Loren !

Last edited by Kamin; 05/24/12 11:57 PM.

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#1902734 - 05/25/12 02:08 AM Re: Unattended DC system [Re: Chris Storch]  
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Originally Posted by Chris Storch
Forgive me if I've missed something, but in order for the this to work, (siphon by gravity), doesn't the larger supply tank have to be elevated slightly higher than the smaller DC tank? Otherwise it's just two tanks of water with a hose between them.


No, the supply tank doesn't have to be elevated. You don't want an active flow, but only an equalization of levels. The hose, provided it's been freed of air bubbles, simply connects the two tanks, so the level will always be the same in both tanks. The syphon only replenishes the level as the DamppChaser uses water. Effectively, the system is one large tank that lasts longer because of its size.

P.S.: I'd simply put the pipe over the tops of both tanks, as Wouter suggested. If you fit a pipe to the bottom of a tank, there's always a chance of leakage.
P.P.S.: I'd make sure the auxiliary tank is kept dark, to prevent growth of algae.


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#1902737 - 05/25/12 02:26 AM Re: Unattended DC system [Re: Emmery]  
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>P.P.S.: I'd make sure the auxiliary tank is kept dark, to prevent growth of algae.

This is actually a good point. The problem with this is that not algae but mold starts to grow after a few weeks. It does not seem to matter much how good you kill them, they probably are in the air.

I have done this for up to three weeks without a problem (disinfected before with chlorine solution) but I could feel that something was building up when I got back after three weeks, particularly on the hose. Maybe it is possible to put some chlorine in the water as well, to keep the mold out? But I would not like that as chlorine might also evaporate, and that's not very healthy and it's agressive too.


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#1902869 - 05/25/12 09:24 AM Re: Unattended DC system [Re: Emmery]  
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I beleive the additive that is recommended by DC helps prevent mold growth. Have not yet had a mold or algae issue with any DC sytem I service although a larger covered tank might be somewhat different in this regards. The stuff they put in waterbeds would also work very well.


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