Plumbing valves as heavy-duty analog inputs

Input devices that can handle harsh, plummeting environments aren’t as varied as their more fragile siblings. [Alastair Aitchison] imagined a brilliant way of plumbing valve inlet detection this opens another option. (Youtube) [via Arduino Blog]

Whereas [Aitchison] could have operated the plumbing valves with water inside and detected the flow, he decided the most elegant solution would be to use photosensors and an LED to simplify the system. This avoids the added cost of a pump and flow sensors as well as the dubious proposition of mixing electronics and water. By analyzing the change in light intensity when the valve closes or opens, you can enter a range of values ​​or set a threshold for an on/off condition.

[Aitchison] designed them for an escape room, but we can see them as being perfect for museums, amusement parks or even for (train) simulators. He says one of the main reasons he chose plumbing valves was their aesthetics. Industrial switches and arcade buttons have their place, but are definitely not the best fit in some situations, especially if you’re going for a period. Also, since the sensor itself has no moving parts, these analog inputs will be easy to repair if there is a problem with the valve itself.

If you’re looking for more unusual entries, check out the winners of our Odd Inputs and Special Peripherals competition or that typewriter running linux.