Wi-Fi-Enabled Leak Detection
Spotting your water problem with the ESP8226
A client needed a Wi-Fi-enabled water leak detector. The design goals required a long battery life, battery voltage detection, and once-per-day heartbeat signaling to the controlling web server.
We chose the ESP8266 – a 32-bit microcontroller based on the Tensilica Diamond Standard 106Micro running at 106 Mhz. This was affordable and attractive – particularly for small-scale IoT projects.
No cellphone app was needed for Apple and Android devices due to the built-in DNS system, allowing the device to connect to networks easily. This feature was essential to allow it act as a gateway where all traffic is routed to the webserver inside.
Operation and setup were extremely simple — just press and hold one button, then connect to it with any cellphone or laptop that is Wi-Fi-enabled. Just choose your wifi and enter the password and you were ready to go. The control website was a responsive, cellphone-compliant system, with both SMS and email system that informed users upon detection of a leak.
The circuit continuously measured current at the picoamp level to reliably detect water leakage without false triggers from humidity or condensation.
The ESP8226’s extremely low power consumption also enabled this water leak detector to achieve many years of operation using a pair of AA batteries.