If you are shopping for a float switch, then there are a lot different options to sort through. They come in a variety of different designs and they can be used for a range of different applications. Understanding the differences between the types of liquid level sensors that are out there will help the individual to select the right type of float switch for their purposes.
One consideration is the difference between float switches with a vertical design and those that operate on a horizontal design. Both of these designs can work for liquid level detection and they can both be used to open and close circuits based on the level of liquid in a tank, but the difference in the design makes each of these better for different circumstances.
Vertical Float Switches
A vertical float switch is one that has a stem and a magnetic float. The float fits around the stem and it rises and falls with the level of the liquid. Inside the stem, you will have one or more sealed reed switches. When the float nears one of the reed switches, the magnetic force causes the switch to open or close.
These switches can be mounted through the top or bottom of a container. This can make them especially good for situations where there is no side access to the tank that needs liquid level detection.
Horizontal Float Switches
With a horizontal float switch, the float is attached to a hinge. As with a vertical switch, the float rises and falls with the levels of the liquid. When the float nears the reed switch, it moves a magnet close to the switch and opens or closes the circuit.
Horizontal float switches will be mounted though ports in the side of the container. The ports are seal to prevent leakage and the float side goes inside the tank, with the wires coming out through the port. Since these float switches are mounted through the side of the vessel, they are good for applications where the top and bottom of the tank are inaccessible.
Properties of the Liquid
Regardless of the type of float switch that you choose, the properties of the liquid being measured will need to be considered. If the liquid is corrosive, then you will need to select a switch that is made from a material that will resist corrosion.
When it comes to the properties of the liquid, there is also a point that is important in regard to the selection of a horizontal or vertical design. Some liquids may have a tendency to cause a build up on components and this could affect operation. With the pivot-style operation of many horizontal float switches, the liquid could create a build-up in the gap and in doing-so, it could hinder the proper operation of the switch.
If you are working with a liquid where the build-up of material is likely, then a vertical float switch may be the better option. However, it may not always be possible to mount a vertical switch and for these situations, you will need to find a horizontal switch that is designed to resist this effect.