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    Hard water has a high concentration of minerals, and of these calcium salts are the most troublesome. But there is a solution coming in form of a cheap diy water softener system built with the well-known 555 IC. Actually the price of this diy system is so low that even if this doesn’t work you won’t be upset.

    The working principle of the water softener is based on a theory from 1930 which states that an electromagnetic or electric field causes small crystals of calcium carbonate in the water to join together to form larger crystals.

    One of the methods to obtain a strong magnetic field is to put a powerful magnet (2.5 gauss) near the water pipe. The second method is the electronic one. Studying a water filter purchased from stores we found that it produces a frequency of about 15 kHz at an amplitude of 15V.

    Schematic of the Water Softener Circuit

    water softener system schematic

    cheap diy water softener system circuit schematic

    UPDATE: If the water pipe is metallic then connect the open ends of the coils to the pipe, or if it is made of plastic connect each open end with a conductive wire (copper).

    Extension: water softener power indicator

    The values of the coils are not known, but my guess is L1 has 9 turns and L2 has 7 turns. Actually you should consider this circuit as a theoretical one.

    Therefore this water softener system uses one 555 IC to obtain a rectangular signal that is applied to the water pipe by wrapping two coils with one open ending around it. The coils must have good isolation. Make sure to power the water softener from a isolated power supply because in some areas the water pipes are connected to ground.

    What is your opinion about this water softener?

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    19 Responses to "DIY Water Softener System"

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    1. Alexei says: on January 17, 2013 at 1:11 pm
        member

      I have voted “I will try it and give an answer afterwards” but I think it cannot work because the coils cannot produce a magnetic field with their ending opened. But I will give it a try in my free time, it is a fun project.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

    2. sambi says: on January 17, 2013 at 9:35 pm
        member

      Voted: will not work.
      I’m not sure if pin 1 of the IC provides a square signal, but I’m sure that it won’t work because:
      1) The coils are only connected from one side therefor no current will pass thru, and no magnetic field will be produced. (as Alexei mentioned above).
      2) Even if the coils were connected properly, the 555 cannot provide a current high enough to produce the powerful field required for the reaction.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

    3. C.Mitra C.Mitra says: on January 22, 2013 at 3:46 pm
        member

      I fully agree with the two comments above. To produce a magnetic field, an electric current is required to flow through a coil of conducting wire, that is basic physics. And as per the theory and principle mentioned in the article, a magnetic field is required for the system to work.
      Secondly, even if the circuit is completed, the current flowing through the coil will be in milliamperes producing a very weak magnetic field. It is highly improbable that such a weak field will be able to crystallize all the calcium and magnesium salts present in the water. There is no documented proof that this circuit actually works.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

    4. s1ow says: on January 27, 2013 at 7:19 am
        member

      Assuming it does work where does the larger debris end up? Clogging faucets and shower heads.. thumbs down for this one..

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

    5. beachmezz says: on August 10, 2013 at 11:06 pm
        member

      Is there any evidence that this will work? Some sort of reverse electrolysis of the water/calcium seems more
      likely to work the same principle as electrostripping.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 1

    6. C.Mitra Chinmoy Mitra says: on August 12, 2013 at 7:31 pm

      Sir, please remove this joker circuit from here. There is no doubt that this is not going to work, so why keep it here? No ill feelings, but all the comments above point to the truth. Thanks

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

      • I will try it just to see if it works ;) If it doesn’t then I will place it in the NOT WORKING section!

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 1

      • C.Mitra C.Mitra says: on August 14, 2013 at 7:44 am
          member

        Thanks a lot for considering my request :-)
        But I would still request you not to waste your precious time in trying out something which I am 100% sure is not going to work :-D (I am judging it from my 35-40 years of experience in practical electronics)
        Thanks once again.

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

      • Ok, I will leave it in a draft list and test it when I get bored :)

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 1

      • daca nu merge de ce insisti? mai bine construiesti un perpetuum mobile, ai mai multe sanse sa reusesti… sau mai bine pui magneti pe teava, macar aia nu consuma curent electric

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 1

    7. Come on, if theory is correct, not only electromagnetic field cause this result but also electric field. “The working principle of the water softener is based on a theory from 1930 which states that an electromagnetic or electric field causes small crystals of calcium carbonate in the water to join together to form larger crystals.”. This circuit produce a very weak electric field, I think it is not strong enough. Maybe thousands of volts …

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

    8. If this works, the mineral buildup inside the pipe should eventually cut off water flow –I am skeptical –someone dissect your plumbing and publish the results –the minerals must go somewhere. Check out this link –if it works, we are in the wrong business.

      http://www.amazon.com/Clearwave-Electronic-Water-Softener-System/dp/B00080HR9E

      and check out the many reviews…

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

    9. I can not comment of the strength or viability of the circuit.

      However, regarding the way these devices function, it is my understanding that they do not ‘remove’ minerals from the water, but rather influences the magnetic alignment of the molecules in such a way that they seek to follow one another with the flow of water…

      You’ve probably seen this experiment in elementary school science class…

      Lay several stick type magnets on small individual pieces of wood, with the north and south end of the magnet slightly overhanging the edge of the wood and float them on water. Once you have a number of magnets floating, drag one near enough another for the magnetic fields to react… eventually you can have a string of magnets lined up in a train like fashion…

      (Yes I realize they can cluster if you allow that and the above was just to help give a visual, there is more to the equation which explained below.)

      While this example is a bit over simplified the component which I have yet to explain is that provided the current is NOT reversed, the electromagnetic field which is wrapped around the pipe will always maintain the same North/South (+/-) orientation. In theory what will happen as the force of the water flows through the pipe the mineral molecules will seek to align and flow as if strings/trains in the water.

      The theory behind these devices has never been ‘disproved’ which is why these type devices can still be sold in the USA. However, they can NOT be called water softeners, but are labeled as scale removers.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 1

    10. C.Mitra C.Mitra says: on December 6, 2013 at 5:31 pm
        member

      Very interesting explanation from wildman. But “magnetic alignment” of minerals in water? I have got an interesting idea for an experiment. Dissolve any salt, can be calcium carbonate or sodium chloride or whatever, in water to make a saturated solution. Place this water in a glass trough or maybe a test tube. Apply a very strong magnetic filed to this solution to “magnetically Align” all the molecules. With the magnetic field in place, subject the solution to very low temperature in a refrigerator until the solution freezes. Since all the magnetically aligned molecules are aligned in one direction, now this solid frozen solution should behave like a permanent magnet! Magnetic Ice! Brilliant.
      Now for your comment ” provided the current is NOT reversed”, the circuit above is basically an oscillator producing pulses of current which reverse in direction about 15000 times every second. So your theory does not work in the present situation.
      Please correct me if I am wrong.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 1

    11. aldoemilio says: on December 6, 2013 at 11:12 pm

      this project http://www.researchinventy.com/papers/v1i3/I013039042.pdf has some results from tests on apparently similar prototype.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

    12. I remember the product and the items on sale in the late 60′s and 70′s A box fitted with three A cells and two terminals linked together with a 15 inch length of wire and it pulsed a 100 Hz signal at 15 ma through the wire that was supposed to be wrapped around the riseing main in the house “even if it was Iron”! and align all the salt molecule ‘domains’ tests in the lab using titrated solutions from 1 part in 100,00,000 to 1 in 100 and field strengths varying from nil to intense from a 100 turn coil and passing a current from 100 uA to 80 Amps, all at frequency’s from 100 hz to 5 Khz (the max frequency that the shaker table amplifier was stable into the coil) and over two terms of collage with a group of students only gave a positive answer with a >0.50% saturation level.
      The little circuit above looks like it runs at 2.9 Khz into a very small coil that’s open circuit even if it was a complete coil gives a current around 60 ma
      I think it has as much chance of working as a chocolate kettle!
      Please prove me wrong!

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

    13. beachmezz says: on February 24, 2014 at 7:25 pm

      I do not believe this circuit can work as the coil is not a complete circuit therefore no magnetic field. Ii coil is an antenna the resulting field would be microscopic and unable to penetrate the water pipe

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

    14. Just a small update on the circuit: connect both ends of the coil to the water pipe if it is metallic or with use a copper wire if the pipe is made of plastic or other non-conductive materials.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

    15. Girdhar Gupta says: on March 26, 2014 at 3:48 am

      Treated water has to be stored in a storage tank so as the Calcium build up settles there and the tank is cleaned periodically.
      The softened water is used from the Tank.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

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