Saturday, March 19, 2011

DIY computer Controlled Graphical waterfall

Hi my Friends,
World is full of genius persons and i amazed to see how computer made life easier and how the ideas evolves and takes it shapes in real world...Long story short, sometime ago i saw a graphical fountain on You-tube:
Watching this video amazed me and convinced me to make a cheap but high quality version of the same... Looking at the fountain, it seems that water droplets are controlled through 100's of solenoid valves and each of the solenoid valve is controlled through computer in a complex manner and a complex programming...
So to make a computer controlled graphical fountain, we require:

1- A complex software that generate images into binary data and send to micro-controller.
2- Electronic hardware that plays as a bridge between Computer and Solenoid valves.
3- Mechanical structure that hold overhead reservoir with solenoid valves and a drain.

All above tasks are doable..... So i started making program and electronics hardware at the same time... when i tired from electronics i started programming... so eventually both the software and hardware completed at the same time..
The following picture of software shows how a number of solenoid valves can be operated in a manner to make beautiful stunning water effects....The Software is user freindly and designed to operate in following steps:
1- You have to select an image 'WMF' black and white

2- Select the number of solenoid valves you have installed on the fountain. The greater the number of valves the greater the resolution and beauty of fountain.

3-Convert this image into '1' and '0' i.e. binary data... If you check the 'Add each design to one file' will have different designs in a single file

4-Open the computer USB port at which the micro-controller is installed.

5-Press 'SEND' button and see the stunning effects..

 More explained:
1- The software convert the photograph in binary data. The Black color is '1' and the white color is '0'.
2- Considering 16 solenoid valves, will give you 16 values of '1' and '0'. these 16 values has to be considered as two bytes data.
3- my software then convert each row into hexadecimal to shorten the data.
4- this data is sent through USB serial port to the micro-controller.
5- Their is small adjustable delay between the two rows of data. this delay separate the drops of rows.
By electronic Hardware i mean the "Simulator", that consist of Microcontroller and LED's.. currently installed 16 LED's to mimic the Solenoid valves..
Here is the short video of working simulator:
I also purchased 16 solenoid valves too to start making the structure of the fountain.... I am here posting pictures of my software and its working...


  1. An excellent project, I will be following with great interest.
    May I ask, what model are the solenoids, how did you choose them, and where are they available?

  2. Hi,
    Don't remember the model of solenoid valves but i purchased 50 of them from scrap yard each cost me 0.60 US Dollar.. i only can see on the Tag:
    DC 24V/260mAmp.

    I will soon post my hardware pictures and updates on this project. May i know your name?

    1. i love your project . it so wonderfull . i have a small project like this . I use Taiwan 's solenoid.i take 0.2 us Dollar per one . this is Video

      I want to develope it but i dont know what is the better solenoid ? Can you support me about this?

      p/s : Nice to meet you

    2. Hi Duc Nguyen
      the video is very impressive, can you tell me the solenoid brand and type in your project?
      heve a nice day


  3. Your graphical waterfall project is very interesting. I wonder what would be the effect if you do it with bubbles in an aquarium.

  4. Thanks Zafar,
    This project can be easily adopted for bubbles in fluids and will be less complex in nature. The only difference is the bubble defeats gravity whereas the water droplets obay gravity ;)
    Their are many possibilities as the sky is the limit.
    Thanks for posting and all the help in Hardware.

  5. hi,

    I am so interested into this devices, could you please tell me where to get such a programm and the circuit board design?

    I hope to get your reply soon, my email

    Hope you have a nice day

  6. Great project!I appreciate your creative work and best wishes for positive results..
    pcb suppliers

  7. great project!actually me and my groupmates are doing the same thing right now the only difference is this,u bought the solenoid valves while we are making the solenoid valves ourselves...we used nails and acrylic for improvised solenoid our problem is what is the better device that can be use for the programming part?can u help us with this?pls email me as soon as u read the is