Ball Assisted Loop Siphon

Yesterday I had a very bad dream, once awake I had this idea flash in my head. So immediately put to paper as a sketch of this "Ping Pong Ball - Assisted Loop Siphon" 

What flash through was this loop siphon, with a ping pong ball on a stand pipe to aids in cutting off the outflow, as sketch below. Please do let me know if anyone has done this before (with proof of course) for me to give credit. But so far I had search and it return nothing.

A better diagram below on how the siphon is to be constructed. Slight changes needed once build since this sketches and diagram is just the theoretical part.
I did build this siphon and experimented with it earlier today and the video as below. Its still in its infancy with me, I hope to fine tune it so that it will work.

One problem I found is the ball is too light, I may need to look for a heavier ball but still float. Outlet seating for ball too may need some adjustment to make it flat and probably cupping the ball.

A recess below the growbed to accommodate ball is also one possibility to make it work better.

This could be a blunder  .. :(


  1. Genius!

    You could possibly weight the ping pong ball with something - even water. Additionally many super-balls or bouncy balls will float. They are cheap here in the US and easy to find in the coin vending machines that the kids love.

    I am thinking that you just need a ball that floats lower than the middle of the ball so once the ball settles into the drain, the water will hold it there for a moment until the siphon breaks.

  2. No, I think it's a great idea. You just need to modify it a little to allow air into the pipe below the ping pong ball once the seal is made.

    Perhaps a small straw that is connected to the pipe below the ball, and which reaches up into the standpipe above the surface level of the water?

    Or maybe the ping pong ball could be modified to have a vertical channel put through it for the air to pass through.

    Good luck!

    1. Thanks for the comments, most of the time I will try the simpler approach. Today I'll try to get other parts that I think will help.

  3. Affnan,

    One improvement I could think of is to extend the standpipe below the growbed base then add a reducer to the smaller pipe of the loop siphon. Perhaps the funnel of the reducer could help seat the ball nicely.

    However unlike the bell siphon, this reducer can't be above the base of the bed but rather below. Just an idea, I'm sure you could put it to test almost immediately but I'll use a cheaper container as you'd need to drill a larger hole for a larger pipe.

    Also I wouldn't worry about the sealing of the pipe once the ball sits. It would appear sealing at first (assuming it works) then slowly loses the vacuum as the sealing surfaces of the ball and the pipe is not entirely smooth...

    A better ball might be those bouncy balls (I think the float) or foosball balls...might just work...interesting idea this is...

    1. Thanks Mahfudz for the comments, that's where the "recess" as mentioned.. making a bigger hole and put a 50mm bulkhead fitting making it lower. But that would be the final route since it would involve making a big hole, and I try to keep it easy and simple first.

      I had few other ideas and going to the hardware after work getting the parts that I need.

  4. Hi Affnan

    I would think that needs to suck air in for it to break. So once the ball seals the opening it would probable lock the water in position in the siphon. I know it is 2 years later now but anyway. The comment with the ball with a hole through might be on to something except for controlling the balls orientation. What about a floating pipe with a tapered end with a hole through. For example: use a 40mm pipe and then 2-of 40 to 20(or 15) reducers, one must be tapering on the outside. Then the modify the reducers if necessary so that the small pipe goes through the larger pipe. The space between the 2 pipes will be sealed and be the buoyancy chamber. Then use a larger pipe as a guide for the float pipe around the outlet. Might need some additional cork of something for additional buoyancy. So then when the water level drops to the point where the tapered reducer makes contact with the outlet, the siphon will suck the required air through the smaller pipe in the float pipe.


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