Salt sentry: Water softener monitoring device

Hi Martijn,

Sorry to hear you have some trouble with it. If you’re looking in the logs, do you see lines like these?

[19:51:18][I][i2c.arduino:054]: Results from i2c bus scan:
[19:51:18][I][i2c.arduino:060]: Found i2c device at address 0x29

Did you also fill in proper values for your water softener in the globals section?

After a while, you should also see lines like:

[19:52:38][D][sensor:124]: 'percentage': Sending state 0.00000 % with 1 decimals of accuracy
[19:52:39][D][vl53l0x:308]: 'distance_m' - Got distance 1.111 m
[19:52:39][D][sensor:124]: 'distance_m': Sending state 1.11100 m with 2 decimals of accuracy
[19:52:44][D][sensor:124]: 'distance': Sending state 111.09999 cm with 1 decimals of accuracy

Can you maybe also try the code I postend in: Salt sentry: Water softener monitoring device - #17 by ErikNL It’s basically the same code, but without the calculations.

I test every Salt sentry before it goes out the door, so I wouldn’t expect the sensor itself to be a problem.

So with only the:

  - platform: vl53l0x
    name: "VL53L0x Distance"
    address: 0x29
    update_interval: 60s
    long_range: false
    unit_of_measurement: cm

Section; it works. It creates a new sensor according to the provided name, and it shows the distance.

Going to try with the other sensors again.

mmmm… I think it is a human error / OSI-Layer-8 or PEBCAK, or anything similar. I didn’t have it build in yet (into the Aquacell) and apparently that is needed.

So my sincere apologies, but works now. Great!

Glad to hear it’s working now :slight_smile:
What possibly happened is that the distance from the salt sentry to the nearest surface was above the maximum distance the sensor can measure, and that would then make the calculation return “nan”

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@erikNL - the MQTT message being received by Home Assistant is completely inaccurate right now. I see no way to troubleshoot this further, as I have checked distance to other objects and it still just reports the same thing. Is there a way to test this outside of Home Assistant, to see if this is an MQTT broker issue? I have a connection issue I just had to change the config to correct. This all popped up a couple days ago and I’m wondering if anyone else is having issues with Home Assistant as well since the last updates.

Try MQTT Explorer to look at all MQTT messages on the broker

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EDIT - Spoke too soon, it’s reporting wrong to MQTT Explorer as well. It was working again for a second by modifying case sensitivity, but then went back to an incorrect value.

@ErikNL - are there any firmware updates for this device?

@ErikNL - Is this project abandoned? I loved it when it was working, but I’m wondering if I need to to look for an alternative now, as this is essentially useless to me right now…

No, it is not, I was just on holiday :wink:

I don’t totally understand the issue you are facing yet. Did you add these line to your configuration.yaml?

if so, you should have device called “salt sentry” and “salt sentry distance” in home assistant, they should look something like this and they should update once a minute:


Please note that the hole in the salt sentry should be facing the salt, so it should be mounted upside down.

I’m using Homer assistant core 2022.12.6, but will soon update to see if any issues arrize

Thanks for the reply. I noticed the problems started in mid January, so I do believe it’s related to the updates. I am on 2023.01.1

No matter what I do, it reports the distance as 4 and the percentage as 100. I have even reset the device and changed the thresholds to see if that would help.

I’ve now also updated to a newer version of HA, I’m now on 2023.2.2. I do not experience any problems, so it must be something else.

I’ll contact you via DM to see if we can figure it out, if the device is faulty, I’ll make sure you get a replacement.

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Just wanted to bump this to promote a great invention.

Monitoring water softener levels in HA has been one of the low-priority but long-lasting todo list items for me. I had planned to build my own device, but could never find the time to do it, so I was ecstatic about discovering Salt Sentry.

Thanks to ErikNL for building a truly handy device that’s reliable and easy to use. About as plug and play you can get.

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Hi, I installed sensor, but it values are updated only on repowering it. Any ideas?

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It should send an update every minute, but since the changes in the salt level (at least with the Aquacell I’m using) are not that frequent, you might only see changes a few times a day.

Hi! Congratulations for the project!

Just a question: I’d like to meassure the salt level in a water tank, is it a valid use case?
Eventually, I’d add a water softener to reduce the water salt level, and I hope this device help me to track the drinkable water salt level in real time.

Best regards, and congratulations again!

Do you still have any available? (what about ESP32?)

Interested too

Definitely interested here too - any chance more are going to be stocked?

Apologies for my late reply, due to holiday and a busy family life, I was unable to reply earlier.

I recently had a new batch of 100 pieces created. The main reason I’ve not yet put the stock back online is that I’m having problems with my 3d printer, which I need to create the housings. I’ve now been able to create a small amount of them and they are now online, but might sell out soon. I expect to be able to produce more in september.

If the salt is under water, the salt sentry is unfortunately unable to measure the distance under the water level.