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Year-10 student wins NECA award for wireless water monitoring system

A year-10 student in New South Wales has been recognised by the National Electrical and Communications Association (NECA) for building a wireless water trough monitoring system on his father’s farm.

Living on the farm, high-school student Mark Pagnan recognised a need for an automated water trough monitoring system, noting that if the traditional mechanical float system fails, many thousands of litres of water can be wasted.

Mark was among six high-school students who were recognised by NECA for their achievements in electrotechnology projects as part of the organisation’s Electrotechnology School Student Awards 2009.

Mark designed and built the wireless float switch control system with wireless warning capability; a microprocessor automatically shuts down the trough’s water valve when excessive water flow is detected via the electronic float switch. A warning signal is then sent to a hand held receiver.

The system runs from a 12v deep cycle battery connected to a small 12v solar panel so that it can be used in remote locations.

The six winning students from New South Wales, Victoria and Queensland received their awards at an official ceremony in Melbourne this month. Six winners in two categories each received a cash prize and industry recognition for their projects, which were completed throughout the school year.

Mark is a year-10 student from Colo High School in North Richmond, New South Wales, and won first-place in the Innovation Awards section of the awards.

Also gaining recognition was Meghan Batcheldor of year-12 at Wagga Christian College, Wagga Wagga, New South Wales, for her homemade solar cell.

Open to students enrolled in years nine, 10, 11 and 12 at a secondary school or in a VET program in Australia, the awards recognise students who have excelled in their electrotechnology studies or demonstrated a commitment to the industry.

The awards were sponsored by NHP Electrical Engineering Products with NHP representatives Alastair Dwyer and Wes Cassidy on the award judging panel.

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