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  • Controller feedback

    Guys and Gals,

    I have been looking into some sort of controller to get with everything else that I am upgrading and wondering what everyones input is. I have been reading some on the Digital Aquatics and the Neptune AquaControllers. Can anyone give me some feedback please?

    Thanks

    Scott


  • #2
    Digital Aquatics--works well, cheap, fairly limited functionality. Other than the heater/chiller controlling, you could use a bunch of timers instead.

    Aquacontroller II--the controller part is good. x10 I HATE.
    10x3x2 FOWLR (for now)
    BK400ext
    RD12 return, 2 RD12 closed loop, wavebox with extension
    MRC kalkmixer
    IKS

    Comment


    • #3
      Im personally using the IKS to do what I need. You might wanna check that out too. Its the de facto standard in Europe.
      Farish

      Setup: 250G System, ATI Powermodul 10x80w T5s, 4x6100 Tunze Streams & 7095 MultiController, Deltec PF1000 CR, Deltec AP902 Skimmer, IKS, Zeovit, Artica 1Hp Chiller

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by fkadir
        Im personally using the IKS to do what I need. You might wanna check that out too. Its the de facto standard in Europe.
        Are there any U.S dealers? I coud'nt find any. It looks quite nice and I would like to see if its available in the states.

        Thanks

        Comment


        • #5
          www.iks-usa.com should be very helpful for you
          Farish

          Setup: 250G System, ATI Powermodul 10x80w T5s, 4x6100 Tunze Streams & 7095 MultiController, Deltec PF1000 CR, Deltec AP902 Skimmer, IKS, Zeovit, Artica 1Hp Chiller

          Comment


          • #6
            Thanks for the link!

            Comment


            • #7
              I tried the Digital Aquatics Reefkeeper - it has promise, but IMO isn't ready for prime time. I sent it back. The service was great, and I have no doubt that once they work out the kinks it will be a good product, I just didn't want to be the guinea pig at this time.

              I switched to an Aquacontroller II and so far have been very happy with it (~ 6 weeks of use). The X10 is not as bad as I had feared. Fortunately I was able to get everything working without having to buy any couplers or noise filters. The software looks pretty cool. I just got my ground isolator today so I can leave it hooked up to my computer, and I got an old laptop from work (so I don't have to expose my home PC to the net) to run the software on. This weekend I will get the software setup so I can monitor the tank remotely - that's a very cool feature.

              I've even kicked around the idea of writing a WAP interface to the Aquacontroller, so I could monitor and control devices from my cellphone. I'm just kinda geeky that way.

              Comment


              • #8
                Digital Aquatics is limited you can only use 15amp total on it, that is junk IMO.

                AQIII PRO is coming out, I have one on its way to me hopefully this week, I will let you know what I think about it.. The AQII Pros is very nice, as is the basic AQII but spend the extra $30 and get the backlit version.

                Comment


                • #9
                  ps. the AQIII Finally comes with Cat5 so finally us highspeed nerds can use it

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Nice thread...
                    I've looked a controllers in the past and have never been able to decide which one.
                    I'm really only interested in a stand alone for temperture, both heater and chiller. My system is now 350 gallon (expandable to 600) and in a warehouse setting so it can get real hot and real cold.
                    It's seems that many of the controllers have a pretty low maximum wattage for each function. Right now I'm running a total of 1100 watts for heat alone.
                    SteveU
                    “People are very open-minded about new things - as long as they're exactly like the old ones.”
                    ...Charles F. Kettering

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Anyone else used the IKS or perhpas the Octopus 3000?

                      Keep the information comming please


                      Scott :afro: (ya lovin the afro)

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Steve - a lot of people knock X10 (and it does have it's "quirks"), but one of the advantages is that you don't have those kinds of limitations on wattage and such. You can find modules that can handle all kinds of load. The basic appliance modules handle up to 500w each. I use those for most applications, but for stuff like my chiller, I use a wall outlet replacement module. It replaces a wall outlet (go figure) and one outlet is X10 controlled and the other is normal. The switched outlet can handle up to 15 amps, and it's only a couple of dollars more than an appliance module (but you have to do the wiring). They also make bigger modules for switching inductive loads, 220v modules - anything you can think of. And you can have every module plugged into a separate circuit if you want, so you are not limited to 1 circuit (like the Digital Aquatics unit).

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Scott - I had an Octopus but never hooked it up. I read through the manual and I thought it was a little bit limiting. You are limited to what they have written their control program to do. For most people it would probably be OK, but for a software geek like me - I like to have more control.

                          OTOH, the Aquacontroller lets you have more control over the program. You can't get crazy with it - you're not going to be sequencing the human genome with their programming language - but you can enter simple "If-Then" statements to control your setup. It's quite a bit more flexible, IMO.

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                          • #14
                            I tried an octopus and like the ACII better. Mike's point on the programming is true and even the limited commands you can do on the ACII are much, much more flexible. Definitely get a backlit AC. The nonbacklit are like friggin impossible to read. The IKS system IS very cool and IS very expensive. Additionally if you talk to the US distributer, it doesn't really seem like they know what it can or can't do, so I'd worry about support. It prices out at least as much as an ACIII if not more. x10 reliability is highly variable with your house and where you live (how isolated your electrical lines are, are your neighbors running x10, do you have other appliances that are "noisy", etc...). For me, my neighbors Plasma Screen makes MY x10 system go wacky. I do NOT trust anything that can "kill" my tank to the x10s (like heaters). The DC4s are dissapointing IME (these are a way around x10 with the Aquacontroller). The DC4HD is much better, but if you start springing for those, I'd look at the aquatronica system. www.aquariumobsessed.com or something like that. It's from Italy and POTENTIALLY has virtually unlimited expandability, but you get killed on the front end b/c you HAVE to use the powerstrips which cost the same as the DC4s (which are optional on the ACII). Also no one has used the aquatronic enough in the US to determine reliability, service, etc... On paper though, the thing is very, very cool.
                            10x3x2 FOWLR (for now)
                            BK400ext
                            RD12 return, 2 RD12 closed loop, wavebox with extension
                            MRC kalkmixer
                            IKS

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Chuck - I tried a DC4HD and I was very disappointed in it, and just sent it back last week. Like you said, I didn't want to trust anything critical to X10, so I bought the DC4HD and used it for my return pump and lights. Twice it blew fuses on me for no apparent reason. My total load on the system was less than 15 amps, and besides that, both times the fuses blew it was the middle of the night, so all that was running was my return pump which is only about 2 amps. And of course when the fuse blows, all 4 outlets go out, so you have a single point of failure for up to 4 devices - not good!

                              I've been really surprised how reliable the X10 has been, but like you said it varies a lot. My father-in-law is a master electrician, and we've played around with X10 stuff for years, so I knew what I was getting into. To be honest, I expected more problems than I've had. For one thing, we use one of those phone line extenders that uses your house wiring, and those are supposed to interfere with X10, but we had no problems. Now, my tank is on separate circuits that are in their own subpanel fed off the main breaker panel, so that could be why the line is relatively "clean" from other interference.

                              BTW, they make a filter you can install at the breaker panel that will keep your neighbors TV from interfering with your X10, but it's a little pricey - about $70. Still, for reliable X10 control it's probably worth it.

                              http://www.hometech.com/plc/couplers.html (6284 Multi-Phase Blocking Coupler)

                              A cheaper fix is to plug a power strip into a noise filter, which will keep any noise from coming in or out. Then plug your TW523 (the part that connects to the AQ with a phone cable) into that power strip, and daisy chain power strips from there to plug in all your devices. That gives you a nice little clean environment for the X10 to work in, provided you don't get any noise from your aquarium devices (in which case you need more noise filters).

                              Like I said, X10 isn't perfect, but with some work and $$$ you can usually get it to work pretty well.

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