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View Full Version : DC8 failed to switch off, could have been real bad


Reeferhead
05/03/2007, 08:50 PM
I just installed my AC jr and DC8 a few days ago.

I transfered control of my DIY Aqualifter 2-part doser from the digital timer I was using to the AC jr. I programed it to run for 1 minute four times each night. The program allows four 1/4 cup doses of both Calcium and Alkalinity. I tested the setup and made sure that the first dose turned on and off properly and went to bed.

When I woke up I was terrified to find my tank a cloudy mess. The aqualifter pumps were still running and and almost a gallon of both calcium and alkalinity had been dosed into the tank. The pH was 7.5, the over dose had caused a CaCO3 snow and subsiquent drop in pH.

Here's the thing. The AC Jr showed the dosing pumps off even though they were still running. When I went to unplug the dosing pumps from the DC8 just wiggling the cord caused them to turn off.

I haven't yet played around with that particualar outlet again to see if it will repeatedly fail but how common is it for an outlet switch to stick?

BTW, I did about a 50% water change and my water still tested with 500+ ppm of calcium and an alkalinity of 3.5 meq/L. The pH gradually came back up to 7.8 by the end of the day and is now back to normal at 8.0. All in all, I lost a couple of new frags and one fairly established one. It sucks but could have been worse.

Anyone else had this problem?

Bri Guy
05/03/2007, 11:12 PM
Yes, the aqualifters use so little power that the soft start on the DC8's keeps them running all the time, you have to put a T on the outlet and plug in a powerhead or lightbulb to turn on with the aqualifter, otherwise it won't shut off. Or get a DC4, they don't have the soft start.

http://www.reefcentral.com/forums/showthread.php?s=&threadid=1093095

Reeferhead
05/03/2007, 11:19 PM
Cool I just recieved a DC4HD for running my chiller and a few other things but haven't hooked it up yet.

Are there any other common devices that cause this same problem?

Reeferhead
05/04/2007, 12:15 PM
Why isn't this mentioned in the DC8 instructions? I think it's a fairly notable issue.

rjdudek
05/07/2007, 08:22 PM
The night light will work for you. I had the same problem, close to cooking a whole system.

Too bad the instructions don't mention it. I would have bought 4s if they had stated the 8s would be a problem to shut down.

DaveJ
05/11/2007, 08:42 AM
<a href=showthread.php?s=&postid=9896142#post9896142 target=_blank>Originally posted</a> by rjdudek
The night light will work for you. I had the same problem, close to cooking a whole system.

Too bad the instructions don't mention it. I would have bought 4s if they had stated the 8s would be a problem to shut down.

What kinds of devices would this be a problem for??

clp
05/11/2007, 10:58 AM
The only devices that have been reported are a rio 50 pump, and the aqualifter.

Curt

rjdudek
05/11/2007, 06:20 PM
It will happen every time with the AquaMedic ReefDoser, AquaMedic SP30000 and the Prominent Alpha 5 metering pump.

5 of the pumps against three DC-8 units and they never worked together. Stopped using the DC-8 for the dosing pumps. I was concerned that the night light would burn out someday and the doser would kill thousands on animals.

collins
05/11/2007, 09:15 PM
I had trouble using a DC8 with my CO2 solenoid. I now use DC4HDs for all critical devices and have had no problems with those.

gws294
07/07/2007, 01:57 AM
I just took delivery of two DC8's.... This should be in the literature or at least in the packaged instructions!

crazy loaches
07/09/2007, 12:00 PM
Ahh crud, this changes things a little. I planned on two DC8's and I need to controll things like 4 Aqualifters (maybe 5), 2 co2 solenoids (maybe 3), 1 solenoid on the water line, two sets of led moonlights...

Are these going to have issues with the DC8's? I'd planned on getting two of them. Id not care if I could get 2x DC4 for the same as 1 DC8 but its going to put me over budget getting all DC4's...

Just how much load will I have to put on all these low draw devices so the triacs or whatever they are will shut off?

crazy loaches
07/14/2007, 02:57 AM
Bump...

Is there any word yet on this issue? I assume its because the load is too small like mentioned earlier?

If so would it be possible to simply parallel a light bulb or something to bring up the current draw? And if so what would be a good minimum total current that needs to be drawn for the DC8's to reliably switch?

Bri Guy
07/15/2007, 12:33 PM
Plugging in something along with the aqua lifter is a great way to solve the problem. some say lightbulb, but if the bulb burns out, I think you may be out of luck, so I run mine along with a powerhead, when the aqua lifter is dosing the powerhead turns on near where the kalk is dosed in my sump, it mixes it quickly.

So in solving my problem with the aqua lifter staying on, It also mixes my kalk better. cant loose there.

Kengar
07/19/2007, 09:22 PM
add minijet 606 to the list of things that don't turn off. I had been planning to use it for fresh water topoff, but found out while testing out the system (still dry) that it won't shut off. Guess I won't be using it for that, lightbulb trick notwithstanding. I'll use a larger powerhead instead.

gman19
07/20/2007, 10:14 AM
I had the same problem switching a Tunze nanostream 6025. It never would shut off...at 7W it wasn't pulling enough to turn off the SSR. It must be right on the threshold though, because I moved over one outlet on the DC8 and that outlet WILL switch it every time. I am about to install 2 Nanostream 6045's, they pull 8W, and I hope they switch properly...we'll see.

crazy loaches
07/22/2007, 04:59 PM
Hmm, what would provide us with a little extra load that wont possibly burn out like a light bulb... I'll have to think that over... purely resistive load should be best. I could always wire up a big ol resistor but would have to be careful about it getting really hot.

I would think that this soft start stuff would be able to be disabled... are we sure its that thats causing this issue?

gman19
07/22/2007, 07:11 PM
By nature...yes.

crazy loaches
07/22/2007, 09:38 PM
Well incase anyone wanted to tinker with some electronics... I calculated out quick that to draw an extra 5W of power (at ~120V) works out to be 2880 ohms (P=V^2 / R). I'll have to look around to see if I have a resistor around that size with a high enough wattage rating. And to avoid a single point of failure, like rigging up a lightbulb in parallel with the device, you could parallel two light bulbs (keeping in mind youd then be drawing twice as much of course). Chances are they wont fail at the exact same time and youd probably notice one out before the other goes and could replace before they both go. Just some ideas.

kngfisher
07/22/2007, 11:19 PM
am in the same boat but, would have thought that my t5 ballast would have no issues shutting off......Fulham workhorse 5 running 2x54 48" actinics. controller shows off except light stays on.....to turn the unit off, I have the unplug it.....makes no sense.

makes no diff what outlet on the DC8 I use.....program works great except as I said, these seems to be power being supplied or something stuck that causes the ballast not to be truly off

not an issue with my other lights (2x icecap 250 MH) i know apples vs oranges. or my 36" T5 ballast on my fuge....not sure that the diff is but thinking of trying to power both t5 ballasts from the same plug of the DC8 see if it is a power issue....very strange.

Doni
07/23/2007, 01:33 PM
Ahhh... glad I found this thread. My mini-jet 606 runs my dual reactors (1 carbon, 1 phosban) and it was not turning off even with a manual off. I see now that the dC8 is using the 'soft start' current to keep it going.... phoey! My stand is packed already with fuge light/fans/skimmer so there is no room for another bulb.
I guess I should order a DC4...

Kingfisher - I have no issues using my Icecap 430 ballast on the DC8. It pushes two 48" 54watt T5s.

MJAnderson
07/23/2007, 01:43 PM
<a href=showthread.php?s=&postid=9924692#post9924692 target=_blank>Originally posted</a> by rjdudek
It will happen every time with the AquaMedic ReefDoser, AquaMedic SP30000 and the Prominent Alpha 5 metering pump.

5 of the pumps against three DC-8 units and they never worked together. Stopped using the DC-8 for the dosing pumps. I was concerned that the night light would burn out someday and the doser would kill thousands on animals.

My Aquamedic SP3000 works on a timer with my ACjr and the DC8.

crazy loaches
07/23/2007, 09:19 PM
Geez, the longer this thread goes the more things pop up that seem to have issues. Did they do any real testing on these DC8's? I am really needing a controller here soon, I should have my two new tanks functioning in a few weeks. But this has really got me worried and I may have to spend my $ on another system. I really hat paying more for the smaller DC4's... I see a lot of people mention the DC4HD is the HD the only one not effected or can I get regular DC4's?

Is there any Neptune reps still watching this thread? Is there any plan on a fix in the near future?

karlmarx
07/24/2007, 03:06 AM
The dc4 and dc4hd both do not have the soft start feature.

clp
07/24/2007, 11:12 AM
There are thousands of DC8s in the field, there are few compatibility issues with them. Currently there are several work arounds available for those with a very small pump that has an issue:

- Plug an additional load (small light bulb/wall wart transformer/fan) in parallel with the load.
- Use a socket expansion box to control the device.
- Use a DC4 or DC4HD to control the device.

That said we are constantly improving our products, and always try to minimize compatibility issues.

Curt

Reeferhead
07/24/2007, 11:50 AM
<a href=showthread.php?s=&postid=10403488#post10403488 target=_blank>Originally posted</a> by clp
There are thousands of DC8s in the field, there are few compatibility issues with them. Currently there are several work arounds available for those with a very small pump that has an issue:

- Plug an additional load (small light bulb/wall wart transformer/fan) in parallel with the load.
- Use a socket expansion box to control the device.
- Use a DC4 or DC4HD to control the device.

That said we are constantly improving our products, and always try to minimize compatibility issues.

Curt

Curt,

Other than the intial issues I had with the overdose I have been completely satisfied with my AC Jr, DC8, and DC4HD. However, I don't understand why Neptune having full knowledge of issue doesn't make note of it in the DC8 product description or instructions. There a great deal of low draw items used in this hobby and many of them particuarly dosing pumps can cause a great deal of trouble when they fail to turn off.

I guess all I want to hear is... When will you guys make note of this in your product description and instructions?

Please don't take this as a flame, its not meant to be one in any way

Thanks

Doni
07/26/2007, 10:54 AM
I remedied mine by plugging the skimmer pump and the mini-jet into the same outlet :) That has worked out great because now I have another outlet I can use to control another item :thumbsup:

neverwouldof
07/26/2007, 01:38 PM
What does the Soft Start really help with ? Can i just go with the DC4H if i'll be running Icecap 660's and MH-400watt ballasts?

Keith

clp
07/26/2007, 02:30 PM
Soft start reduces the wear & tear on pumps. Also, since the triacs in the DC8 are solid state, then are completely silent when turning on/off. A DC4HD will work fine w/ the ballasts you mention.

Curt

Kevin McG
07/30/2007, 06:59 PM
Oh my finding this thread may be the cause of my problems. I had been having issues with my T5 ballasts turning off for a minute or so then turning back on. I thought this was due to heat but still has been doing it with a fan directly on the ballast. Now today while doing a water change I noticed a dosing pump that I am using is turning on for a cycle every now and then and then turning back off??

I am going to try and plug another source(lightbulb) and see if it still happens but I'll tell ya right now if it is I am going to be really ****ed! I could have wiped out my whole tank without knowing this and some notes in the directions would of been nice.

I'm not jumping to conclusion right now and will report back after I test with the bulb.

crazy loaches
08/02/2007, 10:55 AM
Is it just the DC8 that has this problem... everyone seems to indicate using the DC4HD as an alternative but what about the regular DC4 will it have these problems or not? I am mainly concerned about a few Tom Aqualifter pumps and solenoids for CO2 and auto water changers.

Is there going to be a fix of some sort to disable the soft start? I'd really like to save money with the 8's instead of 4's...

sandry
09/25/2007, 10:41 AM
Curt,

Is a lack of responsibility to do not put in the user's guide a note about this issue. I bought a Neptune with DC8 in July and after 3 days working with Kalk dozer to rise the pH the dozer pump don't stop and I lost 90% of my hardness coral. I'm disappointed.

clp
09/25/2007, 10:51 AM
sandry,
I'm sorry to hear about your loss. When we became aware of the incompatiblity we did update the DC8 owner's manual. In the DC8 manual on our website and shipping the following note is included:

NOTE: Some extremely small pumps (i.e. Aqualifter), may not be shut off when controlled by a
DC8 due to their poor power factor. Work arounds include:
- Plug an additional load (small light bulb/wall wart transformer/fan) in parallel with the load.
- Use a socket expansion box to control the device.
- Use a DC4 or DC4HD to control the device.

Curt

Reeferhead
09/25/2007, 04:01 PM
<a href=showthread.php?s=&postid=10839005#post10839005 target=_blank>Originally posted</a> by clp
sandry,
I'm sorry to hear about your loss. When we became aware of the incompatiblity we did update the DC8 owner's manual. In the DC8 manual on our website and shipping the following note is included:

NOTE: Some extremely small pumps (i.e. Aqualifter), may not be shut off when controlled by a
DC8 due to their poor power factor. Work arounds include:
- Plug an additional load (small light bulb/wall wart transformer/fan) in parallel with the load.
- Use a socket expansion box to control the device.
- Use a DC4 or DC4HD to control the device.

Curt

That's great Curt but the same message should be placed in the product description as well. Also, I can't find the DC8 manual on your website. Can you provide a link?

clp
09/25/2007, 05:51 PM
The manual is in the downloads section of the support page: http://www.neptunesys.com/manuals.htm . It is not on our product discription because the DC8s (serial #'s greater than 9000) now have relays on outlets 4 & 8, so it is no longer an issue.

Curt

crazy loaches
09/25/2007, 08:53 PM
Thats finally some good news. Are these new DC8's shipping then?

Brent Thomann
09/25/2007, 11:32 PM
<a href=showthread.php?s=&postid=10843424#post10843424 target=_blank>Originally posted</a> by crazy loaches
Thats finally some good news. Are these new DC8's shipping then?

would like to know too-

clp
09/26/2007, 11:52 AM
Yes, they started shipping in August.

Curt

janakaybravo
09/26/2007, 11:25 PM
Curt, what do the relays do on outlets 4 and 8? Do they remove the soft start or give an option to disable it on those outlets?

kngfisher
09/27/2007, 07:58 AM
<a href=showthread.php?s=&postid=10841885#post10841885 target=_blank>Originally posted</a> by clp
The manual is in the downloads section of the support page: http://www.neptunesys.com/manuals.htm . It is not on our product discription because the DC8s (serial #'s greater than 9000) now have relays on outlets 4 & 8, so it is no longer an issue.

Curt

Can you add this into the the owners manual for if someone was not subscribed to reef central and monitoring this thread, they would have no idea that for instance the dosing pump should be on either outlet 4 or 8 of their DC8.

clp
09/27/2007, 12:27 PM
On the newer DC8s outlets 4 & 8 are relays and don't have soft-start. The rest of the outlets still have soft-start.
The manual included w/ the newer DC8s document the differences between the 4 and 8 and the rest of the outlets.

Curt

kngfisher
09/27/2007, 11:49 PM
<a href=showthread.php?s=&postid=10841885#post10841885 target=_blank>Originally posted</a> by clp
The manual is in the downloads section of the support page: http://www.neptunesys.com/manuals.htm . It is not on our product discription because the DC8s (serial #'s greater than 9000) now have relays on outlets 4 & 8, so it is no longer an issue.

Curt

is there any way to exchange my current DC8 [SN# 7048] for the newer unit SN# > 9000?

clp
09/28/2007, 11:54 AM
If the unit is in new/unused condition, original packaging, and was purchase within the last 30 days, then yes we will exchange it for you. Contact [email protected] .

Curt

jnb
09/28/2007, 09:58 PM
Is it better to not use the soft start dc8 when switching MH's? Seeing this thread and noticing that my new electronic ballast and MH - I am getting more starting flicker than with my previous 250 watt system?

clp
10/01/2007, 11:51 AM
Soft start has no affect on a MH ballasts. It is very unlikely that the flicker has anything to do with the direct connect box.

Curt

blange3
10/09/2007, 03:32 PM
Glad I found this thread, my aqualifter was working fine during the day, but not at night!

Thought I was going crazy. Fortunately no damage was done.

ssbreef
12/07/2007, 09:57 PM
This controller is a piece of crap! I bought it a week ago just to control my lights. It starts and stops my MH's and T5's at any given time for absolutely no reason at all. Sometimes it will turn off my lights 10 minutes before closing time and then turn them on 5 minutes later, turn them back off on time and then turn ALL my lights back on at about 3 in the morning. Is this thing possessed or what. I bought it to fix an X10 problem I had with my Octopus3000. The owner told me I shouldn't have a prob with this because of the DC8.....Yeah sure! Do I go out and get me a couple of timers and ditch this piece of crap or is there an easy fix...

NaH2Ofreak
12/08/2007, 12:20 AM
I have a DC8 also that was purchased about 2-3 years ago. It always has to reboot after you change a setting. Then ya have to go back and reset the tank time. Recently, my heater program stopped working. Even though there is no change to the program, the heater does not shut off when it is programed to >78.5. Even thought the ACjr's temp shows 80.0F, the heater is still on!!!!! Only recent change has been adding a Tunze 7095 multicontroller and an extra tunze 6101 stream. I wouldnt think there would be any interference. <shrug>...never been real happy with this controller.

Dennis

janakaybravo
12/08/2007, 12:42 AM
I love my AC3. I've had it a couple months and it's never screwed up yet.

clp
12/08/2007, 10:40 AM
NaH2Ofreak, please contact [email protected] The unit shouldn't reboot after program changes, and corrupt the tank time.
ssbreef, please email [email protected] with your program statements and timer names list, and I will help you debug the issue(s) with your program.

Curt

tonga_man
12/08/2007, 01:39 PM
<a href=showthread.php?s=&postid=11338842#post11338842 target=_blank>Originally posted</a> by ssbreef
This controller is a piece of crap! I bought it a week ago just to control my lights. It starts and stops my MH's and T5's at any given time for absolutely no reason at all. Sometimes it will turn off my lights 10 minutes before closing time and then turn them on 5 minutes later, turn them back off on time and then turn ALL my lights back on at about 3 in the morning. Is this thing possessed or what. I bought it to fix an X10 problem I had with my Octopus3000. The owner told me I shouldn't have a prob with this because of the DC8.....Yeah sure! Do I go out and get me a couple of timers and ditch this piece of crap or is there an easy fix... I have been using the piece of crap (note - Bold and Italics)AQ for years without any issues. X-10, then DC4 and DC8. Why don't you post your program so we can try and help you with your problem.

vin
12/20/2007, 08:40 AM
I'm glad this was mentioned on the BRS if not I would never have known about this. I had some weird things with mine as well MH flickering, getting locked out of the system, needed to get a password from Curt and now this might explain why my co2 selenoid has been acting funny it's been doing it since I turned it on.

randoma
12/21/2007, 11:04 PM
Me too, Vin! We just had a calcium snowstorm in our main reef tank because the dosing pump stayed on overnight, instead of on for 1 minute every ~180. The odd thing is it was working perfectly fine for months and the only thing I did recently was to refill the reservoirs.

The pump would stay on even when the ACjr said that channel on the DC8 was off. I put the pump on an expansion socket and it appears to be working now, but I certainly do not have the same confidence in the ACjr as I used to.

I think it is very unfortunate that this problem is not listed on the Neptune website - at least it should be listed in the FAQ. Especially since it is apparent that this is not a new problem.

If nothing else, it is making me look for other options instead of the ACIII I was planning on upgrading to.