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View Full Version : Help make up my mind with the aquatronica controller


kirsto71
07/02/2007, 06:58 AM
I am looking to purchase the Aquatronica unit to the fact that it comes with the dosing unit as the price is quite comparable to buying three Litemeter 3 dosing pumps or other equivalents (in Australia anyway). I am after some information about thew following:

1. The software that you can get with the controller PC interface. Can someone please post some screen shots of the software and the sort of information the controller automatically logs.

2. The ethernet module. Some feedback on how this works. How do i connect the unit to my internet connection which is set up in another room in the house. I use a D-Link wireless modem and i will also have a PC connected to the wireless network next to the aquarium. Also what do i need as far as software to then get access to the system from online when i am away from my home PC.

3. Powerbar. Are there any limitations with the power bars such as the size of switched items such as 400w MH etc.

4. Has there been any discussion on a future controller expansion module to control Tunze pumps.

I am really after some information to support the purchase of what is a reasonable expensive item. I am justifying this due to the future ability to fully control the workings of my tank when i am away (my wife is just not interested and it is hard to educate friends of all the possible issues) and a bit of piece of mind.

RobbyG
07/02/2007, 03:54 PM
It's a great controller.
Answering some of your questions:

1a) Here is some screen shots of a much older version. Current version looks basically the same but many new features have been added. So the newer one has more Tabs and options.

http://www.reefcentral.com/forums/showthread.php?threadid=674569&highlight=screen+shots

The controller logs any probe you have attached. Temp/pH/ORP/Salinty. It will also log data from multiple probes of the same kind eg. 2 pH probes. You can set sample intervals like 30 min / 3 hour / each day.


2a) Here is the Beta version, the current version is not much different except the Icon problems and most others in the Beta have been fixed. http://www.reefcentral.com/forums/showthread.php?threadid=940263&highlight=ethernet
Yes you can use the D-Link without a problem, and the unit has it's own built in Webserver so all you do is go to the Address and it's own internal webpage will pop up in your browser. So any PC running Firefox or IE can display your tanks info :)


3a) It should be able to switch 400W but I don't recommend it. Just buy a powerbar saver/expander and that will take the load off the powerbar. They cost about $40US or you can DIY one.

4a) Yes, some sort of prototype is being tested.

more info on all controllers can be found at www.aquariumcontrollers.com look at the comparison chart.

Dosng pump review: http://www.reefcentral.com/forums/showthread.php?threadid=947086&highlight=screen+shots


<a href=showthread.php?s=&postid=10256194#post10256194 target=_blank>Originally posted</a> by kirsto71
I am looking to purchase the Aquatronica unit to the fact that it comes with the dosing unit as the price is quite comparable to buying three Litemeter 3 dosing pumps or other equivalents (in Australia anyway). I am after some information about thew following:

1. The software that you can get with the controller PC interface. Can someone please post some screen shots of the software and the sort of information the controller automatically logs.

2. The ethernet module. Some feedback on how this works. How do i connect the unit to my internet connection which is set up in another room in the house. I use a D-Link wireless modem and i will also have a PC connected to the wireless network next to the aquarium. Also what do i need as far as software to then get access to the system from online when i am away from my home PC.

3. Powerbar. Are there any limitations with the power bars such as the size of switched items such as 400w MH etc.

4. Has there been any discussion on a future controller expansion module to control Tunze pumps.

I am really after some information to support the purchase of what is a reasonable expensive item. I am justifying this due to the future ability to fully control the workings of my tank when i am away (my wife is just not interested and it is hard to educate friends of all the possible issues) and a bit of piece of mind.

AdamT
07/03/2007, 11:31 AM
Hey Robby, what's a power bar saver/expander? I plan to control 400w of MH lights with the AQ too.

RobbyG
07/03/2007, 01:32 PM
Here is one.
http://www.digitalaquatics.com/expansion.html
Here is one I built
http://www.aquariumcontrollers.com/diy/4-plug-powerbar-extender.php

AdamT
07/03/2007, 02:03 PM
Thanks! I don't have my AQ yet. I take it that the saver/expander plugs into the wall rather than the AQ power strip, and that the AQ controls the saver/expander outlets independently by plugging in the relay leads to the AQ? Does it have generic output posts or do you need to buy another module?

RobbyG
07/03/2007, 06:06 PM
Your explanation is correct but what do you mean by Generic output posts? If you mean does it have extra plugs that work like a regular power strip, No.

AdamT
07/03/2007, 08:18 PM
i was just wondering how you connect the control signal wires from the expander to the AQ. Does it have screw posts for bare wire leads, banana plugs, etc.? No big deal, I'll find out for myself soon enough.

RobbyG
07/04/2007, 02:51 PM
No it has a 110V plug that you plug into a controller outlet plug.

So when you switch on that plug on the controllers powerstrip it then powers a relay in the expander that then powers up it's own plug that gets power from another lead that is plugged directly into a wall outlet. Whew...

So the controllers powerbar only see's about 2 Watts of load (Only the power used by the Relay). The Power Saver see's the full 400 Watts and that is passed on directly to the wall outlet.

Look at the link for the one I built and if you look at the schematic you will understand exactly how it works.

Rogger Castells
07/06/2007, 01:27 AM
Excellent info, Thank you Robby.

AdamT
07/06/2007, 01:28 AM
Yes, thanks Robby.

kirsto71
07/07/2007, 04:54 AM
Well i have decided to buy the Aquatronica and have included the dosing pump, PC module, a level controller and a pH interface (i already have a probe). I was going to get the ethernet module but they are very expensive and i have heard that control over the web is limited.

I did however discover some software that i think will solve this problem. I wanted to set up a webcam to be able to view my tank online but i found that this is usually limited due to data transfer limitations on upload form my net provider (the picture is very jerky). So i went looking and found this software that allows me to schedule the webcam to record 60 seconds of footage every 15 minutes (or however i want to set it) and save this to a drive on my PC. I then use the LogMeIn service and software to access my PC and i can quickly download the latest file and view it. Obviously once downloaded the file plays with the full 25 FPS and without and issues. If i need to look at the cam real time i can also use LogMeIN but as i said above this is not perfect. The webcam software also deletes the movie files older than a preset number of days so i dont end up with a hard drive chock full of files. I also discovered that i cn utilise my Aquatronica software through the LogMeIn service so i can open the service and see the software if i need. I am sure there will be some slowness to this but it beats having to setup the ethernet module and i could have full control as if at home.

Tell what you guys think. It seems like it should work.