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View Full Version : budget expandable controller make and model advice


Uncko Macko
01/14/2011, 05:12 PM
I'm starting a 40b mixed reef project and want to use a DIY controller. Id love to use a full blown PLC but want to stay on a budget. Starting simple but expandable to do whatever I want.

Staring with.

Inputs

High water level float
Low water level float
2 floats for automatic water changes
Moisture switch for leak detection
Pushbutton timer function shutdown of return pump
Pushbutton timer function shutdown of return pmp & power head
Ph probe. Would I need a seperate 4-20 transmitted and an analog input?
Temp. Rtd module?

Outputs

White lights
Blue lights
Moonlights
Fuge light
Return pump
Powerhead
Heater
skimmer
1 for each water change pump. (Out then in)

Id reall like to be able to create a sunrise/set effect, moonphase, and lightning flashes. Need help on this!!

What brand and model do you recommend?

We use Honeywell at work but I won't spend that much.

I've been checking out some programmable relays for less than $200 but probly won't do everything I want.

Thanks in advance

Mike

Uncko Macko
01/14/2011, 05:17 PM
Almost forgot. Ethernet module expansion would be nice

evsalty
01/14/2011, 05:26 PM
How much are you expecting something like this to cost?

Uncko Macko
01/14/2011, 05:40 PM
How much are you expecting something like this to cost?

I've looked at a few programmable relays that can handle all the digital I/O's(lights, pumps, floats) and a few analogs(temp) for around $150. But won't be able to dim or do moonphases(that I know of).

Id like to start under $300 with as many functions as possible and very expandable.

evsalty
01/14/2011, 05:49 PM
That pricing puts you right in line with just buying an RKL and the modules that will do the things you want. You would probably be maxing out the RKL's 4 module limit but later you would be able to upgrade the head unit to the RKE and then could do more then you ever wanted too. The RKL can handle moon phases and dimming ad topoff and temp and ph and etc etc etc.

I am all for DIY'ing stuff as my 40br is atleast 50% diy but sometimes the cost savings is just not there.

hardin4019
01/16/2011, 10:21 AM
I've both purchased and sold RSLogix (SLC 500) PLCs on Ebay. At one point I had a 10 slot rack with more 110v input/outputs than you could shake a stick at (spent maybe $150). The problem with this is the program to make your programming and the cable to connect it to a computer, and lack of ability to make a true moon cycle or dimming. You could do sunrise and sunset by turning one set of lights on an hour before the main set, and then an hour after the main set goes out, shut if off. Analog inputs for SLC 500 are not really cheap, at about $100 on Ebay.

Also, these guys are local for me, and often have the PLC from an old machine that they sell separate. Maybe you have someone like them locally?
http://www.equipmentresale.com/

Uncko Macko
01/18/2011, 03:25 PM
evsalty

I've been fighting back and forth with this for a while. The thing is to have a reefkeeper doing all the things I'd like...It will be alot more than a PLC. I work in automation and have alot of this stuff laying around the shop. But I specificly need help with the analog controls. At work we use separate transmitters that send a variable signal to the PLC. But those transmitters are $$. So I can either spend around $150 on a programmable controller to do all kinds of cool stuff, even auto water changes...But no PH, ORP, Dimmable lights, etc. Or go all out with the RKE.


hardin4019

THanks! I'll check it out. A place down the street from work has a Micrologix1000 for $300, But no Analogs! boo.

hardin4019
01/18/2011, 03:38 PM
Sounds like you have the stuff to start out with from work. I do wonder though, if you could get an RKL to measure temp and ph, and program it to trigger an input on the micrologix or other PLC to do what you want.

I did check more into the RKE the other night, those things are pretty expandable and not too horribly expensive. I'm interested to see what you come up with, keep us informed.

hardin4019
01/18/2011, 04:00 PM
Here you go.... Wonder what this thing is going to end up going for. Has an 8 channel analog input.
http://cgi.ebay.com/Allen-Bradley-Micro-Logix-1500-PLC-/200566589606?pt=BI_Control_Systems_PLCs&hash=item2eb2b348a6#ht_500wt_1156

Uncko Macko
01/18/2011, 04:22 PM
Here you go.... Wonder what this thing is going to end up going for. Has an 8 channel analog input.
http://cgi.ebay.com/Allen-Bradley-Micro-Logix-1500-PLC-/200566589606?pt=BI_Control_Systems_PLCs&hash=item2eb2b348a6#ht_500wt_1156

Thanks! Ill keep an eye on it. Wayyy overkill for an aquarium but if the price is right.....

mcgyvr
01/18/2011, 06:03 PM
Have you looked into the Click PLC's..They are like $70 bucks with plenty of expansion modules and free programming software.

Some others have done their own controllers with the Arduino or other microprocessor boards...

hardin4019
01/18/2011, 07:17 PM
Have you looked into the Click PLC's..They are like $70 bucks with plenty of expansion modules and free programming software.

Some others have done their own controllers with the Arduino or other microprocessor boards...

Those things are pretty sweet. I didn't see an analog IO until I started watching a video and there are 7 different configurations to the CPU, 3 of which have 2 analog in and 2 analog out.

I did a rough guess with 6 dc inputs, 2 analog inputs, and about 10 outputs that could be run from the dc to close relays for 110v equipment, a power cable, and the free program, I'm guessing $310 to get a good start. $190 more gets you a touch screen HMI so that you can tell what your PH and Temp actually are... The touch screen could be programmed to function as a lot of the inputs you want too, like a feeding timer etc... The next great thing, the C-More Micro screen, the software is also free.

I really like this idea and wish I had time money and time to gather all the pieces and build my own.

evsalty
01/19/2011, 09:15 AM
Those things are pretty sweet. I didn't see an analog IO until I started watching a video and there are 7 different configurations to the CPU, 3 of which have 2 analog in and 2 analog out.

I did a rough guess with 6 dc inputs, 2 analog inputs, and about 10 outputs that could be run from the dc to close relays for 110v equipment, a power cable, and the free program, I'm guessing $310 to get a good start. $190 more gets you a touch screen HMI so that you can tell what your PH and Temp actually are... The touch screen could be programmed to function as a lot of the inputs you want too, like a feeding timer etc... The next great thing, the C-More Micro screen, the software is also free.

I really like this idea and wish I had time money and time to gather all the pieces and build my own.

That doesn't sound to bad at all price wise. And even though if you add the touch screen you would be even closer to the RKE price range, sometimes the satisfaction of doing it yourself is more rewarding. Looking forward to seeing this in action.

Uncko Macko
01/19/2011, 11:34 AM
Nice. There are other brands out besides the Click in the same price range. FactoryMation.com Has a few. Rite now with the new year I have the time due to overtime cuts. But it won't be long until we are hammering out the hours again. I'd love to do it myself and eliminating the giant ugly receptacle box that corrodes & malfunctions are a few Pos points.

Uncko Macko
01/19/2011, 11:37 AM
How customisable is the RKE software? What output is used for Dimming controlls? I don't know anyone who has one to play with.

Jeff000
01/20/2011, 05:40 PM
Look into the Siemens LOGO. You can get one pretty cheap with the cable and software.
Even the HMI for the LOGO is reasonably priced and most everything can be found used for pretty cheap since it's probably the most used smart relay out. The Idec smart relay parts will interconnect too since they are the same just not black.

I have a LOGO/IDEC running my tank. One thing about going PLC is you can use all the industrial controls and sensors available to measure just about anything although some are quite pricey.
And working for Honeywell you know how that you can do a lot with a PLC compared to a RKE.

hardin4019
01/20/2011, 07:28 PM
Not a bad little system and still cheaper than AB, but you could still buy 2-3 click modules for the price of most of the single modules for the Siemens Logo machines on Ebay.

Jeff000
01/21/2011, 07:14 AM
Not a bad little system and still cheaper than AB, but you could still buy 2-3 click modules for the price of most of the single modules for the Siemens Logo machines on Ebay.

Once you add the HMI and the module to send the data out on a network it can be pricey, but so is the RKE with net.

MHG
03/16/2011, 12:58 PM
Here is a company that makes a notification modual. A tad pricy at $500. Its the smtp email notification that I want...


http://www.essentialmonitoring.com/monitoring_alarm.html#falconf110

MHG
03/16/2011, 01:02 PM
sorry, I should have said it has all the alarm contact built in... But I guess adding the NET module to the reefkeeper is only $119...