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eg8r210
05/09/2011, 09:58 AM
I am looking at getting the Avast auto top off unit and I see they offer a digital switch for use with controllers. Will this work with my ACIII and if so will I need to purchase an additional module to do so?

dahenley
05/09/2011, 10:39 AM
if im not mistaken, its a stand alone system.
but, you can program your AC3 to turn the power on a few times a day to prevent any accidents. (so set it to come on for a few min a few time a day, and the avast will take care of the rest.
thats my opinion on it.


the digital version is just a float switch (from my understanding) but you will need to have a breakout box for the switch, and have it go through your controller and then have the DC8 turn the pump on and off whenever you need water.
but you can have it timed. so its up to you.

you can just buy a floatswitch from ATO dot com or something. but its up to you.

insomniac2k2
05/09/2011, 11:28 AM
Any reason other than simplification of a standalone device, that you wouldnt have your apex auto top off?

Im just going through my auto top off / water change stuff right now, and it seems very beneficial to run it all through something that can be remotely controlled.

Im sure you have done your due dilligence already, but its a pretty easy setup. Mine is the home made breakout box, which is controlling an aqualifter. I have 2 sensors on the sump side and another sensor on the top off water side that the apex will shut the pump off if the topoff water is too low. All this for for the cost of a $20 breakout box that took me 45m to make, $15 aqualifter, 3 x $7 switches (you could just use 1 if you want to match a pre-canned colution). Plus you get the other breakout switch ports for auto-water change, doorbell buttons, etc.

If this is something you already considered, this post never happened ;)

eg8r210
05/09/2011, 01:14 PM
I really am not sure the best way to handle the auto-top off. I like the idea of using a timer on my ACIII for a few minutes or so and then have it turn off but not sure how to use the float switches. Also, my controller is on the other side of the house and I am not too optimistic about running an extension cord from my garage (where the pump would be) to the room with the tank. This is why I was thinking the Avast unit would be easy to set up but unsure if I would be able to monitor or control it from the ACIII. I was not sure what the purpose was for the switch Avast was selling.

insomniac2k2
05/09/2011, 01:29 PM
WellWhatever way you are comfortable with, is always the best way to go. If you get bored, you can see my last thread where Todd (VERY HELPFUL) helped me work out my ATO/WATER CHANGE configs. At the bottom of the thread, you can basically adapt that to your needs. It actually gets very easy to do, if your just doing ATO. http://web1.reefcentral.com/forums/showthread.php?t=2016500

Heres what i ended up with:

http://www.aquahub.com/store/ifloatfloatswitch.html
http://www.aquahub.com/store/moldaholder9.html
http://www.aquahub.com/store/product31.html
DIY breakout box: http://www.reefcentral.com/forums/showthread.php?t=1847474&highlight=breakout+box (i did the cat5 version. Cost about $22)

eg8r210
05/09/2011, 05:55 PM
Thanks. I will definitely check it out.

eg8r210
05/09/2011, 09:41 PM
Any reason other than simplification of a standalone device, that you wouldnt have your apex auto top off?

Im just going through my auto top off / water change stuff right now, and it seems very beneficial to run it all through something that can be remotely controlled.

Im sure you have done your due dilligence already, but its a pretty easy setup. Mine is the home made breakout box, which is controlling an aqualifter. I have 2 sensors on the sump side and another sensor on the top off water side that the apex will shut the pump off if the topoff water is too low. All this for for the cost of a $20 breakout box that took me 45m to make, $15 aqualifter, 3 x $7 switches (you could just use 1 if you want to match a pre-canned colution). Plus you get the other breakout switch ports for auto-water change, doorbell buttons, etc.

If this is something you already considered, this post never happened ;)Can you explain to me what a breakout box is? Or show me a diagram? Also, if my RO/DI is in the garage I would have to have the pump there (plugged in). How would my ACIII be able to turn the pump on if it is not plugged into the DC8?

Lastly, what are the switches connected to in order to tell the pump to turn off?

I am going to be leaving on vacation in a few months for a weekend and then later for a whole week and I am worried about getting this up running and tested many times over before I leave. :) I am evaporating about 2.5 gallons a day and will not have anyone that I would trust to come over and top off the water for me.

insomniac2k2
05/09/2011, 10:32 PM
Just a disclaimer. Im not a pro. I just got this setup, but am falling in love with the endless possibilities. The breakout box can be purchased retail for just $39. Im a DIY by nature, so i opted to save a few bucks on building one. Do a search for Neptune Systems I/O Break Out Box for Aquacontroller 3 / 3 Pro. It should show up everywhere.

The DIY box is here: http://www.reefcentral.com/forums/showthread.php?t=1847474&highlight=breakout+box

The box is just a simple plug-in box for the APEX. It's plug and play. After you add the box, it enables you to use on/off switches. After that, all you need is a cheap float switch (even better, 2 of them). 6 ports on it = switch 1-6 respectively.

You water dilema would be the same regardless of what solution you choose, wouldnt it? You could temporarily run a long extension cord (heavy gauge) from your dc8 port to your pump.This means that you would need an equally long tubing back to your sump. Not desirable...(personally, i would just fill up a garbage can as a temporary resevoir while your away) You would have to determine a long term solution that suits you. Mine will be bringing RODI in 1/4 in quick connect tubing to a resevoir which is hidden in a printer stand, next to my tank. From there, my aqualifter will be running off my apex power bar.

The sequence you were asking about is relatively simple. There are tons of posts which you can pretty much cut and paste here in the forums. Search for Todd. He has helped many with this stuff.

With my setup, i will have float 1 and 2 in the sump. 1 is primarily used for the setup. 2 is for failsafe. The floats have 2 wires that go right to the breakout box. The 2 wires are 1power/1ground. Thats it. When the float says that your sump is low on water, it turns itself in an on position. Your AC3 see's it in an ON position, and fires off your pump which is connected to your DC8. When the float says that your sump is full, the AC3 tells your pump to shut off. Very simple logic. Beyond that, you can do so much more. To match the avast, you would just do the above.

See Todd's post here for a cut/paste example for the configuration side: http://www.reefcentral.com/forums/showpost.php?p=18734002&postcount=4

2 months is a long time. I would not let that intimidate you. Although, if you are not comfortable doing something like this, go with what your gut tells you.




Can you explain to me what a breakout box is? Or show me a diagram? Also, if my RO/DI is in the garage I would have to have the pump there (plugged in). How would my ACIII be able to turn the pump on if it is not plugged into the DC8?

Lastly, what are the switches connected to in order to tell the pump to turn off?

I am going to be leaving on vacation in a few months for a weekend and then later for a whole week and I am worried about getting this up running and tested many times over before I leave. :) I am evaporating about 2.5 gallons a day and will not have anyone that I would trust to come over and top off the water for me.

eg8r210
05/10/2011, 09:32 AM
Can this breakout box be used on an ACIII? Do I need to buy an additional module?

eg8r210
05/10/2011, 09:52 AM
OK, scratch that last question, I see that it will plug into the I/O input. My question is this, on the breakout box how to another person created on using Cat5 inputs instead of the audio jacks. Do the switches come with a specific connector or is that something I need to add to the switches?

insomniac2k2
05/10/2011, 10:58 AM
switches/floats just come with 2 bare wires. You would just throw the red wire in the #1 and the black or green wire in the #8 cat5 (rj45) end, and push the pins down on the wires with a credit card or screw driver. done. Litterally takes a minute.

If you look further down that post, you will see a few pictures that i posted as well. I also went with the cat5 version. It was very easy.

OK, scratch that last question, I see that it will plug into the I/O input. My question is this, on the breakout box how to another person created on using Cat5 inputs instead of the audio jacks. Do the switches come with a specific connector or is that something I need to add to the switches?