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View Full Version : Neptune needs a Base Uint to Powerbar WiFi bridge


scolley
10/09/2011, 08:42 AM
I've got an Apex, an AC III, and and AC Jr. Now I'm thinking about starting a new (additional) tank in a room that has no tank. I was shocked to find myself adding a controller to my list of materials. And I thought, "Man, it seems stupid to by another controller when my Apex can control so much. But there's no way I can run a long cord between my Base Unit and a Powerbar in another room... "
Then it hit me!

Neptune needs a WiFi bridge to connect Control Units to remote Powerbars. Or maybe bridge kit because it would take two units. It's easy to envision. Think about a base unit connected to a powerbar by the normal control cable. Now cut that cable right in the middle. And take your two loose ends, and plug each of them into a little WiFi adapter type device. And bingo! You've got an Apex that can control Powerbars many rooms away, and NO cords. :)

Granted, describing it and creating such a device are two very different things. At the very least they would probably need some modem type capability to take - what is likely - an analog signal, digitize it for transmission, and then convert back to analog.

Wadda ya' say Curt? Can Neptune whip one of these out? Would make you guys even further ahead of the competition, and would make me a happy, happy camper.

If anyone else likes this idea, please chime in. If enough people like it, maybe it will actually be considered. Thanks!

aquamanic
10/09/2011, 09:44 AM
It's not just signals that travel on the AB - it's power also.

scolley
10/09/2011, 11:11 AM
It's not just signals that travel on the AB - it's power also.Right. Power to the Base Unit I assume. I thought about that initially, but did not want to complicate the OP by something that is likely easily solved...

All that should require is a power source on the Base Unit's WiFi bridge component that can supply the current that would have normally come from the Powerbar.

Likewise I assume that on the Powerbar side,on there may well need to be a power source for it's WiFi bridge component, if it cannot draw sufficient power from the control line off the Powerbar.

These considerations should not be obstacles - or even add too much to the overall cost of a solution. They are just requirements for the engineering of the units.

RussM
10/09/2011, 11:21 AM
Send your suggestion to Neptune directly.

doctorgori
10/09/2011, 02:09 PM
I realize the X10's got reliability issues but could you use the X10 in the interim as sort of "remote" units for the less "mission critical" functions like lighting?
(not that lighting isn't important but failure isn't gonna kill a entire tank)

anyway, they (X10's) sorta do what you are suggesting already, no?

scolley
10/09/2011, 02:49 PM
Send your suggestion to Neptune directly.How does one do that? Email? Letter? Wouldn't a strong show of support for an idea - as evidenced by people chiming in here - be a strong indication of interest than a communication from one individual? That's assuming there is any interest beyond my own.

I realize the X10's got reliability issues but could you use the X10 in the interim as sort of "remote" units for the less "mission critical" functions like lighting?
(not that lighting isn't important but failure isn't gonna kill a entire tank)

anyway, they (X10's) sorta do what you are suggesting already, no?Yes. Good point! They CAN be used for non-mission critical stuff, as you suggest. But I want to run an entire tank at a distance, not just lights.

X10 DOES accomplish the same purpose as what I'm asking for. I've got 10 - 12 receiver modules and a Neptune X10 transmitter unit. And they are all modified so that they don't have that problem of needing a continuous small power draw to work correctly. And even then, IMO they are flaky. You don't see more of them in use for a reason. All of mine have been retired for years. I guess I might pull them out in an emergency, but I don't trust them. Once burnt, twice shy.

scolley
10/09/2011, 02:54 PM
Oh... I realized that such a set of devices as I'm suggesting are subject to loss of signal problem. Digital industrial controls and financial market data distribution uses a "heartbeat" function, so both ends know they are talking to each other. Neptune should do the same.

When that heartbeat is lost (both ends can't hear each other), alarms should be triggered, and the Powerbar should do whatever it has been programmed to do when it loses connection to the base unit.

RussM
10/09/2011, 05:01 PM
How does one do that? Email? Letter? Wouldn't a strong show of support for an idea - as evidenced by people chiming in here - be a strong indication of interest than a communication from one individual? That's assuming there is any interest beyond my own.email, letter, phone call, smoke signal, carrier pigeon, or message in a bottle... Whatever gets the desire communicated to Neptune. We can all wish and say "wouldn't it be nice if..." 'til we're exhausted; a virtual flash mob all chanting for something will likely accomplish little. Nothing will happen unless the ideas get communicated to Neptune.

Curt is receptive to ideas.... He has actually implemented 2 of my feature requests, and another is on the way. Those additions only came about through direct communications. I'm just an avid Apex owner... Same as many of us here.

Bryan
10/09/2011, 05:03 PM
I realize the X10's got reliability issues but could you use the X10 in the interim as sort of "remote" units for the less "mission critical" functions like lighting?
(not that lighting isn't important but failure isn't gonna kill a entire tank)

anyway, they (X10's) sorta do what you are suggesting already, no?

That's what I do, my Apex controls my reef tank and small greenhouse. The greenhouse uses the X10. Used to use X10 exclusively when i had my ACII and I don't think i ever had a time when they would not work except if a module failed, but never a communication issue.

scolley
10/09/2011, 11:03 PM
Curt is receptive to ideas.... He has actually implemented 2 of my feature requests, and another is on the way. Those additions only came about through direct communications. I'm just an avid Apex owner... Same as many of us here.
Thank you sir. I will make sure I get this on Curt's radar.

I too am MASSIVE fan. Following my comments in this forum might lead one to think that I'm critical and thus "non supporting". But I believe good things are worth our support. And that requires honest (if critical)observation of opportunity for improvement. This is, IMO, one such opportunity.

I'll get in touch with Curt. Thanks.

RussM
10/10/2011, 12:38 AM
anyway, they (X10's) sorta do what you are suggesting already, no?Only a limited portion... Aquabus is 2-way, X10 is one-way communications. For this concept to be worthwhile, it would have to incorporate all of the current capabilities of AquaBus... probe data transfer back to the base unit, module firmware updates, etc. Obviously, as has been already discussed, 12v power over AquBus would have to be segmented, but every other function of AquaBus would need to be transferred via wireless signal.

schwaggs
10/11/2011, 07:10 AM
X-10 can be 2 way, Neptune did not implement that feature in their product.

I would be leery of running my tank over a wireless connection of any sort. For $149 you can have an Apex Jr. which woud probably be close to the cost of such a wireless bridge...

kurt_n
10/11/2011, 10:24 AM
...
I would be leery of running my tank over a wireless connection of any sort....

Same here. Accessing data via wireless... OK. But actually controlling the outlets... no thanks.

Maybe I'm missing something, but why not run a uber-long AquaBus/USB cord between your controller and the new tank - versus buying a whole new controller? I'm not remembering the limiting length, but I remember it's pretty darn long. Granted, it might involved a little bit of working fishing cable through walls and attics and crawlspaces, but it would be cheaper than a new unit.

Bryan
10/11/2011, 05:43 PM
Think the Aquabus can support cable runs of 200 feet.