View Full Version : Getting Apex, what else is needed?

02/02/2012, 10:20 PM
So I am going to get the apex unit, but I am wondering what other components I need. I don't want to get the apex and figure out later I need more things to make it work.

58 gallon tank.

Two halides. One 250 watt, one 400 watt.
Return pump (Mag 5).
One vortech, but will probably add at least more down the road.
Protein Skimmer.
Refugium light (either a Par 38 bulb or cheapo CF)
ATO using autotopoff.com float switch and aqualifter.
Kalk Reactor pump (MJ1200).
Calcium Reactor

Masterflex feed pump
CO2 Solenoid
Circulation Pump

Dosing Pump (Not sure if this should be on Apex? as it is a triple pump doser?

One thing that confuses me is for the ATO I don't know why I need a Breakout Box. The float switch has a normal three prong outlet which controls the aqualifter pump. So can't I just plug it into a normal outlet?

One thing that concerns me is the lights. I assume they draw a ton of power so they might need a heavy duty outlet?

I was thinking if the unit comes with one 8 bar, maybe getting another 8 bar, and a heavy duty outlet for the lights? Maybe the 4 outlet unit?

Also I don't want to have just the right amount of outlets because we all know things change over time and like I said I may need more flow pumps as things grow.

Thanks for the help!

02/02/2012, 10:22 PM
Forgot to add, the tank is pretty far from the router in the house. I would like the apex to be hardwired, but is the wireless unit also the vortech controller? If so I could kill two birds with one stone right?

02/03/2012, 12:03 PM
Get a vdm

02/03/2012, 12:28 PM
Forgot to add, the tank is pretty far from the router in the house. I would like the apex to be hardwired, but is the wireless unit also the vortech controller? If so I could kill two birds with one stone right?

The WXM is only for controlling Vortech pumps from the Apex. It has nothing to do with your network. To enable wireless connectivity, you need to use a gaming adapter once you have configured the unit via direct connection to your router.

Just run an Ethernet cable. You'll save time and money in the long run. Yes, gaming adapters will work, but every link in the chain is a potential failure point. (KISS, you know!) Plus, you cannot update the firmware over one. It must be hardwired, so just invest the time to run the cable and save a lot of hassle.

Nothing beats the reliability of four pieces of copper to transmit your life support system's data.

02/03/2012, 01:58 PM
Get a vdm

Why do you say that?

02/03/2012, 02:00 PM
1. The breakout box is needed for two things. If you want water sensors on the tank this is how the Apex reads them. Next, you can set up the Apex to run your ATO, if you want this then the float switches attach to the Apex with the break out box. (this is how I run my ATO, works great)

2. Dosing pumps can be run off the Apex via the occilation timer programing. Basically the apex will turn on the dosing pump for x minutes each hour (or however you set it). Doing dosing throgh the apex, most people will use free standing dosing pumps, that are nothing more than pumps, not full units. The advantage of the Apex here is the dosing pumps can be shut off if ph problems develop, the sump gets too full, etc. A stand alone pump dose not really allow this.

3. The Apex power strips are 15 amps max power draw at any given time. If this draw is exceeded on one strip you must have another bar, possibly on a sepate house circut. If you are worried abput the amp draw on lights get an eb4 and put your lights on that.

4. Keep in mind with powerheads. If you are using the on/off variety, these are low wattage devices. The relay style switches are needed for these. The EB8 has only 2 of these, on the EB4 all are relay style. For ATO pumps (like the toms) you also need a relay style switch.

5. Do not worry about expansion the Apex handles upto 240 moduals, you can always get more.

02/03/2012, 02:37 PM
Ok so I am thinking:
Apex unit
2 - 8 outlet units (one extra and one comes with)
1 - eb4 for the lights
1 - wireless controller thing for the vortechs

The only hangup I am having is with this breakout box. I think I will just make one if I need it, but I don't understand why I need it? I can just plug the float switch into an outlet and the apex controls that outlet... right. So if the pH gets high (kalk) it can cut power to that outlet right? Maybe someone can explain this better.

02/03/2012, 02:42 PM
The floats don't plug into an outlet - they're not powered at all. They're simple dry contacts switches and the Apex detects the continuity. Break the continuity and the switch is OPEN otherwise it's closed.

You reference a switch's state (open or closed) then turn on/off the outlet(s) you want as needed. You could turn one outlet on (an alarm for example) and another off (return pump) based on a switch (float for example) opening or closing.

There's all kinds of switches you can buy, floats are just one. Regular doorbell switches, magnetic window switches, humidity sensors that open/close a switch, moisture detecting switches, etc. They'l all work as long as they're not powered and normally open or normally closed (NO / NC).

So much flexibility, my head hurts!

02/03/2012, 02:49 PM
Really, many of the more creative things people have done with the Apex need the switching ability provided by the breakout box.

02/03/2012, 02:56 PM
I bought some cheapo magnetic window switches used for alarm systems on EBay for about $1 each in a 10-pack. I put them on the doors to my stand. Now when I open a door the Apex turns on the light for me. And with the Defer statement, it keeps the light on for 1 minute after I close a door in case I open another door - don't want to keep turning the light on/off after all!

02/03/2012, 03:20 PM
Ok well that is why I listed my float switch... as it plugs into an outlet. And I mentioned if I really need a breakout box I can make one as there are lots of nice DIY ones out there.