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Old 06/15/2011, 09:27 PM   #26
RussM
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Hmmm I didn't see a third beta. I'll try it later tonight.


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Old 06/15/2011, 11:19 PM   #27
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maybe just a coincidence..but I upgraded to the 3rd beta release and now my temp isn't working. Probes not faulty because I checked it with my AC3 and it pulled up the right temperature. Temp on the Apex is sitting at 20.8???? 10 minutes ago it was reading normal temperatures...what happend?


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Old 06/15/2011, 11:26 PM   #28
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Nevermind...rebooted the apex and that cleared it up.


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Old 06/17/2011, 12:27 PM   #29
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Installed firmware 4.10 6C11, now I have problems connecting from my computer, sometimes it does sometimes not. Didn't have any issues before. Now I'm going back to 4.05

From Reeftronics I can see the graphs but can't see the status of the outlets and they sent me an E-mail saying that the connection was lost, but now everything is OK. Firmware issues? I really don't know but before that everything was ok.



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Old 06/19/2011, 09:18 PM   #30
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regarding the temperatures. It appears as if the microcontroller on the system is using a buffer on the pH and the temperature. I dumped the temperature probe in some hot water for 60 seconds and then put it in some cold water for 60 seconds more and it just sat there reading 75 degrees. Several minutes later it started jumping towards the hot water temperature and then 1 minute later start dropping towards the cold water temperature.

I didnt time it but the lag is more than 60 seconds and probably more than 120 seconds but less than 5 minutes. This seems like it is "normal" and not unique to this firmware. The really low reading you got (20.8) is (in my opinion) a result of the initial initialization of the temperature with a 3-6 measurement rolling average of the temperature with a process that probably drops high and low readings. In other words
1: 70.5
2: 50.2 [Drop Low]
3: 70.9
4: 84.2 [Drop High]
5: 70.6
6: 70.7
Average: 70.67 or 70.7

Temperature probes often when either designed poorly or when exposed to noise (such as wire crossing near pumps, motors, ballasts, etc) can pickup interference and get erroneous readings several degrees to hundreds of degrees off. I would suspect Apex does something like the above on a rolling 6 readings. As a result when you first turn it on it has no readings at all. It then takes a reading on a schedule and slides them down.

1: 70.7 [Drop High]
2: 0 [Drop Low]
3: 0
4: 0
5: 0
6: 0
Average 0

1: 70.6
2: 70.7 [Drop High]
3: 0 [Drop Low]
4: 0
5: 0
6: 0
Average 17.65

1: 84.2 [Drop High]
2: 70.6
3: 70.7
4: 0 [Drop Low]
5: 0
6: 0
Average 35.325

etc

I'm building a project that works a lot like the Apex does inside turning on and off heat and CO2 etc but instead runs of coffee roaster controlling fans and heaters. You have to program in these sorts of rolling averages and plan into it "hysterisis" to not having your heaters and other things pulsing like mad. It seems like Apex runs these rolling averages and then delays showing them to you by a few minutes to allow it to buffer up even more data to guess whether you just did a water change dumping really cold water onto the probe or something like that. If the pattern of cold continues then by the time you see if the heater will come on. Otherwise I'm thinking it's going to suppress the heater status change. Someone would have to test this further to be sure.

The really long delay though before it showed my high temp water seems bothersome since people will be running different sized tanks and a chiller or heater could easily overshoot hard on a small volume tank if the delay is too long and it doesnt seem to be mentioned in the manual sections I looked at. It should at least be user adjustable so they can adjust the timing for huge vs tiny tanks.


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Old 06/19/2011, 11:08 PM   #31
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It should at least be user adjustable so they can adjust the timing for huge vs tiny tanks.
Ha! Read many recent posts. You can never make people happy. There are people all the time complaining how complicated the Apex is to set up. They want it simpler you want it more complex.

A basic reef keeping principle, and one that actually applies to many aspects of life, don't use over powered equipment. If you use a 1000W heater on a nano your asking for trouble and can't really blame anything on a controller. None of your equipment should be able to make a sudden drastic change on your aquarium, no matter how reliable you think your custom built controller is.(we live on planet earth and are human beings, nothing is perfect)

Controlling the sensitivity of a temp or pH probe and the refresh rates and all that sounds great in theory, but then you have to explain to people who adjust it why it jumps up and down all the time and explain to people what the heck those settings me and why they need them. Really if you look at the average use in this little forum in this small hobby they aren't super tech geeks. The 5-6 people you meet that would want this feature really could live with out it and wouldn't make Neptune bankrupt if they left to go buy another controller that had the features.

Have to say it's a bit shaddy for you to bust out with saying your going to build something a sponsor makes in your first post on RC.


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Old 06/19/2011, 11:41 PM   #32
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lbritish, I suspect that you did not consider that the probe itself has a thick body and plastic cap - the thermistor is not in direct contact with the medium being monitored. It takes some time for temperature changes to "penetrate" to the sensor. And frankly, I don't see any problem with the design or behavior of the temperature monitoring in the Apex (or its predecessors) in this regard.... temperature simply doesn't change that fast in an aquarium. As Gordonious pointed out, right-sizing heaters and chillers is part of the equation.


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Old 06/20/2011, 03:03 AM   #33
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Have to say it's a bit shaddy for you to bust out with saying your going to build something a sponsor makes in your first post on RC.
I would agree with you IF Neptune made Coffee Roasters... or devices that control coffee roasters... or used thermocouples that operate at 450+ degrees Fahrenheit. They don't. I will, however, concede there was a tiny typo in my original post:

Quote:
I'm building a project that works a lot like the Apex does inside turning on and off heat and CO2 etc but instead runs of coffee roaster controlling fans and heaters.
The "of" should be "a". The intent should have been clear enough though except for the fact that you guys don't know me from anyone else, probably skimmed my long ramble, and then I'm automatically branded suspect due to having only one (now two) posts anyway. I did not say I'm building something a sponsor makes in the sponsors forum. I happen to own their Apex device, several accessory modules, will be buying more when some of them are no longer back ordered, and like them quite much.

I'd just prefer to see some sort of "Advanced" calibration/sensitivity/memory buffering/latency menu added to the web interface giving raw access to control rolling averages, lag, etc perhaps hidden behind a "yes I know this stuff can foobar my tank and I need to monitor it closely once I change anything and know it may be reset on a firmware update to factory defaults and I have to reconsider my setting each time I upgrade due to possible changes in how the system runs and keep track of custom settings myself" checkbox to enable the feature and one uncheck to revert to original settings or something like that.

RussM>> I'm aware of the rubber cap and other structural makeup of the temperature probe. I had to discuss it with the manufacturer because I need to force the probe "inline" into the plumbing of the tank. Obviously nobody would know that though and it is worth pointing out the make up of the probe to explain some of the slow readings. In my case I'm sure this is not the reason.

The only reason I posted at all was because someone had mentioned having odd 20 degree temperature readings that they could not explain... I was relating my technical experience with microcontroller systems (like the Apex is made using) to point out this is how digital systems tend to work to ensure more accurate numbers. It is done this way so that programs are not easily swayed by one glitchy reading causing a heater or chiller to pulse on/off quickly or suddenly flip your lights off for 30 minutes due to it erroneously thinking you tank instantly went to 254 degrees. I would have expected Neptune to program a minimum buffered reading count to fill up with sensor readings to whatever number the rolling average quantity requires before dividing the numbers and showing a result on the screen. At a given temperature of the water the low readings tend to be identical and step upward similarly implying a sum and averaging taking place.

Regarding right sizing the equipment... due to limitations of what can be installed on a nano or other small tank and without taking over the whole thing with hardware my thoughts were if you have to inline some of the equipment due to lack of sump you have very little water capacity to slow heat rise. There are limited options for inline heating and while in my case the heater is in the range specified by the manufacturer I'm likely to pickup additional heat effect from UV, MH, filter, pumps, etc that might make it too much. If I had a much larger tank I know it could offset the rise enough to have time for the Apex to respond so that there is only a very tiny fraction degree rise. Smaller tanks, on the other hand, I'm not sure what to expect this winter when the rooms are cooler and the heater kicks on. It may be absorbed with the cooler room or it might not.

With some cool nights so far I've seen it drift over what my intended temperature was in the logs and I did not have this type of drift when using an otherwise inferior competitor's product so I doubt it is the heater being too strong. I'll probably need to dial the off on the heater really close so that the slower off point on the Apex is irrelevant. If I ever decide to try the seasonal temperature database I my have to make it subtract the overshoot amount it seems to do from the off setting.


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Old 06/20/2011, 08:59 AM   #34
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If you are talking about scsuboy18's post, that sounds more like an anomaly with his system, not normal. And you are correct... there is a noticeable lag in normalization of the temperature reading following an Apex restart, but it's not anywhere close to being several minutes in my case - it's about 50-60 seconds. It starts at 19-20, then quickly increases to the actual temperature. If someone does have an massively-oversized heater, that's easily (and prudently) addressed with a defer statement. I have no doubt that there is some smoothing occurring during normal operation - I definitely understand what you are saying about that, but I still don't see an actual problem here. Maybe I just need more brain lubricant in a mug this morning


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Old 06/20/2011, 11:07 AM   #35
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Old 06/20/2011, 11:23 AM   #36
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lbritish, I'm on the same page as you now to an extent... I just did some testing, and it does seem to take an inordinate amount of time to react to large temperature changes.


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Old 06/20/2011, 10:22 PM   #37
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thanks for checking it out. I was starting to wonder if I was over analyzing it or something. I tend to test extremes for automation to see what the limits are on things and then design my programming based on "worse case scenarios".

A large temperature change would take a relatively long time to happen however the delay is something to consider if someone wanted a very stable temperature due to having tight limits on livestock for example. If you have a fish who wants to live in one range and another that overlaps only a small portion of that range you would want to maintain close to that range. If it takes a long time to register temperature shifts you might overshoot those so you have to test the tendency to overshoot due to lag and plan for it.

Since my newest tank is more in a test phase with equipment spread out across the floor instead of mounted on/in the stand and loaded with livestock yet I havent fully tested everything in a "installed" state but the lag seemed substantial enough to matter in very tightly controlled situations and it situations where ambient temperatures rapidly go from 55 degrees up to 115 resulting in AC kicking in and reasonably only cooling the room to temperatures still well over the desired tank temperature.

I'm actually pondering if I can measure the ambient air temp with a non-submerged probe accurate enough and program this thing to not turn on the heater after a certain air temperature because it might overshoot too much.


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Old 06/20/2011, 11:07 PM   #38
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A large temperature change would take a relatively long time to happen however the delay is something to consider if someone wanted a very stable temperature due to having tight limits on livestock for example. If you have a fish who wants to live in one range and another that overlaps only a small portion of that range you would want to maintain close to that range. If it takes a long time to register temperature shifts you might overshoot those so you have to test the tendency to overshoot due to lag and plan for it.
I over think things a lot. Your way over thinking. Seriously find documentations that fish of Genusx speciesx would die at 78.45, but could live a healthy life for years at 78.50. Also find a place on planet earth with such consistent temperatures. An animal with such short tolerances would have gone extinct.

If you read up on things a bit you'll find many biologist would argue it isn't healthy for animals to live in such consistence conditions. Most authors and speakers in the hobby would likely encourage you not to. Read up on old tank syndrome and single strains of bacteria vs a diversified mix. Also look at Dr. Ron Shimek's comments on reef tank temperatures. If you very an animals temperature through out it's life and there is a slight change from the norm it will life through it. If you keep it dead steady for a long time and it changes rapidly it could be disastrous.

If did actually know the temps that would cause harm to these animals and you keep two animals at their extremes right on the knives edge of significant measurable harm, well I would think that just wrong. I'm not into dog fighting either, but some like that so I guess to each their own, but don't judge me for judging you.

This is a Neptune forum in a thread talking about a specific beta firmware. I am not sure this is the appropriate place to talk about this and I seriously think you are over thinking things way too much. There is likely other things you could better use your time with, but that's just my two cents.


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Old 06/22/2011, 08:15 PM   #39
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Flash Utility for Mac

If you have a Mac and would like to test out our new Firmware update Utility which runs as a normal Mac application. There is no need to install the mono framework with this new version! You can download it from:

http://www.neptunesys.com/apex_mac_4.10_6C11.zip

Please report back your results to [email protected] if you are able to test this new Mac utility.

Curt


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Old 06/22/2011, 08:21 PM   #40
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If you have a Mac and would like to test out our new Firmware update Utility which runs as a normal Mac application. There is no need to install the mono framework with this new version! You can download it from:

http://www.neptunesys.com/apex_mac_4.10_6C11.zip

Please report back your results to [email protected] if you are able to test this new Mac utility.

Curt
Curt, I'm glad to hear about the Mac support! Unfortunately I can't help out 'cause I don't have an Apex system yet, but I will as soon as the Apex Jr is released.


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Old 06/23/2011, 09:24 AM   #41
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Quote:
Originally Posted by clp View Post
If you have a Mac and would like to test out our new Firmware update Utility which runs as a normal Mac application. There is no need to install the mono framework with this new version! You can download it from:

http://www.neptunesys.com/apex_mac_4.10_6C11.zip

Please report back your results to [email protected] if you are able to test this new Mac utility.

Curt
You mean after spending 2 hours figuring it out on my mac you now have software for it? well, I can test it out when a new firmware update comes around, but this is good to hear!


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Current Tank Info: 90 gallon rimless SPS-dominated, ATI T5

Last edited by scsuboy18; 06/23/2011 at 09:24 AM. Reason: obvious spelling mistake...doh
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Old 06/23/2011, 10:01 AM   #42
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I can test it out when a new firmware update comes around, but this is good to hear!
Even if you are currently running 4.10-6C11, you can just reapply the same version. I'm sure Curt would appreciate feedback from as many Mac users as he can get. I'll be trying it as soon as I get home from my business trip.


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Old 06/23/2011, 04:35 PM   #43
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If you have a Mac and would like to test out our new Firmware update Utility which runs as a normal Mac application. There is no need to install the mono framework with this new version! You can download it from:

http://www.neptunesys.com/apex_mac_4.10_6C11.zip

Please report back your results to [email protected] if you are able to test this new Mac utility.

Curt
This is fantastic. I am already running 6C11, but will give it a whirl later....

Thx


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Old 06/23/2011, 07:48 PM   #44
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I gave it a shot and didn't have any problems. The only problem I can foresee is assigning the arp address. I didn't have a problem with it but I can see how that may be confusing to someone not familiar with networking or the command line. That being said I felt the directions in the readme.txt were more than adequate.


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Old 06/27/2011, 06:27 AM   #45
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Is 4.10 out of Beta now?

This is what I see on the software page:

AquaController Apex Owner's Manual
AquaController Apex Firmware Revision (4.05-4D11)
AquaController Apex Firmware Revision (4.10-6C11)
AquaController Apex Mac Beta Firmware Revision (4.10-6C11)

It would appear as if 4.10 is out of Beta, but they are hanging onto 4.05 because it isn't perfect yet or removes some options people may still want to use?


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Old 06/29/2011, 10:38 PM   #46
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I have this problem
When I try to update I have the following message
Manual ARP Operation
"The uploader was unable to locate a valid ARP entry which on some systems may need be created by the user... please..... "


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Old 06/29/2011, 10:41 PM   #47
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I have this problem
When I try to update I have the following message
Manual ARP Operation
"The uploader was unable to locate a valid ARP entry which on some systems may need be created by the user... please..... "

Try booting Windows into safe mode and perform the update. I suspect your anti-virus is blocking the creation of the ARP entry. Future versions won't need to do this but the current versions do.


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Current Tank Info: 225G, BK 300 Deluxe, Deltec PF601, Precision Marine Kalkreactor, 2-LMIII+6 pumps, SpectraPure UHE, Apex, LunarSim, Tunze 6305s. Mixed reef, clam, fish, etc.
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Old 06/29/2011, 10:42 PM   #48
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Is 4.10 out of Beta now?

This is what I see on the software page:

AquaController Apex Owner's Manual
AquaController Apex Firmware Revision (4.05-4D11)
AquaController Apex Firmware Revision (4.10-6C11)
AquaController Apex Mac Beta Firmware Revision (4.10-6C11)

It would appear as if 4.10 is out of Beta, but they are hanging onto 4.05 because it isn't perfect yet or removes some options people may still want to use?

An old version is often kept online just in case; I've seen no issues with 6.1 for some time and not heard mention of issues.


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Current Tank Info: 225G, BK 300 Deluxe, Deltec PF601, Precision Marine Kalkreactor, 2-LMIII+6 pumps, SpectraPure UHE, Apex, LunarSim, Tunze 6305s. Mixed reef, clam, fish, etc.
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Old 06/29/2011, 10:47 PM   #49
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Right after I made the post Curt answered my e-mail and said it was out of Beta.

Ken you have the AI LEDs running still right? Have you used lighting/storm effects with them recently? I heard others make comments that they weren't work and today I tried to show them to someone and when I clicked manual on for storm nothing happened. Well all three LED outlets switched to weather as they are supposed to, but I didn't see any flashes or cloud cover. Didn't spend much time on it either.


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Old 06/29/2011, 10:53 PM   #50
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Try booting Windows into safe mode and perform the update. I suspect your anti-virus is blocking the creation of the ARP entry. Future versions won't need to do this but the current versions do.
Thanks Kenargo!
But I made a mistake, I forgot some info.. I am running a Mac, and the last time I install mono, it could do something?


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