Best Controller

ethompson

New member
I'm in the market for a controller. (I think) I want to have my lights, calcium reactor (future purchase), and temperature with heater and chiller monitored and controlled by the device.

My questions:

Are there any other options I will really wish I had later down the road? I've got a 120 gallon mixed reef that I want as automated as possible.
 

ianward

New member
I am a nooob to SW but I have just finished alot of homework and of the Aquatronica, Octopus, Lighthouse I am going with the Neptune aquacontroller 3 pro.

It does everything I want it to and more, seems to be very reliable and does not use the X-10 modules for controll.
You can also monitor your tank on the web.
 

ethompson

New member
I guess I'm not sure what these X-10 modules are. They control the divices attached?

I notice that this is an expensive unit. Why go with a unit with so many features that you don't plan to use?

I guess you like the web monitoring?

ethompson
 

ianward

New member
The X-10 modules use your household electrical sockets to transmit a signal throughout your house wires to a receiver module plugged in where you need a devise turned on and off, they can be subject to interference though.

The neptune uses a telephone wire hooking up your controller to either a 8 or 4 outlet powerbar for control and the powerbars can be daisychained together to control 20+ things even other tanks.
It is expensive for the pro, the AC 3 is cheaper, and I may go with that after asking some more questions .

This page is a comp of their systems
http://www.neptunesys.com/comparison.htm

The Lighthouse looks good and is cheap but a bit limited.
Cheers
 

Kinetic

New member
Re: Best Controller

<a href=showthread.php?s=&postid=6977769#post6977769 target=_blank>Originally posted</a> by ethompson
I'm in the market for a controller. (I think) I want to have my lights, calcium reactor (future purchase), and temperature with heater and chiller monitored and controlled by the device.

My questions:

Are there any other options I will really wish I had later down the road? I've got a 120 gallon mixed reef that I want as automated as possible.

You can do this with most controllers, I'd recommend an Neptune System Aquacontroller.

The Jr. (lowest model) controlls temperature, all lights, wave maker, moonlight, seasonal adjustments, it also has a pH probe so you can controll pH (such as your calcium reactor would need).

It uses either x10 or direct connect outlets. X-10 suck, are unreliable, but DC's are the best and only way to go (imo).

The higher end models can monitor and control Conductivity and ORP. Both not really needed... even for a 120. But cool to have for redundency and super control.

hope that helps.

www.neptunesys.com
 

dannieboiz

New member
If you decide on the buying the AC make sure you get the DC8 with it, or else it'll cost you over $100 more to buy it on its' one.
 

MCary

Premium Member
I have an AC Jr. The II and the III pro are obviously better units but they appeal more to the technophiles who love the toys as much as the function of them. Few reefers will need all the capabilities of the more expensive units. Fewer still sill use them. My Jr can turn on/off the lights, monitor temp and pH and track the results, turn on and heaters and chillers, and turn on and off CO2. Basically anything that plugs in can be controlled by temp, time, and pH or any combination of the three. If pH is greater than 8 but less than 9 and its later than 3 p.m. but the temp is greater than 78 degrees turn on switch. I have a direct connect 8 power strip, no X-10s and it can handle another DC4 (12 outlets total)

SO if price is an issue, get the Jr, it will serve you well.
 

cmhollis

New member
I went with the ACIII (Non-Pro). It has the web server and e-mail functions of the III Pro, and can control 20 devices (I am told Pro can control 30). It does not have conductivity but I don't consider that a big deal. Plus Curt (developer of AC's) is working on some expansion modules. He won't give many details but I am thinking that it will add some of the missing functions to the lower end models (just my opinion - no facts to base this on).

I am very happy with my choice, and the ACIII is $400, not that much more than the Jr or the II.

Mike
 

Kinetic

New member
the new Jr.s are said to also have serial connections to hookup to your computer! lookout for those!!
 

ethompson

New member
Thanks all!!

Thanks for the information. I'll do some more research into all of this and may be back with more questions.

ethompson
 

bbragg

New member
I've had the AC2 from Neptune for three years now. I'm going to upgrade to the AC3 (non-PRO).

I use the DC4's but the newer DC8 looks like more ports for your $. One thing I should mention is that the original DC4s would blow fuses on IceCap MH ballasts. This drove me nuts but they fixed it on the DC4HD with higher current capability.

Also, their DC units can't switch a decent sized chiller for very many cycles without blowing the fuse. I bought a 110v relay with a 1hp contact rating and that has never failed. You could also use an X10 module with the appropriate rating but the DC switched outlet blocks are very reliable, signal wise, compared to the X10 modules. Some people don't have any issues with the X10 but others do and it can drive you mad.

I thought I would use the Neptune to just flip the lights. Then I decided that I didn't like working on my tank. So ... the Neptune now switches 2 MH lights, 4 sets of PC lights, 2 wavemaker pumps (MaxiJet), a 1/4 hp chiller, the CO2 valve on the calcium reactor, the pump on the calcium reactor, the pump on the skimmer, the UV sterilizer, the main pump (turned down during FEEDing only), the 120v solenoid on the valve to the RO/DI for makeup water, and the peristaltic pumps that dose iodine and phosphate binder. It does all of this based on time, temp, pH, and ORP.

I do exactly NOTHING on my tank. As I also have a Nitrate Reactor, I don't even change the water ... ever. And since my wife drops the food cubes in ... I am officially a slacker. All thanks to the Neptune.

Sure, I have to replace the Iodine and Phos Binder bottles every once in a while, flush the RO membrane occasionally, and clean the skimmer now and then ... but that's not too bad.

My Neptune AC2 also eats 9v backup batteries too often and it's clock gets off time too quickly. But I hear the new AC3 fixes all of those issues. Hence, I'm upgrading. I would highly recommend the Neptune stuff.
 

RobbyG

New member
Also you might want to check out Aquatronica, it is very good, very expandable, updatable via the internet and also a sleek looking unit.

For Aquatronica check out

http://www.aquariumobsessed.com
www.aquatronica.com
www.finsreef.com

The Big Aquatronica thread
http://reefcentral.com/forums/showthread.php?threadid=514711&perpage=25&pagenumber=1

If you have even more money to spend there is Elos systems , it has just about everything the Aquatronica has and a webserver and sms module. Not many people on the forum have any expeirence with it, so little is know on it's usage.
 

asnatlas

New member
<a href=showthread.php?s=&postid=6977839#post6977839 target=_blank>Originally posted</a> by clutch
me 2 just tagging along....

91862Subscribe_to_this_Thread.jpg
 

h20cooled

Premium Member
I had the AC jr for around 4 months and loved it, it controlled almost everything that I need except another pH probe for my CA reactor. I also wanted an ethernet port so I could control and monitor it from the internet. After doing a lot of reading I decided to upgrade to the AC3 (non-pro), the cost was not that much more, the switch over was easy because it uses the same hardware (DC8, probes,etc...) and it would give me everything I wanted. Well I've had the AC3 since Tuesday and it is awesome definatly worth the money. I've got it setup to email me on my cell phone if anything goes wrong...

Rich
 

moonpod

Premium Member
It depends on your needs.

Aquacontroller III Pro is nice in that there is an integrated web server--however my previous experiences (again this is MY experience not necessarily universal) is that neither the DC or the x10 are reliable so I chose not to go this route. However for a high end controller with integrated webserver this is the route to go.

Aquatronica is limitless in terms of expandibility and they are constantly adding modules and upgrading it. Some probe stability issues IME, but not bad. Support is decent. Lots of users here on RC.

AC jr is probably the best option for a "low end" controller, but somewhat limited options and you still have to use the DC and/or x10 which I personally distrust.

The lighthouse is a cool option for an "easy" to connect to the web controller, but it is limited in terms of number of things you can control etc....

The IKS probably set the standard worldwide for controllers, and is rock stable/reliable, HOWEVER it is quite pricey and doesn't have an integrated webserver. It is not commonly seen in the US. Probably no more than 4 users on RC if that. There exist two remote monitoring options--one a SMS module that will send you text messages if something goes wrong, the other is to hook a computer up to it and set that up as a web access portal. It's not that important to me so this is the route I went. It is not as expandable as the Aquatronica, but it is more expandable than the ACIII Pro.

The ELOS Bioptopus is intruiging, but I don't personally know anyone who actually has one.
 

asnatlas

New member
<a href=showthread.php?s=&postid=6990368#post6990368 target=_blank>Originally posted</a> by moonpod
The ELOS Bioptopus is intruiging, but I don't personally know anyone who actually has one.

I know Fliger has ordered a ELOS tank with controller so hopefully he will be able to provide some info soon ;)
 

moonpod

Premium Member
Did fliger order the controller? He was hedging on that one. I tried to push him into it so that we would get some first hand experience with that one. I'm tempted to replace my office tank with an ELOS setup.
 

curtisvill

New member
I have an Aquatronica on the way after doing a lot of research and reading. I should have it next week. I will be using it to control my ORP, calcium reactor, heat/cooling, water changes, and monitoring a bunch of other things. I decided to not go with the top off function as it is only a sigle float switch and I just did not feel comfortable with 1.
 

gotfrogs

Premium Member
I would go with the ACIII (non pro) I am looking at upgrading my ACII to the same unit. I have a 120 mixed reef like yourself. Take a look.
 
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