Can I just hack off the controller for a Won Bros digital heater?

tgunn

New member
Hey all,
I've about had it with the piece of crap Won Bros digital heaters I've got.
I have three.

I've already had one in for repair because it was reading 120F all the time. Today I was about to close off my QT tank where my spare rocks were sitting from my big overhaul. Well, despite being set to 79F and READING 79F on the dial I stuck my hand in and thought, "Hmm, that's not right".. Turns out the calibration just went WAY off on the heater. Because the water is around 70F.

SO, what I'm wondering is, does anyone know if I can just cut off the crappy controller and use the titantium part as a heating element? Then I could just wire it up to a RELIABLE Ranco and have a heater that doesn't suck.

Any ideas?

Tyler
 

Doug

Reefkeeping Ninja
Premium Member
I would be very careful. I am not sure and just guessing but they might be stepping down the voltage after the controller part. I would not chance it and it's just not worth you getting zapped or worse, shocking your tank or causing a fire.
 

tgunn

New member
<a href=showthread.php?s=&postid=9834007#post9834007 target=_blank>Originally posted</a> by Doug
I would be very careful. I am not sure and just guessing but they might be stepping down the voltage after the controller part. I would not chance it and it's just not worth you getting zapped or worse, shocking your tank or causing a fire.

True enough. Just trying to salvage what I consider to be pretty useless heaters. :)

Probably best to just buy a basic reputable titanium heater coil and get a ranco.

Tyler
 

tgunn

New member
<a href=showthread.php?s=&postid=9834056#post9834056 target=_blank>Originally posted</a> by smcdonn
Get a ranco controller
Actually, I guess I could just set the heater temp to max and use the ranco to reliabliy control the temp..

Good idea!
Tyler
 

gary faulkner

New member
SO, what I'm wondering is, does anyone know if I can just cut off the crappy controller and use the titantium part as a heating element? Then I could just wire it up to a RELIABLE Ranco and have a heater that doesn't suck.


This is exactly what I did.

Works great.
 

scottfarcuz

New member
I've always tried to set the actual heaters thermostat a few degrees above my temp controller. My thought was if the temp controller would ever happen to fail hopefully the heaters thermostat would then only raise the tank a few degrees.

Anything will fail eventually
 

tgunn

New member
<a href=showthread.php?s=&postid=9834700#post9834700 target=_blank>Originally posted</a> by gary faulkner
This is exactly what I did.

Works great.

So it seems my malfunctioning heater drifted upwards even more. If I have the heater set to maximum it will not even maintain 78F... :rolleyes:

So when you hacked off the controller does the heater coil just have hot and neutral, wired straight to 120v?

Thanks,
Tyler
 

gary faulkner

New member
<a href=showthread.php?s=&postid=9866991#post9866991 target=_blank>Originally posted</a> by tgunn
So it seems my malfunctioning heater drifted upwards even more. If I have the heater set to maximum it will not even maintain 78F... :rolleyes:

So when you hacked off the controller does the heater coil just have hot and neutral, wired straight to 120v?

Thanks,
Tyler


Yes it takes 120 volts to run the titanium element.
You want to run this through the controller to make it cycle on and off.

You now have a very reliable heater.

HTH
 

tgunn

New member
<a href=showthread.php?s=&postid=9872175#post9872175 target=_blank>Originally posted</a> by gary faulkner
Yes it takes 120 volts to run the titanium element.
You want to run this through the controller to make it cycle on and off.

You now have a very reliable heater.

HTH

Great! I'll have to get a Ranco one of these days and just control the heaters with that. I'll miss the eye-candy LED display, but I'm sure I'll live. Lol.

Thanks!
Tyler
 

revnull

Premium Member
It's not that I'm untrusting. I just like to be certain. I cracked open my faulty won bros LCD heater and probed it with a Fluke digital multi meter. When the heater kicked on, I read 115v AC on the black and white leads. Like Gary said, you should be able to lop off the defective tumor of a temp controller and wire it to a very reliable Ranco controller. That’s what I'll be doing this weekend. Thanks to those braver than me. I was just going to toss this heater until I read this post.
 

gary faulkner

New member
Trust me it works.
That is how I heat my 120 and no problems.
I also added several glass heaters to my sump, wired to the Ranco just for back up.

HTH
 
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