Question on the JBJ ATO system

bcoons

New member
Anyone else out there have one of the JBJ Lighting ATO - Water Level Controllers? I have one and have been using it for a month or so and like it so far.

But, I have a question. The web site description states "- Tone sounds when pump is activated (or you can turn this feature off)"

I have yet to hear a tone sound when the pump is activated. I can't find mention of this feature anywhere in the little manual that comes with the unit. I think I'd like that little tone when the pump is on, but also would like the option to turn it off, which it seems to be now. Does anyone know how to turn the "tone on when the pump is activated" feature on and off?

TIA,
Bruce
 

nebraskareef

MFCEO
Premium Member
This isn't very helpful since I can't remember how they turned it off, but several people in the thread commented on how awful the sound was.

let me try to find the thread
 

superedge88

New member
I have one and it is a very loud tone, I do like the fact that it tells me when it is activating the pump. It gives me a very good idea how much my tank is evaporating on a daily basis. But I have absolutely no idea if there is a way to turn it off, I looked through the manual before to see if there was a way and I never found one.
 

bcoons

New member
<a href=showthread.php?s=&postid=6934940#post6934940 target=_blank>Originally posted</a> by superedge88
I have one and it is a very loud tone, I do like the fact that it tells me when it is activating the pump. It gives me a very good idea how much my tank is evaporating on a daily basis. But I have absolutely no idea if there is a way to turn it off, I looked through the manual before to see if there was a way and I never found one.

Heh heh, and I have the opposite problem. It seems to be off and I want to figure out how to turn it on! :) I can't find anything on it in the manual either. :confused:
 

old salty

Genius
Premium Member
If you open the ATO, you will see a switch near the speaker that turns the tone on and off. Mine came pre-set to "OFF" so I left it alone.

I don't know if I am happy with it. I seem to be having a small problem either with the ATO or the Aqua Medic pump that it controls. Lets say I am in the process of doing a water change; this empties the sump to a few gallons below where the float switch would trigger the unit on. Well, the unit switches on, but for some reason the pump stops after about three minutes. The float switch still indicates that the water level is low, and the LED for the pump on status is lit; the pump just quits turning. If I move the selector switch from Mode A to Mode B and then back to Mode A (Mode A is what it is set at permanently) then it will work again for another 3 minutes or so. What is so strange about this is that I can measure 120VAC from the ATO outlet. I think that to get to the bottom of this, I need to take the pump off, and plug it straight into an outlet and see if it stops turning after a few minutes. Maybe the motor is shot and creates an open preventing it from continuous duty. Considering that the setup is less than 1 month old, I'm not happy about the lack of reliability as of yet.
 

bcoons

New member
<a href=showthread.php?s=&postid=6935884#post6935884 target=_blank>Originally posted</a> by old salty
If you open the ATO, you will see a switch near the speaker that turns the tone on and off. Mine came pre-set to "OFF" so I left it alone.

I don't know if I am happy with it. I seem to be having a small problem either with the ATO or the Aqua Medic pump that it controls. Lets say I am in the process of doing a water change; this empties the sump to a few gallons below where the float switch would trigger the unit on. Well, the unit switches on, but for some reason the pump stops after about three minutes. The float switch still indicates that the water level is low, and the LED for the pump on status is lit; the pump just quits turning. If I move the selector switch from Mode A to Mode B and then back to Mode A (Mode A is what it is set at permanently) then it will work again for another 3 minutes or so. What is so strange about this is that I can measure 120VAC from the ATO outlet. I think that to get to the bottom of this, I need to take the pump off, and plug it straight into an outlet and see if it stops turning after a few minutes. Maybe the motor is shot and creates an open preventing it from continuous duty. Considering that the setup is less than 1 month old, I'm not happy about the lack of reliability as of yet.

Thanks for the location of the switch. I'll check it out this afternoon as I do my upgrade to the ReefKeeper II controller.

I have noticed exactly the same thing on the pump power. I'll unplug the power head I use for the top off pump in the reservoir from the ATO unit during a water change. After the water change I'll plug the pump back in, and even though the water level indicator indicates low, and the pump LED is ON, the pump doesn't work. What I do is then unplug the ATO unit from it's power source for a few seconds and then plug it back in. Then everything works normally.

What I suspect is that there is another undocumented feature that shuts the pump power off after 3 minutes or so as a safety feature. The float switch logic is telling the pump to keep working (thus the pump LED is ON) but the Triac or whatever is controlling the pump current is switched OFF. The reason you can still measure 120VAC at the pump receptacle is that the Triac has residual voltage leak-through with no load, but as soon as you put a load on it the voltage will go to zero, or in other words, won't allow enough current to start the pump motor.

This is just speculation my part as I haven't done any systematic investigation of this trait, but it seems to fit the observations. I'm using a Maxi-Jet 600 PH as my top off pump, so each time the float switch drops enough to activate the pump it only runs for a few seconds to top off the tank. During maint and water changes I unplug the whole ATO unit, then power it back up when the salt water level is again correct. (I don't want the pump pushing in several gallons of fresh water.)

Hope this helps and please let me know if you discover any thing else. So far I am pretty happy with my unit, which has also been in operation for about a month.

Bruce
 

saltygeek

New member
Oldsalty: The ATO will automatically shut off the pump after 3 minutes, its a safety feature. I either read in the manual or on their website how you can change it to up to like 15 minutes.
 

bcoons

New member
<a href=showthread.php?s=&postid=6935884#post6935884 target=_blank>Originally posted</a> by old salty
I don't know if I am happy with it. I seem to be having a small problem either with the ATO or the Aqua Medic pump that it controls. Lets say I am in the process of doing a water change; this empties the sump to a few gallons below where the float switch would trigger the unit on. Well, the unit switches on, but for some reason the pump stops after about three minutes. The float switch still indicates that the water level is low, and the LED for the pump on status is lit; the pump just quits turning. If I move the selector switch from Mode A to Mode B and then back to Mode A (Mode A is what it is set at permanently) then it will work again for another 3 minutes or so. What is so strange about this is that I can measure 120VAC from the ATO outlet. I think that to get to the bottom of this, I need to take the pump off, and plug it straight into an outlet and see if it stops turning after a few minutes. Maybe the motor is shot and creates an open preventing it from continuous duty. Considering that the setup is less than 1 month old, I'm not happy about the lack of reliability as of yet.

Oldsalty, Saltygeek is correct. I found this FAQ page at the web site that descibes the issue.

http://www.jbjlighting.com/sys_ato_faqs.html

Thanks, Saltygeek!
 

old salty

Genius
Premium Member
You guys are awesome!! Thanks for the link.


Now that I have read that, yes I am happy with the unit!!
 

Newreeflady

New member
Can you use this without a sump? Is there a way to put the sensors in my 12g nano tank and pump water upward about 4 feet into the tank? If so, what kind of pump would I need. Could I just store water in a bucket with a pump behind the tank and pump water up through 1/4" or 1/2" ID tubing?

Any help would be great. Sump is not an option.
Thanks,
Angela
 

bcoons

New member
<a href=showthread.php?s=&postid=7178355#post7178355 target=_blank>Originally posted</a> by Newreeflady
Can you use this without a sump? Is there a way to put the sensors in my 12g nano tank and pump water upward about 4 feet into the tank? If so, what kind of pump would I need. Could I just store water in a bucket with a pump behind the tank and pump water up through 1/4" or 1/2" ID tubing?

Any help would be great. Sump is not an option.
Thanks,
Angela

I have my float switch mounted directly in the main tank, as I also have no sump. I made an "L" bracket out of a piece of acrylic and use a plastic clamp to mount it under the lip at the back of the tank. The water level then pumps up right to the edge of the trim of the tank, right where I want it.

I have an 18 Qt plastic container in the stand filled with RO/DI water. I use a Maxi-Jet 600 powerhead as a pump. It pumps up through 1/4 " tubing about 3 ft into the CPR BakPak HOB skimmer. It works well for me.

Click on "gallery" button above and you can see some pics of my tank. If you look close you can see the float switch on the back wall of the tank just left of center.

Bruce
 

Newreeflady

New member
Hmm. Well, I don't have an stand with an cabinet under it. I have been considering getting a coffee table that would sit next to the tank to keep a few items handy (Salinity monitor, B-Ionic, etc) and may be able to rig some tubing to run out of it to the tank. How do you get the powerhead to pump through 1/4" tubing, isn't that a lot of back pressure? Can you take a closer picture of the sensor for me? I'm not sure which it is. I'm wondering if this would work for me. The tank doesn't have a lot of evaporation, but i'll be gone for 9 days which worries me.

Thanks,
Angela
 

bcoons

New member
<a href=showthread.php?s=&postid=7180658#post7180658 target=_blank>Originally posted</a> by Newreeflady
Hmm. Well, I don't have an stand with an cabinet under it. I have been considering getting a coffee table that would sit next to the tank to keep a few items handy (Salinity monitor, B-Ionic, etc) and may be able to rig some tubing to run out of it to the tank. How do you get the powerhead to pump through 1/4" tubing, isn't that a lot of back pressure? Can you take a closer picture of the sensor for me? I'm not sure which it is. I'm wondering if this would work for me. The tank doesn't have a lot of evaporation, but i'll be gone for 9 days which worries me.

Thanks,
Angela

You should be able to put a 5 gal bucket or something with fresh water beside the tank and use a PH to pump it up to the tank.

I use a short piece of 1/2" tube slipped over the MaxiJet outlet, and then a 1/4" tube slipped into that. I run the 1/4" tube up approx. 39" to my tank. I originally had a Maxi-Jet 400 in the bucket to pump the water up, but it couldn't do it. I switched to a MJ 600 pump and it works fine.

The sensor in the tank is one of the two that comes with the JBJ ATO system. The other one (optionally) goes in the fresh water supply to turn off the pump if the level in the fresh water container gets too low and the pump would run dry. The JBJ system also has a couple other fail-safe features.

I'll be doing major maintenance and cleaning on the tank today. I'll try to snap some pics of the float switch mount and how I have mine set up. I think it should work fine for your purpose.
 

bcoons

New member
<a href=showthread.php?s=&postid=7180658#post7180658 target=_blank>Originally posted</a> by Newreeflady
Can you take a closer picture of the sensor for me? I'm not sure which it is. I'm wondering if this would work for me. The tank doesn't have a lot of evaporation, but i'll be gone for 9 days which worries me.

Thanks,
Angela

Angela,

I did my tank cleaning today so I snapped some quick pics:

Here's a shot of the float switch that comes with the JBJ ATO on the back of my tank:

89673mount.JPG


Here's a closer look at it. I superglued a couple of small pieces of acrylic on the mounting bracket to keep snails out. Then I took a piece of acrylic (from Home Depot), heated it with a hair dryer, and bent it into a "L" shape. It was a little thin, so I glued a couple of other pieces of acrylic to make it a little thicker for the clamp:

89673detail.JPG


I then use a plastic clamp from HD to clamp the assembly to the back of the tank right under the trim lip:

[url]http://reefcentral.com/gallery/data/500/89673mountclose.JPG[/url]

In the cabinet I have my fresh water container. The ATO control unit is mounted on the door. Since you don't have a cabinet, I suppose you could just put a bucket of fresh water on the floor beside the tank:

[IMG]http://reefcentral.com/gallery/data/500/89673resevoir.JPG

In the fresh water container I have a Maxi-Jet 600 PH. I use plastic tubing of 1/2", 3/8", and 1/4" to reduce the output down to 1/4" tubing to run up to the outlet on the back of the tank. Also in the container is the other float switch that comes with the kit to use as a safety so the fresh water pump doesn't run dry:

89673pump.JPG


I run the tubing from the MJ PH up the back of the stand about 39" and run the tube into the open side of my BakPak2R skimmer. I use another plastic clamp to hold it in place. It then runs right into the tank through the skimmer outlet. Soeday I'll rig up a lettle more permanent mounting mechanism, but the clamp is actually pretty handy. Makes it easy to do maintenance:

89673outlet1.JPG


A close up. You could probably rig up something similar to run right into your tank. The important thing is to leave an air gap so that the tank can't syphon back down to your fresh water container. (Notice how I avoid the use of the word "resevoir"? That's because I can't spell it!): :D

89673outlet2.JPG


I really like the JBJ ATO system. The only problem I had was when I had a powerhead in the tank pointed wrong it made surface waves that kept triggering the ATO and I almost overflowed the tank. Once I was sure I had no surface waves jiggling the float switch I have had no problems. I think this will work for what you want to do.

Are you in a dorm room? I know it makes for some cramped space. I know your area as I lived in Monterey for 21 years. Sure miss the place.

Hope this helps.

Bruce
 

oneil

New member
The sound is not too bad and it is helpfull to let you know what is going on in your sump and when you are out of top off water.
 
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