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View Full Version : A few questions before buying a controller


trilinearmipmap
05-01-2010, 04:11 PM
I am looking at getting a controller for my 120 gallon reef, probably an Apex but I am not sure. I have never used a controller before.

The functions I would want to use are: lights timer, temperature control for heater, pH control for calcium reactor, and float switch to shut off my skimmer in case of overflow. Later on if I switch to controllable powerheads I would use that function too. And I would want to control LED lights when I make the switch in 1 to 2 years. Also I might remove my Tunze osmolator and run the top-off through my controller if that makes things simpler.

Questions:

1. Has anyone used the Apex controller with a Macbook? Any problems using a Mac to interface with the controller?

2. I have read that if I buy a video game wireless connector then plug it into the Apex I can run wireless control off the internet, for people who have done this how easy is it and how well does it work?

3. Where are people putting the hardware (display screen box and main controller box) for their controllers? Under my stand space is tight, I am not keen on having hundreds of dollars of electronics right next to a bunch of saltwater. I have thought of building a splash-proof cover in case of drips and splashes but then heat build up might be a problem. Or drilling a hole though the stand and mounting the display unit on the outside of the stand and running the cable through to the inside of the stand. Any thoughts on this please.

4. From talking to a vendor it seems every time you want to add a function you need to buy extra stuff and the dollars add up fast, any comments on this. For example if I want a float switch on my skimmer cup then I need a special add-on box for this, etc etc. Can they not just have one controller unit that handles whatever you plug into it?

5. Where are controllers on the technology cost curve? Eg. with LED lighting it is clear that a couple of years from now they will be better and cheaper, same with someone who bought an HDTV five years ago. Are controllers pretty well established and stable as far as their functions and pricing, or do they continue to improve in performance and decrease in price at a rapid rate?

fencer
05-01-2010, 04:27 PM
1. Has anyone used the Apex controller with a Macbook? Any problems using a Mac to interface with the controller?

---web based interface connects to router not computer

2. I have read that if I buy a video game wireless connector

---No...buy a router it is cheaper

3. Where are people putting the hardware (display screen box and main controller box)
---controller itself generates little heat you can put it in a box
---keep all componets as dry as possible...includes setting up drip loops

4. From talking to a vendor it seems every time you want to add a function you need to buy extra stuff and the dollars add up fast

---not sure how to setup an ato for apex, but they do have 4+ digital ports in the package ..it is going to cost you 300+


5. Where are controllers on the technology cost curve? Eg. with LED

---price of controllers across the board are aboun the same. tech advances have not been major in these controllers. The Apex is pretty robust and offers a lot of features. The Profilux as well

PoonTang
05-02-2010, 04:35 AM
1 I dont know about the mac book thing but i am pretty sure it works ok. I have never seen anything on the help forum where a mac user is having problems.
2 You cannot use a router unless it has bridging capability. Most dont, their just access points. Get the wireless gaming adaptors. $50 and easy to set up work like a hot damn. My apex sent me a email today on my iPhone telling me that my tank went over 80Deg and then shut of my MH lights.
3 I built a cabinet to house all my electronics outside of my stand. I lost my last tank because of having my connections in my stand. I mount the display on the wall beside and above the tank. Check out my build thread.
4 For float switches you will nedd to get a breakout box. About $60 and that will allow you to run up too 6 switches/ water sensors etc. The apex comes with a ph and a ph/orp port. If you want to run more than that you can add modules for like $150 each that will give you salinity/ ph / orp/ temp etc but the base unit will give you the 2 ph you need for a cal reactor if you are not running orp.
5 Every year the get better and cheaper, just like all things electronic.

Apex just came out with a Vortec module that will allow you to controle 4 vortec pumps from the variable ports that will now controle tunze pumps/ led's/ or vortecs

fencer
05-02-2010, 06:49 AM
The apex gives 6 digital ports. You can make a cable or you can buy the breakout box. It is in the Apex manual

Milad
05-02-2010, 07:21 AM
here is a good read if you want to know what the apex can do
http://reeftech.webs.com/

also you might still have time to get into this group buy
http://www.nano-reef.com/forums/index.php?showtopic=232950

trilinearmipmap
05-02-2010, 02:23 PM
Thanks for all the replies.