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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I was looking for a controller only for my lights, but I decided I might as well get a good reef controller that does everything, I was waiting for the perfect excuse to justify that expense anyway :rotflmao: Way more expensive than I wanted to pay, but I learned in this hobby that buying the lesser option now is a recipe for paying more in the future anyway (I should have bought a 90, why didn't I get the 90, that question is stuck in my head). :cool:

Here's the features I think I need:
- Temperature control (safety if heater fails, or warning if heater is inaccurate or insufficient)
- minimum 4 or ideally 5 analog voltage output (1-10V) for my lights
- a good mix of triac-based and relay-based 120v outlets
- programmable feed mode
- network ability
- future expandability for ATO, dosing pumps, PH probe and Salinity probes
- future expandability for my Vortech, and also 1-10V powerheads

I'm a little paranoid: I'd like something safe that can't catch fire if over-driven, or failure of the plugged equipment, or some unnoticed salt deposit. It's a love/hate relationship with controlled power bars, because I guess I know too much about how they work, and I haven't found anything that I'd consider "safe" from any company. Triac circuits are ALWAYS badly designed, I'd prefer old fashioned relays for the power-hungry devices, and I'd use the triac outputs for powerheads and other low-power stuff (but not too low power so that the triac circuit fails, because they're also badly design for very low power).

My needs aren't anything fancy, the only outstanding aspect is the number of 1-10V outputs I want. The Apex, the RKE and the Reef Angel Plus are all equally suitable. Mostly around the same price for the features I need. I was leaning toward the reef angel at first, expecting it would cost much less, but I have a deal for the Apex which makes it almost the same price (when including required expansions).

Salinity probes don't seem to be important from any vendors, they push more for ORP and second PH probe. Is ORP only important if I do ozone? I thought salinity seemed more important, because it's changed by the ATO, salt creep, skimming, etc.. ? ORP is a very weird metric, I don't really understand it right now, should I care about it?
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
Is there any additional companies I should look into?
It seems everybody has either Apex, RK or ReefAngel.

Well, RK is now eliminated, they don't support linux, I should have thought about my operating system issues. :( I'm down to ReefAngel or Apex, or ???
 

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Apex. I don't see too many limitations with it yet. I had the rk. I had to switch. Toooo user friendly. Windows vista, user friendly, didn't do anything though. Xp, did it all. Angel, unlimited. But wow, complex. I went with the JR. Works with what I want. And the head unit was just over kill for me. Apex Jr, PH module. I'm good for now.
 

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I use a apex and have never used anything else so i cant speak on terms of anything besides apex but there amazing! They will send you text messages if your tank has any issues, you can check on your tank when your at dinner 5, 10, 20, 50, 800 miles away. Lets say your at dinner with friends and your tank lights went off and you have metal halides and want your tank on for a few minutes to show people your tank.. you can turn on your lights with your phone and there fully powered when you get home. They have a app for the iphone thats very easy to use and has a number of uses. controls heaters on and off, chillers, powerheads.... you can set up cycles and diff programs for your powerheads. Controls lights, tells you temp and ph and what number of amps you are pulling from your wall socket...which is very helpful if you have a 20 amp breaker and want to know how much your pulling from that socket to avoid a trip. There is just a endless number of things the apex does so well.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Yeah the total programming flexibility is the most attractive feature of the reef angel. I saw a video of the apex though and it seems programmable with a high-level language directly in the web interface... not nearly to the extent as the reef angel, but still powerful and faster to change something.

Do I understand correctly that none of the power bars are UL listed, from any company?
My insurance company might not like it :icon_deal:
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Oh well, I went all out, I ordered the apex full system with PH and ORP probes, should have it in a few days :)

Went through the manual, and it's programming language is very rudimentary, and obviously much less flexible than reef angel, but I couldn't think of something I needed which wasn't possible with the directives on the apex (it's like a state machine on each output, plus some hysteresis, delays, and profiles). Also every connector I want is there in the base module, even the four voltage outputs. On the reef angel I'd need more modules, making the setup more cumbersome. It might seem unimportant but the display looks REALLY good, it will make my visitors go "Wow, your tank is like NASA stuff! You're so intelligent! I feel compelled to give you free beer!". It will pay back the controller investment in no time. This plan is foolproof. :banana:
 
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