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Apex for auto top off
Last Post 10/26/2010 3:19 PM by AJ. 4 Replies.
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Ames
Advanced Member
Posts/Points: 416/632



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10/25/2010 9:22 AM
    Is it possible to use my Apex controller for Auto top off?
    Greenwood
    Senior Member
    Posts/Points: 4911/5848



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    10/25/2010 5:32 PM
    Yes, it's possible...but there's no easy kit for doing it. Here's a couple of resources that will be helpful:

    General documentation - The Neptune Systems documentation sucks. This document is better and much more complete.:
    Unofficial Apex New Users's Guide - http://reeftech.webs.com/Apex%20New...0Guide.pdf

    One of the better breakout Box DIY threads:
    http://reefcentral.com/forums/showt...?t=1847474

    Thread about ATO code:
    http://www.reefcentral.com/forums/s...?t=1814988

    You can get your float valves from www.autotopoff.com or www.bulkreefsupply.com (along with about a million other sites). The Madison brand floats have a good reputation...and don't forget to get a snail guard for the bottom float (the one that's in contact with the water all the time).

    The only real benefit to doing ATO thru your Apex is that you have a centralized point of control. You could leverage the float valves for more than just ATO...like if you wanted to do an automated water change, or send alerts if your high water mark float valve changes state. So there are some benefits...but one of them is not saving $$ as some of the off the shelf ATO solutions will be about the same price and Apex integration is certainly more work. It all goes back to the "is the benefit worth my time" factor. If you do leverage your Apex, please post details...

    --AJ
    Aaron Johnson
    Proud GIRS Member
    Ames
    Veteran Member
    Posts/Points: 2206/2632



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    10/26/2010 8:23 AM
    Posted By AJ on 10/25/2010 05:32 PM


    General documentation - The Neptune Systems documentation sucks. This document is better and much more complete.:
    Unofficial Apex New Users's Guide - http://reeftech.webs.com/Apex%20New...0Guide.pdf


    Hey Sean, remember when I was telling you about that fan made user guide that I couldn't find? This is it! Bookmark that sucker!
    Bela M. Sziklassy ~-~-~ "A dog is the only thing on earth that loves you more than you love yourself."
    Wilton
    Average
    Posts/Points: 376/466



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    10/26/2010 2:24 PM
    I should chime in here, since I set up my tank for ATO with the Apex....but I'm sort of out of the box on it. My RODI feeds a small rubbermaid res that is above my sump on a shelf. The RODI feed goes to a float valve (one of those push up to stop the flow thingies.) at the top of the res. Near the bottom of the res is a float valve tied to the apex.

    At the bottom of the res there is a bulkhead that feeds into a valve (so I can shut it off instead of draining it), followed by a splitter. One side of the splitter feeds my Calc reactor, and one side feeds another float valve that is in the sump.

    Some people feed the RODI directly to a float valve in the sump, but this isn't a good idea. RODI units don't work well with small amounts of water, and if straight to the float valve it will replace evaporated water smidgen by smidgen.

    So, my version works like this:

    if the float vavle on the bottom of the res tank drops, it sends an email alarm and an audible alarm on the base unit that won't go off at night (because freshwater res low isn't an emergency). I then go turn on the RODI, it fills the res to that float vavle, which turns the RODI off. I can now wander about while its filling without worrying if it will overflow when I space it. The res float valve and the calc reactor have gravity fed freshwater at all times.



    The freshwater res is the blue thing on the shelf.



    the white thing in the lower right is a thermoplastic mount I made and then siliconed into the sump. It holds the float valve at the level I want in my sump, and also has a float switch higher up to warn me if the sump is high.

    With the cost of fittings, res, switches, breakout box for the apex, it was about$175, plus a ton of work. If I had to do it over again, I would just buy an ATO.

    300 gallon mixed reef; mostly Zoas, Palys and LPS
    I like 'em colorful, cheap and hardy.
    I like my corals the same way.
    Greenwood
    Senior Member
    Posts/Points: 4911/5848



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    10/26/2010 3:19 PM
    Interesting design. I love to see people get creative with these controllers. I like your dual float valve design in your sump. What would happen if the top float value were to change state? Can you show me the code that you're using? Another thing that you could do if you wanted to dump more money into this (hehe) is put a solenoid on the float valve to your blue container. Then when it emptied out, you could turn the solenoid on, allowing it to fill up again. I think you would have to do it on a time basis (i.e. turn it on for an hour) since you don't have a electronic float valve to indicate when it's full. It would also give you a level of redundancy so you didn't have to worry about walking into a wet room should your mechanical float valve go bad. All in all, you've done quite a bit with it so far...looking forward to seeing what else you do... :-)

    --AJ
    Aaron Johnson
    Proud GIRS Member
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