3D printed Reef-Pi build

MaccaPopEye

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I have been following @Ranjib's open source controller build #Reef-Pi since mid 2017 and despite deciding over a year ago that I was going to build a Reef-Pi controller, I am only now finally getting close to actually putting it together!

For anyone interested here is the original Reef-Pi thread:
https://www.reef2reef.com/threads/reef-pi-an-opensource-reef-tank-controller-based-on-raspberry-pi.289256/page-354#post-5310314

However you don't need to read the many pages in that thread to build a Reef-Pi controller, just check out the great guides that Ranjib is putting together here:
https://learn.adafruit.com/reef-pi-installation-and-configuration

This won't be a super-fast build, but the aim is to have a place for me to upload all the designs of my 3D printed enclosures, keep me motivated to get this build finished and may even help some other people who want to build their own Reef-Pi.

To help anyone (especially from Australia) who may also want to build a Reef-Pi controller I will list the parts that I used and their cost in AUD as I build each module. In addition to learning a lot and having fun I would like this build to cost significantly less than a basic Apex kit. For reference, in Australia an Apex with only 6 outlets, 1 temperature probe and 1 pH probe costs $1135 AUD with each additional 6 outlet energy bar costing $440 AUD.

My initial goal with Reef-Pi is to have:
- 16 controllable outlets (big tank = lots of gear)
- 4 temperature probes (DT, sump, sump cabinet & ambient room temp)
- ATO (optical sensor + 2 back up float switches)
- A number of float switches around the tank and sump to alert me in case a number of things go wrong
- Dimming control of my 3 black box LED lights
- pH monitoring

Cheers,

Macca
 
https://www.omegasea.net/
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MaccaPopEye

MaccaPopEye

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Background:
I consider myself as having pretty minimal electronics knowledge but I wouldn't say I have none. I have built a couple of computers before and I did do some very very basic CAD, programming and electrical work over 7 years ago at university (before I dropped out and forgot it all very fast). I am currently back at university studying full time (not doing anything electronics related haha) as well as working shift work full time and I also have a young family. So my time is definitely in short supply :p

I had a 4’ tank for a couple of years before upgrading to my current 6x2x2 tank. It has been having some issues pretty much since set up over a year ago but I won’t go into that here. I hope to have more motivation to either get it under control or do a full reboot after I have Reef-Pi up and running on it :)

I live in Australia where electronics parts can be quite expensive so I have ordered a lot of parts from eBay and had to wait a couple of months for them to arrive. While I have been slowly amassing the required bits and pieces over the last year, I have also changed my mind a few times about how I wanted to set up my controller (so many possibilities). This resulted in ordering and waiting for more parts (giving me more time to change my mind again :p). Due to this my total build cost has been a bit more than it needs to be, but while I wait for parts and change my mind I have been doing a lot of research and reading other people’s builds and the knowledge I have gained is invaluable!

While trying to settle on how to house my Reef-Pi to best suit my needs (and after destroying a couple of project boxes) I discovered how affordable and versatile home 3D printing has become! I immediately started thinking about custom Reef-Pi enclosures and everything else I could print for my Reef. So for Christmas I got a budget 3D printer kit (something I wouldn't have had the confidence to build if it hadn't of been for the knowledge I have gained through this journey).

I wrote a review of the printer in one of the 3D printing threads for anyone interested, however there are much better printers out there for $200 now so while it is working well for me I would no longer recommend the Anet A8 to anyone:
https://www.reef2reef.com/threads/get-any-part-you-need-right-here.321961/page-3#post-4612909
 
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MaccaPopEye

MaccaPopEye

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Really cool what your doing. So not knowing anything about 3D printers is this one any good?

Thanks

B56AE283-A408-4949-80A4-89C48454F183.png
I would say it's not quite worth the money. It's got an acrylic frame which works but isn't ideal, it's advertised as an Anet A8 but it's not (it's a generic Chinese clone of a Chinese clone) and it looks like it's using fake pictures (never a good sign). You will be able to get decent prints with a bit of time and effort but you will likely need a few safety upgrades if it is anything like the actual Anet A8. After the safety upgrades you will be close to the $200 mark and it's much more worth while getting something in that price range as there are some amazing cheap printers out there now.

My recommendations for the $200 price range are the Geeetech A10 and the Ender 3. Look into both and do your own research, but they are both $200 and are getting great reviews, they have sturdy frames and are safe out of the box.

Edit - they are both still very cheap printers and may still take some time and effort to get printing really well, but IMO they are the best sub-$300 printers out there, and still better than many up into the $500 range. If you need something that works out of the box get a Prusa mk3 but thats up towards the 1K mark. But if I was buying a printer today with what I know it would be a Geeetch A10 for sure
 

Reef-junky

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I would say it's not quite worth the money. It's got an acrylic frame which works but isn't ideal, it's advertised as an Anet A8 but it's not (it's a generic Chinese clone of a Chinese clone) and it looks like it's using fake pictures (never a good sign). You will be able to get decent prints with a bit of time and effort but you will likely need a few safety upgrades if it is anything like the actual Anet A8. After the safety upgrades you will be close to the $200 mark and it's much more worth while getting something in that price range as there are some amazing cheap printers out there now.

My recommendations for the $200 price range are the Geeetech A10 and the Ender 3. Look into both and do your own research, but they are both $200 and are getting great reviews, they have sturdy frames and are safe out of the box.

Edit - they are both still very cheap printers and may still take some time and effort to get printing really well, but IMO they are the best sub-$300 printers out there, and still better than many up into the $500 range. If you need something that works out of the box get a Prusa mk3 but thats up towards the 1K mark. But if I was buying a printer today with what I know it would be a Geeetch A10 for sure
Thanks

How hard is it to design things to print? I don’t have any engineer or programming background.
 
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MaccaPopEye

MaccaPopEye

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Thanks

How hard is it to design things to print? I don’t have any engineer or programming background.
No programming at all is needed to design or print things. The only programming I have needed to do for my printer was enable thermal protection (which should be enabled already on the printers I suggested) but I followed a YouTube video for that step by step.

As for how hard it is to design, that depends on a number of things. What software you use, what you want to design and how much practice you put in. A great way to practice is to browse Thingiverse for simple designs that you want to print and rather than using their design, try to draw it yourself and just use theirs as a guide.

I don't think it's hard by any means but it might take a bit of time to pick up. I use Fusion 360 which is professional grade software but Autodesk have made it free for hobbyists. I barely scratch the surface as far as it's features go but I find it quite intuitive and easy to use for a novice (which I still am haha). I still often need to google something if I can't figure it out by just playing around but there is a large user base so all of my questions so far have had easy to find answers to.

(I wouldn't bother with things like SketchUp and TinkerCAD as while they are ok for beginners if you are going to design more than one or two items a year you will outgrow them quickly and just need to learn to use new software later)

If you want to see what it takes to design something simple check out this guys tutorials on YouTube. He has a way of explaining things really well. IMO if you watch half a dozen of his tutorials and design the items yourself as he walks you through them then you should be able to pick up the basics pretty easily.
 

Reef-junky

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I think 3D printers are amazing. I’m just wondering though if I would be able to print things for cheaper then what it would cost to buy or make them. If I did get a printer one of the things I would want to print would be a skimmer.
 
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MaccaPopEye

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I think 3D printers are amazing. I’m just wondering though if I would be able to print things for cheaper then what it would cost to buy or make them. If I did get a printer one of the things I would want to print would be a skimmer.
The answer is maybe haha a skimmer is an ambitious task but it has been done a few times before.

It depends on your design, how much of it is printed and how much is acrylic? How many prototypes will you need to print to get everything to fit properly as well as any other parts you may need? If you had a design that works 100% first try and only need to print it once then it would use maybe 1-2 rolls of filament depending on the size and again on how much is actually printed (around $30-40 per roll depending on the material for me in Australia, but a fair bit cheaper in the US).

Yes you can print a skimmer for less than it costs to buy one. Is it easy to do it cheaply? Probably not. After a number or prototypes, failed prints and wasted filament and design revisions you may still come close to the cost of the lower end retail skimmers (maybe, depends on a number of things). But then there is also the fact that manufacturers test and tune their skimmers to work pretty well, will a 3D printed one be designed as well as an off the shelf one? Again the answer is maybe haha but you may not care about that so much.

A 3D printed skimmer is on my to do list, but not any time in the near future :)
 
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MaccaPopEye

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Power board
First up is the power board. I'll cover this first because I've almost finished one of the 2 I'll be making (with the second to follow soon).
Reef-Pi Power Board Version 2 render 1.png

Each power board will control 8 AC outlets by switching them on or off as required (for a total of 16 controllable outlets). Where I have listed the cost of each item it will be the cost of what was actually used for the power board only. So if I purchased 25 of an item for $25 but only used one on the power board, then I will list the cost as $1. This is because I bought a lot of things in bulk and will use bits and pieces throughout the build.

Sockets
I had a lot of trouble finding a way to control AC outlets with Australian sockets and I went through several possible solutions. Eventually I found these panel mount universal sockets, perfect for what I needed! And at only $8 AUD for 5 it only cost me $32 for 20.
(Cost for 8: $12.80. Original ad isn’t available but here is a link to a similar item: https://www.ebay.com.au/itm/AU-EU-UK-US-AC-250V-13A-3P-Socket-Panel-Mounted-Adapter-5-Pcs-/391219203483?hash=item5b167b4d9b)

There is some out there that claim to be (and do look like) Aus sockets and I initially bought 20 of them. But they are actually Chinese plugs, which look the same and you can plug Aus plugs into them, but they are actually a tiny bit smaller than Aus ones and it's an incredibly tight fit and just doesn’t work well at all.

Later I did find some actual Aus panel mount sockets, but they were around $5 each. At $80 for 16 outlets they are still quite cheap but I already had the universal ones and I was trying to keep costs down. Maybe I will upgrade the outlets one day but for now I am happy with the ones I have. Those in the US have heaps of options for panel mount outlets but the universal ones will also work just fine.

Relays
At the time I bought my relays I couldn’t seem to find the standard sainsmart 8 channel relays in Aus and overseas sellers were charging pretty high shipping for them. I ended up finding an Aus company selling an 8-channel relay board in a different form factor that turned out to be great at saving space! Because of this if anyone chooses to use my power board design you will need to either edit the design to fit your relays or purchase a relay in similar form factor (the mounting holes may still need to be tweaked).
(Cost: $12. Link for any Aussies: https://www.littlebird.com.au/8-channels-5v-relay-module)

Power supply
The relay board needs 5V supplied to it, so it can switch the relays on and off. While you can power them from the 5V pin on the Pi I didn’t want to strain the Pi by drawing enough current to switch 16 outlets at once and do everything else (even though it would probably work) so I included a separate 5V power supply inside the power board.
(Cost: $10. Link: https://www.ebay.com.au/itm/AC-DC-5V-3A-Low-Ripple-EMI-Isolated-Step-down-Switch-Power-Module-Buck-Converter-/201597729719?hash=item2ef0293bb7)

Connectors
To include a fuse for safety and to allow different length cords to easily be used I have included a fused power switch that accepts a standard IEC power lead (aka a kettle cord).
(Cost: $1.50. Link: https://www.ebay.com.au/itm/DC-022-Power-Outlet-Jack-Socket-Connector-5-5x2-1mm-3-in-1-Fuse-10A-AC-250V-/222509195918?var=&hash=item0)

To connect the relay control pins to the Pi I have decided to use RJ45 cable and sockets. I will be using RJ45 sockets for most Reef-Pi connections so I was able to order a large amount in bulk but only one is needed per power board.
(Cost: $1. Link: https://www.ebay.com.au/itm/25pcs-180-Degree-Angle-RJ45-UTP-Keystone-Wall-Jack-Coupler-Adapter-Cat6-/282353800189?hash=item41bd9913fd)

I will also include an RJ45 crimping tool and punch down tool as a one of cost here for the whole build as it will be needed to wire up the RJ45 jacks and then the required cables (or you can buy pre-made ethernet cables).
(Cost: $15. Link: https://www.ebay.com.au/itm/Rj45-Rj11-Cat5-Network-Tool-Kit-Cable-Tester-Crimp-Crimper-Lan-Wire-Stripper-/391617156878?hash=item5b2e33970e)

While the relay board is powered by a separate 5V power supply, it still needs to share a common ground with the Pi for the control pins to work, so I have used a standard 5.5 x 2.1mm barrel jack for this. If you use a DB9 connector for the control pins instead of an RJ45 then you would be able to use one of the DB9 pins for this instead (but the design I posted would need to be altered).
(Cost: $0.15. Link: https://www.ebay.com.au/itm/10pcs-DC-Power-Supply-Jack-Socket-Female-Panel-Mount-Connector-5-5-x-2-1mm-12V/122774079110?ssPageName=STRK:MEBIDX:IT&_trksid=p2057872.m2749.l2649)

Wiring
In Australia we don’t use AWG for wire, instead it is just measured in mm. While the wire used in our wall circuits is 2.5mm, I have noticed many power boards in Australia use 1.5mm wire inside. However, there was virtually no cost difference between 1.5mm wire and 2.5mm wire and after a lot of searching I couldn’t find a definitive answer as to if 1.5mm wire was safe or not and a lot of sources insisted that only cheap power boards use 1.5mm so I went with 2.5mm wire. I purchased 10m of twin & earth cable and ended up using 4m for 1 power board (including a few mistakes :p).
(Cost $5.96. Link for any Aussies: https://www.bunnings.com.au/olex-2-5mm-three-core-twin-earth-cable_p4430080)

To attach the wire to the outlet pins I used crimps as it is a really clean and secure connection. To link the neutral and ground pins together I discovered these awesome “Male/Female piggyback terminals” which are awesome!
(Cost: $7. Link for any Aussies: https://www.bunnings.com.au/narva-2-5-3mm-blue-2-way-male-female-electrical-terminal-connector-10-pack_p4330775)

For the active pins, the male side of the piggyback terminal and the fused switch I used normal insulated terminals.
(Cost: $5. Link for any Aussies: https://www.bunnings.com.au/narva-4mm-blue-electrical-terminal-female-blade-100-pack_p4331383)

To make it easier to separate the wires as they left the fused switch and to join the active com wires from the relay I used a terminal connector strip. These are easy to cut so you only have as many terminals as you need, and they can fit up to 3x 2.5mm wires in them at once.
(Cost: $4.70. Link for any Aussies: https://www.bunnings.com.au/narva-electrical-terminal-connector-strip_p4330743)

The final thing needed to build the power board is a crimping tool. You can use pliers or a cheap crimping tool but they really don’t get a good connection and they are just plain hard to use. A cheap ratcheting crimping tool is a great investment and makes the crimp connections easy to do and perfect every time.
(Cost $22. Link for any Aussies: https://www.supercheapauto.com.au/p/sca-crimping-tool---heavy-duty-ratchet-type/213236.html#q=crimping+tool&segment=1&page=1)

Printing
Here is the link to the power board designs:
https://www.thingiverse.com/thing:3024281

It is designed to print in 4 parts on a 220mm x 220mm build plate. I have used PLA for now and it should be more than good enough but I would eventually like to re-print in ABS just so the parts can be vapor smoothed (but I am in no rush to do that).

Including the logo the power board uses approximately 350g of PLA to print. It can be printed in any colour but I used white for the power board, white and black for the text and white, black and orange for the logo. Price of PLA depends a lot on where you buy it from but a standard price for good PLA in Aus is around $30/kg including shipping.
(Cost: $10.50. Link: https://www.ebay.com.au/itm/3D-Printer-Filament-ABS-PLA-1-75mm-1kg-roll-25-colours-Aussie-Stock-Fast-Ship-/181616869603)

I used a soldering iron to “weld” the bottom and top pieces together. I taped the pieces together how I wanted them to sit and then slowly ran a soldering iron along the join on the inside of the box to melt the parts together. I designed a large ridge along the join so that it either provides more surface area for glue (standard CA glue would work) or it provides a good amount of sacrificial material to melt together (just be careful of the relay mounting points).

My printer can also only extrude 1 colour at a time so for the logo and text I had the slicer set to pause the print at certain heights (every 0.8mm for the logo and at 1.2mm for the text) so that I could change the filament colour and re-start the print. They are then just attached to the power board with CA glue.

To hold the top and bottom pieces together I am using 35mm M3 screws.
(Cost: $3.22. Link: https://www.bunnings.com.au/pinnacle-m3-x-35mm-zinc-plated-thread-screw-8-pack_p2310130)

Using the above, the cost for the first 8 outlet power board (including the 2 crimping tools) is $110.83. The cost for subsequent 8 outlet power boards is $73.83. Compared to the $440 per 6 outlet Apex board that is pretty dang awesome!

Here are some pics of the printed power board, I have lost my punch down tool so I need to get another one before I can wire up the RJ45 jack and then I will test it with the Pi and make sure the relay works well. In the mean-time if anyone spots anything wrong with my AC wiring please let me know! Of course I will also use a multi-meter to check that each outlet switches on and off properly with the relay before I plug in the mains power :) (red = active, black = neutral & green/yellow = ground).
20181103_003408.jpg

20181103_225432.jpg

20181103_234332.jpg

20181103_003413.jpg
 

crusso1993

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Power board
First up is the power board. I'll cover this first because I've almost finished one of the 2 I'll be making (with the second to follow soon).
Reef-Pi Power Board Version 2 render 1.png

Each power board will control 8 AC outlets by switching them on or off as required (for a total of 16 controllable outlets). Where I have listed the cost of each item it will be the cost of what was actually used for the power board only. So if I purchased 25 of an item for $25 but only used one on the power board, then I will list the cost as $1. This is because I bought a lot of things in bulk and will use bits and pieces throughout the build.

Sockets
I had a lot of trouble finding a way to control AC outlets with Australian sockets and I went through several possible solutions. Eventually I found these panel mount universal sockets, perfect for what I needed! And at only $8 AUD for 5 it only cost me $32 for 20.
(Cost for 8: $12.80. Original ad isn’t available but here is a link to a similar item: https://www.ebay.com.au/itm/AU-EU-UK-US-AC-250V-13A-3P-Socket-Panel-Mounted-Adapter-5-Pcs-/391219203483?hash=item5b167b4d9b)

There is some out there that claim to be (and do look like) Aus sockets and I initially bought 20 of them. But they are actually Chinese plugs, which look the same and you can plug Aus plugs into them, but they are actually a tiny bit smaller than Aus ones and it's an incredibly tight fit and just doesn’t work well at all.

Later I did find some actual Aus panel mount sockets, but they were around $5 each. At $80 for 16 outlets they are still quite cheap but I already had the universal ones and I was trying to keep costs down. Maybe I will upgrade the outlets one day but for now I am happy with the ones I have. Those in the US have heaps of options for panel mount outlets but the universal ones will also work just fine.

Relays
At the time I bought my relays I couldn’t seem to find the standard sainsmart 8 channel relays in Aus and overseas sellers were charging pretty high shipping for them. I ended up finding an Aus company selling an 8-channel relay board in a different form factor that turned out to be great at saving space! Because of this if anyone chooses to use my power board design you will need to either edit the design to fit your relays or purchase a relay in similar form factor (the mounting holes may still need to be tweaked).
(Cost: $12. Link for any Aussies: https://www.littlebird.com.au/8-channels-5v-relay-module)

Power supply
The relay board needs 5V supplied to it, so it can switch the relays on and off. While you can power them from the 5V pin on the Pi I didn’t want to strain the Pi by drawing enough current to switch 16 outlets at once and do everything else (even though it would probably work) so I included a separate 5V power supply inside the power board.
(Cost: $10. Link: https://www.ebay.com.au/itm/AC-DC-5V-3A-Low-Ripple-EMI-Isolated-Step-down-Switch-Power-Module-Buck-Converter-/201597729719?hash=item2ef0293bb7)

Connectors
To include a fuse for safety and to allow different length cords to easily be used I have included a fused power switch that accepts a standard IEC power lead (aka a kettle cord).
(Cost: $1.50. Link: https://www.ebay.com.au/itm/DC-022-Power-Outlet-Jack-Socket-Connector-5-5x2-1mm-3-in-1-Fuse-10A-AC-250V-/222509195918?var=&hash=item0)

To connect the relay control pins to the Pi I have decided to use RJ45 cable and sockets. I will be using RJ45 sockets for most Reef-Pi connections so I was able to order a large amount in bulk but only one is needed per power board.
(Cost: $1. Link: https://www.ebay.com.au/itm/25pcs-180-Degree-Angle-RJ45-UTP-Keystone-Wall-Jack-Coupler-Adapter-Cat6-/282353800189?hash=item41bd9913fd)

I will also include an RJ45 crimping tool and punch down tool as a one of cost here for the whole build as it will be needed to wire up the RJ45 jacks and then the required cables (or you can buy pre-made ethernet cables).
(Cost: $15. Link: https://www.ebay.com.au/itm/Rj45-Rj11-Cat5-Network-Tool-Kit-Cable-Tester-Crimp-Crimper-Lan-Wire-Stripper-/391617156878?hash=item5b2e33970e)

While the relay board is powered by a separate 5V power supply, it still needs to share a common ground with the Pi for the control pins to work, so I have used a standard 5.5 x 2.1mm barrel jack for this. If you use a DB9 connector for the control pins instead of an RJ45 then you would be able to use one of the DB9 pins for this instead (but the design I posted would need to be altered).
(Cost: $0.15. Link: https://www.ebay.com.au/itm/10pcs-DC-Power-Supply-Jack-Socket-Female-Panel-Mount-Connector-5-5-x-2-1mm-12V/122774079110?ssPageName=STRK:MEBIDX:IT&_trksid=p2057872.m2749.l2649)

Wiring
In Australia we don’t use AWG for wire, instead it is just measured in mm. While the wire used in our wall circuits is 2.5mm, I have noticed many power boards in Australia use 1.5mm wire inside. However, there was virtually no cost difference between 1.5mm wire and 2.5mm wire and after a lot of searching I couldn’t find a definitive answer as to if 1.5mm wire was safe or not and a lot of sources insisted that only cheap power boards use 1.5mm so I went with 2.5mm wire. I purchased 10m of twin & earth cable and ended up using 4m for 1 power board (including a few mistakes :p).
(Cost $5.96. Link for any Aussies: https://www.bunnings.com.au/olex-2-5mm-three-core-twin-earth-cable_p4430080)

To attach the wire to the outlet pins I used crimps as it is a really clean and secure connection. To link the neutral and ground pins together I discovered these awesome “Male/Female piggyback terminals” which are awesome!
(Cost: $7. Link for any Aussies: https://www.bunnings.com.au/narva-2-5-3mm-blue-2-way-male-female-electrical-terminal-connector-10-pack_p4330775)

For the active pins, the male side of the piggyback terminal and the fused switch I used normal insulated terminals.
(Cost: $5. Link for any Aussies: https://www.bunnings.com.au/narva-4mm-blue-electrical-terminal-female-blade-100-pack_p4331383)

To make it easier to separate the wires as they left the fused switch and to join the active com wires from the relay I used a terminal connector strip. These are easy to cut so you only have as many terminals as you need, and they can fit up to 3x 2.5mm wires in them at once.
(Cost: $4.70. Link for any Aussies: https://www.bunnings.com.au/narva-electrical-terminal-connector-strip_p4330743)

The final thing needed to build the power board is a crimping tool. You can use pliers or a cheap crimping tool but they really don’t get a good connection and they are just plain hard to use. A cheap ratcheting crimping tool is a great investment and makes the crimp connections easy to do and perfect every time.
(Cost $22. Link for any Aussies: https://www.supercheapauto.com.au/p/sca-crimping-tool---heavy-duty-ratchet-type/213236.html#q=crimping+tool&segment=1&page=1)

Printing
Here is the link to the power board designs:
https://www.thingiverse.com/thing:3024281

It is designed to print in 4 parts on a 220mm x 220mm build plate. I have used PLA for now and it should be more than good enough but I would eventually like to re-print in ABS just so the parts can be vapor smoothed (but I am in no rush to do that).

Including the logo the power board uses approximately 350g of PLA to print. It can be printed in any colour but I used white for the power board, white and black for the text and white, black and orange for the logo. Price of PLA depends a lot on where you buy it from but a standard price for good PLA in Aus is around $30/kg including shipping.
(Cost: $10.50. Link: https://www.ebay.com.au/itm/3D-Printer-Filament-ABS-PLA-1-75mm-1kg-roll-25-colours-Aussie-Stock-Fast-Ship-/181616869603)

I used a soldering iron to “weld” the bottom and top pieces together. I taped the pieces together how I wanted them to sit and then slowly ran a soldering iron along the join on the inside of the box to melt the parts together. I designed a large ridge along the join so that it either provides more surface area for glue (standard CA glue would work) or it provides a good amount of sacrificial material to melt together (just be careful of the relay mounting points).

My printer can also only extrude 1 colour at a time so for the logo and text I had the slicer set to pause the print at certain heights (every 0.8mm for the logo and at 1.2mm for the text) so that I could change the filament colour and re-start the print. They are then just attached to the power board with CA glue.

To hold the top and bottom pieces together I am using 35mm M3 screws.
(Cost: $3.22. Link: https://www.bunnings.com.au/pinnacle-m3-x-35mm-zinc-plated-thread-screw-8-pack_p2310130)

Using the above, the cost for the first 8 outlet power board (including the 2 crimping tools) is $110.83. The cost for subsequent 8 outlet power boards is $73.83. Compared to the $440 per 6 outlet Apex board that is pretty dang awesome!

Here are some pics of the printed power board, I have lost my punch down tool so I need to get another one before I can wire up the RJ45 jack and then I will test it with the Pi and make sure the relay works well. In the mean-time if anyone spots anything wrong with my AC wiring please let me know! Of course I will also use a multi-meter to check that each outlet switches on and off properly with the relay before I plug in the mains power :) (red = active, black = neutral & green/yellow = ground).
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Well done, Macca! It looks quite nice and all the wiring appears to be correct.

Small question; it's difficult to tell by looking at the pics on my phone (sorry) but did you use solid copper wire? I hope you used solid copper instead of stranded.

I like the ideas you implemented; the additional 5v supply, the RJ45 plug and using connectors instead of soldering. To me, it gives a more "finished" appearance with the connectors. I also like that everything fits into the housing tight and neat with no waste. Especially coupled with the idea there will, more than likely, be additional outlets needed.

Once again, great job!
 
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MaccaPopEye

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Well done, Macca! It looks quite nice and all the wiring appears to be correct.

Small question; it's difficult to tell by looking at the pics on my phone (sorry) but did you use solid copper wire? I hope you used solid copper instead of stranded.

I like the ideas you implemented; the additional 5v supply, the RJ45 plug and using connectors instead of soldering. To me, it gives a more "finished" appearance with the connectors. I also like that everything fits into the housing tight and neat with no waste. Especially coupled with the idea there will, more than likely, be additional outlets needed.

Once again, great job!
Thanks :)

And the wire isn't solid core. I did try to find solid core wire for its anti-corrosion properties but it appears that it's not sold or used in Australia (for mains wiring). Instead our sparkies use low strand count wire (what I have used) for non-flexible applications (like in-wall mains wiring) and they use high strand count wire (flex wire) for applications that need to be flexible (like extension leads).

Why do you ask? While doing my research for this project and learning about mains wiring I have noticed a few differences between US and Australian wiring practices that I found interesting. The US having bare ground wires, using solid core wiring, and those twist-cap wire nuts are not only not used in Aus but you can't even buy them if you wanted to use them.
 

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Thanks :)

And the wire isn't solid core. I did try to find solid core wire for its anti-corrosion properties but it appears that it's not sold or used in Australia (for mains wiring). Instead our sparkies use low strand count wire (what I have used) for non-flexible applications (like in-wall mains wiring) and they use high strand count wire (flex wire) for applications that need to be flexible (like extension leads).

Why do you ask? While doing my research for this project and learning about mains wiring I have noticed a few differences between US and Australian wiring practices that I found interesting. The US having bare ground wires, using solid core wiring, and those twist-cap wire nuts are not only not used in Aus but you can't even buy them if you wanted to use them.
@MaccaPopEye - I asked because solid core, in this application, seems the better choice. Just my opinion though. It's less expensive, more durable in harsh conditions and will carry more current at the same diameter as stranded. In other words, to carry the same amount of current a thicker stranded wire is required versus a solid core. However, it is very common to use stranded on electronics like breadboard and circuitry. So, given this fact, I may be off the mark.
 
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This is very cool. Your design looks very clean. Makes me want to get a 3d printer and redo my build.
But then again I'm not even finished with mine and I'm already planning the next one and what I can do to improve it.;)
I love the fact that this project is so adaptable and easy to expand on.
It's great that your doing this with people outside the US in mind since sourcing parts outside the US can be problematic.
 
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@MaccaPopEye - I asked because solid core, in this application, seems the better choice. Just my opinion though. It's less expensive, more durable in harsh conditions and will carry more current at the same diameter as stranded. In other words, to carry the same amount of current a thicker stranded wire is required versus a solid core. However, it is very common to use stranded on electronics like breadboard and circuitry. So, given this fact, I may be off the mark.
Yeah I'm not too fussed about price, the 2.5mm stranded wire was cheap enough (virtually the same price as the 1.5mm). As solid core just isn't used for anything in Australia anymore even if I could find it I don't know if it would be cheap given how rare it is.

As for the current, in Australia 1.5mm stranded wire is used in most 10A rated power boards and extension leads, and 2.5mm stranded wire is used for the in wall circuits. With the maximum load of the fused switch being 10A I was told that 1.5mm wire would be ok so I am pretty confident that the 2.5mm stranded is more an capable of carrying whatever current I put through it (but if overloaded somehow the RCD in my breaker should also trip before there is any issues with the wire) :)
 

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Yeah I'm not too fussed about price, the 2.5mm stranded wire was cheap enough (virtually the same price as the 1.5mm). As solid core just isn't used for anything in Australia anymore even if I could find it I don't know if it would be cheap given how rare it is.

As for the current, in Australia 1.5mm stranded wire is used in most 10A rated power boards and extension leads, and 2.5mm stranded wire is used for the in wall circuits. With the maximum load of the fused switch being 10A I was told that 1.5mm wire would be ok so I am pretty confident that the 2.5mm stranded is more an capable of carrying whatever current I put through it (but if overloaded somehow the RCD in my breaker should also trip before there is any issues with the wire) :)
I am quite sure you'll be more than fine with 2.5mm wire. Comparatively speaking, it's equal to 10ga here in the States. For reference, home wiring is usually run with 12ga solid core wire here with exception to items that carry higher loads like air conditioners, electric stoves/ovens, etc.

Screenshot_20181105-074554_Chrome.jpg
 
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This is very cool. Your design looks very clean. Makes me want to get a 3d printer and redo my build.
But then again I'm not even finished with mine and I'm already planning the next one and what I can do to improve it.;)
I love the fact that this project is so adaptable and easy to expand on.
It's great that your doing this with people outside the US in mind since sourcing parts outside the US can be problematic.
Thank you :)

Your build is also very Bada** (I really like the boxes you're using, it's like they were made for this)! If you do end up with a 3D printer maybe try and still use the main box and just use the printer for other modules :p

I went through 2 attempted builds that didn't even get past a temp sensor before I changed my mind because I knew I could do better :p I'm pretty sure I now have a good idea of what I want though so I hope to see this one through all the way until it is working on the tank.

If after having it running for 6-12 months I end up with a list of things to change (or if Reef-Pi has a significant number of new features) I might do another build and eventually give this one away for cost price, we will see.

Sourcing parts has probably been the most difficult part of this build. Not just finding parts that are decent quality for an affordable price but then needing to wait the 1-2 months for everything to arrive!
 

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Do you have the logo you're using in a JPEG format? If you do I would really like to use it in my build. I have some water slide decal stock and was thinking of adding a reef pi logo to the front of my head unit.
 

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