Apex Jr: How to Avoid Tank Crash if Apex Fails?

Discussion in 'Aquarium Controllers' started by 679x, Mar 13, 2017.

  1. 679x

    679x Well-Known Member

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    I'm planning on getting an Apex controller. The regular Apex is very expensive though, and I'd prefer to get the Apex Jr.

    I had made a thread about whether I can use the Apex DOS without having an Apex controller, but I assume you can't do that.

    I asked that question because I was concerned that the Apex controller could potentially mess up my system if it fails. For example, I read about multiple people having issues where stuff plugged in to the Apex energy bar thing would all stay on when it shouldn't, like heaters or auto top off, which would cause a tank crash if not caught in time.

    So my question is this: how can I avoid a tank crash if my Apex Jr fails in some way? I know it's probably not a common thing to happen, but still, Google searches say it has happened to some people.

    I would not be plugging in the heater to the Apex unit, because the heater can turn off on its own once the correct temperature is reached, but I would be plugging in the return pump and powerhead(s), and the Apex DOS. I'm assuming the Apex can supply power via the energy bar if the power goes out. I suppose heater/light should be plugged in, too, but unless I know I will not have problems, I will be hesitant to use the heater and light on the Apex in case the Apex fails in some way and the light, but mostly the heater, stays on or off and causes problems. That's my only worry about getting a controller like the Apex.

    Should I be worrying? And how can I avoid problems in my future reef if the Apex Jr malfunctions?
     
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  2. Brew12

    Brew12 Electrical Gru R2R Supporter R2R Excellence Award Reef Squad Article Contributor Partner Member

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    The best way is to set up email alerts. You can set them for high or low temp to protect from heater failure. You can wire in float switches to make sure your ATO isn't overfilling your sump if you don't want to pay for a salinity sensor. You can set alarms for pH to make sure you don't overdose ALK.
     
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  3. p7willm

    p7willm Well-Known Member

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    Everything breaks. If my Apex does not break but lots of other stuff in my tank breaks the Apex will stop horrible things from happening and send me an email telling me what just broke.

    Part of the code for every outlet is a Fallback statement. This tells the outlet what to do if the Apex fails but the outlets still work. If you are controlling an ATO and you have Fallback ON and the Apex dies then it will send you an email and the ATO will pump water into the tank and onto the floor and probably kill everything. If you have Fallback OFF and the Apex dies it will send you an email and the ATO will just sit there and a bit of your water will evaporate.

    Heaters kill a lot of tanks. Your entire tank, worth hundreds if not thousands, depends on a cheap switch that will probably fail every other year. The most common way heaters fail is that the contacts that shut it off when the temperature is reached weld themselves together and never shut off. The Apex takes care of this. Set the temperature in the heater a little high and you never use its controller but if the Apex fails Fallback ON will send power to the heater and your tank will heat up a degree or two and things will be fine. Also my tank spends most of its time in a .3 degree range, far more stable than most heaters.

    If the power goes out the Apex does NOT supply power. However a new feature of Fusion, their cloud utility, will send you an email if communication the Apex is lost.

    The Apex jr is limited by the number of modules you can attach to it, not the kind of modules. You can have a jr with a DOS if you want.

    In general the Apex makes my tank more resilient. If there is a problem with the ATO and salinity is off I get an email and the ATO shuts off. If the ATO runs longer than it should I get.. If the return pump breaks the water level in the sump rises and I get an email.

    If stuff breaks I get an email. The Apex breaking also sends me an email and I don't think that will kill my tank.

    Plus it makes it easier to take care of the tank.
     
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  4. 679x

    679x Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for your replies Brew12 and p7willm.

    This reply makes me feel a lot better, thanks. I liked the idea of the controller, but worried about what might happen if it malfunctions. This answers my questions :)
     
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  5. choss

    choss Well-Known Member

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    Can you expand on how you set up a high water alarm on the apex jr?
     
  6. p7willm

    p7willm Well-Known Member

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    I have a float switch above the normal water level in my sump. I have a virtual outlet, vSumpHi
    Set OFF
    If SumpHi OPEN Then ON
    If Outlet Return_3_5 = OFF Then OFF
    Defer 002:00 Then ON

    If my return is off then it is normal for the water level in the sump to be hi so if the return is off it is not a problem. Also the water has to stay high for 2 minutes to avoid problems when the pump comes back on.

    In my alarm outlets I have
    If Outlet vSumpLo = ON Then ON
    in addition to a bunch of other problems my tank could have.

    So, if the return is on and the water is high enough to open the switch for 2 minutes I get an email and the alarm sounds. If the switch does not work I have water on the floor. On a regular basis, about every 2 months, I check that all the switches I have work.
     
  7. tigerhawk

    tigerhawk Well-Known Member

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    I think the thing people forget. When they say that apex failed to turn off my heater. Is that the heater failed in it self. The built in thermostat in the heater stuck or they had the heaters own thermostat set to high to begin with. The Apex is good insurance against this issue. You really need to use the heater option on the Apex. The heaters thermostat is a cheap part costing less than a dollar.
     
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