BRS Heaters are Terrifyingly Strong

ARGiBK

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This week, one of my trusted Cobalt Heaters decided to crap out, so I decided to take an opportunity to get my tank's temperature under greater control with an Inkbird controller and ordered 2x BRS 200w titanium heaters for my 80 gallon.

I posted yesterday about some concerns about what I perceive as the Inkbird only measuring temp intermittently, but to allow for a bit more responsive control decided to switch the temperature setting to Cº with heater activation at -0.1º C hoping that I could control heater activation with less dramatic swings in temp. The temperature sensor is installed in my overflow.

Well, today the BRS heaters arrived, and I installed them in the return chamber of my sump. Note that before I installed the heaters, I tested for stray current and both passed flawlessly.

A couple hours after, while doing some maintenance in the sump, I noticed that the return chamber was STEAMING! I dipped my finger in the water and it was literally Sous Vide temperature, probably upwards of 150º F. I'm assuming everything in that chamber (probs amphipods, feather dusters, sponges) is now cooked. Even with one heater unplugged, the water still gets cooked and I'm pretty concerned that the return pump will crap out because of the water temp. (Note the DT temp obviously changes at a much slower rate and is under control).

These heaters are so strong that they literally cook the water within minutes, no amount of increased flow from my return pump will dissipate the heat fast enough. The Inkbird controller is also so slow that it allows the tank temperature to drop more than 0.3º C. I can't really install the heaters in any other chamber or the tank for fear of their strength will also cook whatever's nearby.

Looks like I'm going to get some Eheims...
 

JoshH

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I believe BRS is working on a new controller because of all the reported issues they have had with there re-branded Inkbirds. 200w is not a small heater and probably more than your 80 Gallon needed, 400w is wildly overkill. My 150w and 75w Neo-Therms are more than enough for my 180ish Gallon system.
 

ASIN28

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This week, one of my trusted Cobalt Heaters decided to crap out, so I decided to take an opportunity to get my tank's temperature under greater control with an Inkbird controller and ordered 2x BRS 200w titanium heaters for my 80 gallon.

I posted yesterday about some concerns about what I perceive as the Inkbird only measuring temp intermittently, but to allow for a bit more responsive control decided to switch the temperature setting to Cº with heater activation at -0.1º C hoping that I could control heater activation with less dramatic swings in temp. The temperature sensor is installed in my overflow.

Well, today the BRS heaters arrived, and I installed them in the return chamber of my sump. Note that before I installed the heaters, I tested for stray current and both passed flawlessly.

A couple hours after, while doing some maintenance in the sump, I noticed that the return chamber was STEAMING! I dipped my finger in the water and it was literally Sous Vide temperature, probably upwards of 150º F. I'm assuming everything in that chamber (probs amphipods, feather dusters, sponges) is now cooked. Even with one heater unplugged, the water still gets cooked and I'm pretty concerned that the return pump will crap out because of the water temp. (Note the DT temp obviously changes at a much slower rate and is under control).

These heaters are so strong that they literally cook the water within minutes, no amount of increased flow from my return pump will dissipate the heat fast enough. The Inkbird controller is also so slow that it allows the tank temperature to drop more than 0.3º C. I can't really install the heaters in any other chamber or the tank for fear of their strength will also cook whatever's nearby.

Looks like I'm going to get some Eheims...
I use the same setup on my 120G with he BRS heaters. I ordered 2 but only have one in my sump to heat the tank. If I put both of my 300W heaters in it would be overkill. How big is your tank?
 

Reef.

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You will probably be better with the Eheim heaters anyway as I’m guessing the titanium heaters don’t have a build in thermostat? So the inkbird no longer is acting as a fail safe.

Can any controller do better than .3? All the inkbird does is turn the heaters on and off, then it’s down to the heaters, If you are also claiming the heaters cook the tank quickly, not sure any controller could do much better?

What is your room temp? If quite cold then that could explain the .3c drop?
 
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ARGiBK

ARGiBK

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I believe BRS is working on a new controller because of all the reported issues they have had with there re-branded Inkbirds. 200w is not a small heater and probably more than your 80 Gallon needed, 400w is wildly overkill. My 150w and 75w Neo-Therms are more than enough for my 180ish Gallon system.

Thing is, I was running a pair of 200w Cobalts and they worked perfectly without cooking anything for 2 years. When the one crapped out, the remaining heater couldn't maintain the desired temp, so I used the 100W Eheim from my hospital tank to at least bring it to an acceptable range of control (tank temps still fluctuated about 2º F daily).

If you're asking "why the large fluctuation with 300W?" I live in a Brooklyn apt. complex with a shared boiler heating system. Boiler comes on only when the outside temps reach 55ºF and the only level of control I have in my apt is the close my radiator valve, or to open the window. Until we consistently reach low temps, my apartment will basically swing between 60º (Radiators off/windows open) and 85º F (radiators on/windows closed). Obviously this isn't the best situation for the tank, so accurate control is of utmost importance.

Anyways... these titanium heaters are just ridiculously aggressive and (to me) the Inkbird is seriously inappropriate for the level of control needed.
 
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ARGiBK

ARGiBK

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I use the same setup on my 120G with he BRS heaters. I ordered 2 but only have one in my sump to heat the tank. If I put both of my 300W heaters in it would be overkill. How big is your tank?

My DT is 80 gallons, my sump is a Trigger Ruby 34", so probably about 15 extra gallons.
 
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ARGiBK

ARGiBK

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You will probably be better with the Eheim heaters anyway as I’m guessing the titanium heaters don’t have a build in thermostat? So the inkbird no longer is acting as a fail safe.

Can any controller do better than .3? All the inkbird does is turn the heaters on and off, then it’s down to the heaters, If you are also claiming the heaters cook the tank quickly, not sure any controller could do much better?

What is your room temp? If quite cold then that could explain the .3c drop?

Yep, I specifically bought the Inkbird to control the heaters assuming it would be adequate for the heaters which require a controller to operate properly (would have never purchased the BRS units without the intent to control).

My only other option for continuous control would be to go with a Profilux, which is on my list (was hoping to hold off on it with the Inkbird). The only other heater controller I've researched is the Aqua logic which is orders of magnitude more expensive than the Inkbird.

The tank temp is actually pretty stable and changes relatively slowly even with 400W on. It's just the return chamber which I assume is no more than 3 gallons that ends up being cooked. What really concerns me is the return pump crapping out because of the heat, with the temp sensor being in the overflow. The major other concern is that there's a potential for a significant window of overheating b/c of what I perceive as the Inkbird's lack of responsiveness.

In any case, the one Eheim I have is incredibly reliable and they have internal controls as another redundancy. Just put in an order for 2 from Amazon... Should have just stayed with what I'm familiar with!
 

SliceGolfer

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You placed the heaters in the sump, and the temp probe in the overflow. And you are trying to maintain a 0.18 degree Fahrenheit temp swing. I think your expectations are higher than what’s reasonable with this equipment. And the surrounding environment has varying temp fluctuations as well?

I run two 300w Finnex titanium heaters on an Inkbird set to a 0.7 degree Fahrenheit swing. Both heaters are in my skimmer chamber with the temp probe in the return pump chamber. Looking at my stats, my tank saw a 1.6 degree Fahrenheit swing at its worst today, when my furnace was in full on heat mode. My tank is similar to yours, 80g display and 15g volume in sump, so roughly 90g total with displacement.

I think you’re facing more environmental induced fluctuation coupled with indirect temperature measurement leading to excessive switching on/off of the heater controller. I could be full of it, too ;)

453201A9-24E9-4347-B1E8-4A3B3A2CC622.png
 

thedon986

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Have you tried putting them into a different chamber of the sump? Maybe the flow in the return chamber is “funneling” right to the pump leaving stagnant water around the heaters? Like SliceGolfer, I have my heater in the skimmer chamber and probe in the sump. Using Finnex titanium 300w and Inkbird on 80ish gallon system.
 
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ARGiBK

ARGiBK

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You placed the heaters in the sump, and the temp probe in the overflow. And you are trying to maintain a 0.18 degree Fahrenheit temp swing. I think your expectations are higher than what’s reasonable with this equipment. And the surrounding environment has varying temp fluctuations as well?

I run two 300w Finnex titanium heaters on an Inkbird set to a 0.7 degree Fahrenheit swing. Both heaters are in my skimmer chamber with the temp probe in the return pump chamber. Looking at my stats, my tank saw a 1.6 degree Fahrenheit swing at its worst today, when my furnace was in full on heat mode. My tank is similar to yours, 80g display and 15g volume in sump, so roughly 90g total with displacement.

I think you’re facing more environmental induced fluctuation coupled with indirect temperature measurement leading to excessive switching on/off of the heater controller. I could be full of it, too ;)

No, you're spot on and I'm on the same link of thinking as you. Even if I adjusted the Inkbird to kick on at 0.3º C below the target temp, I'd still have to deal with the amount of on time for the heaters to bring it back to target.

I just wish I had a greater understanding of the Inkbird's limitations and the BRS' power before I invested. Took the leap assuming what I had read in multiple places was comprehensive enough.

And seriously, the one tank equipment purchase that freaks me out the most is literally the heating system primarily because of stray voltage!
 
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ARGiBK

ARGiBK

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Have you tried putting them into a different chamber of the sump? Maybe the flow in the return chamber is “funneling” right to the pump leaving stagnant water around the heaters? Like SliceGolfer, I have my heater in the skimmer chamber and probe in the sump. Using Finnex titanium 300w and Inkbird on 80ish gallon system.

I haven't tried that but likely won't for the perceived risk (read on), and I'm assuming that overall flow in the sump is too slow to dissipate the heat effectively.

My sump is basically: Skimmer / Chaeto Reactor > Refugium (Xenia and Clams) > Baffles > Return

There's too many valuable animals in the Refuge to have so much heat flowing into it.
 

burningmime

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If you're asking "why the large fluctuation with 300W?" I live in a Brooklyn apt. complex with a shared boiler heating system. Boiler comes on only when the outside temps reach 55ºF and the only level of control I have in my apt is the close my radiator valve, or to open the window. Until we consistently reach low temps, my apartment will basically swing between 60º (Radiators off/windows open) and 85º F (radiators on/windows closed). Obviously this isn't the best situation for the tank, so accurate control is of utmost importance.

When I was in NYC, I had the opposite problem. They'd heat every apartment up to about 85-90 degrees. I ran my window A/C all winter long.
 

Reef.

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My inkbird works great, it has a bigger margin than yours of .3c guess I have a different model to you, so I have seen maybe a .5c drop once but mostly .3c- .4c, I also use Eheim heaters. Not sure you need to look further for a controller, probably changing the heaters will do the trick.
 
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ARGiBK

ARGiBK

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When I was in NYC, I had the opposite problem. They'd heat every apartment up to about 85-90 degrees. I ran my window A/C all winter long.

Hah. That's an inevitability and will probably be what I'll be doing after Thanksgiving once we settle into our annual freeze.

We're in that transition period where the weather just won't make up it's mind. Today and tomorrow are in the 30s and 40s and bookended by temps in the mid 60s (last week we even had a stretch in the low 70s).
 
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ARGiBK

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My inkbird works great, it has a bigger margin than yours of .3c guess I have a different model to you, so I see maybe .5c drop sometimes but mostly .3c- .4c, I also use Eheim heaters. Not sure you need to look further for a controller, probably changing the heaters will do the trick.

My thoughts as well. I underestimated the BRS' strength.
 

Reef.

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I think this will probably help, in the actual display if possible, might see an improvement?
... let’s try putting the temp sensor in the same compartment as the heaters or in the chamber following. Let us know the results please
 
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ARGiBK

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I should also note that with the intent to eventually control with Profilux would be to stagger the heaters turning on and primarily relying on one 200w with the extra as backup if the temp swings below the first gate.

... let’s try putting the temp sensor in the same compartment as the heaters or in the chamber following. Let us know the results please

Just removed them and replaced with the interim heaters (leftover Cobalt and 50W Eheim).

But, the next chamber would be the DT itself.

With the heaters off for a bit, there is a more significant temp differential in the chamber. The top half of the chamber was still very warm and the bottom obviously tank temp.

The only thing I can think of would be to place the heaters at the very bottom of the return chamber, or baffle between the fuge and return, so they sit directly in the flow and probably mix more effectively. However, this will take some time to reconfigure which I can do tomorrow afternoon. I'll do that then and report back!
 

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Got the inkbird 306t with two eiheim tru temp 150’s and have been impressed with the stability of my tank temp so far. My house gets about 68 degrees at night and my temp history flat. Highly recommended combo. Only prob is the tru temp heaters are long as heck. 3 year warranty too! Here is my temp history form the inkbird app from yesterday
 

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gabrieltackitt

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I had the same problems when setting up my tank. I have two 100w BRS heaters on about 50 gal of water. The thing that I found worked best is that they need to be in the absolute highest flow possible, for me this was in the very first chamber directly under the overflow pipes, so that the water is moving very quickly around.

Maybe try a higher flow area, and only one of the 200w heaters? Not sure if the ones you had before were glass or titanium, but titanium will conduct heat more efficiently than glass, so in general I’ve seen titanium’s be much more efficient in heating. Don’t touch them when they’ve been on recently though, they get mighty toasty.
 

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