Deciding on a controller

boacvh

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Hi everyone. I don't have any controller but I want one so I am currently doing my research on both the profilux 4 and the Apex. I had a quick question for you GHL users out there. Can the controller be installed vertically or does it have to be horizontal? does it matter?
I have limited space below my tank, so trying to take this into account before deciding either way. (Such a hard decision, there seems to be lots of support for both systems)

thanks!
 
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boacvh

boacvh

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Thanks Hemmdog, for any advice. What others should I look into?
So far this is what I am thinking, but I am a noob so approaching this with a completely open mindset. Thinking mainly for:
Monitoring and notify me of:
PH
Salinity
temp
Flow
Leaks
Alk (potentially with dosing too)
calcium (maybe?)

Control of:
skimmer (shutting off with level. It overflows every time i feed and slow the pumps)
maybe Main pump and Wave pumps (not a must)
Maybe an auto-feeder

Don't need it to control lights. I have Kessils with the controller so it would be nice, but not a must.

Any other features I think would be nice-to-haves but not must-haves.

thanks for any insights!
 

shoggoth43

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Profilux is designed to sit on a shelf. There are no keyholes to allow for vertical mounting. Although there’s no obvious reason ( like vents ) why you could not tip it on end or otherwise mount it vertically beyond losing view of the display or the cables tipping it over. If you used some homemade brackets you could get around that easy enough. It is designed to stack well on top of their doser and KHD, and probably their upcoming Ion Detector product line. Supposedly they are working on an auto feeder.
 
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boacvh

boacvh

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Profilux is designed to sit on a shelf. There are no keyholes to allow for vertical mounting. Although there’s no obvious reason ( like vents ) why you could not tip it on end or otherwise mount it vertically beyond losing view of the display or the cables tipping it over. If you used some homemade brackets you could get around that easy enough. It is designed to stack well on top of their doser and KHD, and probably their upcoming Ion Detector product line. Supposedly they are working on an auto feeder.
Thanks, great to know.
 
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vangvace

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The P4 in particular is designed to sit on a shelf, or on another part of their product line. The P4 itself could be mounted on its side, like a book and perhaps the dosing pumps as well. If you are interested in their KH Director, that does require sitting flat for operation.

An advantage GHL has is that there is the box and... not much else required for external modules. Vortech MPs, Leak, and breakout box being the list. To be fair a simple Apex setup can be smaller if you don't get module happy.

The last factor space wise is the footprint of the two companies powerbars. GHL's are longer, while Apex is wider. I don't know which would fit better in your stand.

Lastly, Coralvue is scheduled to release a controller before the end of the year, but I have very little knowledge of its size. I do know it will be the least expensive of the three.
 

rroselavy

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Neptune and GHL are the multi-controller vendors that I know of with strong development, comprehensive product lines, support channels, and bustling user communities.

eKoral seems like a polished product, but I do not see an established Support channel on their website, nor a user community.

IMO, wall mounted controllers are easier to install than something that requires a horizontal shelf or bracket. GHL should realize this and offer a product with an alternative housing. They should also ditch the GHL Control App in favor of a Web-based interface so Mac users can install firmware without having to run Windows.
 
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PiggyPuffin

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My P4 hangs vertically on my sump's door without any issues. I used Velcro as it is pretty light.

I'm looking for a second controller for a new tank and I'll probably go with Apex. GHL promised per channel amperage monitoring over a year ago and have failed to deliver this crucial safety feature. Personally, I wouldn't buy a controller without it.
 

shred5

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Personally If I had to buy a controller right now it would be GHL but if I could wait I would defiantly wait for the Coralvue controller.
 

JoshH

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My P4 hangs vertically on my sump's door without any issues. I used Velcro as it is pretty light.

I'm looking for a second controller for a new tank and I'll probably go with Apex. GHL promised per channel amperage monitoring over a year ago and have failed to deliver this crucial safety feature. Personally, I wouldn't buy a controller without it.
Do you mean per outlet amp monitoring? Was under the impression they had this feature long before Neptune ever did, unless you're referring to the alerts linked to the power draw of the outlets? Surprised this feature isn't setup with GHL already especially with there new 6.1 powerbars. @Ditto @WWIII @Brew12 any insight here on these features with GHL?
 

shred5

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Do you mean per outlet amp monitoring? Was under the impression they had this feature long before Neptune ever did, unless you're referring to the alerts linked to the power draw of the outlets? Surprised this feature isn't setup with GHL already especially with there new 6.1 powerbars. @Ditto @WWIII @Brew12 any insight here on these features with GHL?

There website says they do:
Also the power consumption of individual loads per socket can be measured separately (versions with PAB only). The integrated LEDs indicate the switching status of the individual outlets. Fuses protect the powerbars against overload (depending on version).
 

JoshH

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There website says they do:
Also the power consumption of individual loads per socket can be measured separately (versions with PAB only). The integrated LEDs indicate the switching status of the individual outlets. Fuses protect the powerbars against overload (depending on version).
I was referring to the alert function itself :) . Like I said above I was always under the impression GHL had power draw monitoring but the alerts weren't set up yet. Pretty sure even there STLD4-4 power bars can monitor power draw.
 

Brew12

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I was referring to the alert function itself :) . Like I said above I was always under the impression GHL had power draw monitoring but the alerts weren't set up yet. Pretty sure even there STLD4-4 power bars can monitor power draw.
As far as I'm aware, the current monitoring based alerts are not available yet. Of course, I'm a bit behind on my firmware updates so it's possible it is and I just don't know yet.
 

TheHarold

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I love my apex. Except the Salinity probe, thats a PITA. Same with other controllers though.


I have an apex LITE on my frag tank, from ~2013, that still works fantastic with zero issues.

Screenshot from my 300g Fusion Page. The user interface is excellent and easy to do rather advanced programming. 10/10 support, and a huge knowledge base on the forums and facebook groups.

 
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EmdeReef

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Decide what’s critical for you to get out of a controller.

Below is my very personal opinion based on what I needed a controller for - which is monitoring and simple to set up alerts.

I would go with Apex based on their Fusion platform which is light years ahead of GHl which still cant figure out how to send app alerts...

I own a P4 and while the box design has its advantages over modules, their 80s software negates a lot of benefits. I’ve never been able to set up email alerts, none of the ports work and had to create several email accounts. It’s possible that my ISP blocks those ports but at the dawn of 2020 it shouldn’t be that difficult to set up alerts.

Also, for monitoring my P4 randomly switches between measuring intervals for temp, ph etc...most days I can see my current measure and then the one prior measure from several hours ago, currently it’s decided to lag about 4hrs, sometimes it gets as close an hour. I’ve played with time zones, resetting the whole system etc it will work fine and then randomly switch. I gave up...bought WiFi enabled temp and ph probes in the end lol

In sum, it may be a good controller but it fails my needs.
 
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@JoshH - Thanks for the Tag

Power draw can only be seen In the interfaces, monitoring, controlling and alerting based on the draw is something they said is on the GHL list of features.

I set up alerting on my P4 and P4e using both google and hotmail accounts with it any issues. I have hourly tank messages and then the standard text and email alerts of something happens. There is a few posts on the forums on how to set them up.

As for the graphs and times, please make sure your on the latest wireless firmware and P4 firmware and GHL connect app. The last release release notes mention some recording issues if users were not using automatic settings.

I always tell people write down what important to you and then research :)

There is a wealth of knowledge now on a GHL and Apex some GHL can only do and other things only Apex can do. But there is also a large list of what they can both do.
 
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boacvh

boacvh

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@JoshH - Thanks for the Tag

Power draw can only be seen In the interfaces, monitoring, controlling and alerting based on the draw is something they said is on the GHL list of features.

I set up alerting on my P4 and P4e using both google and hotmail accounts with it any issues. I have hourly tank messages and then the standard text and email alerts of something happens. There is a few posts on the forums on how to set them up.

As for the graphs and times, please make sure your on the latest wireless firmware and P4 firmware and GHL connect app. The last release release notes mention some recording issues if users were not using automatic settings.

I always tell people write down what important to you and then research :)

There is a wealth of knowledge now on a GHL and Apex some GHL can only do and other things only Apex can do. But there is also a large list of what they can both do.
Neptune and GHL are the multi-controller vendors that I know of with strong development, comprehensive product lines, support channels, and bustling user communities.

eKoral seems like a polished product, but I do not see an established Support channel on their website, nor a user community.

IMO, wall mounted controllers are easier to install than something that requires a horizontal shelf or bracket. GHL should realize this and offer a product with an alternative housing. They should also ditch the GHL Control App in favor of a Web-based interface so Mac users can install firmware without having to run Windows.
Thanks, that is one of the main reasons I was focusing my research on the P4 and Apex. I am a total noob so I am going to need lots of support, so trying to stick with the ones with the high user base rather than trying something new which could be great but I wouldn't get as much help from the community.
 
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boacvh

boacvh

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Personally If I had to buy a controller right now it would be GHL but if I could wait I would defiantly wait for the Coralvue controller.
Thanks. Coralvue looks intriguing, but I am always afraid of being an early adopter
 
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boacvh

boacvh

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Decide what’s critical for you to get out of a controller.

Below is my very personal opinion based on what I needed a controller for - which is monitoring and simple to set up alerts.

I would go with Apex based on their Fusion platform which is light years ahead of GHl which still cant figure out how to send app alerts...

I own a P4 and while the box design has its advantages over modules, their 80s software negates a lot of benefits. I’ve never been able to set up email alerts, none of the ports work and had to create several email accounts. It’s possible that my ISP blocks those ports but at the dawn of 2020 it shouldn’t be that difficult to set up alerts.

Also, for monitoring my P4 randomly switches between measuring intervals for temp, ph etc...most days I can see my current measure and then the one prior measure from several hours ago, currently it’s decided to lag about 4hrs, sometimes it gets as close an hour. I’ve played with time zones, resetting the whole system etc it will work fine and then randomly switch. I gave up...bought WiFi enabled temp and ph probes in the end lol

In sum, it may be a good controller but it fails my needs.
Thanks, this is really useful advice thank you. At this point I think my main needs are for monitoring, not necessarily "controlling".
 

foxt

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I have both platforms (I have three tanks run by Apex, one run by GHL). Over the years I find myself preferring the Apex over the GHL for ease of use (that's why there are three Apex tanks!).

I have a controller to make my life easier, so it should be easy to use, right? For me, the Apex is more intuitive, has a larger group of users to answer questions, has more responsive online support, and is easier to get my hands on. I tend to buy stuff used, and there is always a ready supply of Apex stuff from people that are upgrading. Used GHL stuff is harder to come by, perhaps because they have had fewer upgrade cycles over time (which in itself may be another factor to consider).

In terms of the list of features you are interested in, I would first suggest that although you may think you want to use the controller to monitor salinity, you will eventually realize that it isn't worth the hassle, regardless of which controller you choose. The probes are notoriously finicky. And it isn't the kind of thing that varies a lot over a short period of time unless something like an ATO has gone haywire, and there are other ways to check for that, such as float valves for water level, etc.

That said, either platform can handle the rest of your list, although GHL's KH Director only monitors Alk whereas Apex Trident measures Ca, Alk, and Mg. You have to ask yourself: do you really need all three? In theory it seems like it would be great to just look at a screen and see what Ca and Mg levels are at, but in practice, they don't change nearly as much as Alk and, for me, I don't mind the few mins it takes to measure them. Monitoring daily Alk levels, on the other hand, seems like a natural for a control system - but both platforms offer it.

Bottom line - either will probably eventually do what you need them to do. My advice: if you don't mind starting with used gear, look for a starter Apex system that you can play with to get to know what you really want out of a controller, and then decide if you want to stick with Apex or switch. Depending on the timing, odds are that you'll be able to sell off the used Apex for close to what you have to pay for it, and it works out to be some hands-on education that helps move you forward.
 
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