Dewd's Big Cube Reef-Pi build

Des Westcott

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Hi all.

I have recently decided to upgrade my small nano (200l) to a new "cube" that I got at a phenomenal price Tank size is 800mm(W) x 800mm(L) by 1000mm (D). Water level at about 900mm deep. (31 x 31 x 39 inches)

Yes, yes, I know all about the challenges around deep tanks, but I've always liked them and lusted after one for the past 25 years that I've been keeping marines.

This thread is less about the tank setup as much as it's about the Reef-Pi installation. I had a pretty full Reef-Pi set up on the old nano (ATO, 8 channels of equipment, temperature control and lights).

On the new tank, I plan to run everything on Reef-Pi. There will be no physical buttons / switches.

I also have a 15" touch screen that I will be running as a dedicated display mounted next to the tank to control everything off. I know you can use a phone / laptop or whatever, but I often found when fiddling at the tank, I would quickly want to turn something off or on, and my phone was in the next room, so I plan to eliminate that. I have tested the screen on a Raspberry Pi3B+ and it ran OK. Slight lag sometimes. So I plan to get a Pi4 4GB to reduce that.

I have bought a Hat from @Michael Lane which I will be asking a few questions about to confirm a few things.

So setup will be the following :-
  • Temp sensors and control (3 x sensors - tank water, room temp and electronics enclosure )
  • ATO including auto water change system using macros and level sensors.
  • As many equipment channels as I can manage - at least 8
  • 2 x doser pumps
  • PH monitoring
  • Lighting long term plan to build a DIY "Radion Clone" type light. Going to be using a Zetlight QMaven 6800 that I have in the meantime.
Probably a few more things as I go along, but that's the idea.

The idea behind this thread is for me to tap into guys that have been through a similar setup before me. Please feel free to chip in and criticise my decisions and ideas. I'm always open to realising it could be done a different way. That said, I do often choose to go along by unconventional means, but I'm always prepared to listen to reason.

Pictures to follow.

Dewd
(Des)
 

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Awesome! Following!
 

Michael Lane

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That sounds great! My tank is about that deep as well, and it's sure a pain to reach anything on the bottom. I have to use a grabber tool and an extra long scraper. Even with the lighting challenges, I totally think it's worth it.

I think reef-pi can handle everything you are looking for. I don't think I've seen auto water change in reef-pi, so I'm looking forward to that.

It looks like Zetlight is Apex compatible, so you may need another bit of circuitry to convert the PWM signal to 0-10v analog. Otherwise, you can definitely get it set up on a relay. You should be able to control 16 outlets between the 2 10-pin output ports.

Good Luck!
 
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Des Westcott

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25226A83-7B23-4D74-A437-4149CBD944E8.jpeg

That's the bare bones setup with just a return pump and heater running to cycle

Not going to need full cycle as all the rock is mature. Been in my frag system for months
 
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Des Westcott

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81F6C34E-EC92-4566-B1F4-268785D4A142.jpeg

There's a Sketch up drawing of what the final result should be looking like. I specifically wanted the base to be larger than the actual tank. It looked too tall and skinny otherwise. Also gives a bit more real estate in the sump area
 
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Des Westcott

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Built the electronics box.

All the electrical stuff is going to be in there well away from moisture and spray and all those other things electronics hate. Getting a few coats of paint at the moment then starting to lay out electronics

7F6C7E90-ED6A-4B7F-83FB-17976BC44418.jpeg 67451330-9C0A-4251-9DE2-4D74B8AE2F82.jpeg
 
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Des Westcott

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Oh. Forgot to mention. I'm in South Africa, so while we have a good range of stuff available to us, it's not quite the same as what is available in the, say, the States. Some products we just don't get here.
 

Michael Lane

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I love the idea of making the stand wider than the tank, but using a separate box to build it out. It looks like a great way to separate away from moisture!
 
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Des Westcott

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I love the idea of making the stand wider than the tank, but using a separate box to build it out. It looks like a great way to separate away from moisture!
Thanks. I have to work with what I got. The tank and stand were bought ready made. So I am adapting what is there to what I want. I've taken this build very slow and done a lot of thinking and rejecting plans because I came up with (usually) better ones.
 
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Des Westcott

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Made a start on the layout for the Electronics Box This is just Version 1. I'm sure many to come still.

I want to use slotted trunking to keep the wires tidy. Otherwise I know what a birds nest it can become.

All wires will exit the box through glands on the right hand side of the box. I plan to have trunking mounted to the underside of the display and all wires will drop down from there to the equipment. There is 18mm plywood under the display and 20mm polystyrene between the plywood and the glass, so quite safe to use 15mm screws into the plywood to mount the trunking.


2019-10-27.png
 
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Des Westcott

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I'm considering using these speaker connectors to connect all the equipment.


They will be soldered on the side connected to the relays. One of the reasons I considering them is that almost all of the equipment will have to have the cables extended, and if I want all the cables to go through glands, fitting them with plugs will be a royal PITA when moving around / replacing.

Any thoughts on these connectors?
 
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Des Westcott

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Thinking about Heater Controls. Let's say you want the tank kept at 25degC

I remember reading that there are two schools of though :-
1 - Let the internal thermostats do the temperature control and let Reef-Pi monitor and cut them in or out only if they go out of spec. So set the heaters internal thermostat at 25 and then set Reef-Pi to cut power to them if temp goes above, say 27
2 - Have Reef-Pi turn them on and off and have the internal thermostats act as the failsafe. So set internal thermostats to 27 and use Reef-Pi to control the temp at 25.

In my previous Reef-Pi setup I used method 2. I liked the info I got from the Temp Control graph showing how many minutes per hour heaters (and chiller) ran. But I recall, there were concerns about method 2's reliability and premature wear on the relays.

What is the current feeling on tis issue?
 

Ranjib

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The feelings from my side remained exactly same. What changed is in 3.0 (less than a month now :)) . we'll have hysteresis which will make reef-pi behave same as heater;s internal thermostat, except you get to control the level of fluctuations. I dont know yet how the community will adopt this though. We'll find out
 
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Des Westcott

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The feelings from my side remained exactly same. What changed is in 3.0 (less than a month now :)) . we'll have hysteresis which will make reef-pi behave same as heater;s internal thermostat, except you get to control the level of fluctuations. I dont know yet how the community will adopt this though. We'll find out
Less than month to 3.0! Whoop Whoop!

I think i will leave the Reef-Pi controlling the temp because I like the info it provides on usage.
 
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Ranjib

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Less than month to 3.0! Whoop Whoop!

I think i will leave the Reef-Pi controlling the temp because I like the info it provides on usage.
With 3.0 you can see the power usage as well, and then decipher if the heater is getting bad or worse.
 
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Des Westcott

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I made some progress around South Africa's Rugby World Cup Victory and the associated celebrations.

Done some layout of components in the Electronics Box (EB)

CFB3C6B7-D436-42E6-B4F6-1454DA8EACA1.jpeg

C04C14EF-7578-411B-A958-C54B4E1BAADB.jpeg

7DAD0C6D-0AA1-4049-A66A-B0978DC89732.jpeg

Had a few discussions with @Michael Lane about the different Power Options on the Hat Board. My question was how to run more than 8 Relays. The solution we came up with was to run 8 x 5V Relays off the "Power 1" pins that are essentially just GPIO breakouts, and to use the "Power 2" pins through ULN2803 but to supply the ULN with 5V instead of the suggested 12V. This would allow me to run the 5V relays I have until I manage to source 12V relays or decide on another route.

I built a housing for some of the equipment wall warts

Biggest thing was doing a fresh install on the Pi. I installed Raspbian Buster with Desktop , but without all the bloat software. Installed Reef-Pi 3.0 and got it all running in Console mode on my touchscreen. Maybe doesn't sound like much, but I'm very pleased with progress.
 

Ranjib

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I made some progress around South Africa's Rugby World Cup Victory and the associated celebrations.

Done some layout of components in the Electronics Box (EB)

Had a few discussions with @Michael Lane about the different Power Options on the Hat Board. My question was how to run more than 8 Relays. The solution we came up with was to run 8 x 5V Relays off the "Power 1" pins that are essentially just GPIO breakouts, and to use the "Power 2" pins through ULN2803 but to supply the ULN with 5V instead of the suggested 12V. This would allow me to run the 5V relays I have until I manage to source 12V relays or decide on another route.

I built a housing for some of the equipment wall warts

Biggest thing was doing a fresh install on the Pi. I installed Raspbian Buster with Desktop , but without all the bloat software. Installed Reef-Pi 3.0 and got it all running in Console mode on my touchscreen. Maybe doesn't sound like much, but I'm very pleased with progress.
:) thats awesome. keep us posted. Others have reported some hiccups with temperature sensor detection, but so far I have not been able to reproduce this. I am running 3.0 beta for a week now,
 
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Des Westcott

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:) thats awesome. keep us posted. Others have reported some hiccups with temperature sensor detection, but so far I have not been able to reproduce this. I am running 3.0 beta for a week now,
Yeah. I saw that or the main Reef-Pi thread, but it doesn't worry me. You clever guys will have that sorted out in a day or two ;)
 
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Do you run TWO return pumps for redundancy and to be safe? (check all that apply)

  • Yes I run two return pumps..

    Votes: 123 22.1%
  • No it's a waste..

    Votes: 64 11.5%
  • No but I would like to..

    Votes: 133 23.9%
  • No but I have a spare return pump...

    Votes: 267 47.9%

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