Digital Aquatics Archon

Discussion in 'Aquarium Controllers' started by EuroDriver, Sep 29, 2017.

  1. EuroDriver

    EuroDriver Well-Known Member

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    I'm looking to start a thread for all things Archon as a central reference for us Archon users.
    Pickupman66 has taken the time to provide a great intro found here.

    I'll start out with my first impressions and comments on the Archon and then move to the technical Q&As.

    Introduction:

    A couple of weeks ago my RKE PC4s died as a result of an unnoticed drip under my cabinet from one of the bulkheads. I figured it was a good time to upgrade. I had my fingertip hovering over the Enter button to order the new Apex, but then decided to investigate the Archon a little further. It looks like there's been a few updates and a lot of improvements since it was first released in 2015 (my research revealed that the new Apex has also gone through these growing pains). Thus, I ended up ordering the Archon for the same reason most people will end up buying it - too much invested in Digital Aquatics modules and accessories, so keep moving forward vs having to buy everything over with a different brand.

    The Archon arrived last weekend and I have been tinkering with it. Out the gate, I had a couple of hiccups and was on the verge of returning it but Eric at DA personally called me and we did some troubleshooting over the phone. Between the two of us we got it working at almost 100% but not quite, so DA is in the process of making it right and they're sending me a new replacement system. (We couldn't get the email alerts to work, and the PB8 registered as a PB4 and thus won't operate - everything else seems to be running smoothly).

    In the meantime, I have kept tinkering with the one I currently have and I must say I really like it. I still haven't been able to get port forwarding to work and it looks like I'll need to get a DDNS subscription so I can access the Archon while away from home - I'm really looking forward to this since I never managed to get the Net module to work for me. In the meantime, it's so nice to work from my laptop or smartphone without the limitations of the wired head unit or SID cable.

    Another comment I want to make for prospective buyers is that I'm not sure whether the PB8 is worth buying - With the PB4's you get a status light on each channel whereas the channels on the PB8 don't have a status light. This may not seem so important, since the interface will report status. It became an issue to me though, because since the Archon was recognizing it as a PB4 and telling me the channel was on, I was thinking my ATO pump had bit the dust. It took me a few back-and-forth trips between the computer and the equipment to realize the interface was reporting a PB4, not PB8. Had there been status lights on the individual channels, I would have known right away that there was no power being sent to the ATO pump and thus I learned to appreciate the importance of the status lights on the power bars.

    The PB4 has 4 BUS ports and the PB4 has 2 (so 2 PB4's instead of the PB8 gives you the same amount of BUS ports). The only advantage I see to the PB8 is that you'll only need 1 electrical outlet vs 2 when running 2 PB4's. All in all, for the price of the PB8 (currently $219.99), it is cheaper to get 2 PB4's (currently $99.99 each) and you get the added functionality of a status indicator for each channel.

    That being said, the web interface is very nice - easy on the eyes and much easier to use instead of either pushing through menus on the RKE head unit, or tinkering with MyReef (which I never got to work with my Dell laptops). If you're used to the RKE or MyReef menus, it is a rather small learning curve to adapt to the Archon interface.

    Now for the technical stuff and my Q&As:

    At the moment, I'm trying to figure out the best approach to connect the following:

    I have 2 Jebao PP-15's that I'm currently controlling with a Jebao dual controller. I purchased the APC and DCI modules to run on the RKE but apparently, the APC is not needed with the Archon, as the DCI can plug directly into it without needing the APC in between.

    I also bought an ALC to control dimmable supplemental T5's (my main lighting is 3 Hydra 52's which I am controlling via the AI Director - the Archon doesn't have the capability of controlling the Hydra 52s with any available modules). However, it appears the ALC is not needed, since the Archon has built-in 0-10v ports (as well as pmw ports). I bought te IOE module ("breakout box") because access to these ports is via RJ9 connectors.

    My question is this: It appears that if I use the IOE, I will have to splice the cables for the Jebao pumps to connect them. If I don't want to do this, I need to connect the DCI directly to the Archon and consequently, I won't be able to use the 0-10v channels for the T5s as the ports will be used up by the DCI. Is this correct?

    If that's the case, am I best served using both the DCI for the Jebaos and the ALC for the T5s and just leave the IOE out completely?

    In the alternative, if I opt to use the IOE for something else (i.e., pmw signal control), do I need to plug in the APC to run the DCI?
     
    Last edited: Sep 29, 2017
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  2. pickupman66

    pickupman66 Well-Known Member MTRCMember

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    Nathan,

    Here is sort of how I have my system up and running as of TODAY.

    Archon DC ports #1 now serve DC controlled power for my Jebao DC6000 return pump. it is on a 11 rotation at 50% and every 11 hours it his 75% for 30 minutes for nurient export. Port #2 then serves a Jebao WP-10. BOTH of these devices run thru the DCI.

    the APC module runs a pair of Jebao WP25s thru their own DCI.

    Control your pumps with port 1 and 2 of the Archon and that should allow you ports 3 and 4 for the T-5 on the IOE box. Archon has 4 analog outs and 2 PWM outs.
     
  3. mdbannister

    mdbannister Ahh...the Reef Life Staff Member Team R2R R2R Excellence Award SCMAS Member Build Thread Contributor Article Contributor Partner Member 2018

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    Great thread idea! I'll make it a sticky so it's easy to find.
     
  4. EuroDriver

    EuroDriver Well-Known Member

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    Awesome! Thank you
     
  5. EuroDriver

    EuroDriver Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for the info - I think I follow you (I hadn't noticed the Archon has 2 RJ-9 inputs for the 0-10v and 2 RJ-45 inputs for the I/O ports). Thus the DCI will connect via the 2 RJ-9 0-10v ports on the Archon & the IOE box will connect to the 2 RJ-45 I/O ports. On the IOE module I can connect the 0-10v signal cable for the T5s and add pmw signal cables. If I want to add more controllable wavemaker pumps, I need to connect the APC via a regular BUS cable and add another DCI. Is that correct?
     
  6. pickupman66

    pickupman66 Well-Known Member MTRCMember

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    Bingo! That's the way I'm setup now. Except I have nothing connected to my ioe
     
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  7. pickupman66

    pickupman66 Well-Known Member MTRCMember

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    BTW,. Here is a shot of my archon controlled tank. [​IMG]
     
  8. EuroDriver

    EuroDriver Well-Known Member

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    Wow, it looks awesome. What size is it it?
     
  9. n2585722

    n2585722 Well-Known Member R2R Supporter Build Thread Contributor Partner Member 2018

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    Nathan, sorry about not mentioning the personal data entered will dissappear on the setup pages after a webpage refresh or after you leave the web page in my build thread. I went back and edited that to include a note about this. I did not realize I did not include this information.
     
  10. EuroDriver

    EuroDriver Well-Known Member

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    Yeah, it was a bit confusing at first but once I realized it was reporting a wireless IP address, it was pretty much a non-issue. Eric later explained this to me.
     
  11. EuroDriver

    EuroDriver Well-Known Member

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    I have a new issue that just developed: I have slowly been configuring everything and tonight I plugged in my ALC and MLC modules. They were recognized right away and I programmed the lunar pods (not controlling anything other than lunar pods on the ALC because at the moment I'm breaking in my T5 bulbs so I have the 0-10v signal cable disconnected). First I went through the programming of the 6 lunar pods on the MLC, then moved over to the 2 pods on the ALC. As soon as I hit save on the ALC lunar pods configuration, my home page went blank under outputs, inputs and graphs/webcam.

    If I click on inputs, it reports "no inputs detected!" For outputs, it reports "no outputs attached!" System and setup peages appear to be behaving properly.

    I have restarted, shut down, disconnected and reconnected everything but I can't get it to read my connected devices. I also tried reconnecting everything but the ALC and MLC but I still can't get back in.
     
    Last edited: Oct 1, 2017
  12. n2585722

    n2585722 Well-Known Member R2R Supporter Build Thread Contributor Partner Member 2018

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    Are the outputs working? if they are try accessing on a different device. It could be an isue with the browser.
     
  13. pickupman66

    pickupman66 Well-Known Member MTRCMember

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    66 gallons. Sca.
     
  14. EuroDriver

    EuroDriver Well-Known Member

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    Yes, the weird thing is that everything appears to be functioning properly. The moonlights turned off at their scheduled time this morning. I don't think it's a browser issue, since it's the same on IE11, Firefox & on my smartphone.

    I just pulled the USB to check for errors. The modules file in the system folder is blank.
     
  15. n2585722

    n2585722 Well-Known Member R2R Supporter Build Thread Contributor Partner Member 2018

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    There should be a backup of that file in system -> backups. You may be able to copy that to the folder with the blank file if it is not blank. Backup the USB drive to your computer also. I usually will do that from time to time and before any firmware updates.
     
  16. EuroDriver

    EuroDriver Well-Known Member

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    Ok thanks. I found the backup and it did list the modules. I copied the file and pasted it in the system folder, overwriting the blank file. Rebooted everything - all modules and PB4 blinked for a few seconds then went solid. Logged in again and guess what - still no inputs or outputs showing! I wonder if the modules file got wiped out again...
     
  17. n2585722

    n2585722 Well-Known Member R2R Supporter Build Thread Contributor Partner Member 2018

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    It may have for some reason. There is also a Ports.run file with the ports. I would copy the USB files to a folder on your computer before trying anything else. You might want to copy the module and port files again and leave the latest modules hooked up disconnected while it boots up. That way the files should match the hardware on the system.
     
  18. EuroDriver

    EuroDriver Well-Known Member

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    The ports.run file was also blank. I also copied it over from the backups folder but unfortunately it did not fix the problem. I still don't have any inputs or outputs reporting on the web interface.

    After that didn't work, I deleted the USB drive and did a quick format. I loaded a fresh set of files on it that Eric emailed me earlier this week (the latest retail files) - still to no avail.
     
    Last edited: Oct 1, 2017
  19. n2585722

    n2585722 Well-Known Member R2R Supporter Build Thread Contributor Partner Member 2018

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    What firmware versions show on the system page?
     
  20. EuroDriver

    EuroDriver Well-Known Member

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    Software version is: 1.09.70.
    Hardware version is: 1.08.10.
    Package version is: 2.00.09.
     
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