Looking at the GHL KH Director - thoughts?

Lylelovett

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Hi all,

I'm not at the point where I want to automate my alkalinity dosing. I'd like it to be as hands off as possible. :)

How is everyone liking the GHL KH Director?

Thanks,
lylelovett
 

windemerejack

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do some research in the GHL sponsors forum on here, you will learn alot from there, not all good either.
Me personally would never touch ghl again but you might have a different experience.
 
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Lylelovett

Lylelovett

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do some research in the GHL sponsors forum on here, you will learn alot from there, not all good either.
Me personally would never touch ghl again but you might have a different experience.

I have a P4 so I figured KH Director was the way to go... I there a standalone automated unit that is good?
 

HuduVudu

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Hi all,

I'm not at the point where I want to automate my alkalinity dosing. I'd like it to be as hands off as possible. :)

How is everyone liking the GHL KH Director?

Thanks,
lylelovett
Just a warning on automating anything. Make sure you know the failure points.

Many aquarists have been in for some very unpleasant surprises when the unit that they use for testing starts to drift. You still need to monitor and sometimes even this isn't enough. If something moves fast and you don't catch it in time ... bad things. They say in software humans make mistakes but software makes it 1000 times faster. Design accordingly.

Reefs don't grow that fast and setting up systems that provide stable additions are far better and more reliable than using feed back loops.

I have a GHL doser and I am planning on moving toward GHL products full disclosure. What I am saying is gear independent. Never fully trust your gear no matter how good you think it is, it can and will fail at the most inoppurtune times. Of course there will be people that say their system x has never failed. Great. What about those that did. I don't want to be the 1 in 100 whos tank blows up because of some anamolous manufacturing defect.
 
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Lylelovett

Lylelovett

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Just a warning on automating anything. Make sure you know the failure points.

Many aquarists have been in for some very unpleasant surprises when the unit that they use for testing starts to drift. You still need to monitor and sometimes even this isn't enough. If something moves fast and you don't catch it in time ... bad things. They say in software humans make mistakes but software makes it 1000 times faster. Design accordingly.

Reefs don't grow that fast and setting up systems that provide stable additions are far better and more reliable than using feed back loops.

I have a GHL doser and I am planning on moving toward GHL products full disclosure. What I am saying is gear independent. Never fully trust your gear no matter how good you think it is, it can and will fail at the most inoppurtune times. Of course there will be people that say their system x has never failed. Great. What about those that did. I don't want to be the 1 in 100 whos tank blows up because of some anamolous manufacturing defect.

Totally get it.

I'm two years in - handful of softies/leathers, couple zoas, fish, shrimp, the usual.
Profilux 4, and just got Mitras LX7.

I have stuff that grows well with water parameters that aren't perfectly stable. :)

What is your testing routing - not just for Alk, but all around? Is it a weekly routine? More than once a week? I feel like this needs to be my first step before automation - I don't have a good process in place.
 

Variant

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I had one, was good. But ultimately I decided that automated Alk testing was more of a gimmick. My thought process was...

Automated alk testing is good in case there is a huge swing that manual testing may not catch due to infrequency. However, swings in alk is usually caused by a major change on your system that is introduced by the hobbyist. If I make a major change, I know to do manual testing to see if alk consumption has changed so automation isn't as helpful. Also, if I'm making changes to the system frequently, there's no real need to test especially automated because growth would likely slow to a grinding halt because SPS hate changes.

So if my goal for SPS growth is stability, I make it an effort to reduce/eliminate the causes of alk swings. To test it automatically is not needed if you work to get stability. Automated alk testing doesn't give you stability, mature maintenance habits and a more conscientious hobbyist does.
 
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Lylelovett

Lylelovett

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I had one, was good. But ultimately I decided that automated Alk testing was more of a gimmick. My thought process was...

Automated alk testing is good in case there is a huge swing that manual testing may not catch due to infrequency. However, swings in alk is usually caused by a major change on your system that is introduced by the hobbyist. If I make a major change, I know to do manual testing to see if alk consumption has changed so automation isn't as helpful. Also, if I'm making changes to the system frequently, there's no real need to test especially automated because growth would likely slow to a grinding halt because SPS hate changes.

So if my goal for SPS growth is stability, I make it an effort to reduce/eliminate the causes of alk swings. To test it automatically is not needed if you work to get stability. Automated alk testing doesn't give you stability, mature maintenance habits and a more conscientious hobbyist does.

I guess that's what I'm striving for is stability - I understand that's the key - I think I was just hoping this automation would help. :) Maybe I need to get a good regimen in place.
 

Variant

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I guess that's what I'm striving for is stability - I understand that's the key - I think I was just hoping this automation would help. :) Maybe I need to get a good regimen in place.

I think I can relate. My last build, I went ball to the walls with devices and all kinds of automation. It didn't work because I didn't get "in tune" with my tank first. I think of automation now as a nice to have but not foundational. Additionally, I think these nice to have devices only serve to distract folks from understanding their reefs. As you probably read all over, everyone's tank is unique and that's why being in tune with your system is so important.

My new tank that I'm 4 weeks into takes my learnings of not overcomplicating things and went back to basics. Then at the 1 or 2 year mark, I'll revisit some of these automated devices. But as to the quality of the GHL product, they're good. It's up to you to decide if it's something you want and also need at this current stage of your reef's maturity.
 

HuduVudu

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What is your testing routing - not just for Alk, but all around? Is it a weekly routine? More than once a week?
I am in prototyping phase, so I am in the frustrating process of testing alk daily. It is getting better my process is starting to stablize so I am skipping days on alk testing. I hope to get things pushed out to once a week that would be ideal. FYI I have a high demand SPS tank.

I feel like this needs to be my first step before automation - I don't have a good process in place.
Absolutely! Automating bad processes just makes faster more accurate bad processes.

Back in the day when automation was hitting the factories I read an article about a company that dumped all of their computers and autmation to just use paper. They had someone come in and design solid processes. They saved huge amounts of money. It isn't the automation that creates success it is the process.
 

Lasse

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I´m a GHL freak that have use GHL to automation many of my tasks. However - to do a manual alkalinity test is easy and in many ways rather accurate with hobby tests like Red Sea, Salifert and tropic marines pro tests. It take some minutes to do. I have chose not to get a KH director. However - the ION director test 5 different compounds in one test and I will probably get that for testing once a week.

Sincerely Lasse
 

arvind

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I use KH director and I am loving it. It was quite painful to get it calibrated the first time but once it is up and running it is stable and steady. It keep my alk at 8.5 day and night. I also use Hanna checker as a backup and test alk when I test all other parameters once a week.

Agree with others that automation is not end all be all. I made my career in automating stuff (system integration) and therefore I have first hand experience that all automation bound to fail one day. If you have that mindset and build redundancy into your system then automation brings a lot of benefits like convenience and peace of mind.
 

arking_mark

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Unfortunately, the KH Director is a laboratory grade device that requires laboratory grade calibration. That being said, once you get it there, it works very well.

Main issues with setting up will be with the volume for the sample line feed and filter.

In terms of controlling KH, you have to figure it out as there is no best practice provided.

Having dealt with both these issues, I can provide clear guidance on knowing your device is operating properly and how to set it up to properly manage your KH.
 

Dr. Jim

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I got my KH Director about 11 months ago. Immediately, I realized that I would not be using it to control Alk dosing. The main problem I saw is that if my Alk creeps up higher than I want it, I would want to temporarily stop dosing completely until the Alk drops where I want it. With the Director, you can only have it reduce the percentage of buffer dosed....not stop the dosing completely. For this reason, I don't use the Director to control dosing. That is a real shame....and I hope GHL changes the programming to allow this some day.

So, I just use the Director to monitor trends by having it run twice a day. Initially, the values matched very nicely to my Hanna checker and other manual test kits. But recently, it seems to be off, no matter how much I've been trying to calibrate the instruement. There are a lot of "calibrations" that can potentially be off:
-calculating volume of water in tube
-calibrating 2 dosers
-calibrating probe (Probe has to be clean and in good condition; pH solutions have to be fresh).
So, a lot of factors have the potential to be "off."

But, I'm still glad I have it.....and I'm glad I chose GHL!!
 

arking_mark

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I got my KH Director about 11 months ago. Immediately, I realized that I would not be using it to control Alk dosing. The main problem I saw is that if my Alk creeps up higher than I want it, I would want to temporarily stop dosing completely until the Alk drops where I want it. With the Director, you can only have it reduce the percentage of buffer dosed....not stop the dosing completely. For this reason, I don't use the Director to control dosing. That is a real shame....and I hope GHL changes the programming to allow this some day.

So, I just use the Director to monitor trends by having it run twice a day. Initially, the values matched very nicely to my Hanna checker and other manual test kits. But recently, it seems to be off, no matter how much I've been trying to calibrate the instruement. There are a lot of "calibrations" that can potentially be off:
-calculating volume of water in tube
-calibrating 2 dosers
-calibrating probe (Probe has to be clean and in good condition; pH solutions have to be fresh).
So, a lot of factors have the potential to be "off."

But, I'm still glad I have it.....and I'm glad I chose GHL!!
Actually, it can automatically reduce dosing to zero.
 

Lightspeed

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i just purchased KH and Master dose unit as my first steps to GHL.

imho any automated system is only as good as the owners proficiency in overall monitoring and initial accuracy in the setup of that system.
Its a hard call for dosing, i run Hanna all the time to get an idea of my tank uptake, you could probably do it manually till the end of time as it used to be done before automation came along.
For me GHL gave the most flexible starting point for upgrades later if i see fit.

honestly all things aside between brands and all have their shortcomings, the apex unit is as ugly as a hat full of..................and the most ugly plastic creation i have ever seen.
 

arvind

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I got my KH Director about 11 months ago. Immediately, I realized that I would not be using it to control Alk dosing. The main problem I saw is that if my Alk creeps up higher than I want it, I would want to temporarily stop dosing completely until the Alk drops where I want it. With the Director, you can only have it reduce the percentage of buffer dosed....not stop the dosing completely. For this reason, I don't use the Director to control dosing. That is a real shame....and I hope GHL changes the programming to allow this some day.

So, I just use the Director to monitor trends by having it run twice a day. Initially, the values matched very nicely to my Hanna checker and other manual test kits. But recently, it seems to be off, no matter how much I've been trying to calibrate the instruement. There are a lot of "calibrations" that can potentially be off:
-calculating volume of water in tube
-calibrating 2 dosers
-calibrating probe (Probe has to be clean and in good condition; pH solutions have to be fresh).
So, a lot of factors have the potential to be "off."

But, I'm still glad I have it.....and I'm glad I chose GHL!!

For calculating the volume of water in the tube, the method that worked most effectively for me is to weigh the water. I used this electronic scale to weigh the water: Amazon product
 

Dr. Jim

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Actually, it can automatically reduce dosing to zero.
So, you made me reread the KH Director directions again. Actually, if the Alk creeps up, you can't stop the dosing completely like I mentioned I would want it to do. When you set it to zero, that just means it will keep dosing at the pre-set amount with "zero" change from the last set amount.....(unless I am missing something).
Anyway, I decided to start using the automatic dosing adjustment feature. Although I lost confidence in the accuracy of the Director (i.e. the ability to read the actual, absolute alk value), I do have confidence in the "trend" (i.e. it never drifts too quickly from the previous reading) so I feel a little more confident on allowing the Director to adjust dosages.
I'll see how it goes.
 

arking_mark

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So, you made me reread the KH Director directions again. Actually, if the Alk creeps up, you can't stop the dosing completely like I mentioned I would want it to do. When you set it to zero, that just means it will keep dosing at the pre-set amount with "zero" change from the last set amount.....(unless I am missing something).
Anyway, I decided to start using the automatic dosing adjustment feature. Although I lost confidence in the accuracy of the Director (i.e. the ability to read the actual, absolute alk value), I do have confidence in the "trend" (i.e. it never drifts too quickly from the previous reading) so I feel a little more confident on allowing the Director to adjust dosages.
I'll see how it goes.


Here's how I set it up and why... with add on mode if the reading is above my set dosing, it reduces the next dose (often to zero with my setup)

1. I set doser for the nominal dose a reef tank uses per day, which is .5dKH. For my tank, I dose 6 times a day and require 24ml of supplement. So 4ml per dose. This ensures that if my tank is at target 8dKH, it still will dose this minimum amount that will be used up b4 next dose.
2. I set the 1dKH deviation volume to the actual supplement ml needed to raise my dKH by 1. The KHD is set to measure 30 minutes b4 dosing. This ensures that after every measurement, my dKH is replenished to at least 8 plus my minimal dose.
3. I limit the max/min dose adjustment to .25dKH because I never want a larger change then that. It protects my tank from anomalous readings as well.

With these setting, I'm typically between 7.9 and 8.1 dKH. Sometimes a little higher and sometimes a little lower. The dKH consumption of my tank varies throughout the day. The more measurements / doses you do the tighter you can lock in the target dKH.
 

esther

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Hi all,

I'm not at the point where I want to automate my alkalinity dosing. I'd like it to be as hands off as possible. :)

How is everyone liking the GHL KH Director?

Thanks,
lylelovett

I personally love it. I haven't thought about Alk in months. It's been great!
 

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