My Honest Opinion About The Alkatronic

Discussion in 'General Equipment, Hardware, Filtration' started by mitch91175, Mar 21, 2018.

  1. mitch91175

    mitch91175 Valuable Member R2R Supporter Build Thread Contributor

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    Completely removing the original post here and posting an update to how I feel about the Alkatronic.

    I have had the Alkatronic for going on 6 months. In that time, it has been an emotional rollercoaster. When I first received the unit, it was loud as heck. It was so loud that I couldn't even sleep at night when it tested. When initially told about the noise, Focustronic determined a solution for the noise level, but was initially going to just put the fix in the 2nd batch of the unit. I personally reached out to them about those of us that had originally purchased the unit and what they would do for us, and they decided to send out the quiet fix to all of their distribution partners to distribute to existing customers. Win for us and win for the Alkatronic unit.

    Now to how this unit has changed my entire way of reefing. Like most people, you can get a little complacent in the hobby. Specially when you do not have too much more going into the tank. Yeah you do the maintenance and test, but sometimes you just get complacent. I was having to test dKH multiple time a day and it was becoming very repetitive. Calcium and Magnesium wasn't that much of a hassle for me, but dKH was becoming a pain in the you know what. Since I have had the Alkatronic, overall I would say now I feel like I can actually enjoy my reef more and do the other maintenance that allows me to keep an eye on the reef. Yeah testing dKH doesn't take long, but plotting it manually to see what was going on, yada, yada, was an issue that needed to be resolved.

    Measurements from the unit are in line with what I was getting from using my Hanna checker. Now instead of me test dKH multiple times daily, I just test it when I honestly feel like doing so. If I remix any reagent, I definitely test it at that time to ensure that I mixed the reagent properly and determine whether I need to do a baseline adjustment. The reagent will last you a very long time if you purchase the 4L with the unit. Testing every 8 hours, the reagent will last you at least 18 months. Cost wise that isn't much when you calculate out how much you would spend on which ever test kit you use for dKH.

    The real beauty about the Alkatronic isn't just the accuracy, but how the people over at Focustronic work with the community on making improvements to the platform. When initially released, you could not manipulate the settings of the unit via the cloud, only in the mobile app. With the most recent firmware update, you can now change all settings via the cloud and do all calibrations through it as well. They also implemented some really nice features like more failsafes (preventing any catastrophic events), etc. You can read more about that here: https://www.facebook.com/focustroni...mjrRRh882TtTLcgBU7RoEpwy5P_sgU9cAZ&__tn__=H-R

    Before making my decision to go with the Alkatronic, I looked at the Neptune Systems Trident, GHL KH Director and the KH Guardian. I ultimately decided on the Alkatronic for a number of reasons.

    1. The unit can operate independently of any aquarium controller
    2. The presence that @JonasRoman had in his original thread and documenting his journey to getting the unit to market
    3. The overall design of the unit. Easier to place under my stand.
    4. The concentrated reagent. I like buying in bulk.
    5. It actually can make corrections to the dKH.

    The unit itself isn't 100% perfect that's for sure, but what really is in this world? There are some setup issues that can be worked out like getting it connected to wifi and not needing to use USB to do the firmware update, but outside of those, I'd rate the unit overall a 9/10. Cannot give it a 10/10 because like I said, there are always improvements that can be done.

    Here is a great video from ReefDudes about the unboxing and setup of the unit.

    One from CoralVue:


    For those of you that are on the fence and want to have as stable dKH as you can get for your system, I personally highly recommend you giving the Alkatronic a closer look. Is it a pricey unit, yes it is. If your in this hobby the at the end of the day everything is pricey; that is why it's a hobby. I just needed a better sense of security knowing that I have invested 15x more in my thank than the unit cost so I needed some insurance for the tank. The Alkatronic is my insurance policy.
     
    Last edited: Oct 5, 2018
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  2. mitch91175

    mitch91175 Valuable Member R2R Supporter Build Thread Contributor

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    Also wanted to mention, others my have had a better experience with this unit or can deal with the noise level or the quirkiness of the bluetooth/wifi and noise, but not this guy. I work hard for my dough and do not want a $1000 doorstop.
     
  3. Greenstreet.1

    Greenstreet.1 Valuable Member

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    I have been following they thread in the process of making up my mind on a unit. I do see that they say that they have a fix for the noise don’t know if they charge for the fix I don’t think they should but they say that they have one.
     
  4. mitch91175

    mitch91175 Valuable Member R2R Supporter Build Thread Contributor

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    Honestly even with the fix I personally will not trust this unit to dose my alkalinity with what I see now with it in its current state. I would rather measure twice daily like I have been before letting it do the dosing for me. Hopefully the KH Guardian is much better than this one. I thought I made the right decision, but guess I didn't.
     
  5. mitch91175

    mitch91175 Valuable Member R2R Supporter Build Thread Contributor

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    Did you hear how loud it is from the video?
     
  6. Greenstreet.1

    Greenstreet.1 Valuable Member

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    Yes I did could not deal with that myself.
     
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  7. hart24601

    hart24601 Valuable Member R2R Supporter R2R Excellence Award

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    Sorry to hear of the troubles but very much appreciate the review.
     
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  8. mitch91175

    mitch91175 Valuable Member R2R Supporter Build Thread Contributor

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    No problem dude. Jus wanted to share my own experience with the unit so people can see both side of the fence. I honestly wish this think would have been what I was looking for.
     
  9. mitch91175

    mitch91175 Valuable Member R2R Supporter Build Thread Contributor

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    It’s weird too that seems like the manufacturer’s presence the last day or so has not been the same like it was before I purchased. Could definitely just be a coincidence, but very timely, lol.
     
  10. dougers31

    dougers31 Valuable Member R2R Supporter

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    I was watching the video and thinking that's kind of annoying but not too bad and then the squealing kicked in LOL. No way something you spent that much money on should sound like that.
     
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  11. Greenstreet.1

    Greenstreet.1 Valuable Member

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    Did you hit them up about this ? Cause I find it weird that they did not reply in the thread as it would seem as if they were on top of all issues that came up.
     
  12. JonasRoman

    JonasRoman Well-Known Member

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    Very shortly hear:
    sound issue is 100% solved
    If someone have issues with software after update, we solve that. Contact us at FB. We have 100 units running, most of them 100% smooth, and if we have had any issue, all of them are so far solved. Software is easy, the latest update works very well, but some have have problems during update process, but most user have not problem, so please just contact us and we solve it.

    the sound for our B and D is reduced my almost 100%, you simply not hear the machine now when these pumps starts, and A and C is more soft and reduced by 50% and is also a huge diff. Listen to this video.

    Concerning other units, feel free to compare precision, stability and accuracy. When machine is installed and use have done everything correct, we have recorded thousand of perfect measurements within +- 0.05. That is what I feel i have to explain.

    But as I said, issues, please contact us at fb, messenger, there we have the support.

    Regards
    JOnas
    se video link below demo if the "new" sound
     
  13. JonasRoman

    JonasRoman Well-Known Member

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    listen from 8.20(pump C), and from 8:54 we have the pump B(which was the loud one before upgrade, now only a whispering).

     
  14. JonasRoman

    JonasRoman Well-Known Member

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    have answered;-)...just some time zone difference here:)
     
  15. mitch91175

    mitch91175 Valuable Member R2R Supporter Build Thread Contributor

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    Quote from your original thread:

    Existing production line is already that silent version, and for users who wants to upgrade it it very easy to do that, and no further difference it will be, so at the end of the day, independently when and where you purchased, you will all have quite units according to the upgrade kit. We will be helpful and make this with reasonable discount so there will be no difference for you, and will be back with details. Until then, use and setup your unit so you do not loose the interesting learning time:)

    See this is a problem at least for me. This was definitely something that is a serious issue and you guys expect people to pay for the flaw in you initial design. Doesn't work that way. In situations like that (at least to me) those a RECALL items if you cannot resolve the issue with firmware updates. The unit I have is on the latest 3.1.1 (I made sure of that before doing anything). Just cannot find myself spending any more $$$ on this and I just received the unit yesterday.
     
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  16. mitch91175

    mitch91175 Valuable Member R2R Supporter Build Thread Contributor

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    UPDATE 1: So now that I have finally been able to get measurements, I do have to say that it is accurate and matching my Hanna ALK checker. Getting everything setup wasn't super complicated, but at the same time I think it could be simplified still. I was running into an issue where it wasn't reading, but I'd say that was my fault.

    I will say that you ABSOLUTELY have to read the instruction step-by-step and not miss anything. If you do you will have problems. Still a few things for me to work out like dealing with the noise level and getting the data uploaded to the website, but right now I can say that I am happier than I was a day ago.

    The noise for me is not great (will have to see what the fix for it does) because I am a light sleeper and when I wake, it is very difficult for me to go back to sleep. With having a 4 & 5 year old we need all the sleep we can get. For now I will not test at night because I cannot deal with the noise of the pumps.
     
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  17. mitch91175

    mitch91175 Valuable Member R2R Supporter Build Thread Contributor

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    Also, I was running into an issue with the liquid that was in the bottle that I thought was ready to use, but it was actually concentrated so I had to make a batch following the instructions in the manual and everything started ready well after that.

    Jonas has helped pull me off the ledge, ;). I am going to go ahead and keep the unit and hope that they do something for us individuals that recently purchased the unit to deal with the noise.
     
  18. JaimeAdams

    JaimeAdams Valuable Member R2R Supporter Reef Squad 3RMAS Member R2R Excellence Award Build Thread Contributor

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    Yeah, I was fully expecting the seller to watch your video and say that yours was broke and send you one many times less noisy than that one. I hope that you get it sorted out. Glad to hear that the measurements are accurate though.
     
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  19. mitch91175

    mitch91175 Valuable Member R2R Supporter Build Thread Contributor

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    They actually have owned up to people complaining about the noise, but from the looks we may have to pay for the fix. I definitely do not want to have to do that with the amount of noise out of the box. I can see after using the pumps for some time that the noise may increase, but right of the bat it is noisy as you can see from the video. Jonas posted a video with the noise fix, but they have released any info about it yet. He also mentioned that the current production line has the fix already in place.
     
  20. mitch91175

    mitch91175 Valuable Member R2R Supporter Build Thread Contributor

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    Ok guys. I have an update on #3 and #4 on the list I posted in the first post. I am happy to say that Focustronic/CoralVue are going to come through on this one. Jonas has confirmed that the will be a coordinated effort with CoralVue to get the noise fix in the hands of us with the unit.

    To me this is a defining moment in a companies existence. When faced with challenges and adversity, they stood up and owned up to get this resolved.

    I know as they continue to work on their product line things like the web experience, setup, etc. will be ironed out as long as they continue to listen to our feedback whether good or bad.

    I am in the market for a dosing system and do not like the Neptune DOS because from what I have read is the pumps need frequent replacement. I have had a Vertex stepper that I have not had that issue with but I desperate need phone control. I hope that the Dosetronic comes out soon since it has beeen in the works.

    I’ll keep this post updated with my personal experience and how the noise fix works out.
     
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