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Nero 5 - % Settings and Actual Flow

Homebrewer

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First, I want to say that I love these pumps. If I were writing a review on a vendor website, it would be "5 stars" and "yes, I would recommend to a friend." These are my first controllable pumps and I find the app to be really easy to use, fun to program, and I think built-in flow meter is pretty useful (as you'll see below)!

Regarding the flow, I replied in a few other threads, chiming-in about setting read-outs, and I thought the information below might be useful to others. I searched the R2R, and while one could piece this information together from various threads, I couldn't find it all in one place... so here it goes.

The Nero 5 can be tuned from 1% to 100%, however, I have found that these settings are not a percentage of actual flow vs. 3000gph. I have two, and I wanted to set my tank to a "low energy lagoon" type setting (my tank is 65g @36" long). During the day, I have the pumps set at random, between 10% and 30%. I came to these levels because at 30%, the readout showed approximately 1560gph for one pump. When each of the two pumps hit their max point, that would be about 3100gph, or almost 48x turnover. However, doing the math in my head, when I looked at the flow readout in the app, the numbers I was seeing didn't coincide with actual percentages. For instance, 10% of 3000 should be 300gph, and 30% should be 900gph. However, the meter showed differently. So, I put a single pump on "constant speed" mode and adjusted the flow from 100% down to 1% and wrote down the readings at each interval. Below are the results:

upload_2019-2-15_9-2-7.png


As you can see, though I have it set to random with a min of 10% to 30%, the pump is actually producing flow at 38%-52% of max gph. This actually makes me feel better about my purchase because for a while it felt like I bought two pumps that were overpowered for what I was going for and I could have gone in another direction. One other positive that I found from this table is that though I have it set at 10%-30%, the variations from the low point to the max point isn't 300% (300-900); rather, the max is only 37% higher vs the min at my settings (1140 to 1560). This allows me to dial-in the peak and trough levels I want a little more accurately; I think I'm going to make the margin wider.

There are a few limitations to these data. First, these readings are entirely from the AI app, so there is a possibility that the given percentage setting is right, but the flow read-out is wrong. Second, the reverse could be true where the flow is right but the percentage read-out is wrong (i.e., 1% power is not 1% power). Third, it could be a combination of the above two issues. Fourth, this is a single case (though both of my pumps show nearly identical numbers). Others may have different readings that are closer to the actual percentages and mine could be an outlier. I'm sure there are other limitations, this I just what I though of off the top of my head.

I don't view the differences as a knock on the product. Most, if not all other products don't have the built-in meter, so it would be hard to compare the settings of other pumps. At least the AI app allows for this type of data to be collected! I just want to say once again, I really like these pumps and would 100% buy again.

In any case, I hope others find this useful.
-Homebrewer
 

doughboy

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DC motors require a minimum amount of current for it to spin (and overcome water resistance).
You can test with pump out of water and see what results you get. Yes it is perfectly fine to run the pump out of water. Good DC pumps will shutdown if it detects there is not enough resistance (running dry), after running a minute or so.
How did you measure GPH? I think you said you just go by what the AI app says right?
I tested BLDC motor pump by measuring the signal pulse vs % setting. measuring rpm actually instead of gph, which should be directly linearly proportional.

but yes, DC pump speed setting really starts at 30% of actual max speed. So if controller has 10 speed settings, they are in increments of 7% from 30%. Or in case of nero, increments of approximately 0.7% from 30%.

FWIW, AI apps give reading close enough to actual values.
I tested the "power" consumption reading for AI Hydra HD and compared against kill-a-watt reading and it is quite close.
 
OP
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@doughboy, thanks for this additional information; very useful!

I did go by the AI app, but I accounted for the possibility of error where I listed my limitations of the data.
Also, I take your point about testing out of water, it's a good thought, but the pumps have no effect on the current in the tank when they are out of water, and my point was to show the percentages as it relates to the flow in the tank.

I wrote this, in part, because I chimed-in on some other threads where folks asked about these pumps, and some responses indicated that they were fully controllable down to 1%, but that 1% "power" does not equate to 1% of the possible max flow, and that wasn't being made clear. I appreciate your data as it seems to support the "why" from a electronic perspective. I suppose the bottom line is, at the low-end of power consumption, one cannot dial this pump down below approximately 30% of max flow, even though the control of the pump allows the user to set the power at 1%.

That is at the extreme low-end; at the extreme high-end, the pump at 100% power performs as might be expected, at or above 100% flow. Interesting though when one looks at some of the middle numbers, they don't coincide with the power settings. So for instance, at 50% "power" the pump is pushing almost 66% of it's max flow. In any case, it is more useful to me to know what percentage of flow I'm at, not what percentage of power is being used; how many gph I'm pushing rather than what the power setting is on the pump. As I typed in my OP, these differences can be amplified at some of the lower settings where the gap between the theoretical and actual values are greatest.

Perhaps a firmware update giving the user the option to select "power %" or "flow %" would be useful to those who desire such a setting. In the meantime, I find the table I created useful for my purposes and I thought I would share with others. Regardless, I still love these things!

Thanks again for adding your info to this thread!
 

doughboy

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yes, a direct read out would be helpful.
as it is now, you have to "map" the 1-100% scale to the 30-100% scale.

so say at 50% setting, that is actually (50 x 0.7) + 30 = 65% of max flow.
 
OP
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Bingo! Your "map" comment is exactly my point. Your equation is super-helpful for anyone wanting to figure out the flow rate at any given setting. The table I provided is a quick reference for the 10% steps.
 

blstravler

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Bingo! Your "map" comment is exactly my point. Your equation is super-helpful for anyone wanting to figure out the flow rate at any given setting. The table I provided is a quick reference for the 10% steps.
Just wanted to say thank you for posting this! I’ve been banging my head against the wall trying to figure this out - very helpful!
 

SDK

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Thanks for posting. I tune pumps more visually, but very useful...

I am also a big fan of the Nero 5. As long as you make sure your glass is not too thick and factor in the $20 for a guard, they are one of the best pumps out there for the money. I'm assuming that a V2 will come out that addresses both issues....
 

AquaHobby31

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Can share your settings? I’d like to see how people are setting up their flow...wave vs random vs constant. Attached is mine

A1E19CA5-5D6C-48BB-99E2-7C946861B4A6.png F34030BC-D4AE-48E6-809B-A6A09A78C188.png
 
Aquarium Specialty - dry goods & marine livestock
OP
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Sure. I have a 36”,65g, and two Nero 5s. Each are positioned about mid-way down, one back right and the other front left. I’ll post back right here, and I’ll zoom in on the pulse settings. These pulse settings achieve the effect without allowing the pump to completely spin down to the point where the fan is off.

C73A3C4D-3FA1-4B98-A885-4B21C3D8555F.png E6F48B91-C38D-4BA4-A86F-2D87D69051B6.png
 
OP
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Front left

Both sets of setting are a bit more aggressive from when I originally posted.

1869D6B5-1A0B-4A38-B1AC-2E74BE713E83.png BC8763BD-E69C-4DA2-BF5C-B350BB6BADCE.png
 

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