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Newbie to Apex: Your best advice or lesson learned?

mike550

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Hello! I’m planning to buy a Neptune Apex and am organizing my thoughts on what to plug in, how to route cables, etc.

What is the one (or top three) key lesson you’ve learned or best advice you can offer to someone who has never used an Apex or a controller.

Thanks in advance!
 

SuncrestReef

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1. Follow Neptune's Getting Started guides for each device. Many people just plug things in and try to figure it out through trial & error. This usually leads to a lot of headaches, confusion, and in many cases the best course of action is to reset it to factory defaults and start over with the Getting Started guide. Just do it correctly from the start.

2. Think through what you intend to control with the Apex, and research ahead of time so you know which devices are "Apex Ready" or at least controllable in some fashion with the Apex.

3. Understand that Apex programming is very different than most common computer programming languages. The Apex can perform most basic functions without any programming skills. However, when you decide to do more complex automation, be sure to read up on how the Apex programming works. A good start is my Apex Programming Tutorial series here on Reef2Reef.

Lastly, reach out for help. Myself and many other avid Apex users participate here at R2R, the Neptune Community Forums, and Neptune's Facebook group o assist others with Apex questions or problems.
 

intricate_reefer

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My most liked things are setting up virtual outlets that trigger an alarm if an outlet is left off for a certain amount of time. Also a button box is so helpful when feeding each day so you don't have to pull out your phone to enter a feed mode. Can also be programed to do other tasks like turning off skimmer for a time for cleaning or any other out for a certain amount of time. If your lights are controlled through the apex you could go into a photo mode. Mine has buttons and a toggle so I have the toggle to shut everything off when I do water changes.
 
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mike550

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My most liked things are setting up virtual outlets that trigger an alarm if an outlet is left off for a certain amount of time. Also a button box is so helpful when feeding each day so you don't have to pull out your phone to enter a feed mode. Can also be programed to do other tasks like turning off skimmer for a time for cleaning or any other out for a certain amount of time. If your lights are controlled through the apex you could go into a photo mode. Mine has buttons and a toggle so I have the toggle to shut everything off when I do water changes.
Thanks for your thoughts. I probably won’t do a feed mode because I feed without reducing flow and such. But I will definitely consider a water change mode to shut down pumps, ATO, etc. Alarms are probably one of the key reasons I’m looking at a controller.

I’ll also eventually add an “emergency stop” button after I get a better sense of programming.
 

WallyB

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I have 2 Apex setups for over a decade. Love them both.
Mostly for PH Monitoring and temp control of tanks.

Sounds like you want the Apex for Alarming. Set it up from the start, not after your have an event and kick yourself like I did (for procrastinating that part of the Setup).....I had my House AC fail while away. Sure the Apex stopped running the light, and kept Heater off, but I didn't get an alarm/email, and came home to a hot house, and hot tanks.
That happened a few weeks ago. I'm still procrastinating :)

For outlets, Apex is nice, but you can control outlets (just on and off) with Cheaper solutions these days.
Something like this

And if want to getting into some Advanced programming with the Apex, to have fun and learn, and do cool stuff. Certainly go ahead. I have all kinds of things integrated with my Apex. Even a remote Wirless button to turn off pumps, etc during my maintenancec.

I trigger water changes with a DIY water changer, and the Apex powers off my ATO, so it doesn't do Auto Fill up during Water changes.

I have a feed mode with my Apex, but not to turn off pumps. I flash my Lights just before Feeding. To give fish warning.
It's not for when I'm around, since they see me coming. It's when I put on a Flake/Pellet/ or Frozen Feeding on the Tank while away.
 
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mike550

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I have 2 Apex setups for over a decade. Love them both.
Mostly for PH Monitoring and temp control of tanks.

Sounds like you want the Apex for Alarming. Set it up from the start, not after your have an event and kick yourself like I did (for procrastinating that part of the Setup).....I had my House AC fail while away. Sure the Apex stopped running the light, and kept Heater off, but I didn't get an alarm/email, and came home to a hot house, and hot tanks.
That happened a few weeks ago. I'm still procrastinating :)

For outlets, Apex is nice, but you can control outlets (just on and off) with Cheaper solutions these days.
Something like this

And if want to getting into some Advanced programming with the Apex, to have fun and learn, and do cool stuff. Certainly go ahead. I have all kinds of things integrated with my Apex. Even a remote Wirless button to turn off pumps, etc during my maintenancec.

I trigger water changes with a DIY water changer, and the Apex powers off my ATO, so it doesn't do Auto Fill up during Water changes.

I have a feed mode with my Apex, but not to turn off pumps. I flash my Lights just before Feeding. To give fish warning.
It's not for when I'm around, since they see me coming. It's when I put on a Flake/Pellet/ or Frozen Feeding on the Tank while away.
These are great thoughts -- thank you. I've been using some Kasa outlets to do things similar to where you're doing with the powerstrip. But to your point, I'd like to get more monitoring, fault management going so that's why I'm thinking about the Apex.
 

Tastee

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One quick tip - route your salinity cable separate to all the others as much as possible to stop EMF interference giving you false readings. In my new tank I was able to route it along the ceiling of the sump and as a result I have a much more stable reading there than I do in my older tank, where I don’t have as much room to work with.
 

robbyg

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Use ferrite beads on your probe cables if you want to stop EM energy from going through your cables.
 
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saf1

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Hello! I’m planning to buy a Neptune Apex and am organizing my thoughts on what to plug in, how to route cables, etc.

What is the one (or top three) key lesson you’ve learned or best advice you can offer to someone who has never used an Apex or a controller.

Thanks in advance!
What is the one key lesson you've (I) learned or best advice I can offer?

Don't leave it on the floor. True and maybe not as applicable today as in the 90's but I figured I'd still toss this gem out there. Back when I owned the original neptune controller that used X10 relays instead of the fancy switch boxes and bars we have today the head unit was different. Anyway I was doing some maintenance on the tank and removed it from the stand and set it on the floor. The head unit / display was a lot different back then and I had it mounted on the stand using velcro.

Anyway long story short I had a young GSD (German Shepherd) at the time who was probably teething. I left it, she thought it was a good chew toy, and when I went to place it back on the stand I had several small bite marks with one baby tooth in it. Ironically it still worked so back up it went with the tooth removed of course. To be safe I called Neptune to ask if there was anything I could check or should do other than watch.

Support person said no, it will either work or not. He then proceeded to tell me that he did the same thing and his Great Dane got his :) Go figure. Not alone. So yeah - don't leave it on the floor :D
 

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