reef-pi :: An opensource reef tank controller based on Raspberry Pi.

Tom Bishop

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Optical, mechanical, and capacitive sensors can all be used with reef-pi. I think mechanical float sensor makes the most sense unless there are other restrictions.

Here's how I understand the differences between them.

Optical
+ No moving parts to get jammed by snails or algae
- Water drops can stick to the sensor causing false readings

Capacitive
+ Can be mounted on the outside of the reservoir
- Somewhat difficult to get lined up exactly where you want it since the trigger point is somewhere in the sensor

Mechanical
+ Inexpensive
+ 2 can be wired in series to provide fail safe shut off
+ Easy to identify switching point
- Snails and algae can cause the switch to stick

Will have a 20G long sump, maybe go with a mechanical float with an optical backup. So many things that I am working on but trying to collect things to have on hand so when I get to that point I can just continue along. I have one float already will need to figure out what else is needed to make it work. :)
 
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Tom Bishop

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Hey Mike I ordered all of your parts to make the reef-pi build easy since I have so many things to work on. One question, for the 29G is deeper than the 20L, looking at the mars aqua lights with your controller, trying to decide if I should go with the 300W vs the 165w light. I know that will be more than needed but I figure I can always dial it down but wanted to get your opinion since I know you are running a bunch of the 165w versions.

Thanks
 

Michael Lane

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Hey Mike I ordered all of your parts to make the reef-pi build easy since I have so many things to work on. One question, for the 29G is deeper than the 20L, looking at the mars aqua lights with your controller, trying to decide if I should go with the 300W vs the 165w light. I know that will be more than needed but I figure I can always dial it down but wanted to get your opinion since I know you are running a bunch of the 165w versions.

Thanks
I'm not sure how to effectively have the optical as a back up to the mechanical float switch since they operate in fundamentally different ways. Lots of people have done different things though, so I'm sure it's possible.

I have a 165w fixture over a 20 gallon tank. I don't feel like I have any problems with the depth, but I feel like it doesn't have sufficient spread to the sides of the tank. I'm eventually upgrading my 20 and 15 gallon tanks to 29 gallons and I'm not sure if I'm going to change the lights.
 
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Ranjib

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Quick question as I haven't found the answer easy enough. What's the best/easiest process to update to the newest version and keeping your current settings?
If you are upgrading into major version 1 to 2 or 2 to 3, your data will be lost (actually not lost, but not usable/understandable by newer reef-pi). Within a major version , Minor upgrades should be seamless (1.2->1.3 or 2.1 to 2.4 ) . This is we try to preserve, but occasionally we do end up having bugs in minor version upgrades that may lead to some data inconsistency, generally we path those urgently.

we are relatively new project, and over time (post version 5) I would expect the major version upgrades to be seamless as well
 
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Ranjib

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I'm sorry to ask this again, but does anyone have a link for the smart plugs that will work with a reef-pi?
Only kasa smartplugs (hs103,105,110,300) are supported. We plan to have dli power strip sometime this year as part of 3.x development , I already have a pretty good idea of what we need from @dmolavi
 

lilgrounchuck

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Hey Mike I ordered all of your parts to make the reef-pi build easy since I have so many things to work on. One question, for the 29G is deeper than the 20L, looking at the mars aqua lights with your controller, trying to decide if I should go with the 300W vs the 165w light. I know that will be more than needed but I figure I can always dial it down but wanted to get your opinion since I know you are running a bunch of the 165w versions.

Thanks
I just finished my build with his boards and they made everything super easy. If you go with the 300 make sure you get extra 4 wire jst connector. The hookups and pinouts are the same as the 165, but it’s a longer distance between the potentiometers and drivers so the cables won’t both reach the pwm board. You’ll have cut the end off one and splice in a length of wire and new connector to get it to reach.
984D8163-E083-464F-9392-E75554EA3F61.jpeg
 

thoeffe

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Do any of you know if it is safe to port forward your pi with the port you choose in reef-pi settings so I can access it remotely without vnc or Tor. Or is this not safe when it comes to network security?
 

ph123uk

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Hi Guys,

Given that its now literally impossible to find any answers to questions due to the thread being so long, with even search picking up too many results, I wonder if someone could answer me a question please.

Is it possible, to make a single reef-pi that will control 8 sockets, 3 dosing pumps, a PH electrode, and ATO without using multiple hats / numerous pi's? I have a reef-pi currently built that controls a single vipar spectra, but since changing lights its simply defunct right now.
 

AquaRaider44

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Hi Guys,

Given that its now literally impossible to find any answers to questions due to the thread being so long, with even search picking up too many results, I wonder if someone could answer me a question please.

Is it possible, to make a single reef-pi that will control 8 sockets, 3 dosing pumps, a PH electrode, and ATO without using multiple hats / numerous pi's? I have a reef-pi currently built that controls a single vipar spectra, but since changing lights its simply defunct right now.
Yes see my thread or I'm switching to a goby https://www.tindie.com/stores/ranthalion/ which is way better. I already use his Mars aqua boards and pH now getting the goby
 
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Ranjib

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Do any of you know if it is safe to port forward your pi with the port you choose in reef-pi settings so I can access it remotely without vnc or Tor. Or is this not safe when it comes to network security?
If you are port forwarding , you probably don’t need Vnc or tor. I do it always when I’m on vacation, but I do it only on-demand. I use google WiFi and that allows me to only open up the port when I need it and then close it back. Use https .
 
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Ranjib

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Hi Guys,

Given that its now literally impossible to find any answers to questions due to the thread being so long, with even search picking up too many results, I wonder if someone could answer me a question please.

Is it possible, to make a single reef-pi that will control 8 sockets, 3 dosing pumps, a PH electrode, and ATO without using multiple hats / numerous pi's? I have a reef-pi currently built that controls a single vipar spectra, but since changing lights its simply defunct right now.
You really don’t have to ask question in the main thread. You can ask question in separate thread/post and tag it with #reefpi to get our attention. Worst case, if you don’t get attention, just at mention us.

Coming back to your question. Yes.
 

lilgrounchuck

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Do any of you know if it is safe to port forward your pi with the port you choose in reef-pi settings so I can access it remotely without vnc or Tor. Or is this not safe when it comes to network security?
It'll be as safe as forwarding anything else not running a host based security solution on it. Depending on the router you have, you may want to look into hosting your own VPN server on it, and connecting back to your home network through the VPN. There are a lot of manufacturers that have that feature natively built in. Some Asus routers come with a service to register your own domain name for free for this purpose so you don't have to worry about your ISP changing your WAN address on you. If the one you currently have doesn't support running a VPN server on it, you can look and see if it will support running a DD WRT build. I'm not a fan of just forwarding things through my edge devices, I prefer remote connections to terminate at the edge and get inspected before being allowed inside the network.
 

thoeffe

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If you are port forwarding , you probably don’t need Vnc or tor. I do it always when I’m on vacation, but I do it only on-demand. I use google WiFi and that allows me to only open up the port when I need it and then close it back. Use https .
Not sure how to use https. I changed the address setting to https:// 0.0.0.0:94 but pretty sure it's not working. I disconnected my phone and typed in the address I'm using and it loads the warning page connection is not private. I can proceed through the advanced option but don't I have to configure it somehow by adding sll to the reef-pi server?
Screenshot_20200212-130508.png
 

thoeffe

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It'll be as safe as forwarding anything else not running a host based security solution on it. Depending on the router you have, you may want to look into hosting your own VPN server on it, and connecting back to your home network through the VPN. There are a lot of manufacturers that have that feature natively built in. Some Asus routers come with a service to register your own domain name for free for this purpose so you don't have to worry about your ISP changing your WAN address on you. If the one you currently have doesn't support running a VPN server on it, you can look and see if it will support running a DD WRT build. I'm not a fan of just forwarding things through my edge devices, I prefer remote connections to terminate at the edge and get inspected before being allowed inside the network.
I'm using no ip so I don't have to worry about my isp changing my wan ip.
 

lilgrounchuck

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Not sure how to use https. I changed the address setting to https:// 0.0.0.0:94 but pretty sure it's not working. I disconnected my phone and typed in the address I'm using and it loads the warning page connection is not private. I can proceed through the advanced option but don't I have to configure it somehow by adding sll to the reef-pi server?
Screenshot_20200212-130508.png
Your device doesn't trust the certificate being presented due to not knowing the CA (likely a self-signed.) If you click on Advanced at the bottom (it's a button, they just make it not look like one) it should give you the option to select something along the lines of Ignore and proceed to disregard the untrusted cert.
 

Zippyfear

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When you are talking about $10-30 part costs it doesn't vary a whole ton so I would say if you won't miss the extra $40 or so, go for it. Pi zero w is about $10 and a pi 4 is about $45

It should be fully functional. If you ever want to upgrade to an Apex a Pi 4 would make a great retro gaming system or media center.
You mean downgrade to an Apex.. At the rate Reef-Pi is advancing, It won't be long until it has better features, functions, options and overall UI..
 

Zippyfear

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If you are port forwarding , you probably don’t need Vnc or tor. I do it always when I’m on vacation, but I do it only on-demand. I use google WiFi and that allows me to only open up the port when I need it and then close it back. Use https .
I have mine set up to port forward incoming port 82 on my dynamic name space.. to port 80 on the Reef-Pi.. I travel a lot and like to keep an eye on things.. I mean.. someone could hack it, but.. it's a web page.. opening SSH would be far worse because then they might have access to start scanning the internal network for anything on the subnet and then try to bounce to something else.. Web access.. worse they could do is jack with the tank if they hacked the web admin page.. maybe don't keep that default. (probably smart advice in general)
 

Alaa

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Just a note to be aware of: each pca9685 has pull-up resistors for the SCA and SDA lines. If you are planning to add more than one board you should remove them on the others as they will be all in parallel drastically reducing the overall resistance. As a result I2C communication will be failing or be inconsistent.
Hi, thanks for the tip. However in the Adafruit tutorial (PCA chaining) there is no mention of this and they say up to 62 can be chained !
Also many of us are running reef pi with PCA and pH boards working nicely together. So i would assume that it is just a precautionary act rather than necessary.
 
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