Discussion in 'Middle Tennessee Reef Club' started by Chiefmaster30, Aug 2, 2018.
Anyone know why they have discontinued reefkeepers? Just noticed this and was curious!
Their biggest seller was the RKL and at $125 there wasn't much profit. The RKE didn't do well in the controller market against Apex. I still have my my original RKL since 2009 with no issues, but my newest one I didn't like the fact you could set the on and off for heaters and Alarms at .5 or 1 degree swings in temp.
The parent company makes aviation instruments and decided to drop the aquarium controller line.
THIS! Unfortunately they decided their avionics was more profitable and just shelved everything.
Truth be told, the parts inside a ReefKeeper (and even an Apex) are dirt cheap. You have some PCB, a few relays, and a plastic housing. If the device is made in China, the total BOM is probably less than $25. If made in the US, it's probably less than $50. At $125, there's a ton of room for profit. The real reason ReefKeeper is going off the market has to be because of sales. If the company was smart enough to charge enough for the ReefKeeper and they had plenty of sales, then there's no reason to take it off the market. They'd just be raking in the cash. They either weren't making profit, or weren't making enough profit, to make the whole exercise worth it.
If we want to speculate why sales were bad, that's a different story. I happen to think it's because Digital Aquatics didn't bake in Internet connectivity. They clearly misjudged the hobby's desire to check every stat for their tank from anywhere on Earth with an Internet connection.
The original reefkeeper did not have it baked in but they had a module that did allow for this and it did work. it was one of, if not the first to have this capability. however it relied on port forwarding and dynamic DNS to be able to function. there was no cloud at the time. The next generation of their controller was the Archon. It was designed to replace the HEAD UNIT only of an existing system and work with all other subsequent modules. It was Linux powered and had wifi and lan in one device. it also had its own web server baked in (much like the NET module) however it was a much better interface in which all programming was done thru the web. It threw out its on SSID to connect to and also connected to your home wifi. I was part of the BETA team and it was a very slick device. Problem was the company did not allow it to fully complete beta before public launch and they ****** off a bunch of folks when a few updates caused major headaches. It got stable but by that time, the parent company decided they were done with the development and shelling out $$ for it and they shelved it, laid everyone off and went to play with their airplanes. Sadly, they were much closer IMO then they thought on a true final production run product. I had plans to launch it at MACNA with them which I think would have been very successful to their sales but it never happened.
I still run this controller on my reef today. it has been pretty darn solid for the last 12 months. I have no immediate need to change to a new system, but might start working on a ReefPi system to replace this if I feel adventurous.
there is a much larger thread on R2R that has a bunch more info.
I'm with you there. My tank is currently running on a RKL, but my next controller is definitely going to be a ReefPi. No reason to spend $800 on an Apex when you can build a ReefPi for the cost of a Pi Zero and a few relay boards ($30 - $50 or so for those who aren't up on the prices of this stuff).
With regards to the Archon, I don't have any experience with it, so I can't offer an educated opinion about it. I can say that Neptune Systems put the Apex Fusion production website up in May of 2014. It looks like DA wasn't getting Archons out to beta testers until early 2015. If that's the case, DA was way behind. In 2015, if you wanted an Internet-connected aquarium controller, you could either get a DA controller and hope the Archon would come out of beta soon, or you could buy a Neptune controller which already had Fusion available. What's more, the Fusion system doesn't require any port forwarding.
I flat out don't like Apex controllers. I know I'm in the minority here, but I just don't care. I don't like that checking any of your tank's stats from anywhere on Earth with an Internet connection is now considered a necessity, especially since the price of that monitoring is about an average mortgage payment. I don't like IoT devices in general and vow to keep them out of my home (or at the very least, off my network) for as long as possible. Having said all that, it's pretty obvious why Apex is probably the number one aquarium controller today and Digital Aquatics is out of business (or soon to be). Neptune Systems got there first on the Internet connectivity, and for whatever reason, Internet-connected aquarium controllers are what people want.
Neptune systems is a small business that is focused on the aquarium industry. that is why they have been successful I feel. DA was this but Dynon didnt want to give the financial focus. I feel Neptune is the dominant player in the niche market now. That said, there is space for someone to come in and give them a run for their money. Several have tried getting into the space, but poor execution hurt them. DA had that chance but felt getting there wasnt worth the costs. at least that is what i gathered from my dealings with them. I had entertained working a deal to rep their product in the SE USA. work with some dealers to get the product out there.
Archon was still to be several hundred bucks.
As for IoT, I am working to embrace it. it is in my blood. my job is E-commerce and being a techie sorta plays into this. I have smart switches (expanding), smart thermostat, google home control of those things, wifi cam security to name a bit.
And they sucked so there is that.
Worst Customer Service ever...Saw this Coming a mile away...ijs...
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