Stand Alone Equipment vs. Apex for Redundancy AND Neptune DOS vs. Ecotech Versa

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mstgkillr

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I have an Apex, three Energy Bar 832s, ATK, DDR, two COR-20s, AFS, Trident, two DOS units and various other probes. I also have six Radion G5s and four MP60s. I use one DOS for automatic water changes and it works perfectly, the other for alk/cal dosing.

Currently, my Apex controls just about everything including: return pumps, skimmer, AWC, ATO, AFS, alk/cal dosing, saltwater mixing pump, RO/DI system and heaters. I am concerned that I might be too dependent on Apex. What happens if my Apex head unit or a component of it (Wi-Fi chip) fails. I lose everything right?

Should I be looking at equipment that can operate independent of the Apex, and use the Apex as a redundant backup (e.g., replacing the COR returns pumps with Vectras, but still run them from the Energy Bar, replacing the ATK with Tunze Osmolator with backup Neptune optical sensors, replacing the DOS units with Versas, etc.

Right now, I'm considering replacing my two DOS units with Versas. However, I'm fine with the noise of the DOS units as they are in a conditioned garage, and the DOS integrates well with the Trident and automatically adjusts alk/cal dosing. Also, the AWC has been flawless. Is there any benefit to swapping to Versas?
 
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blaxsun

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Most of us who run Apex-monitored systems are in the same boat. I'm not sure it's cost effective to run a dual-monitoring system (at least it isn't for me). No, if your Apex unit fails you only lose some functionality; the EB832 energy bars work, the DOS/DDR works and the Trident will continue to test (there'll just be a gap in the reporting in the Apex while it's offline).

My return pump, UV pump, UV sterilizer, gravity-fed ATO, wavemakers and lights will all continue to run without incident (anything with WiFi just defaults to the last setting). A pair of my wavemakers are also on battery backup.
 

David_CO

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I've been thinking about this lately too. I design mission critical communications systems for a living so coming into this hobby and seeing the underwhelming build level of the monitoring/controlling platforms has been disappointing. I actually think the path red sea is going down with each device being individually controlled by an app will provide the highest level of resiliency long term. They dont have a full management ecosystem as of yet, but strategically I think this is an ideal approach. If a single device dies it has no impact on the rest of the ecosystem. You only have to search here for 30 seconds to see numerous failures of EB832 powerbars due to a 2 dollar part. If I'm introducing a single points of failure to my ecosystem I really don't want it to be a 2 dollar commodity part (not to mention no conformal coatings.....).

The reality is the same can be said for $20 GFCI outlets where a single "rogue" trip could cause a tank crash. It really comes down to your risk tolerance and whether you're willing to go to borderline ridiculous lengths to ensure redundancy.
 
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mstgkillr

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Most of us who run Apex-monitored systems are in the same boat. I'm not sure it's cost effective to run a dual-monitoring system (at least it isn't for me). No, if your Apex unit fails you only lose some functionality; the EB832 energy bars work, the DOS/DDR works and the Trident will continue to test (there'll just be a gap in the reporting in the Apex while it's offline).

My return pump, UV pump, UV sterilizer, gravity-fed ATO, wavemakers and lights will all continue to run without incident (anything with WiFi just defaults to the last setting). A pair of my wavemakers are also on battery backup.

I'm not proposing a dual-monitoring system, maybe just components (Vectra, MP60, Versa, Radion) that are individually controlled, each with a direct connection to Bluetooth and eventually Wi-Fi. Then, these components could be plugged in to the EB832 and the additional logic and fallback programmed accordingly.

I was under the impression the Apex head unit is essentially the PLC of the system, where all the logic is stored, so if it failed, all the equipment would turn on/off depending on the fallback setting. Do the EB832 Energy Bars, ATK, DOS/DDR and Trident store their individual programming?

I've been thinking about this lately too. I design mission critical communications systems for a living so coming into this hobby and seeing the underwhelming build level of the monitoring/controlling platforms has been disappointing. I actually think the path red sea is going down with each device being individually controlled by an app will provide the highest level of resiliency long term. They dont have a full management ecosystem as of yet, but strategically I think this is an ideal approach. If a single device dies it has no impact on the rest of the ecosystem. You only have to search here for 30 seconds to see numerous failures of EB832 powerbars due to a 2 dollar part. If I'm introducing a single points of failure to my ecosystem I really don't want it to be a 2 dollar commodity part (not to mention no conformal coatings.....).

The reality is the same can be said for $20 GFCI outlets where a single "rogue" trip could cause a tank crash. It really comes down to your risk tolerance and whether you're willing to go to borderline ridiculous lengths to ensure redundancy.

Ecotech is similar with the Radion, Versa, Vectra and Vortech being controlled individually. If Ecotech works the rest of the bugs out of Mobius, opens Wi-Fi, and releases their own energy bar with probes, I think it would provide a much more robust and reliable system. Maybe even their version of a Trident too!
 

blaxsun

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Reefing isn't like the IT or communications industry, where you purposely address multiple failure points and scenarios. One reason is that it's just cost-prohibitive for most.

Let's start at the beginning: power. Most of us will have a single power grid and possibly some level of battery backup (even fewer will have generator power or batteries that can provide any measure of emergency power).

Then we have the Neptune EB832s, which are also a single failure point (either the unit itself or the individual outlets). You can spread mission critical components across a pair of EB832s but this means doubling up.

Then we have Internet or WiFi connectivity, and you can run the Apex with both to offset one failure - but most of us don't run two Internet providers to have total redundancy.

You also can't connect two Apex controllers on the same network, so you if you want complete redundancy you have to run and log into them separately.

Then we've got multiple return pumps, wavemakers, heaters, etc. Can it be done? Absolutely! Prepare to budget for another 4-digit outlay.
 

David_CO

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Internet resiliency is actually one of the cheaper redundancy options. Their are a number of cheap MVNO type services and even the big 3 where you can add a low cost cellular enabled modem for ~15-20 bucks a month, I know I can add an additional data only line for 10 on Verizon. Easy enough to configure your home router to failover.

I guess my biggest issue is I don’t like aggregating decent components to objectively cheaper ones.
 

blaxsun

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Internet resiliency is actually one of the cheaper redundancy options. Their are a number of cheap MVNO type services and even the big 3 where you can add a low cost cellular enabled modem for ~15-20 bucks a month, I know I can add an additional data only line for 10 on Verizon. Easy enough to configure your home router to failover.

I guess my biggest issue is I don’t like aggregating decent components to objectively cheaper ones.
True. But to be honest, getting that extra 0.01% extra uptime isn't worth the $15-$20 additional expenditure every month. That's a good chunk of my electrical bill right there.
 
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