Hacking the Fluval Fresh & Plant 2.0 LED light - Page 2 - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #16 of 45 (permalink) Old 03-12-2016, 01:21 AM
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I'm extremely interested in your work here! I have this light and an Apex controller. It would be SOOO cool to be able to get rid of the buggy WiFi module and control the lights directly from the Apex!

If there's anything you need in any way to assist you, please let us know.
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post #17 of 45 (permalink) Old 03-13-2016, 03:09 AM Thread Starter
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So, today I am back home, and I went to the electronics shop and got a couple of diodes. But silly me, I forgot to get a proper capacitor. I only have way-too-large capacitors in my toolbox, and those discharge too slowly to see any kind of proper pwm going at 500-to-1000 Hz.

Also, I don't have the oscilloscope at home, just a plain old multimeter.

BUT!

I did try the circuit anyway with what I did have around to prove the concept. I made a small voltage divider to go transform the 5V out to 3.3V, then on the arduino I coded ON-OFF (5V-0V) signals every 5 seconds (to let time to my multimeter to adjust). Sure enough, the multimeter reads about 0V to about -3.2V every 5 seconds. Fun.


Quote:
Originally Posted by jeffkrol View Post
to be honest, I'm more intrigued by pictures of the inside than how you are modding it...
I have pictures, just not handy. I'll send them just a little later. But I intend to remove the innards of the WIFI controller and replace all of it with my own mini arduino.

In the end, it will probably be an esp8266 (aka Adafruit Huzzah) and not an arduino. The whole thing will have cost about 12$ in parts (9$ for the Huzzah and around 3$ for resistors, diode, capacitor).

https://www.adafruit.com/products/2471


Quote:
Originally Posted by benw
I have a guy at work to consult with, he seems dubious of the -3.3v. Are you sure that's correct?
Well, three of us double-checked it. Yes it seems to be impulses of negative voltage.

Quote:
Originally Posted by benw
Any idea why it would be?
My best guess so far would be that, from the light fixture to the LEDs (near the switch on the fixture, later down the chain from the wifi controller), there's a constant 3.3V voltage applied to the LEDs, and that makes the LEDs light up fully. Then, the wifi controller, in order to make them dim, would thus need to subtract impulses of 3.3v in order for the voltage to go from a constant +3.3v down to 0 momentarily.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Ben Diss View Post
I'm extremely interested in your work here! I have this light and an Apex controller. It would be SOOO cool to be able to get rid of the buggy WiFi module and control the lights directly from the Apex!

Thanks! It'll be a few more days until I have proof of concept. I'll post a video once I have something going.

Sorry for the slow progress. Just been traveling, then the kids, then work, then... not a lot of time to myself.
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Last edited by drjustice; 03-13-2016 at 03:33 AM. Reason: wording
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post #18 of 45 (permalink) Old 03-16-2016, 04:53 AM Thread Starter
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Progress, progress... a little.

So, I brought the scope from work tonight, so I could play with stuff at home.

In a nutshell, I've managed to put my circuit together so that the PWM goes from 0V down to -3.3V.

But there was a bit of a curveball in there, in that the diodes I use have voltage loss of up to 0.6V, meaning my 3.3V voltage was not perfectly inverted. Instead of going from 0 down to -3.3V, it went from 0.6V down to -2.4V.

Which was a problem. Going out spec with an extra 0.7V meant that I might damage the microcontroller in the LED fixture (I don't know what they're using, so didn't want to play with fire) and -2.4V might not be enough to actuate the PWM cycle.


So I modified my voltage divider by using different resistances (I must admit, I mostly fudged it) and used another diode to clamp out the 0.6V at 0V. With these tweaks I managed to get cycles going from +0.08V down to -3.24V, which is a much more acceptable tolerance although it causes my waveform to not be perfectly square. Which I am pretty sure is OK.


Next step: I'm bringing the arduino and the circuit to work tomorrow, I'll try to hook it up to see if I get blinky.

I'll post pictures then.



====


EDIT: For those who are into electronics, I am using 1N4148 diodes at the moment. I wanted to get Schottky diodes, but my electronics store was out of stock, and I'm not sure where else to get them except online, and it feels kind of studid to pay 14$ shipping for a 0.38$ part.
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post #19 of 45 (permalink) Old 03-16-2016, 09:55 PM Thread Starter
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As promised, an update.

It'll be a short update: it's not working. Yet.

Turns out that the whole -3.3v thing I talked about earlier behaves differently when the light is plugged in, and I take measurements of the scope on the board. Then, I read a PWM signal of 0-10V.

I'm a bit befuzzled at the moment. I'll have to ask guys at work tomorrow.

There's stuff I obviously don't understand.
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post #20 of 45 (permalink) Old 03-17-2016, 12:54 AM
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I wonder if the Apex VDM 0-10v output signal is PWM as well?

Nope: Analog.

Last edited by Ben Diss; 03-17-2016 at 02:47 AM. Reason: Found the answer.
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post #21 of 45 (permalink) Old 03-19-2016, 04:08 PM
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Subscribing to this thread. This project is of interest to me as I have one of the Fresh and Plant 2.0 lights and an APEX controller. So anything that can be done to get rid of the buggy wireless controller would be of interest.
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post #22 of 45 (permalink) Old 03-24-2016, 10:08 AM
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Hi DrJustice.
Nice thread, I'm an electronic engineer and I into fish keeping too, I already create my own Acquarium Arduino controller, and yesterday I finally got my new Fluval 2.0. So obviously I was looking for upgrade my controller to control the new light too and searching for the pinout of the wiring and I found your post, thanks for the information

- From the wall-wart going into the Wifi controller, only +24V and 0V are connected. The two other wires are actually cut (!!) --> Now I now that I need to control only the PWM signal in 2 pins leaving the +24 as it is, I was worried thinking about DC power supply dimmering for the expensive commponents.

- The 0V and 24V powers a small motherboard that transmits the 0V and 24V at the other end, plus two channels of PWM per light. There are actually markings on the motherboard labeled PWM1 (light 1 - white), PWM2 (light1 - blue), PWM3 (light 2 - white), PWM4 (light 2 - blue). --> Can you check and tell me which of the two PINs from the 4-pins connector is white and which is blue?

- On the board I see 3.3v voltage regulators, confirming the 3.3v pwm output, but I can't figure out, from looking at the board and the components, how they negate the voltage. --> I will design a circuit to control the Fluval 2.0 completely isolated (optical) from the controller to de compatible with any controller.
I will share everything as soon I finish
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post #23 of 45 (permalink) Old 03-29-2016, 07:43 PM Thread Starter
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It's nice others picking up on this, because at this point I'm stumped with little time to try to debug the darn thing.


Quote:
Originally Posted by estebanvel View Post
Hi DrJustice.
Nice thread, I'm an electronic engineer and I into fish keeping too, I already create my own Aquarium Arduino controller, and yesterday I finally got my new Fluval 2.0. So obviously I was looking for upgrade my controller to control the new light too and searching for the pinout of the wiring and I found your post, thanks for the information
Be careful, the original pinout I provided is wrong (the part being +/- 5v). Check the rest of the thread first I guess.


Quote:
- From the wall-wart going into the Wifi controller, only +24V and 0V are connected. The two other wires are actually cut (!!)
Quote:
Now I now that I need to control only the PWM signal in 2 pins leaving the +24 as it is, I was worried thinking about DC power supply dimmering for the expensive commponents.
Yeah, definitely don't try to route the +24V through the PWM channels you'll fry the delicate electronics on the light.

Quote:
- The 0V and 24V powers a small motherboard that transmits the 0V and 24V at the other end, plus two channels of PWM per light. There are actually markings on the motherboard labeled PWM1 (light 1 - white), PWM2 (light1 - blue), PWM3 (light 2 - white), PWM4 (light 2 - blue).
Quote:
Can you check and tell me which of the two PINs from the 4-pins connector is white and which is blue?
I don't think it matters for your purposes, the PWM is the PWM, and one or the other is going to effect either blue or white channels.

On the Wifi board, PWM1 controls the white lights, and PWM2 controls blue lights.



Quote:
- On the board I see 3.3v voltage regulators, confirming the 3.3v pwm output, but I can't figure out, from looking at the board and the components, how they negate the voltage.
Quote:
I will design a circuit to control the Fluval 2.0 completely isolated (optical) from the controller to de compatible with any controller.
I will share everything as soon I finish
That would be awesome.

But I doubt you'll be able to do much if you don't get the wifi controller and an oscilloscope.

The reason being, that when I connect the scope to the pinout but I don't actually plug in the light (just to read the PWM signals), I get PWM voltages from 0 to -3.3v.

But when I plug in the light and measure voltages on the wifi board instead of at the pin, I get 0V to like 10V.

I don't understand why the PWM voltage I measure outgoing from the board is different if there's a light attached or not.
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Last edited by drjustice; 03-29-2016 at 07:56 PM. Reason: added pics
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post #24 of 45 (permalink) Old 03-30-2016, 03:29 AM
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err, never mind need a second look..

One thing I'm "fairly" certain of is it won't be very straight forward to get it to work w. an Apex..
The 0-10V "native" dim signal is fairly incompatible w/ this system.. unless you convert it to a PWM signal..

OK found a fair picture of the LED board:


Each column is 6 LED in series and each column is joined to the "bus" in parallel..
Which makes perfect sense at 24V (4v or really less since each column has a current limiting rsisitr which will drop the voltage)

Point is the setup is a typical "constant voltage "array w/ no "drivers" per se..
The PWM is simply chopping the supply voltage..
Thus I assume the large MOSFeTS under the output wires accomplishes using a 3.3V "signal" to the base of it.
Why it has what looks like a 24V bypass circuit is beyond me though..

Anyways it looks like the simplist way to control the lights via an Apex would be to 1)convert the apex 0-10V analog to any
PWM digital out.. (there are add on boards to do this..
2) USE external MOSFETS to "chop" the power supply to the head unit..
That is how any simple "constant voltage" array would be controlled via an APex. Ther may be different solutions using the analog.. but I'm not aware of them (mostly because
I've never bothered to look..)
NOW the catch is why the bypass???

also note some "bridging" in the led board that I have no idea why it is there..
Just use my "ass-u-ptions" as a guide for the possibilities..
That box should be nothing more than a wireless "unit" some timing chips, voltage regulator to the logic circuit and output of the timing chips (should be 4 either singles or like a quad timing chip).. and asst .support circuitry..
Looks like they may use transistors on the base of the mosfets instead of a timing chip though. Like this..

I'll let the real electronics guys figure it out and correct any errors..

"A man with a watch knows what time it is. A man with two watches is never sure."

Last edited by jeffkrol; 03-30-2016 at 04:34 AM. Reason: edit
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post #25 of 45 (permalink) Old 04-04-2016, 03:46 PM Thread Starter
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Any news on this? Myself, I haven't had a chance to look at this any further
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post #26 of 45 (permalink) Old 04-06-2016, 08:02 PM
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The fact that +24V and Gnd both go to the unit suggests that it has it's own circuit to control the LEDs, no real surprise there. But considering the WiFi controller can also control the lights if they are in the OFF mode I would assume that the WiFi controller acts in parallel to the on-board circuit. So all you would have to do is replace the WiFi module with your own controlled by an Arduino.

With the WiFi controller running the show what happens if you press the button? Do the lights just go full-bright regardless of what settings you do on the controller? That would back up my theory. Then you'd just have to do something simple to control it like what I've attached, just use the PWM pin of an arduino and make sure grounds are tied together.

Any chance you can read a part number off T1-T4?
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post #27 of 45 (permalink) Old 04-12-2016, 10:01 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jeffkrol View Post

One thing I'm "fairly" certain of is it won't be very straight forward to get it to work w. an Apex..
The 0-10V "native" dim signal is fairly incompatible w/ this system.. unless you convert it to a PWM signal..


As usual, you are correct: Apex doesn't work with PWM. But, Steve's LEDs makes a controller that converts 0-10V to PWM that can make it pretty straightforward.


Aquarium Controller Interface Harness - Steve's LEDs, discount DIY LED supplies


-Justin
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post #28 of 45 (permalink) Old 04-12-2016, 10:33 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jrygel View Post
As usual, you are correct: Apex doesn't work with PWM. But, Steve's LEDs makes a controller that converts 0-10V to PWM that can make it pretty straightforward.


Aquarium Controller Interface Harness - Steve's LEDs, discount DIY LED supplies


-Justin
Once you get those you can just get 2 MOSFETS (and asst. circuitry) and connect the Apex now PWM out to the base ..
Eliminating the Wifi controller all together..
All you need to do is connect the power circuit to them..
Trying to hack the controller is a bit redundant since it is nothing more than a "apex" type processor w/ wifi..(well Aduino really)
and since you won't be using the wifi...or the secondary channel .

You just have 2 constant voltage channels to regulate..

"A man with a watch knows what time it is. A man with two watches is never sure."

Last edited by jeffkrol; 04-13-2016 at 02:44 AM. Reason: edit
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post #29 of 45 (permalink) Old 05-11-2016, 02:08 AM
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What are the connector on the Fluval WiFi controller called and where can I get them?
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post #30 of 45 (permalink) Old 05-20-2016, 05:39 PM
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It's a waterproof 4 pin barrel connector, I don't know the diameter though (not sure where to measure). The only ones I've been able to get so far have been too big or too small, trying some off amazon but they are taking a long time to come from china.
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