Can anyone recommend any heater controller/thermostat that is reliable, accurate, but still decently priced ($20-50)?
Looking to incorporate one as a safety measure to keep from frying my fish and plants.
I am looking for it to handle at least a 600watt load (x2 300w heaters). 800w is better though, and more is better yet.
Prefer it to give a digital temp reading, but I am open to analog controllers.
Been looking at the Finnex heater controllers (800w), but want to hear other options. Pretty much any with a temperature probe, a male cable to power the unit and a female plug to connect heater elements to.
I've seen heater controllers for terrariums (out-of-water air temps), but not sure if those are usable for aquarium settings (submerged water temps).
Looked at the "DIY" units with no cables, but for the price, I think I will just pay for one already sealed and wired up "professionally".
Just so I understand how thermostats work. They work by short circuiting the heater elements right? So even if the heater relay malfunctioned and stuck open/on, the power to the element would be cut off so it wouldn't heat up past the set temp, right?
Some more info may help. The controllers that I use work like this. They can often be used for heating or cooling, so you choose which you want, for us that is heat, and then I set a temperature to not exceed. Then I set a slewing value. In my case I set is to about 2 degrees. (Power on at 76 or below, off at 78?) When the temperature drops below the high limit, the controller will let the heater have power. At that point the thermostat on the heater controls the temperature. As long as the temperature stays below the high limit I've set, the controller continues to provide power to the heater. If the heater should fail, the temperature will likely go high and reach the upper limit set on the controller. The controller then shuts off power to the heater.
The controller does not protect me from heaters which fail to heat but then that is not a big hazard as it takes really cool temperatures for quite some time to harm my fish. The controller gives me a big bright display that I can see from across the room so I have a good long time to notice it is not normal. Any reading more than a degree off of 76 will make me look for problems-- unless it's summer!
The 10Amp controllers can provide power up to that limit. If we are using 110AC, that converts to near 1200 watts. For my tanks, that is way plenty but for my greenhouse I would like to use a 1500 watt heater and go to other controllers.
For $15 or less, I just find it really good insurance.