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idex 07-07-2012 05:28 PM

Temperature Controller
I built my second one yesterday. I use this to monitor my tank temp and turn on my fans when it gets too warm. The fans will turn off when the tank has cooled sufficiently.

This is the box I used. (About $7 at radio shack)
I used a dremmel to make the cut outs for the outlet and the microcontroller.

This is the controller (purchased on ebay) (~25)

Besides wire and a plug you'll need these (I just used a spare computer power cable):

Use this schematic (I skipped the heater connection and did not break the tabs on the outlet (so i ended up with 2 plugs for cooling). I used 4 (~5 inch) wires for my box and used 1 wire nut. If you wanted to hook up the heating side you would need two more wires.

This is the source of the schematic and more info on other people's builds.

Here's the front (note: it is in Celsius)

Here is the back

tanks4allthefish 07-07-2012 08:17 PM

I have seen these and I like them and they are very reasonable but I just cant get past the whole Celsius thing. Why cant anyone offer these in Fahrenheit? If I could find one in Fahrenheit I would get one.

Craigthor 07-07-2012 09:54 PM

I use a Ranco Temp controller and if you aren't against a few wire nuts and stripping a bit of wire the bare unit works really well.


sketch804 07-07-2012 11:28 PM

great idea here! I would love to build one of these if I could find some time.

tanks4allthefish 07-08-2012 02:31 AM


Originally Posted by Craigthor (Post 1933182)
I use a Ranco Temp controller and if you aren't against a few wire nuts and stripping a bit of wire the bare unit works really well.


I dont mind minor electrical but their stuff isnt too cheap. Which controller are you using?

Craigthor 07-08-2012 09:58 AM


Originally Posted by tanks4allthefish (Post 1933533)
I dont mind minor electrical but their stuff isnt too cheap. Which controller are you using?

I bought a bare unit that was jsut the controller and then spliced in a power strip as I have several heaters that run on this tank. The bare controller was something like $70 shipped plus $10 for a good power strip.

I had looked at the one the OP had but due to the space I had to work with and the fact I wanted it in F the ranco was the best fit. Also this thing is so accurate it isn't funny as you can control the temp spread for it coming on and off.

Here is the best picture I could find:

Now back to the OP topic.

Looks great just curious what you have in it total cost for everything with unit, box, cable, outlet, etc...


idex 07-08-2012 10:07 PM

I already had a spare power cable, outlet and outlet cover, but if you bought everything new you're looking at $40-$50 total. I used the wire from the power cable (just cut about a foot off and used that wire for the internals. The wire nut is probably a few cents (I bought a package of 25 for $2 at home depot. Outlets are about $2 and Covers are about $1.

tanks4allthefish 07-09-2012 12:01 AM

I didnt think about taping the conversion chart to the box. Thats a good idea. So are you going to be able to mount the box or will it just sit?

idex 07-09-2012 01:41 AM

The box can be mounted. I just drilled some holes into the project box and then mounted it directly to my stand (Two holes on the side).

Oh, and good eyes on the conversion chart ;).

PlantedRich 07-09-2012 02:22 PM

For the Fahrenheit, it takes a bit more looking but i found one yesterday. It was at or near the came price but shipping indicates a bit longer as it had to come from Hong Kong. Whether that is actual fact is undetermined. I would have a hard time thinking they would ship them singles rather than a large box and then break it into singles in this country. The odds of selling Fahrenheit to Asia seems long as compared to the US market.

idex 07-09-2012 03:34 PM

Yes, just be aware that the F controllers are single stage... meaning they won't work for heating and cooling. Shouldn't be an issue if you're just using it for one or the other like I currently am.

PlantedRich 07-09-2012 06:26 PM

You are correct in that limit. I had not thought of it as being anything that I would want/need to have both plugged in at the same time. I think of cooling as being a different season than heating, so to unplug one and plug in the other would not be a bother. Right now, I have both my heaters all disconnected to avoid heater failures killing any fish. If one does not use any type of heating or air and the outside temperature varies enough to need both, it would be a problem.

The Big Buddha 08-03-2012 02:50 PM

I run the 12V model running 12V PC fans for cooling and love it- I just ordered a another one. It's a nice digital temp monitor as well.

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