Aquarium timer using Irrigation computer
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Old 02-25-2008, 06:29 PM   #1
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Aquarium timer using Irrigation computer


Not sure if anyone has ever attempted this... Most of us use several timers for our tanks. I usually have one for main lights, one for dimmer sunrise/sunset lights, one for moonlights, and one or two for fertilizer dosing.

So I thought, why not use one of the irrigation timers with multiple stations/zones?

I could imagine a daily "6 Zone" program like this:

9:59 Dose macros
10:00 Turn on sunrise lights
10:30 Turn on main lights/CO2
21:00 Turn on sunset lights
22:00 Turn on moonlights
0:00 Dose micros

There are a couple of issues... like the 24V output which would require relays to switch line voltage. I could imagine modding a power strip...

Another issue (or fact) is that you can run only one zone at a time. That means, if you have two seperate banks of light, they would not run simultaneously, only one after another.

Also, the simplest timers only allow for up to 90 or 120 minutes run time. Better ones allow for 4 hours, with stackable programs (ABC) which would let that extend up to 12 hours. Not sure if there would be a little off/on cycle when the next program kicks in. And not sure how much "better" timers run these days.s

<<WP out looking at Irrigation timers>>

Last edited by Wasserpest; 02-25-2008 at 08:54 PM..
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Old 02-25-2008, 08:50 PM   #2
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Prices vary considerably.. Cheapest I saw was a 4 zone 'interior mount' for $26 which isn't bad. Putting the money into figuring out the control structure, modifying a power strip or adding sockets, etc.. Still fairly bulky, but it could work. Its got a nice interface too,

I am tinkering with a PIC 'system' to control my lights, heater, and fans, as well as monitor temperature (and use temp to regulate heater/fan on/off) and maybe pH. Will have a USB port so I can hook it up to my laptop to update the program, but no other controls except reset and power switches. Nothing new though, I know its been done before. Still waiting for my samples though...


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Old 02-25-2008, 09:00 PM   #3
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Heh. Just spent $35 on this thing.

Couple of interesting points:

* Independent program for each valve
* Watering Duration: from 1 minute to 11 hours and 59 minutes in 1 minute increments
* Four start times per day on weekly schedule
* Automatic short detector isolates the faulty valve and continues the irrigation cycle
* Start time stacking prevents hydraulic overload
* Water budget from 95% to +95% in 5% increments
* Three modes: automatic, semi-automatic and manual
* Can operate two valves at the same time
* Waiting mode for third and fourth valves
* Manual irrigation cycle via the controller
* Battery backup retain program memory during a power outage

So I was wrong about not being able to run two things at the same time. And one minute to 12 hours in one minute steps for six different stations is pretty darn flexible.

Oh yeah, and since this is an irrigation timer, turning the water change solenoid on and off shouldn't be much of an issue either.
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Old 02-25-2008, 10:22 PM   #4
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Ohh, the ability to do two zones at once is really good. That single zone issue really put me off the idea.
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Old 02-26-2008, 12:20 AM   #5
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Output: 24 VAC 0.83 mA, interesting. Wish I wasn't so busy right now.
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Old 02-26-2008, 03:46 PM   #6
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Hehe, I am busy too, but this is fascinating. It's like six digital timers in one box, with a huge array of options to fine-tune and adjust.

Looking for some inexpensive 24V relays right now... any idea? Combining this with relays adds another interesting tad, you can easily use one timer/zone to alternate things. Like mainlight/moonlight, or CO2/airpump etc.

How's that for a schedule?
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Old 02-26-2008, 04:26 PM   #7
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How is this? Picture looks like crap, but its got a 120 VAC rating for the relay.

http://www.electronicpartsforless.co...mpid=36&dfid=1
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Old 02-26-2008, 04:33 PM   #8
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www.digikey.com has every relay known to man, if there's a cheap one out there they'd have it. I'm not seeing anything even close to the 0.83mA current though, are you sure that's correct?
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Old 02-26-2008, 04:52 PM   #9
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Thats probably a typo. Right below it it says "# Outputs: 24 VAC, 0.27A # Maximum output: 0.83A," which makes a lot more sense. That's 6.5 and 20 watts, for what it's worth.
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Old 02-26-2008, 05:44 PM   #10
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Thanks for the links... I must be spoiled, looking for something like this (price and feature-wise) but 24V instead of 110V.

The current is just the max that the transformer can deliver (to actuate the solenoids). For relays, much less is needed. Less is better, since it will use up less electricity.
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Old 02-26-2008, 06:11 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by indiboi View Post
Ohh, the ability to do two zones at once is really good. That single zone issue really put me off the idea.
If you use good old "ice cube" relays, you can run up to 3 things off of each of the 6 outputs, depending on how many sets of contacts the relay has!! 6 if you use triple pole, dual throw relays and run half of the items in the "on" cycle and half in the "off" cycle.

I think I smell a control upgrade coming...

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Old 02-26-2008, 06:17 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LS6 Tommy View Post
If you use good old "ice cube" relays, you can run up to 3 things off of each of the 6 outputs, depending on how many sets of contacts the relay has!! 6 if you use triple pole, dual throw relays and run half of the items in the "on" cycle and half in the "off" cycle.

I think I smell a control upgrade coming...

Tommy
Yeah, but you can't control those things independently, can you?
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Old 02-26-2008, 11:32 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by swylie View Post
Yeah, but you can't control those things independently, can you?
Quote:
Originally Posted by Wasserpest View Post
Heh. Just spent $35 on this thing.

Couple of interesting points:

* Independent program for each valve
That's one weird/good thing about this particular timer that you can control the zones independently, rather than a one after another deal like other timers.

I really need to dig up a 9V battery and start to play around with it. But as far as I understand, you can set them up however you want it, as long there are no more than two overlapping at the same time.

The instructions are not really thorough so I just have to play around with it.
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Old 02-26-2008, 11:37 PM   #14
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how you are gonna hook up the electric wire to these irrigation timer.

I just gonna look up these term, and it mainly used to control water feeding in the crop. Basically, i still dont have a clear idea on how it works ? Maybe a little bit visual picture will help me.
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Old 02-26-2008, 11:43 PM   #15
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Basically, the irrigation controller has a number of contacts that switch 24VAC. Normally, you would connect solenoid valves (sprinkler valves) to them. But, you could also connect say a 24VAC relay to them which in turn switches an electrical outlet which could be connected to your lights or dosing pumps.
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