Value priced temp controller--no DIY - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 9 (permalink) Old 03-05-2020, 12:36 AM Thread Starter
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Value priced temp controller--no DIY

There are always calls for cheaper things to feed our hobby and I have often recommended the cheap controllers I buy from E-bay but those often required some DIY for wiring and details. So here comes a controller that I have not used but looks like a good alternate for less money and still no DIY needed.
Looking through the auction I came across this:
BN-LINK Digital Temperature Controller Thermostat Outlet for Heat Mat Seed 110V
If you are looking for a backup controller for safety but wanting to keep the cost down, this comes from California, shipped for less than $20!
I have not used it but you might want to give it a try.
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post #2 of 9 (permalink) Old 03-05-2020, 02:15 AM
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Just remember all the affordable electric thermostats controllers have a high failure rate. Yeah some get lucky, but over time the probe becomes old and temperature drifts, or they end up burning out and getting stuck on. Just like our aquarium heaters. At best you can use one as a secondary failsafe if the heater gets stuck on.
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post #3 of 9 (permalink) Old 03-05-2020, 05:28 PM
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Getting harder to justify the DIY versions when the prices of these complete kits are getting so cheap.

@Ben3721 : I've never heard of a controller failing and getting "stuck on" like the heaters themselves. Has this happened to you?

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Curator of an ever growing fishroom that currently houses 30 different tanks. Most full of at least water....some even have fish!
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post #4 of 9 (permalink) Old 03-05-2020, 05:50 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lksdrinker View Post
Getting harder to justify the DIY versions when the prices of these complete kits are getting so cheap.
Inkbird ITC-308 $35 free ship on amazon...1100W max

Prob the most expensive one..


Use a reg heater and set it's shut off a few degrees warmer than the controller..
Safety backup..

Or in reverse..

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post #5 of 9 (permalink) Old 03-05-2020, 06:37 PM
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Honestly, I really dont trust any digital thermostat controllers. They all have horrible failure rates and accuracy issues. I also do not trust heaters with them built in. Most the time it's just some crudely designed microchip board with budget Chinese cloned chips... Destined for failure. There is probably a more expensive option for larger tanks that is like a hardwired thermostat and element made to last. Or maybe not...
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post #6 of 9 (permalink) Old 03-05-2020, 08:05 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ben3721 View Post
Honestly, I really dont trust any digital thermostat controllers. They all have horrible failure rates and accuracy issues. I also do not trust heaters with them built in. Most the time it's just some crudely designed microchip board with budget Chinese cloned chips... Destined for failure. There is probably a more expensive option for larger tanks that is like a hardwired thermostat and element made to last. Or maybe not...
Funny, I don't trust current bimetal switches because of cheaply made contacts..
Just waiting to pit and fuse..
Mercury bulb type may be fine but can's see how you really incorporate it in a tank.


As far as I'm concerned.. all made in China..
There are plenty of high quality electronics or solid state probes and circuits.. just a matter of, like you know "good enough for the market".
Using something like a Honeywell process controller (solid state) and platinum based sensor (RTD) is ideal.. but $$$$$$


https://assets.testequity.com/te1/Do...ure_Sensor.pdf
for those really really concerned.. shopping eek bay and researching "industry grade" controllers at pennies on $ is err.. "fun".

I've got one of these laying around somewhere..
https://www.radwell.com/Shop?source=...BoCpowQAvD_BwE

https://customer.honeywell.com/resou...0s/63-1150.pdf


Needs a new Pt sensor though.. Orig failed since it wasn't water proof.. Human error on my part..
Replacement sensor is $70 minimum..

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post #7 of 9 (permalink) Old 03-05-2020, 11:32 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jeffkrol View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ben3721 View Post
Honestly, I really dont trust any digital thermostat controllers. They all have horrible failure rates and accuracy issues. I also do not trust heaters with them built in. Most the time it's just some crudely designed microchip board with budget Chinese cloned chips... Destined for failure. There is probably a more expensive option for larger tanks that is like a hardwired thermostat and element made to last. Or maybe not...
Funny, I don't trust current bimetal switches because of cheaply made contacts.. <a href="https://www.plantedtank.net/forums/images/smilie/icon_wink.gif" border="0" alt="" title="Wink" >:-)</a>
Just waiting to pit and fuse..
Mercury bulb type may be fine but can's see how you really incorporate it in a tank.


As far as I'm concerned.. all made in China.. <a href="https://www.plantedtank.net/forums/images/smilie/icon_sad.gif" border="0" alt="" title="Sad" >:-)</a>
There are plenty of high quality electronics or solid state probes and circuits.. just a matter of, like you know "good enough for the market".
Using something like a Honeywell process controller (solid state) and platinum based sensor (RTD) is ideal.. but $$$$$$


https://assets.testequity.com/te1/Do...ure_Sensor.pdf
for those really really concerned.. shopping eek bay and researching "industry grade" controllers at pennies on $ is err.. "fun".

I've got one of these laying around somewhere.. <a href="https://www.plantedtank.net/forums/images/smilie/icon_smile.gif" border="0" alt="" title="Smile" >:-)</a>
https://www.radwell.com/Shop?source=...BoCpowQAvD_BwE

https://customer.honeywell.com/resou...0s/63-1150.pdf


Needs a new Pt sensor though.. Orig failed since it wasn't water proof.. Human error on my part..
Replacement sensor is $70 minimum..
Yeah the contact sticking isnt exactly good... it wouldn't be an issue if they made them properly, but they dont test nor care about how long a product lasts.

Honestly if someone made a in tank normal heater with a mercury switch, it would have the best reliability of any heater. But with products being super cheap... they would probably still mess up something that would cause a catastrophic failure. Like a aluminum heater with mercury lol...


If any of yall want to cry and never buy a heater again, go read the negative heater reviews on Amazon. A long time ago I read about some titanium heater exploding, one dude claimed it broke the back of his tank open.
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post #8 of 9 (permalink) Old 03-06-2020, 12:47 AM
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I use the Inkbird ITC-1000 controllers that have to be diy'ed and they have worked fine for years . I did buy a few extra sensors for the future . I check the accuracy every week or 2 and they are within .4 degrees of my thermometer . I wouldn't use a heater without a controller again and suggest to anyone to get or make one for every tank that has a heater .

My wife says if I get one more aquarium she is going to leave me . I sure am going to miss her fried chicken .
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post #9 of 9 (permalink) Old 03-07-2020, 02:16 PM Thread Starter
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Some thoughts on how and why things fail can often lead to methods which keep them from failing. I do lots of electro-mech work and when something fails, it is logical to try to find why they have failed. Temperature controllers which fail often have one common point of failure and it is pretty easy to fix.
When the first controller failed, I did a teardown and found the cause was simply the probe failed as it was not fully waterproof over time. The simple fix was to seal the probe so that it doesn't get wet. Obviously the probe and controller I mentioned above are likely to not be waterproof as it is intended for dry uses.
But thinking a bit makes it easy to spot several cheap and easy ways to fix that.
It can be as simple as sticking it in a soda straw for short tanks or a long plastic tube and then sealing the tube. My favorite means of sealing is to set the tubing or straw on fire and crimp it out with pliers !
This is a game best played by folks who do the extra thinking rather than just buying random stuff that looks good but fails quick if we don't think!
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