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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm currently experimenting with SMD 5050 RGBW strip lighting through a WiFi controller and have a reasonably successful lighting setup on my Fluval Edge which I can set timers on, remotely dim and change colours etc.
But I'm looking to upgrade to more "grown-up" leds for better light and would also like more programming options such as ramp up programming rather than the straight on/off I have now.
So my question is, what are my options? As per the title, I'd like it to operate via the android platform on tablet/phone.
So far I've found the Bluefish product, which looks to be exactly what I'm looking for but before I invest I was wondering if there are any similar products out there I should be looking in to?
Does anyone on here have any experience of the Bluefish set up? Would be great to hear any feedback, good or bad.
Apologies if this has been covered elsewhere, but a search of this forum for titles containing wifi, Android or Bluefish turned up nothing.

Thanks in advance for any advice.
 

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WiFi is pretty new to fw, and only slightly older w/ reef lighting.. so there is that.

As to the Bluefish, well I did a tad of research on this and my only question was the "cloud" it runs through..
Other than that the setup can be wonky.

The mini only works w/ ldd-h's because of the low voltage on the PWM outputs..

Is popular though..
 

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I also spent a lot of time looking through the available options.

Bluefish and Apex were at the top of my list, but I wasn't completely happy with either option. The Apex controllers are ridiculously expensive and only have analog control. The Bluefish controller seemed better for lights but is still pricey. I was also annoyed Bluefish has been promising the powerbar module for over a year with no news. Above all I was concerned about committing to a closed product since you are stuck without their app. It feels like every new device these days connects to wifi and I don't want to install fifty apps on my phone to use my fridge/slow cooker/aquarium/etc...

I ended up going with Philips Hue, which is a complete system designed for home automation and light control. The main advantages are that it is much cheaper (mass produced), has hundreds of compatible products, dozens of official and third party apps, and has a fully documented API with implementations available for 10+ programming languages.

I was already using Hue for my living room lights so keeping everything on the same system was a pretty obvious choice. If you need to buy the bridge as well its a bigger commitment but they are currently rolling out version 2 (with voice control) so the version 1 bridge can be found quite cheaply.

http://www.plantedtank.net/forums/12-tank-journals/975649-bookshelf-aquariums-8.html#post8850257

Wireless electronic ballast FLS-PP lp with Power PWM interface for RGBW and RGB lights (12/24V LED/LED stripes), ZigBee certified product - - Amazon.com


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6lZVHVFzuH0
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
WiFi is pretty new to fw, and only slightly older w/ reef lighting.. so there is that.

As to the Bluefish, well I did a tad of research on this and my only question was the "cloud" it runs through..
Other than that the setup can be wonky.

The mini only works w/ ldd-h's because of the low voltage on the PWM outputs..

Is popular though..
Thanks for your help Jeff, a couple of questions if I could.
It sounds like you've been able to find better info than me on the Bluefish. What are your doubts around the cloud? Security or dependence on Bluefish maintaining it?
Wonky setup as in a little tricky or doesn't do all it promises?
It was the mini I'd looked at, would being limited to the Meanwell drivers cause me any issues?
Thanks again.
 

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Just my own paranoia. Like the cloud disappearing or going to a subscription only option.
As to the setup, just read of "handshaking" problems and antenna placement type things.
Nothing major, and I'd contemplated going that route a number of times but never pulled the trigger on it.
As to security...what's that? LOL....
 

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I also spent a lot of time looking through the available options.

Bluefish and Apex were at the top of my list, but I wasn't completely happy with either option. The Apex controllers are ridiculously expensive and only have analog control. The Bluefish controller seemed better for lights but is still pricey. I was also annoyed Bluefish has been promising the powerbar module for over a year with no news. Above all I was concerned about committing to a closed product since you are stuck without their app. It feels like every new device these days connects to wifi and I don't want to install fifty apps on my phone to use my fridge/slow cooker/aquarium/etc...

I ended up going with Philips Hue, which is a complete system designed for home automation and light control. The main advantages are that it is much cheaper (mass produced), has hundreds of compatible products, dozens of official and third party apps, and has a fully documented API with implementations available for 10+ programming languages.

I was already using Hue for my living room lights so keeping everything on the same system was a pretty obvious choice. If you need to buy the bridge as well its a bigger commitment but they are currently rolling out version 2 (with voice control) so the version 1 bridge can be found quite cheaply.

http://www.plantedtank.net/forums/12-tank-journals/975649-bookshelf-aquariums-8.html#post8850257

Wireless electronic ballast FLS-PP lp with Power PWM interface for RGBW and RGB lights (12/24V LED/LED stripes), ZigBee certified product - - Amazon.com


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6lZVHVFzuH0
Hi 691175002 (mind if I ask what that's about? Military number?)

Thanks for taking the time to respond, I stumbled across your journal a couple of months ago before I'd even bought a tank, now subscribed and I'll read it in depth later, only skimmed that page you linked over breakfast this morning. Building your own 3d printer? Wow, you're clearly a lot more capable than me, I'd like to pick your brain, but please dumb down your responses to my level. That bookshelf setup is simply stunning, nice work!

A question away from lighting if I could, I noticed in the video you linked that you seem to have drilled the tanks for filter inlet/outlet. How tricky is that? I plan on building an Edge-esque aquarium shortly and would like to keep it equipment free. I love the looks of the Edge, but wish it was deeper, ie a true cube, and not such a pain to work on. So I'd planned on building a cube of similar dimensions (400mm ish) but also 400mm deep whereas the Edge 46 is shallower. As my Edge already has a larger custom hood to house led strips and I don't mind the look (still maintains the floating cube look etc) my version will have a much larger opening at the top to make maintenance less of a nightmare. I already had a cannister filter and external heater in mind, being able to drill the tank for the filter inlet ( don't mind a spraybar for outlet as it would be out of sight in the "chimney") would be great and really clean things up.

Any way, I digress/waffle.

On the Bluefish........can I ask what the mythical powerbar was going to be? Know what you mean about multiple apps, but I already have LightwaveRF home lighting which I definitely can't use, so I guess one more app couldn't hurt. In my brief research, I read somewhere that Bluefish was open-source, is that not the case? If not, I share your concern.

That wifi controller looks better than what I'm currently using (MagicHome/MagicUFO), are you using one of those with your Philips setup, apologies if this is covered in your journal. Can something like this be used to power higher power led clusters or just the rgb/rgbw strips? Would the [email protected] be enough? Again I'm new to this, 72w may be more than enough. Or if not could the amplifiers I've seen work round this? Does that controller/app offer programmable dimming? I can see it mentions timers and dimming, mine did too, but mine will only turn on/off at whatever dimming level it's manually set to.
Sounds like I need to look in to the Hue, and will do tonight. But to give me a headstart........... can I use that to power led clusters rather than rgb strips. Will it do the fade in fade out I'm looking for? My cheap MagicHome controller will run multiple controllers through the app, can I do this with the Philips? If I get this tank as good as I'm hoping, may be able to persuade SWMBO to let me have a second tank in the living room!

Last question (I promise!) are these smd strip lights up to the job of providing a medium light output to a planted tank? From reading another thread on here, the OP seemed to find poor penetration with low PAR at substrate level. So although my current setup with 5050's gives (by eye) much better light than the stock Edge lighting, I was going to go down the LED cluster route. Any thoughts?

I really have rattled on there, sorry for all the questions. From your journal I can see you're a busy man, but if you could make sense of any of the above and help out a newbie, it would be greatly appreciated. No worries if not though.

Best get some work done now.

Cheers.
Gareth

Just my own paranoia. Like the cloud disappearing or going to a subscription only option.
As to the setup, just read of "handshaking" problems and antenna placement type things.
Nothing major, and I'd contemplated going that route a number of times but never pulled the trigger on it.
As to security...what's that? LOL....
Thanks for clarifying, know what you mean about the cloud issues, I am also a bit paranoid I guess, hadn't considered it going subscription though, good point. Didn't think it could be "security" doubts, doubt there's an army of hackers out there wanting to look at fish and mess with their lights!

I'll look in to the pairing issues, but the tank (or possibly 2) will be in line of sight with my router so hopefully not an issue.

Good to hear there's not much else, got more research to do but thanks for your help.

691175002.........I typed up a lengthy response to you this morning. When I submitted it I got a pop-up saying it needed vetting by a mod.
Just didn't want you to think I'd ignored your very helpful response. Although if my reply ever shows up, you may wish I had. :wink2:
 

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We have a smart things hub, which is similar to the hue system. I plan on using it to automate the lights and co2, heater and leak detection on the 125 tank I have in the planning stages. It supports a number of protocols, and there are literally thousands of compatible products, including a power strip with individually controllable outlets. The hub itself was ~$100, the power strip is around $60' other sensors between $20 and $60 or so. We already had the hub for home automation (thermostat, smoke detector, lights and door/window sensors), so it's sort of a no-brainer to extend that rather than buying an Apex. Haven't managed to find a ph sensor that will work with it, but I'm sure that will come along eventually as more and more people start using these to control aquaria.
 

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Hey, Looks like your lost post finally showed up.

The Bluefish is trying to compete with Apex and they've had modules announced for quite some time (outlet control, ph, temperature...). Unfortunately there has been no visible progress and they recently removed them from the webpage which made me a little nervous. I used a drill press for plumbing the aquariums, so cutting glass was very easy. I would be comfortable drilling small holes by hand but there is a lot more risk involved.


Jaye and I have really come to the same conclusion - now that home automation is catching on there are very cheap and capable systems that accomplish 90% of what the traditional aquarium controllers can provide.

I used the linked Dresden controller for my bookshelf. I recently purchased a second one for my 30g tank as well. A philips hue command consists of a target brightness, color, and transition time. The transition time can be instant to many hours in length and the light will slowly fade over that period. Commands can be executed immediately or scheduled.


LEDs are pretty much LEDs regardless of whether they are in strip or cluster form. The only thing you have to watch is that the Dresden functions as both a controller and driver so the wiring is a little different from most guides. You have two options depending on how the LEDs are wired.

Dresden -> LEDs (With resistors for current limiting)
Dresden -> Adapter -> Meanwell LDD -> LEDs

I used the simpler option, the second one is closer to what you would see on a typical DIY build. The Dresden should have enough power to run most tanks, a 48" stingray is just 27W and a 48" E-Series is 54W.

Strips are pretty low wattage so you really need to pack them really tightly. I'd be most concerned about longevity since they have heat problems and waterproofing is pretty questionable on the Chinese stuff. I would probably use them for color and throw one or two big white LEDs in for power. That keeps things really easy.
 

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I am a Bluefish user. I ended up building my own LED fixture with Philips Luxeon LEDs and a Bluefish Mini to control them. I wanted an all-in-one light with features similar to Aqua lluminations and Radion, but wasn't willing to spend what they want - not to mention that most of them aren't really the right spectrum for freshwater planted, so I built my own. I've been pretty happy with it and it has worked flawlessly from the beginning - I do have excellent internet and a fairly robust network in my home, so that may have helped my experience with the Bluefish - I haven't tried to see what happens if I take the network down or anything . . .

Anyway, I ended up with a light that looks nice hanging above the aquarium, has a single cable going to it, has five independently controllable colors, and can put out 130 par at the substrate of my 48 gallon with only about 85 watts.

-Justin
 

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I've been using the BlueFish "Mini" since it was released. It's been working flawlessly for me. Just the fact that it can be easily programmed to mimic the local weather conditions for any spot on this planet is awesome. I've got mine following the current weather conditions in Manaus Brazil. Don't worry about the "cloud". The BFmini only uses the servers to update its programming. If the connection to its servers gets cut, the BlueFish continues running it's programmed lighting schedule without interruption. It will automatically update its programming when it's internet connection is restored.
 
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Personal coreespondence, just an FYI:

On 3/8/2015 8:31 PM,
> This may be an odd question but what guarantee is there the the 'cloud" you partner through won't just disappear?
> Seems that there is no guarantee of functionality, nor any guarantee that it won't become some yearly subscription.
> Maybe I'm being either ignorant or paranoid..but much of the functionality seems to be based on a 3rd party so to speak.
>
> Is this in any way correct?
>
> Thanks
> Jeff

Hi Jeff,

I think your questions are valid. We had some of the same questions before we started dealing with Electric Imp. On learning more about the people that built and run the company, their financial backing, support, and the product/service itself...we decided to base an entire product line around it. So you can take that as our vote of confidence, but if you are concerned, I would encourage you to do your own research.

I can tell you that we will not be charging any subscription fees for our existing products.

Thanks,
>>>>
Note : I really like the Bluefish product.. as a controller..and my "opinion" is just that..an opinion...

AND a $100 product is not the "end of the world" if support was lost. Happens to way more expensive and critical products..

But I believe in informed choices, as much as possible..

Note also: I've could have had a year of VERY pleasant control..
which my concerns denied me of.. :)
They "bet the farm" on it really..
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Thanks for all the replies guys, spent the last couple of evenings looking into the Smartthings (thanks Jaye) and Philips Hue products and add-ons. Prior to this thread I had no idea home automation stuff could be used to control aquarium lighting and I'm now a little more clued up on the techy side. But I've reached a conclusion...........I don't want any more automation than lighting, both home and tank. I already have wifi controllable home lighting via LightwaveRF which I'm happy with and none of the other brands seem to do such pretty switches.........maybe the UK market for these things is lagging behind? I even blew an hour researching whether I could get my LWRF switches to talk to Hue or ST, and a developer has cracked it but it involves running through a Raspberry Pi to achieve it and is just getting way too involved. I can see why you both went the route you have with the HA stuff, but I don't think it's for me.......I may regret this in the future.

For now I'm going to get a better controller (maybe that Dresden) just to mess with, some LED'S, and a Bluefish Mini and see what I can cobble together.

O2 & jrygel, thanks for posting your experiences of the Bluefish, I'm sold!
jeffkrol, thanks for looking into the cloud "issue" and sharing the correspondence, sounds like you're close to taking the plunge?
691175002, cheers for taking the time to answer my other questions, I'm learning a bit more by the day, thanks for your help.
 

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Also, I can confirm the Bluefish mini works well with Steve's LED drivers as well as Meanwell LDDs - The only real reason I went with Steve's over LDDs was the lower profile, so that they fit within my enclosure.
 

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For a simpler option the new version of the Reefbuilders photon V2 series is wi-fi equipped with 6 independent channels. Not sure if it could be set up to be used with an andriod controller or not, it comes with its own controller. They are very popular with reefers, but they will do custom FW spectrums for you as well.
 
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