The Planted Tank Forum banner
1 - 20 of 61 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,653 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
I am a firm believer in heater controllers. Heater controllers are cheap security for those who have much invested in livestock both financially and emotionally. I have heater controllers on ALL of my aquariums. On two of them I am running Inkbird ITC-1000 units that are a diy unit that must be wired up by the user. I have been very pleased with these units as they offer both a heating and cooling controller and the temperature reading has proven to be quite accurate. I was quite excited to receive an Inkbird ITC-308 pre-wired controller for a new tank I am building. As of now this review is based on first impressions and will be added to once I put the unit into use.

The tank that I am going to be using this unit to monitor and control is a 20H red cherry shrimp tank. The tank will have an Aqueon Pro 100 watt heater and an array of four pc fans that I will be running off of a dc power supply at 13.5 volts and 1 amp. The fans themselves are rated at 12 volts and .15 amps so the will probably be spinning a tad faster than they would at 12 volts but that shouldn't be an issue. There will be two fans mounted at each end of a diy hood 1 1/2 inches above tank level and they will all be blowing air into the hood. I will be I will be setting the Inkbird up to turn the heater on at 75 degrees with a cooling differential of 5 degrees which should kick the fans on at 80. The hood will have a 2 inch hole drilled in the top rear for heated air to escape with the principle being evaporative cooling. Now that I have explained how I will be using this controller onto the review.

Upon open the package, which was delivered quickly, I noticed the unit is attractive and pretty well built. The digital readouts are large enough to easily read. The buttons are large enough to press easily without inadvertently hitting the other button, I have large hands so I appreciate this! The hanger is at the top of the unit which will make placement on the stand where desired and will make removing the controller for adjustments quite simple.

The probe appears well built and well sealed. The probe is actually a nice feature as it can be changed out for a longer probe. Inkbird offers 2 probes for this unit and the one it came with was a shorter length (just the sensor not the whole probe) which is what we would want in our application. The probe cord is 6ft long which is nice and makes it easy to stash the unit under a cabinet if desired. The nicest thing about the probe is it can be easily changed as it actually plugs into a pigtail. The probe looks well built as I mentioned but they can fail and having the ability to replace the probe without disassembling the unit is a nice feature. Because the probe plugs into the unit constructing a diy extension cord for it would be simple and is something maybe Inkbird can be urged to create in the future.

The power out cable is clearly marked as to which outlet is for heating and which is for cooling. The power cord for powering the unit is nice and long as well making it easy to route the cord out of the way and adding the necessary drip loop.

The instructions are very clearly written and easy to understand. The manual clearly relates how to setup the controller including the heating and cooling differentials and temperature calibration. Included in the instructions is a flow chart of how the menus are laid out. I will give a more detailed review of the instruction manual once I set the unit up.

One of the nice features of this unit and is fully explained in the instruction manual is the alarm systems. There is a user configurable high temp alarm and low temp alarm. There are also over temp alarms for if the unit is operating outside its range of temperatures. One of the alarms I am liking is the sensor failure alarm. This alarm should take the guesswork out of a probe failure.

There will be more to follow on this review once I get the unit hooked up. I'm looking forward to testing it as all in all so far this unit appears to be a solid piece and should make a nice addition to aquarium environmental controls.

Edit: I may make an extension cord for the probe to find out if it affects operation of the probe because it may well do just that.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
12,428 Posts
Glad to see another review from a different user!
But then that may bring up a question. I may have gotten a slightly different version than you. When you mentioned changing the probe, I thought I might have missed a small point so went to check. I don't find my unit has a way to change the probe without opening the case. You have a plug in your probe cord? Maybe an update already.
But while thinking about this idea, I learned a small point on the alarms. I may have read it in the instructions but I set off the high temp alarm while standing there holding it and did not know how to silence the alarm or if it reset automatically. While thinking where the directions were and wondering if I needed to push a button, etc. the probe cooled and the alarm went silent.
The alarm level is reasonable but not one that helps my thinking !

Note: The directions say I could have just pushed any button to silence the alarm!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,653 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 · (Edited)
Mine has a plug about an inch below the case of the unit and the probe cable unplugs. Looks like a stereo jack.

Bump: @PlantedRich I get home tonight I will snag a pic of the plug and post it.

Bump: It appears mine is the S model

 

·
Registered
Joined
·
12,428 Posts
Another small item I had missed. I was not fully aware of the options and you do have a different item with your set. both seem to work well and options are always a good plan for me. thanks for the review and pointing out there are options.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,653 Posts
Another small item I had missed. I was not fully aware of the options and you do have a different item with your set. both seem to work well and options are always a good plan for me. thanks for the review and pointing out there are options.
I actually find the replaceable sensor to be one of the biggest pluses this particular unit has. I think in some of your diy controller thread you mentioned sensor failure. I have yet to experienced a sensor failure but considering the environment, especially if the unit is being used in a saltwater setup, the possibility for sensor failure is there.

I have the unit setup on the tank it is going on. Temperature out of the box is aligned with the mechanical thermometer I have in the aquarium. I filled the tank with cold water so I could test the low alarm and it worked as expected and was loud enough to hear clearly. Later this week I will have the hood and cooling array on and will see how that works.

SO far I must say I am pleased with this unit. Setup was a snap and the instructions were easy to understand. I went straight to the menu flow chart and used that to guide me through the setup. It couldnt have been easier.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
131 Posts
I just received the 306t today.

I have a couple questions. It has you set a temp differential so it seems to me in needs to drop by the set differential before it kicks in? Mine doesn't go lower than 1° so does that mean my tank has to constantly be heating and losing that 1°? Doesn't seem very consistent for the fish.

Second is how accurate do you find yours? I recently bought a really inexpensive digital thermometer to try and verify the temp reading from my fluval g6. The digital thermometer reads about half a ° higher than the G6 and the ink bird is reading a full degree higher than the digital.

What do you guys use to calibrate yours? What's the most accurate? Just a regular thermometer like mom used to use?

Thanks
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,653 Posts
Discussion Starter · #7 · (Edited)
@Plantednoob7

It has you set a temp differential so it seems to me in needs to drop by the set differential before it kicks in? Mine doesn't go lower than 1° so does that mean my tank has to constantly be heating and losing that 1°? Doesn't seem very consistent for the fish.
These units are a multipurpose device. They allow you to set a differential as to when the heat kicks on. If you set the heat differential to 1 degree that means the heater will be turned on when it drops 1 degree lower than means temp. So if you set the mean, or target if you will, temp at 75 the heater will turn on at 74 and will heat the tank to 75 then turn off keeping the tank with in 1 degree of target. I'm curious what you find inconsistent about it? I have had heater controllers on all my tanks and during the winter they stay within one degree of the target temp, very consistent in my book.

Second is how accurate do you find yours? I recently bought a really inexpensive digital thermometer to try and verify the temp reading from my fluval g6. The digital thermometer reads about half a ° higher than the G6 and the ink bird is reading a full degree higher than the digital.
I dont have your controller I will need to look it up but the 308 has a calibration that allows you to adjust the temperature. I tested my itc-1000 against a digital cooking thermometer and they were within 1 degree. The 308S I reviewed here I measured against a mechanical thermometer, a standard glass suction cup aquarium thermometer, and it was within 1 degree. If you try a few different thermometers and they are within 1 degree I would call it good. These devices arent made for performing critical scientific measurements. In my opinion we're looking for consistency and they provide that.

What do you guys use to calibrate yours? What's the most accurate? Just a regular thermometer like mom used to use?
I used a digital cooking thermometer and I also have a spare heater controller I use. Like I said if you are using two thermometers and they are within a degree or so I would call it good. In your case if I was to do anything I would split the difference between the g6 and the digital, calibrate to that temp and call it good.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,032 Posts
The price point on these seem rather good.

That being said I would not mind one of the new Seneye monitors.



There are three versions of the Seneye, with potentially more on the way. Current choices are the Home model, the Pond model, or the Reef model

All models test for ammonia, temperature, water level, lighting and pH, and record near continuously. The unit communicates with Seneye online every 30 minutes or so and if anything appears wrong you’ll get an email or text letting you know what the problem is.

But these units are between $90 to $150 each, and that is without the wireless module.

http://www.practicalfishkeeping.co.uk/content.php?sid=4491
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
131 Posts
@Plantednoob7

It has you set a temp differential so it seems to me in needs to drop by the set differential before it kicks in? Mine doesn't go lower than 1° so does that mean my tank has to constantly be heating and losing that 1°? Doesn't seem very consistent for the fish.
These units are a multipurpose device. They allow you to set a differential as to when the heat kicks on. If you set the heat differential to 1 degree that means the heater will be turned on when it drops 1 degree lower than means temp. So if you set the mean, or target if you will, temp at 75 the heater will turn on at 74 and will heat the tank to 75 then turn off keeping the tank with in 1 degree of target. I'm curious what you find inconsistent about it? I have had heater controllers on all my tanks and during the winter they stay within one degree of the target temp, very consistent in my book.

Second is how accurate do you find yours? I recently bought a really inexpensive digital thermometer to try and verify the temp reading from my fluval g6. The digital thermometer reads about half a ° higher than the G6 and the ink bird is reading a full degree higher than the digital.
I dont have your controller I will need to look it up but the 308 has a calibration that allows you to adjust the temperature. I tested my itc-1000 against a digital cooking thermometer and they were within 1 degree. The 308S I reviewed here I measured against a mechanical thermometer, a standard glass suction cup aquarium thermometer, and it was within 1 degree. If you try a few different thermometers and they are within 1 degree I would call it good. These devices arent made for performing critical scientific measurements. In my opinion we're looking for consistency and they provide that.

What do you guys use to calibrate yours? What's the most accurate? Just a regular thermometer like mom used to use?
I used a digital cooking thermometer and I also have a spare heater controller I use. Like I said if you are using two thermometers and they are within a degree or so I would call it good. In your case if I was to do anything I would split the difference between the g6 and the digital, calibrate to that temp and call it good.
Thanks so much for all your answers. I think I was just overthinking the whole thing. You are quite right 1° of accuracy is great. I was thinking of the heater as maintaining a constant temp but obviously it does not.

Much appreciated.

If and when the probe wears out on this one I would go with the one with replaceable probe. That's a great feature.

I must say I do love the bright display mounted to the back of my cabinet.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,653 Posts
Discussion Starter · #10 ·
@Plantednoob7 Thanks for reminding me of something I want to add to this and I am glad to have helped! Another feature I like is the dual display of target temp and environment actual temp. The dual display rocks in my book.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
131 Posts
@Plantednoob7 Thanks for reminding me of something I want to add to this and I am glad to have helped! Another feature I like is the dual display of target temp and environment actual temp. The dual display rocks in my book.
Agreed!

Was looking at one of the finnex controls before stumbling across this device. Great device imo for the price.

Do you Max your heater or just a few degrees above the controller set point? I believe my heater may be off by a couple ° so I had to raise it
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,653 Posts
Discussion Starter · #12 ·
I raise mine by a degree or two. Not to much, if there is a malfunction on the sensor or something I dont want fish soup.

It is a great device for the cost and I have had good luck with the itc-1000 units I had prior to the itc-308s/
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
12,428 Posts
I may work it a bit different on which to let do the most work. Both the heater and the controllers have set points to control the temperature. That leaves us letting one be the first line, switching on and off and the second as a fail-safe. Which we each use probably makes little difference other than the first line unit will get a bit more wear than the second. Just because I already had my heater adjusted to the temperature I like, I set my controller as the backup. In using the controllers, I find they are much more flexible in what I can tell it to do. The heater can be set to a point like 76 but I can't adjust how far it lets the heat move off that point. Since my tank temperature tends to drift slightly due to difference in room temps, I like to set the controller and then I can adjust the limits on it. With being able to adjust how far off the temp drifts before it turns heat or cooling on, I can let my tank drift enough to cover normal day to day swings but still be ready to shut it down if the heater sticks. Most likely I would get the same result if I fiddled with the heater adjustment but the controller lets me do it much easier. On the cooling fan I have no control at all so the controller will do all the switching for that.
My limited effort thinking lets me set the temp, set the difference and then set the alarm a couple points higher. Just seems to flow easier than fiddle with the heater which I know is a pain to get set to an exact point.
My larger tank is more stable so I may be a bit spoiled but I now expect to see 76.4 on the controller pretty much all the time except when the room is warm. Knowing thermometers, I know that this may actually be 77.4 or 75.4 but that doesn't bother me a bit because before I went to this type controller, I was looking a the red line in a thermometer and trying to guess which line it was near!
To calibrate the temp reading, I used four liquid type thermometer and took a more or less "average" as correct. When shopping for those I look at several on the shelf and take one that reads in the middle of the group???? Consistent, they are not!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,653 Posts
Discussion Starter · #14 ·
@PlantedRich has demonstrated very well that there are a few strategies one can employ using these controllers which is nice because it means they can be somewhat flexible. One advantage to his strategy is much less wear and tear on the heater from turning on and off if I am reading this correctly.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
12,428 Posts
@PlantedRich has demonstrated very well that there are a few strategies one can employ using these controllers which is nice because it means they can be somewhat flexible. One advantage to his strategy is much less wear and tear on the heater from turning on and off if I am reading this correctly.
I expect that is true that the heater will last longer. I know my heater uses a mechanical switch on the AC portion as I can hear it click. That click is a relay closing. I use a type heater that has the controls and relay outside the heating tube and it is far larger than those that would fit inside the glass. I know that relays that have larger contacts will often last longer than tiny contacts.
But even with the larger contacts, I'm pretty sure there is still a certain amount of wear on those contacts. Just guessing as I have not looked but I assume the Inkbird will be using a solid state circuit to switch the power. With contacts to burn in the heater and none in the controller, I feel letting the controller do most of the switching might be better.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,653 Posts
Discussion Starter · #16 ·
I expect that is true that the heater will last longer. I know my heater uses a mechanical switch on the AC portion as I can hear it click. That click is a relay closing. I use a type heater that has the controls and relay outside the heating tube and it is far larger than those that would fit inside the glass. I know that relays that have larger contacts will often last longer than tiny contacts.
But even with the larger contacts, I'm pretty sure there is still a certain amount of wear on those contacts. Just guessing as I have not looked but I assume the Inkbird will be using a solid state circuit to switch the power. With contacts to burn in the heater and none in the controller, I feel letting the controller do most of the switching might be better.
Thanks for the tip. I have a few months before it will cool down enough for my heaters to start kicking on again. I may be rethinking my strategy.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
12,428 Posts
Were you in the bunch that had to get out to clean the points on cars? You know what I mean about taking care of those contact points, if you are.
We may fuss about the way new cars are made but that may be due to selective memory. The first few cars that came out and people couldn't reach the sparkplugs, took some flack before we all woke up one day and found we didn't need to change the spark plugs and it was okay to not know how to open the hood!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
131 Posts
Noticed something odd today.

Inkbird, fluval g6 & digital thermometer in tank are all reading 82.5. Set point at 83 on inkbird. I see a green led on heater control indicating power but no red for hearing. I bumped up heater control a couple degrees. Heater kicked on then off shortly thereafter. I cranked heater to max of 92 to see what would happen and same thing...

I know the heater has a rating of +/- 2°. I don't know why suddenly it has been hooked to inkbird it could be reading so far off... Possibly just coincidence?? All equipment is about 16 weeks old. Heater is a finnex hma 300. On the assumption the heater is going bad what would you guys recommend. I really like the "hob" control of this heater. It's mounted in my stand along with the inkbird.

Tank is 75G planted discus tank. Trying to keep temp 82-83. With the discus accurate and consistent temp is very important.

Thanks ahead of time
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,032 Posts
Were you in the bunch that had to get out to clean the points on cars? You know what I mean about taking care of those contact points, if you are.
We may fuss about the way new cars are made but that may be due to selective memory. The first few cars that came out and people couldn't reach the sparkplugs, took some flack before we all woke up one day and found we didn't need to change the spark plugs and it was okay to not know how to open the hood!
My project car is a 78 beetle :p
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
12,428 Posts
My project car is a 78 beetle :p
Let me be sure of a couple things first, please.
You have the heater power cord plugged into the outlet of the Inkbird and the Inkbird set for 83?

In this setup the Inkbird will only provide power to the heater until it reaches the limit that you have set for the temp to rise above the setpoint. If the set is 76 with your differential set to 2, the heater will only get power until the temp reaches 78 and then it will be disconnected. Not sure of which lights you are looking at but if I understand right, turning the heater control higher will not let it go past the limit set on the controller.

Correct me if I'm not getting the right idea of how you are set.
 
1 - 20 of 61 Posts
This is an older thread, you may not receive a response, and could be reviving an old thread. Please consider creating a new thread.
Top