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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So, I've read enough horror stories in the past few days about heaters cooking tanks when the thermostat gets stuck in the on position. I've decided that I'm going to run a temperature controller as a fail safe device to help prevent this from happening in my tank. I found this one on amazon for $27. Does anyone have experience with Finnex? Does anyone have a particular device they would like to recommend instead? My heater is an Eheim Jager 150W.
 

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You can go a step further too by using a reef controller. Eliminates all your timers and stuff. Lots more options. About $70 more though.
 

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So, I've read enough horror stories in the past few days about heaters cooking tanks when the thermostat gets stuck in the on position. I've decided that I'm going to run a temperature controller as a fail safe device to help prevent this from happening in my tank. I found this one on amazon for $27. Does anyone have experience with Finnex? Does anyone have a particular device they would like to recommend instead? My heater is an Eheim Jager 150W.
It looks very similar to hydroset. I still have the hydroset unit that failed to turn off the heater after a year of use.

By far, the best is the Ranco ETC-111000-000 Digital Temperature Controller. It includes a temperature display. Also, you can program it to control a heater or cooler which is very handy!
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks for the input everyone. I think a reef controller is a bit more then what I'm really looking for at the moment, but perhaps down the road one could come in handy. I've looked at the Ranco, but TBH $60 seems a bit steep for something that should be a pretty simple device. Perhaps the price is because it is pretty heavy duty, which might be considered a good thing. Whatever I get, I plan on doing regular testing to verify it is working properly, probably weekly.
 

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I've looked at the Ranco, but TBH $60 seems a bit steep
It is less than $50 on e bay. I can't post the e bay link. This forum is against e bay.


for something that should be a pretty simple device.
Judging from the failed heaters and controllers, having such a device operates _reliably_ is not that simple or cheap.


Perhaps the price is because it is pretty heavy duty, which might be considered a good thing. Whatever I get, I plan on doing regular testing to verify it is working properly, probably weekly.
A stuck-on heater can cook a tank in mere hours. If it failed in between your weekly checks, your fish will probably be very _well done_ (as in steak) before the next weekly check.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
The idea behind the weekly testing is that it is much less likely for both the heater's on board thermostat and the controller's failing at the same time. By testing the controller periodically I hope to discover that it has failed and have a chance to replace it before the aquarium heater fails. I realize this doesn't completely eliminate the possibility of both devices failing simultaneously but this is about risk mitigation. Electronics fail, some more then others.

In IT we use redundant systems to help prevent catastrophic failure. For instance, with hard disks a popular setup is to use two disks that both get all of the data written to them. When one fails, you replace the failed disk, restore the data from the other to it, and go on your way with no loss. There is still the possibility that both disks can fail simultaneously but the likelihood is much much lower.
 

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The idea behind the weekly testing is that it is much less likely for both the heater's on board thermostat and the controller's failing at the same time. By testing the controller periodically I hope to discover that it has failed and have a chance to replace it before the aquarium heater fails.
Can you tell us how you will test the controller?
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Lower the max temp setting and see if it turns off the heater, or perhaps put some hot water in a bucket and stick the probe into that.
 

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Lower the max temp setting and see if it turns off the heater, or perhaps put some hot water in a bucket and stick the probe into that.
The last time I noticed that the hydroset controller failed to turn off the heater, I dialed down its temperature dial and it cut off the heater's power. Same with couple of the stuck-on heaters.

Unless you have water very close to the temperature set on the controller, you cannot really tell whether the controller was still working properly for the set temperature.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Hrm, sounds like the hydroset dial wasn't properly calibrated to me. This brings up a good point though. It shouldn't be hard to get water close to whatever I decide the cutoff point is for testing.
 

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Hrm, sounds like the hydroset dial wasn't properly calibrated to me.
On most of the heaters and controllers with mechanical temperature dial, the temperature marking is not meant to be taken literally. IOW, there has been little or no calibration. Setting up a device therefore involves slowly turning the dial until the device comes on. After the water has been warmed up, the device will shut itself off. From that point on, the device maintains water temperature at around that level.

All the stuck-on heaters and controllers that I came across turned themselves off when I turned the temperature dial down far enough (and that was how I reset a stuck-on heater to keep it going until I got a chance to replace it). Playing with the dial therefore won't tell you whether a device is still functioning properly.

The only true test is having a device gone through a complete cycle, i.e. turns itself on when the temperature is below a set point, heats the water to the set point, and then turns itself off.


It shouldn't be hard to get water close to whatever I decide the cutoff point is for testing.
How will you conduct the test?
 
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