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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
I've received one of these controllers and been asked to do a review.
So as I discover what I like or don't, I will be posting a number of small reviews on points that I find. As one who has been looking for a really good complete controller for our use, I want to make this as full and complete as I can. I hate reviews that leave me guessing! But that will take time and space so rather than an hour long read, how about a series?
First some background on why I'm excited to do this review. I use and like the small temperature controllers that I find on the auction site but they have a downside. A big one is that they do not come wired and that can be a major hangup for many. I can wire one for myself and get in at about $25, but that is not one that I would suggest letting others use. As built, my controllers take some careful use or wires do come loose, etc. So I am very happy to see this controller hit the market.

Inkbird ITC-308

The item arrived packaged far better than many things I buy. With "designed to fit" packaging inside the Amazon box, it was good. Shipping seemed a bit weird as Amazon took several days before it left them but then it only came from Fort Worth and made it sooner than expected, arriving on Sunday. I ordered on Wednesday.
The directions are far better than other controllers I use and they are written in pretty common English as we speak it.

First thing I noticed was the above average quality of the unit! Details are an important item to me. I really like the way they provide protection on all of the cords where they enter. This is a point where wires are often broken as they twist and bend but these should last much better. They are permanently attached but maybe I don't need to worry about replacing them if they last better?
Another detail is that the unit is made of sturdy feeling plastic with all the small details like a mounting hook already built into the forming. Turning it over I note that it is put together using screws rather than glued. If I ever need to repair it, I have a chance.
It seems to have all the bases covered for what I want, even for heating and cooling with both being programmed and fully separate wiring.
A nice big display that can be read from ten feet away, showing both set temp as well as current temp, easy mounting, a well designed probe, and good long cords, make this a good, well built unit that is easy to set and appears to be just what I wanted.

More details to follow as I get more handson experience with the little gem?
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 · (Edited)
To add to the review, let me note what it can do for us. It can work on 110 to give 1200Watt or 2200W on 220 Volts so it should work for most tank heating needs. That is also plenty to cover my greenhouse use, as well. It does have connections for full time hookups of both heating and cooling which should make it nice for those of us who want to do both on our tanks.
Some of the basic questions can help us each find value. The cords are all what I consider the "right" size. AC input cord is about 56" with the output about 12". That should work for most normal uses and the probe is on a really nice long cord about 75 inches.
The probe is one item I had questioned but in looking it over, I feel very good about the way it is made. The metal probe end is a formed solid rather than having a seam and the crimping and water proofing look first rate. It appears to be a much better design that should be totally waterproof long term.

The directions are quite clear but just a short review might explain how they work.
To set or change any of the parameters, we start by pressing the "SET" for three seconds. That brings up one of 8 functions, pressing up or down cycles through the 8 settings. I started by changing "CF" to Fahrenheit! It will do both.
Next I cycled to "TS" to set my preferred temp of 76, "HD" to set the differential for heating, "CD" to set the cooling, "AH" to set an alarm for high temperature, "AL" to set the low alarm. To finish, you hold "SET" for three seconds to save the changes.
The alarm is a feature that I feel will serve many really well if they have the same luck with heaters that I find. Not a terribly loud alarm but definitely loud enough to get attention.
The output plugs are well made and clearly marked and do come in three types for US, EU and UK.
With a nice size, only three buttons, and two lights, the digital readout of set temp and actual temp, it really seems to have everything I need plus the alarm and good directions.

I don't find many things that fit my needs any better. Excellent!
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I left four liquid type thermometers in the tank where I have the controller set to let them all get a steady reading. It was pretty much as expected that they all had different readings so that I still can't say which is spot on. They varied from 76 to 81 more or less and the controller was at 79, so it seemed close to the right number so I did not rest it. there is an adjustment (CA) for doing the calibration but then we do have to know for sure what is the correct temperature. I never find any trouble in running a tank a few degrees off once I set a steady temperature.
 

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Thanks for the review. Its good to know how long the cord is for the temperature probe as that is the principle reason why I am going with these over the Finnex controllers which apparently have very short cords for the probes.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Being a long probe is important to me as well. I like to place things where they are easy and short cords are sometimes a problem.
But as I've played with this more, I find the ease of programming is really one of the things I find best. I have used the little digital controllers of the auction site but they are fussy to remember which button to push when and if you hold the wrong button in three seconds--- it reverts back to factory settings!
This one seemed to scroll through the settings in a much more logical way. Since I'm a Fahrenheit only type guy, I might have preferred that to be the first setting but once set to my choice, the process seems very good. Set the temp I want to maintain, set how much I want it to vary before heating comes on and then how much to vary before cooling, etc.

And directions that make sense, too? Too much!

Not cheap, but then I still want gas for 54 cents.
 

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I use this unit on my 125 gal SW reef system and have it connected to a heater and a chiller. It's been in use for about 8 months now, and I have been delighted with it. Easy to set up, and run. It accurately keeps the tank temp constant, and the large display lets me read it from across the room. Once set up about all I need to do is look at it to make sure it's working.

I plan on getting a second one for my planted tank.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Since all equipment is prone to breakdown, some of the really small details on this unit can come in very handy. As noted, the large readout can be seen from at least ten feet away. That does make it easy to spot any trouble if it does come about.
If a heater fails and the tank warms, the controller should cut the power, so if it is cool weather and you see the temp off normal, it should be the first clue but then you can look at the small light that indicates the controller is or is not providing power. Even if you miss those two clues or maybe somebody else is watching the tank for a few days, you really still have a good chance of getting by without fish death. If all else fails and for whatever reason the tank STILL overheats, the alarm should be set and anybody around should notice that!

If you are having the sort of day that the heater fails , the controller fails and then the alarm also fails---consider going back to bed!!
 

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Hello,

I would like to ask a few questions about the inkbird itc-308.

I have received that model the same as the OP's with a hardwired non(atleast without disassembly) replaceable probe. Now I've researched there is an updated/different model which has a replaceable probe which makes sense to me so I am considering exchanging it before use. But this has been ordered through the evil empire so shipped and I hate returning/shipping things if I don't really need to.

So I'd like to ask if any users of this unit have had any problems ever with the temp probe specifically or any issues at all in general. I am using this somewhat obviously on a freshwater tank.

Also curious of how others have 'hidden' the probe within their tanks. I have spray painted other 'gear' like my filter intake and return black and am considering doing that to the silver probe as well. But uncertain if that's a good idea or not. I dislike seeing hardware in the tank.

Thank you for any input.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Odd that I looked in at the right for this post as I,m not very active anymore !
But the question is should one as I can say I have used the Inkbird full time since posting in 2016 and it seems flawless.
I have developed ways to protect the probes on the cheap controllers Frome eBay but the Inkbird seems to actually be Waterproof where others are only water resistant.
Istick probes into something like long soda straws after heating and sealing the end shut. Set it on fire and crimp it out??
The straw makes it stay straight and hides well when run down a hollow stick, etc or glued in a back corner.
 

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Thank you for responding. I believe I will just keep the inkbird I have then.

I will paint it black. I've read of people completely sealing them in silicone (on reef forums to protect from salt) and reporting no degradation in performance so I can't see that a coat or two of paint is going to alter its readings.

Glad you caught the post as I hadn't really determined you weren't that active now as before. I've been reading a lot of 'searchs' of past topics and you certainly have contributed a lot at times. Thanks again for past and present input.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
YUP! My mind and interests have wandered off to other things but I still look in now and then.
Part of the bennie I find of putting the probes in straws, etc. is twofold. One is that I feel better knowing the probe is not wet and that makes it more certain to be safe from water and it also makes it stiffer and easier to hide or place.
On deeper tanks or where I want the probe to go down and across the tank some, where longer length is needed, I can verify that there is no harm in adding more wire, painting, or using much thicker tubing than straws. All the controllers I have used will have a setting to adjust/ calibrate the reading, so if I find I have added enough wire to make the extra resistance throw the reading off, I simply compensate with the calibration. Paint will not be a problem and thicker tubing is okay as it just takes a few minutes for the inside temp to follow any changes in water temp.
The harder part of calibration is finding a glass thermometer to use as a standard! I have about 6-8 and very few of them agree totally, so what temp is "right"?
Part of my thinking is based on lots of repair type work, where I find almost everything does fail at some point, so making it last is step one for me. Part of my everyday plan is looking at how I might make things last/work better and that has led to me retiring way early as I've found I can get paid far more to advice a couple other folks on how they might make things work better for their companies. Lots more fun to set on the computer and give a couple guys advise, rather than actually getting called out to go DO the work!
Technically I took my retirement pay from corporate in 1997!
 

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Nice to have a good amount of 'retirement' time. I am firmly stuck nose to the grindstone for another 20years I think. But I don't mind. My job would be considered boring/menial by many as I work in a plywood plant, but I enjoy it. I have a hard time envisioning ever not working. I had owned my own business for about 15 years before the plywood job so will probably transition to some form of self employment vs true retirement. But heh who knows how I'll feel in 20 years. Maybe I'll just put my feet up. Lol.

Thanks for piping in again. I think after the 2nd prompting I will try out a straw. I mean if you are getting paid to advise people on how to make things last seems I'd be foolish to ignore the free advice. Heck I'll paint it black too. Now that I've envisioned it, it seems it will be a cleaner looking install too then the wire/probe. I think I'll try tucking it right down along a filter intake tube.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
My firm aim is to stay "retired" from the main job and collect a pension for as many years as I worked! Right now, that seems in range as I only need ten more years! I worked for one of the major parts of the Bell telco system and things gradually changed as fiber came online and it worked so well that my job title become a pretty boring job as things became more simple plug and play once the testing was done. As time went on, I became more and more frustrated with the way things were managed. Things like getting called out at three AM to go check alarms on generators at sites where we had no generators! The money was good but getting up and driving 70-80 miles to call and tell them the alarm system was flakey just got too much. Early computer systems were even less reliable than current but management assumed it was totally correct and would rather pay me to go see for sure!
As long as the internet is up, I now have a couple folks where we just shoot things back and forth until we get it worked out and once in a while they get me to go onsite but with the full understanding that I only go and stay as it fits.
Mostly I just give alternate ways to do things when the contractors say it has to be done the hard way.
 
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