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Sunday, 25 November 2012

How To: Clean a Hydor Koralia Nano 900

I wont dwell on this one too much as the cleaning process is pretty much the same as > How To: Clean a Juwel Power Head with the following points regarding the Nano 900 itself…

2-Hydor Koralia Nano 900 Cleaning.05

To get at the impeller, you need to gently pull away the front half of the grille. It can be a little stiff, but you should be able to hook your finger nails under the ridge on the casing and tease it away from the rear half…

3-Hydor Koralia Nano 900 Cleaning.44

The impeller is magnetic and lifts out of the motor body…

4-Hydor Koralia Nano 900 Cleaning.04

The steel shaft can also be removed, just pull it gently as it’s seated in a rubber bush at the bottom of the hole…

5-Hydor Koralia Nano 900 Cleaning.52

Use a small bottle brush to clean any muck out of the hole and prevent the impeller jamming. Be cautious about the rubber bush in the bottom as to not damage it.

When you replace the shaft ensure you push it firmly into position, you will feel it squeeze in and touch the bottom.

Clean down all the parts, replace the impeller and the cover making sure you align the key tab on the top, and you are good to go!

My Nano 900 wasn't especially dirty, but you can do the vinegar dip if you feel it is required.

Purigen Bag Results

Today has been the day to carry out a Purigen change and, see how well the media bag i made in a previous post had faired.

I had forgotten all about doing it to be honest, which can only be a good thing, and as it turns out, it has carried out the job perfectly, keeping the Purigen in one place and not degrading while in the water.

I made up a new amount today in a fresh bag. Another good idea is to use a measuring cylinder to work out how much you need.

As far as the Purigen itself goes, my nitrates have remained stable and under 10ppm for months now.

I also threw the old stuff out without thinking and really want to have a go at regenerating it. Ill make sure i do so on the next time round.

1-Seachem Purigen Media Bag.36

Wednesday, 21 November 2012

A couple points of interest.

Two things have caught my attention recently.

One is the proposed App for the GHL Profilux. Will be great to control the system from the comfort of my phone!

Not sure exactly how it will connect, assuming local Wi-Fi control rather than over the Internet monitoring? Would be nice if the latter were part of the parcel though.

I do wonder if it will begin to render the Profilux Touch as obsolete however? The screen shots seen on the GHL support forum show quite a nice and slick interface with more apparent control than the Touch. Obviously not as quick and as convenient to get a quick parameter check as you breeze past the aquarium or have the need to find your phone first to initiate a feed pause etc...

Details on the GHL Support Forum

Either way I'm looking forward to having a go!

The other item is the Eheim reeflexUV steriliser unit.

I originally planned to use an Aqua Medic Helix UV on my reef build, but with the largest reeflexUV only consuming a tiny 11watts, I'm seriously considering the Eheim instead. After all, a portion of my build is dedicated to using the most energy efficient and sustainable equipment and methods.

What look like union joints for easy install and removal, and that bottle clip style holder, mounting should be an easy task, and the aluminium can design looks simple and sophisticated.

I haven't found any UK prices yet, but if you Google the units, a couple of UK based online retailers will reveal they are due to stock them.

eheim reeflex uv

Wednesday, 14 November 2012

Snails, Shrimps and Dosing. A general update.

A quick post noting a few things in the Lido.

Snails

During one of my viewing sessions into the underwater world i noticed an odd shape through the grille of the filter box in the back of the tank. Under closer inspection i find two snails! About 10mm across!

These guys have been living in there for a while now, and the last time i saw them was several weeks ago. Assuming they had perished by means of the filter pump or sadly with shell erosion as my previous snails did. They were only 3-4mm across the breadth of their shell the last time i saw the largest one, but now there are these two beasts roaming around in there feasting on the crud on the floss!

Unfortunately they do both seem to be showing a small amount of the white “pitting” on the tips of their shells. I will keep a close eye on this as long as they don't disappear into thin air again.

It may be worth moving them to the main water body now, seeing as they have outgrown the puffers.

1-Trapdoor Snail.232-Trapdoor Snail.343-Trapdoor Snail.06

Shrimps

I have some concern over my Amano Shrimps activity in the aquarium. They seem to be very reclusive and barely come out from hiding compared to their activity in the past.

Assuming the worst, i have reassured myself by finding a skin shed today and then after some careful looking, found one female and a male hidden down the back of some of the Valis plants. I have only seen them late at night other than this, but normally they would be busy all over the tank.

After some reading i fear it may be the potions i am adding to the aquarium, mainly the Flourish Iron and Flourish Trace mixtures.

OK, everything else in the tank is thriving. Plants are growing better than ever, fish seem very fat, healthy and happy and the tank is 99% algae free.

However the Iron and the Copper in the Flourish Trace may be having an adverse effect on the shrimps, so i have made a decision to cease dosing everything other than Flourish and Flourish Excel for now, as i have been using those for months and the shrimps never missed a beat.

If this is the case and they become active again, i will look at removing them in order to keep the dosing going and make them a place to live where they are not subjected to elements they do not like.

I will report back on this in the next week or so…

Dosing

Talking about dosing, once the Seachem products are almost used up i am considering trying the Estimative Index (EI) method of micro and macro dosing on the tank, as well as moving on to using CO2. I have seen some excellent and inspiring reports on using this form of addition and it would seem to work out substantially cheaper.

After all, anything you buy in a bottle is 99.99% water anyway!

I will be researching this a little more and may look at incorporating it into the potential upgrade i have planned from my tropical setup.

Thursday, 8 November 2012

GHL Profilux - NTP Time Server

After installing my Profilux around a week back now, i have noticed that the systems time has shifted away from the time i originally set using the option to sync with the connected PC’s time.

There is the option to adjust time by up to ±59 per seconds every day in the time&date settings, but as long as your Profilux is connected to the internet, there is a much more swish and technical way of ensuring your system always has the correct time.

First go to the following link and find a server in your country/region.

http://www.pool.ntp.org/en/

For the UK as an example, there will be several servers at the top of the screen, looking something like this…

server 0.uk.pool.ntp.org
server 1.uk.pool.ntp.org
server 2.uk.pool.ntp.org
server 3.uk.pool.ntp.org

Next go to the System settings and then click the LAN button inside ProfiluxControl.

GHL Timeserver

Under the NTP (Timeserver) settings, copy and paste one of those server names into the “Domain” box.

Note you need to copy the number and then everything after it, as shown below…

GHL Timeserver-001

Adjust the Timezone if required, although if you are using an NTP from your home country you shouldn't need to.

Set the Update Interval to whatever you feel is necessary. For me 60minutes (1hour) is sufficient. This is how often the Profilux will check itself against the Timeserver.

Then click Save!

TIP! Set the Update Interval to 1minute initially, click Save then come back at least a minute later, you should see the IP address for the server has been evaluated in the box marked “Current NTP-Server-IP” this means the update is working. You can now set the longer interval.

On checking my Profilux after it had carried out its first update it had then caught back up with the original PC time, which uses the usual Windows Internet time sync.

Sunday, 4 November 2012

Lost a weekend to GHL

Yesterday i received the starter kit for GHL Profilux system i will be installing to get myself off the ground and start to learn the system.

From around 9am yesterday i have literally not stopped playing and tweaking the system!

I went for the 3.1N eX Ultimate kit, that comes with several probes, the Profilux Touch and a PAB PowerBar, this made a decent saving with a lot of the required bits needed to get going.

GHL Porfilux

GHL Porfilux Ultimate Kit

GHL Porfilux Touch

GHL Porfilux PAB PowerBar

At first i was excited enough to just have the main unit itself connected to the network and getting a feel for the PC application, but went a step too far when deciding to update the firmware to the latest version.

Against an advisory message not to update via LAN or USB, i went ahead and promptly turned the thing into a paperweight!

Luckily i have an ancient laptop of a 13 year vintage that still has a proper hardware serial port. I had chucked it in the shed to make room elsewhere in the house and eventually found it buried under more junk, and full of moisture.

I already knew both the main and CMOS batteries were shot so just took a chance with it and punched the on button. Thankfully it sprung into life, muddled through the complaining POST screen about the battery death and booted happily and very quickly into Windows!

This was with moisture being blown out of the heat sinks! I am so glad i did not bin this laptop years ago as it’s saved my backside several times when nion redundant technology is required for some obscure reason.

Advent Laptop

So with the reflashed and resorted Profilux to the latest firmware using the serial connection, low and behold it worked perfect, although it would be nice if GHL could improve the stability of more modern connections, but i would hazard a guess that its down to the fact its built on a Fujitsu MB91F467D microcontroller. Quite a sophisticated item considering the competition…

With the system back up and working again, i started hooking it up to my Lido 120 freshwater tank to apply it into a real environment.

It takes a bit of learning to understand the software as it’s not always immediately obvious where things are. So for the computer un-savvy it could be a little bit daunting.

For starters, i wanted to monitor and control the temperature.

With the GHL you first set up your sensor with the nominal temperature, which is easy enough, but as you can see from the following image, there are a whole host of additional features for temperature alone.

A hysteresis setting will set the switching points for any heating or cooling equipment, cooling difference and the 1/10v deviation will control how aggressive any cooling system attached will behave.

Nocturnal change allows you to set a cooler temperature at night, as if to simulate the sun being off a body of water and allowed to cool.

Alarms are available should anything go wrong,  and the sensors calibration options can also be found.

The operation mode, offers some expansion to how the equipment will react, with the twoposition shown setting literally being just “on and off” as per demand. Another option called “pulse” means a heater would switch on and off for a length of time until the nominal temperature is achieved. This allows you to control the rate of change, so if you had a very powerful heater, you can have it cycle to heat the water more gently and not shock the livestock with drastic changes.

1-GHL Profilux Temperature Settings

With the sensor setup as you require, you now assign it to a socket that has a heater connected…

1-GHL Profilux Socket Setting

In my case the heater is Connected to socket #4, so it has the “Temperature 1” sensor and the fact that its a heater associated with it.

This means that when the temperature dips below the half hysteresis of the nominal temperature, socket #4 will be powered up, and thus the heater will come on.

Other items can also be seen in that list such as socket #1 which are for the main lights. In that case a timer is set for the lighting period and the socket is linked to the Timer.

In a more simple situation socket #2 is “Always On” as that is the filter pump.

So i reiterate, i wouldn't say the GHL is a straight forward system to operate, it does help to have some understanding of logical systems, but the capability it offers as a result is really quite something!

I got my PowerBar connected up and after registering it on the Profilux main unit, it sprung into life…

GHL Porfilux PAB PowerBar LEDs

The temperature probe is also in a temporary location at the moment…

GHL Porfilux Temp Sensor

Holds fine, but looks ugly as it dangles in open water!

GHL Porfilux Temp Sensor

It’s sufficient for the moment though while i get chance to install the system in a neat and tidy manner.

The Profilux Touch was also added to the whole system…

GHL Porfilux Touch

While this offers a great alternative to the small dot matrix screen on the main Profilux unit, i really hope GHL realise its obvious potential as it feels a bit stunted at the moment.

The info on the screen, as said, look great. The ability to control sockets with a manual override is also another neat touch, as are the graphs for viewing measurement data at a glance.

I also set up a Maintenance Pause for doing water changes on the Lido. This simply powers down the filter pump, heater and power head for a set period of time at the touch of a button. When the timer counts to zero the affected sockets and equipment will turn back on. Alternatively you can press the button again if you finish before the timer completes.

Might seem a little over the top… and i did use to mess about pulling plugs in and out of extension leads, and did occasionally forget to put them back in! So the quick touch of a button on this really is a great little trick.

It’s the same as when i first bought a car with keyless drive and entry, thinking it would be an expensive gimmick, but its something i just wouldn't do without now! It makes something clunky into an effortless and fluid task.

Would be nice to see more functions come to the Touch though, the ability to customise the icon names and layout would be very welcome as would the ability to download the measurement data, as the Touch holds substantially more than the Profilux memory. Thankfully it does look like GHL have plenty of plans for the Touch after reading threads on their support forum.

I also got myself a very simple webpage up and running using the built in webserver…

GHL Webserver Example

It’s definitely a start and can be built on using HTML coding. I would also like to get it so i can view it over the internet, which i will work on in the coming weeks. I also need to work out how to get the email system working too, which i have tried so far with no luck.

I'm sure it will be keeping me busy for a while to come, and cannot wait to get it fully built up and helping to run the system.

Its worth a mention that i got my GHL kit from H2O Aquatics and received some excellent advice and customer service when purchasing.

Friday, 2 November 2012

RO Machine - Part 5

Back to the test gear mainly for today. A couple of bottles of calibration solution arrived in the post after my dubious home brew solution results.

1-HM Digital 342ppm Calibration Solution.22

First of all i felt it would be wise to acclimatise all the equipment and solutions to the same temperature. Not an easy feat in the home domain!

Thankfully the airing cupboard with the central heating thermostat locked inside at a temperature of 25deg, worked out quite nicely!

2-RO Machine.45

I gave everything a good 4 hours to settle to temperature.

First up the TDS-4TM…

4-HM Digital TDS-4TM.40

Passed pretty much on the money!

Next the PS-202…

7-HM Digital PS-202 TDS Controller.29

Came in a little shy of 342ppm, and seeing as the calibration solution is static and not flowing, as per the instructions 3% should be added to compensate, so i was aiming for 352ppm…

A quick tweak of the adjustment pot and it was good to go…

8-HM Digital PS-202 TDS Controller.32

The numbers do fluctuate a small amount and the adjustment is quite sensitive, but I'm happy this is close enough.

Next, the TDSmeter2 DM-2 that i have been relying on for sometime and showed very odd results on my home made solution…

5-HM Digital TDSMeter2.14

6-HM Digital TDSMeter2.28

Both sensors were over a hundred out…

This verified yesterdays results but has me baffled as to why it is so high? When running the RO Unit its never shown anything so errant and has been capable of showing the water at 0ppm which is indeed backed up by the two other measuring instruments.

I had noticed the digits on the screen were getting a little dim, so thought the battery power may be lacking and affecting the results.

I switched them out and their was no change at all.

So i adjusted each channel to the (3% above) 342ppm calibration solution…

9-HM Digital TDSMeter2.56

Then tested the probes in both some RO and straight from the tap water and it showed spot on results of 0 and ~270ppm respectively… very odd!

Although I'm now happy all my devices are on a level playing field with what they are telling me!

I have set a schedule in my 2Do App to check these again on a 6 month interval for the future.

On another note, a bit more on electronics, got a little more done with the button/switch interface board, just needed some header pins, so i nipped out to Maplin’s to pick some up after doing an online stock check, only to get there and they couldn’t find them… bugger! Will just have to order some online.

3-RO Machine.49

Thursday, 1 November 2012

Radion XR30W G2

Just caught the news on EcoTech tweaking the Radions with new LEDs and TIR lenses as standard.

Great that they are continuing to develop the fixture with upgrade paths for older units. Still waiting on the Pro upgrade though, not heard much about that since it was mentioned.

http://ecotechmarine.com/products/radion/radion-xr30w/

Better detail at the Reef Builders website…

http://reefbuilders.com/2012/11/01/g2-radion-xte/

RO Machine - Part 4

With the measurement parts on hold at the moment, waiting for some parts and calibration solutions to arrive. I turned my attention to the electronics side of the system.

I have had the Arduino board, LCD and a host of components on my breadboard for a while now, and its time they were built into something a little more practical.

01-Ro Machine.03

I did mention using the project box as shown to store the solenoids inside, but decided to purpose it back to being the main controller box, as it was originally intended.

First of all i marked out a hole for the screen and a series of push switches that will be used to control the system.

02-Ro Machine.16

Then set about roughing out the bulk of the material, thankfully the plastic is generously thick on this project box so doesn't vibrate and crack when up against the multi tool…

03-Ro Machine.07

Test fitting took several  attempts but i got there in the end. It wont win any beauty competitions but i will look at sourcing a bezel to at least tart up the way the LCD sits on the box…

04-Ro Machine.29

With a snug fit, nothing more than a couple of layers of thick double sided tape were required to hold it in place…

05-Ro Machine.20

With the buttons installed, a bit wobbly, but as long as they work…

06-Ro Machine.03-001

Next to get the soldering iron heated up and start making some connections…

07-Ro Machine.27

An hour or so later i had all 6 switches ready with heat shrink and header connectors…

09-Ro Machine.39

The next stage was to do a bit of recon on how everything was to fit together in the box. I have various relay boards, and have decided on two banks of 8 to give plenty of option and control with some possibility of future expansion. These also fit nicely into the width of the box, rather than larger and more bulky 16 relay boards.

There is also plenty of provision for a large strip board in the centre for additional circuits. This is originally where the buttons would be connected to. But after a bit of thought i came to the conclusion that it could be tricky to open and close the box and potentially end up needing to squash lengths of wire into the case as the two halves are closed up.

10-Ro Machine.50

The Arduino itself will be mounted on the underside of the “lid” or the same half that the LCD and buttons are mounted, due to its small form factor it will fit neatly out of the way and not require positioning in the midst of everything.

With the decided all the button wiring would also need to be in that top section, so i cut a section of strip board to make and interface board that will then connect with the Arduino. As a result all the button wiring will be confined into the one half, hopefully making assembly a little easier.

11-Ro Machine.57

I made a brief start on the interface board before it suddenly started to get very cold working in the garage. Not good when you need dexterity holding a soldering iron!

I also have a bunch of header connectors and pre crimped wires on the way to make up some swish looking leads.