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Muffin87

powerhead controller vs programmable wi-fi power strip

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I've never had a powerhead controller (i.e. Hydor smart wave).

 

Are there any advantages to using a powerhead controller rather than a programmable power strip ? (advantages other than having a physical button to turn off the powerheads for feeding time).

 

Why shouldn't I get a programmable wi-fi power strip instead? It can be programmed to turn the powerheads on and off with a timer, isn't that what a powerhead controller does?


It seems to me both devices are capable of the same functions.

 

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In theory yes it does the same thing.  You just have to make sure your powerbeads can withstand the abuse of constantly being turned on and off.  Many cannot and the brushes in the motors will fail causing the power head to start up in reverse sometimes and forward sometimes.  

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A lot of them control flow intensity so you can tune the pump to your liking, reduce flow during feedings or soft start during off on cycles.  Reef crest modes are amazing but only a few pumps have that flow cycle. Some people say off/on functions are bad overtime if used frequently on the pump however I feel like most pumps are built like tanks. 

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Yes of course vortech pumps are the best but they also cost the most.  I will not any pump other than vortechs because I feel they are worth the price.  But I have had a Hydor pump where the brushes went bad and it was running in reverse.  So it may be rare but it certainly does happen.

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Thanks for the explanation, that's really helpful. Basically the controllers don't really turn the powerheads off completely.

 

It seems to me though that the Smartwave controller sold in reef kits with two koralia nano really just turns the pumps on and off. This is what they say on the website:

Quote

Smartwave works with most movement pumps available on the market compatible with quick ON-OFF programs.

Doesn't a quick ON-OFF equate to simply removing the plug?

For most powerheads to be compatible, the controller can only remove the electricity completely, no?

 

Just trying to understand exactly how this stuff works so I know what I'm doing.

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You can't control the intensity or type of movement with the powerbar. 

 

That's the point of powerheads made to be used with a controller 

 

Not all are designed to be in an off and on mode.

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There are basically 2 types of powerheads.  Those that can be only on or only off and those that can speed ramp up and down.  Pumps like the vortechs can speed ramp.  Many koralias can't they are just on or just off.  But not all on and off style pumps are created equal.  Some can handle being turned on and off a hundred times a day while others can't.  

 

Now to answer your question...yes a quick on and off is the same thing as removing the plug.  BUT your pumps have to be able to handle that kind of abuse.  It is hard on many pumps to keep turning the on and off all day long.  Like I said earlier it wears out the brushes and the pumps can start running in reverse.  A pump running in revers can suck fish in and create minced fish.  I am assuming you are using regular on or off style pumps.  Not a kind that can speed ramp.  Therefore they need to be built to withstand the constant on and off that the power strip is going to throw their way.  Look up (or post) those pumps and see what the manufacture says.  Hope this makes more sense.  

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4 hours ago, Bingo1213 said:

not all on and off style pumps are created equal.  Some can handle being turned on and off a hundred times a day while others can't

Thanks a lot!! This is the piece I was missing!

 

I just ordered a Sicce Voyager Nano 1000 powerhead (265 GPH) to couple with a Seachem Tidal Power Filter (250 GPH).

The powerhead was just 27$ and I've read it's the tiniest most silent powerhead available within my price range.

 

l'll just keep the powerhead on all the time, unless another user or Sicce can tell me if it can handle being turned on and off twice a day.

It shouldn't be a problem to have it always on, since I'll have two sources of water flow and the total turnover rate will be 33x (16G tank). Am I correct?

 

I'll invest into a controller later, I've already spent 480$ just for the tank and the equipment (16G tank, heater, two 36W T5 lamps, powerhead, power filter, thermometer, sand, salt mix).

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You should have plenty of turnover depending on what you are looking to keep.  30 may be a little low for some SPS but should be useable none the less.  If/when you do upgrade pumps I highly recommend something like a vortech mp10.  Very controllable and really made to last.  Plus they just look nice.  

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23 minutes ago, Bingo1213 said:

30 may be a little low for some SPS

Oh yeah I know that. I don't think I'll be keeping any SPS for now though, except one montipora danae or montipora capricornis.

Some people have advised me against going for a very strong turnover (40x) to avoid giving my 16G tank a hurricane feel.

26 minutes ago, Bingo1213 said:

vortech mp10

Oh yeah. I'd love one of those. It's just not in my budget at the moment.

The Sicce Voyager Nano 1000 will have to do for now. I've just written to Sicce to discover whether it can be turned on and off without it dismantling itself into my tank!

I'll post here if they get back to me on that. Might be interesting for someone else too.

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AC pumps do not like to be turned on/off quickly and randomly. This wears out the pump and can cause the pump to start up in reverse. DC pumps handle this much better and the ones with integrated controllers simply vary the voltage instead of turning the power on/off at random to get different flow patterns etc. Those sort of power boards are only really good to allow you to turn equipment on/off at different times of the day for example or for maintenance where the power board is hard to get to.

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Sicce got back to me.

 

I told them I intend to use the nano voyager with a programmable power socket, and asked them if the nano voyager series can handle being turned on and off multiple times a day.

 

They told me their pumps can be turned on and off 4 times a day no problem.

 

They also added it’s to recreate tides. Which makes me think maybe they didn’t understand why I asked the question.

 

Not sure how to tell if the nano voyager is an AC or a DC pump.

I suppose it should be AC since it’s directly connected to an AC home electricity systems.

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Yes, the Voyager Nano is an AC pump. As far as i'm aware, the only Sicce powerheads that are DC are the XStream-E range which come with an integrated controller. Sicce would be referring to their Wave Surfer controller that lets you pulse between two pumps, creating a tidal effect. Even their Wave Surfer only has the ability to switch between the two outlets for a maximum of 5 mins per socket which is far more frequent then the 4 times per day they have mentioned to you. This type of control is something the DC pumps like the Jecod/Jebao, Ecotech, Maxspect etc. provide as standard. I don't believe any pump short of the Ecotech ecosystem of products with reeflink have the ability to turn pumps off completely at different times of the day.

 

It all comes down to the type of effect you are wanting to get. If you are wanting to set the pump to pulse on/off multiple times a minute then a DC pump like the Jecod PP (PP4 being the smallest) series or a Vortech are your best option for longevity in a smaller tank. Doing this with a standard AC pump like the voyager nano or lower end Tunze pumps will see them prematurely wear out. If your intention is to have the pump turn on/off a few times a day then a powerboard like the one you posted above will do the trick but you also have to contend with whatever else may be attached turning on/off also if it malfunctions or if it doesn't have control over individual sockets.

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Thanks, very helpful! I think I'm starting to get a grasp of the problem.

 

Well, I want to save money (I've really spent enough money on my tank for now!) and avoid cluttering the area around the tank with stuff I don't really need.

 

So you're saying the Sicce Wave surfer switches between the powerheads by removing electricity, pretty much the same way a programmable power strip would?

 

Basically, with an AC pump, it makes little difference whether I use a controller or a programmable power strip. Is that right?

In essence, AC pumps eventually wear out regardless of the type of device switching between them.

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If you want controllability you would be best to but one that comes with a controller.

 

It may be a little more money than a standard powerhead but it's worth it.

 

You don't have to get an expensive vortech, there are other brands.

 

Jebao

Aqumai

Tunze

Hydor (they have a controller)

Eflux

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Yes, the wave surfer effectively has the same effect as turning the power on/off with a smart powerboard. The advantage of the controller is that you have finer control of how it turns on/off. In all honesty, if it were me, by the time you buy voyager nano and get a smart powerboard or the wave surfer you are better off looking at a Jebao/Jecod PP4 pump which will do everything you want straight out of the box (with the exception of being able to turn the pump off for long periods of time).

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