Jump to content
inTank Media Baskets

Inexpensive timer with lots of applications...like a "safety" for the ATO


MrZ2u

Recommended Posts

I read somewhere at some point a fella suggesting putting an ATO on a timer to help mitigate against runaway fills on a stuck switch.  It seemed interesting but I never put it into the rotation...till now.  I hope you find this useful 🙂

These are super inexpensive and so useful in so many ways.  The one I will LINK here is just one physical format option of many and the one I will be talking about today.  Almost all of them are on a standard protocol these days but you basically want to see it say Google, Alexa and/or SmartThings and you will be on the common protocol and you will have SEVERAL app options for setting up the automation.  I use SmartLife but there are a bunch out there and I have used at least 3-4 others at one point in the past.

I have them on a UPS in the closet that shares a wall with the aquarium so all my AC is out of the splash zone which is also a nice space-saving play for under the aquarium.  The power supply that powers all the pumps and wave makers in the tank is ON in this pic, just below it is the ATO which is OFF.  The pumps arent on a schedule, its just nice to be able to just click a button in the app for feeding.

image.thumb.jpeg.3f48b45c05153e2b3ef9851fe26dcb51.jpeg



From here you can see all the different devices I have on the app right now...yes, I have my lava lamp on a timer cause why not 🙂..its $5 to have it automated in my home office while I am in there.

My Inkbird temp controller integrates with this app as does my doser (which is not in use yet)...so that was a nice surprise. The light on my little 5gal tank has no internal timer so this is an easy option to automate that where I couldn't otherwise.  Down at the bottom the icon for "porch lights" looks different because those are actually wall switches...that run on the protocol.  Like I said, lots of formats.  Tons of uses at Christmas! 

image.thumb.jpeg.7bfd261f84143c62a6829d79a1a6c074.jpeg

If we go into the schedule function for the Lagoon ATO you can see how the timer function can be set.  I had my schedule set to turn on for 2 minutes every 6 hours...today I switched it to 1 minute every 4 hours because I felt like a little too much was evaporating each cycle.  You set the on and off time as well as what days.

image.thumb.jpeg.e72a95b191edccb98eda7a51caac2ac6.jpeg






 

  • Like 1
Link to comment

When I was looking for the link to the smart plugs skipped over a lot of the format options...came across this one and this is pretty cool and fits an application I have right now...dirt cheap as of this post at $10 for two!

https://www.amazon.com/KMC-Monitoring-Protector-Compatible-IFTTT,ETL/dp/B087FTZGGY

If you are a power strip fan...

https://www.amazon.com/Smart-Compatible-Google-Protector-Charging/dp/B097NJ8Y4N


...sorry, I am getting out of hand with this 😉

  • Haha 1
Link to comment
mitten_reef

I use a basic programmable timer plug strip to dose my tank 6 times a day....

 

with the newer wi-fi, individually-controlled outlets, there are so many functions that can be offload to the outlet controls, leaving very little need for the expensive controller, IMO.

Link to comment
43 minutes ago, mitten_reef said:

 

with the newer wi-fi, individually-controlled outlets, there are so many functions that can be offload to the outlet controls, leaving very little need for the expensive controller, IMO.

What expensive controller?

Link to comment
mitten_reef
4 hours ago, MrZ2u said:

What expensive controller?

neptune, GHL, etc, unless you're really going all-in with automated Alk/Ca testing  

Link to comment

Gotcha...I thought thats what you meant.  Yeah, these little gems are less than $5 each and thats far from expensive 🙂

 

Link to comment

It is entirely possible that I have a problem here...likely in fact...but I am geeking out a little more than is probably reasonable but hey, you dont have to watch 😉


I ordered the pair of those 3x1 outlets that I linked above.  I really like these and for the price its at right now...dang! 

It shows up in the app as a single device...5gal aquarium in this case

image.jpeg.884cd6de57ceb99a581468e858afd735.jpeg

but then inside its got the three individually controlled outlets.  In this case I only have four things to plug in so this fits well.  The light and ATO are on a timer schedule, the filer is just on a controlled outlet cause it needed to be somewhere, and the heater is on the "always on" outlet which does not show in the app. 


image.jpeg.06ad3a67d022bf584a00c554bbda5b98.jpeg


Has a screw to secure it to the wall outlet so it makes for a tidy install for this application.  

image.jpeg.9f27a06540035e40fa4def66712ac640.jpeg

Link to comment
  • 2 weeks later...
mcarroll

Interesting!

 

Just to point it out, the low-tech/preventative way to deal with this, is to make the ATO reservoir SMALLER than the available volume for more water in the system.  That way even a total ATO dump isn't really a problem.  (It's worth pointing out that any decent ATO should make a total dump VERY VERY unlikely.  If you feel REALLY worried, I'd suggest using a different ATO or at least a different configuration.

 

Also, not sure about the units linked, but it seems like there's only one programmable outlet system like this that doesn't require a cloud setup.....check out Eve's power strip, for example.  None of their gear is cloud connected.  Know of any others that are local-only?

Link to comment
  • 2 weeks later...
On 5/1/2024 at 8:53 AM, mcarroll said:

Interesting!

 

Just to point it out, the low-tech/preventative way to deal with this, is to make the ATO reservoir SMALLER than the available volume for more water in the system.  That way even a total ATO dump isn't really a problem.  (It's worth pointing out that any decent ATO should make a total dump VERY VERY unlikely.  If you feel REALLY worried, I'd suggest using a different ATO or at least a different configuration.

 

Also, not sure about the units linked, but it seems like there's only one programmable outlet system like this that doesn't require a cloud setup.....check out Eve's power strip, for example.  None of their gear is cloud connected.  Know of any others that are local-only?


Oh sure, there are low-tech/no-tech ways to do this but that's not the point of my post.  If you really want to be extreme you could ditch the ATO and do your top-off manually but I go through about 4-5gal a week and keeping up with that is enough manual for me...I can't see myself doing that manually.  I would go back to freshwater before I did that.

Even the best ATOs can fail.  I am not worried about a total dump causing a flood, it won't. I have enough space to accommodate for that.  It is the salinity crash I am worried about.  Even a gallon on a small system like this can cause problems.  A quart or so will move me between .002 to .003...or put it another way, from 1.025 to 1.022...a gallon, even a half gallon, could be a problem.  Don't forget, these are also controlling lights and pumps on schedules so it is not just about an ATO safety measure.

These are loosely cloud-based.  The connection is facilitated through "the cloud" so to speak but when they are NOT on the local/home wifi network, the schedule is retained on the device and runs on its own till it is told to do otherwise.  When you say "Eve's power strip" are referring to the evehome?  If so then they are the same as these operationally, they just make the claim that nothing is stored in the cloud which is probably true but that matters more for their other products like cameras.  I dont see how that could matter for a power outlet because what data would be stored, why, who wants it, and for what purpose?  It really doesn't matter what device we are talking about though...if you can control or interact with it via an app on your phone while being miles away...then the risk of being hacked is there.  There is a saying in the network security circles..."if it touches, it can be touched"...you do your best to insulate but you never become 100% impenetrable.

I think the only truly local, not connected to anything option is the old-fashioned timers with the little tabs you pull up/down...which is if you want to go low tech certainly an inexpensive option.  But even then...chances are you are on a smart meter by now so your whole house can be "touched" 

Link to comment

I purposely chose a 5 litre ATO reservoir for my setup servicing a 50 litre volume of seawater in my aquarium.  My ATO is engineered to recognise the normal amount of top off water dispensed for my system and will cut off if this is exceeded by a reasonable margin. In the event of a total failure of the ATO with the pump powered on, the 50 litres of sea water in my aquarium would dilute by an absolute maximum of 5 litres, this assumes a failure straight after topping up the reservoir and it also assumes the ATO pump can extract every drop from the reservoir. This would be a maximum salinity reduction of 10%. Salinity would fall from 34.5 ppt to 31.05 ppt (sg 1.026 to 1.0234). This might annoy a few corals for a temporary period but I suspect this reduction in salinity would not be the demise of most of my live stock if any. I keep reminding myself that an unexpected reduction in salinity would be way less harmful than an increase. Whilst I do not want an ATO failure and in the unlikelihood of this event occurring, I am not overly concerned that the outcome would be something that will be catastrophic. 🙂 Unlikely, but what if this timer failed to ensure that power is delivered to my ATO whilst I am away from home for a week? I suspect that the resulting increase in salinity would be very bad. Yes the ATO could fail with the pump in the off position but this timer adds another possible point of failure?  🙂

  • Like 1
Link to comment

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Recommended Discussions

×
×
  • Create New...