AquaController JR Aquarium Controller

smartapp_pets

(Chuck Pearce) #1

AquaController

Prerequisites
TCP/IP Serial WebBridge

Files
NodeJS: nodejs/lib/aquaController.js
SmartApp: apps/aquaController.groovy
Device Types: devices/aquaControllerStatus.groovy; devices/aquaControllerSwitch.groovy

Description
Using the web service bridge this application manages your aquarium. With the following features

  • Set alerts if pH, Temp, or Time cross high and low thresholds w/Switch on/off manipulation. Notifications only sent 1nce every 12 hrs
  • Set reminders to feed and/or clean the aquarium
  • Each switch has its own device

Installation


(Jody) #2

I have two tanks at my house. I already control the lights with smart switches. Did you make something custom for monitoring the ph and temp inside your tanks? Care to share the details?


(Chuck Pearce) #3

No, this is done through the AquaController JR plugged into a serial interface, it isn’t a roll-your-own aquarium monitoring system, but I think the day is here that someone could build one quite easily. Maybe via an arduino shield

Here is a picture of what it looks like: http://www.austinreefclub.com/uploads/monthly_04_2012/post-398-0-94812300-1334448295.jpg


#4

The AquaController is an older design from the same company that makes the current Apex. These are high quality aquarium monitoring systems. As someone who used to spend a lot of time on boats before the wheelchair thing, and who had saltwater aquariums for awhile, I appreciate the engineering details that go into these systems. Honestly by the time you tried to case harden a DIY Arduino Shield build to address operation near a salt water aquarium, you might as well buy one of these. (Fresh water isn’t as hard on electrical equipment. And we are literally talking a few drops here.)

Then there’s the whole issue of Galvanic Isolation. Big issue on ocean going boats. Minor issue with salt water aquariums until you start putting metal probes into them. Basically it’s a way of isolating circuits so that when (not if) you get the inevitable corrosion in your underwater metal, you won’t set the rest of your electrical system on fire.

So personally I think a quality purpose designed unit is worth the price. But everybody has their own priorities for these kind of set ups. :blowfish: :tropical_fish: :octopus:


(Chuck Pearce) #5

Yes, I agree, I am a bit peeved that when I emailed their support about additional commands over serial they basically gave me a “Your product is deprecated” response.

Same seems to apply to doorbells and garage doors, by the time you roll your own you are probably better with an all-in-one system.

If I ever upgrade I will probably get this to work with their Apex model too. Just really hard to justify$600 to replace one that is still working.


(Eric) #6

Any idea how hard it would be to get it working with the Apex? I’m thinking about investing in that system and would love to have SmartThings integration.


(Emily Patterson Kane) #7

Someone seriously needs to start making ‘of the shelf’ smart aquarium stuff. There is a huge market and I would be first in line.


(Chuck Pearce) #8

As someone who has kept salt water aquariums for the past 10 years I would have to advise against using a home automation system to control your aquarium, especially one that is run in the cloud. I love SmartThings, but there are very precise measurements and actions taken on those measurements that occur in an aquarium which are better suited to linear hardware. That said I do believe integrating such systems into ST is good, as it can give you a single place to view and control your accessories, it just shouldn’t be your aquarium’s brain.

@ewelin I am not sure how difficult it would be to implement with Apex, I haven’t used the system and am unfamiliar with how they have setup integrations. If they have finally created an API then this would be quite easy. Right now, this application you are looking at ties into the Aquacontroller via the Serial port. If the APEX had similar ability via USB that would also work, you just may need to modify some of the code in terms of the command structure to be sent over the bus. If you have any documentation you can link me to I will review and let you know.


(Emily Patterson Kane) #9

I was thinking more of sensors. I have a bunch of aquariums and an indoor pond of the more relaxed freshwater variety. But I might be a bit more attentive to them with some cool live sensors.


(Eric) #10

Still no api… looks like they have data available via xml output. http://www.neptunesystems.com/downloads/docs/Comprehensive_Reference_Manual.pdf