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Thread: Ideas, Complaints, Frustrations, etc.

  1. #1
    NSI Member
    Join Date
    Aug 2015
    Philadelphia, PA

    Ideas, Complaints, Frustrations, etc.

    Hey all -

    Just wanted to share some ideas and maybe vent a little bit. This will not be a replacement for the various "what do you want next" threads around the forums but more rather to express some concerns over what I feel should already exist within the ecosystem or improvements to existing products.

    TL;DR -

    I am a long-standing and loyal customer but I am a bit frustrated at the moment and need to vent.

    I'm on the edge of investing in TWO more DOS units, another DDR and anxiously awaiting the COR and FFM - at the same time, I'm so frustrated I have been taking a closer look at competing solutions or even putting together my own arduino or RPi type of system. The support, price, and quality of components has been getting increasingly frustrating.

    Just a quick bit of background, I am a veteran reefer and I have been using the Apex products for a pretty good while. I have a bachelors degree computer engineering and an MBA so I understand how this stuff works better than the average person. I also understand the business side and that the company needs to make some money. I am also not trying to bash Neptune at all. I like the company so much I even applied for a job there. I want Neptune to be the premier aquarium controller in an ever growing competitive landscape.

    My current investment in Neptune:

    Apex Gold System - $800
    VDM Module - $100
    Breakout Box (x2) - $80
    DOS - $300
    DDR - $200
    Apex 2016 - $800
    WAV Kit - $500
    AFS - $100
    PMK - $300
    Extra Temperature Probe - $25
    Misc. additional cables - $60

    That's over $3000, and im considering TWO more DOS, another DDR, the COR and maybe the FMM. Many of us customers have a small forune wrapped up in these products.

    As a very frustrated, yet loyal customer - I have some thoughts, ideas, issues, etc.

    Support Structure

    First and foremost I, like many others, have thousands of dollars wrapped up in my aquarium livestock, and thousands more wrapped up in Neptune's products. I automate my tank not only for convenience, but for above all else, stability. I realize that problems are going to happen but in my opinion Neptune's support has been less than stellar considering what is at stake. I don't expect great support from Jebao, I don't expect Bubble Magus to offer 24/7 support on protein skimmers, but the Apex is literally the life support system for my aquarium. I have invested in nearly every product Neptune has put out and I am now seriously considering moving away from the DOS, the WAV, and ultimately the COR. The system has not proven quite reliable enough to be so integrated around one single point of failure. I wouldn't mind paying for Apex Fusion, or even paying a premium for priority support/extended warranty. I just need better customer service, period.

    In my opinion, the Apex 2016 release and the number of issues us early adopters have had to deal with has been unacceptable. I have replaced my 2016 Apex twice. That means I have had FOUR controllers in the past ~6 months. Each time my tank was at risk for at least 48 hours, the stability was thrown all out of whack. My WAV's and DOS don't work, I have to scramble to plug in other critical parts, and I had to spend hours re-programming everything via copy/paste due to the lack of a backup feature. I also have to re-calibrate all of my probes, etc. On top of that, I have $300 tied up for a few weeks as if I am not going to return my broken and useless base unit. One time

    The RMA process is far too slow, and having to put down a deposit to get expedited service is slightly insulting.

    I understand that bugs happen, but usually when so many issues happen the company does a bit more to keep their customers happy. Especially when they are being caused a pretty great inconvenience. I have never been offered anything, not so much as a dicount coupon or a Neptune sticker for my loyalty and my trouble.


    • Offer more, faster support options. 9-5 support when you are always required to have local/physical access to your Apex is somewhat unacceptable. Response times can be a bit long also.
    • The RMA process on mission critical components can involve taking a credit card number you could charge in the event someone did not return their faulty unit, but retaining a deposit from a customer is not exactly fair, especially when all of the issues with the Apex 2016 have been due to bugs or other non-customer fault.
    • Implement a backup/restore utility immediately.
    • Update the official documentation.

    Hardware and Peripherals

    Issues with existing hardware

    • The circuitry on the DDR where the optical switches connect outward to the DOS should be waterproof. It is not even remotely sealed and getting a splash of liquid in that region is all but inevitable.
    • The DDR is far too expensive for what it is. Since my optical switches never worked reliably and I didn't feel like dealing with the RMA process I only use it for the little Fusion tile that keeps track of my liquid levels. There is no reason Neptune can't provide the same tile for a container of arbitrary size given that the DOS is what tracks consumption. Forcing your customers into using a grossly overpriced container that isn't even all that well build is really crappy.
    • The WAV cables should have a connection point somewhere within a few feed of the powerhead. Having to undo all of my cabling to clean them is annoying and this could be easily solved with a waterproof connection somewhere.
    • The cables are way too expensive.
    • The AFS is pretty crappy. The build quality is not really up to snuff. It is difficult to reload without making a mess. No cap for the USB ports leads to corrosion. Mounting options are limited. It should be smaller. It is extremely noisy.

    Hardware I think should be on the short-term roadmap
    • An updated or alternate VDM with PWM support, preferably 4096 adjustment points. Many people use DIY LED these days and PWM dimming is the standard.
    • Different size WAV's - The underlying technology is done, make them with different size motors.
    • Some sort of improved camera support. The existing support for camera's is pretty crap.
    • Some sort of module that can take input signals of some sort to allow some of us who want to, to add additional sensors. For example could have a breakout box sort of thing that reads resistance or input voltage.
    • A module with just a bunch of outputs on it would be nice. Having to buy expensive 832's or 1Link modules when all you want is some more 24v outputs sucks. 5v or 12v output options would also be nice.

    Firmware and Features
    • A backup / restore feature is critical. This could be local like the old one was, or integrated with Fusion. It has to be something that can be scheduled and/or automated.
    • Manual probe calibration values. The conductivity probe is still a huge pain in the *** to get it to be relaible and accurate and being able to manually tweak the offset would be nice.
    • Some enhancements to the programming language would be nice, more user-friendly handling of delays and latched virtual outlets would be pretty nice.
    • Using only the lunar intensity and not time from the lunar cycle would be cool.
    • Make the whole thing a bit more open. I'm not talking open source, but just some API's and more ways for hacker types to get creative.
    • The programming options for the DOS should be better. For example, you should be able to specify an interval. If I want to dose 40ml in a 24 hour period, but I only want to do it every hour, I shouldnt have to set up 24 separate points. This would make it much easier to offset doses of different elements.

    Apex Fusion Related

    • Notification when an Apex is not reachable for some time. I have seen this talked about or even promised and I do not understand how sharing of WAV profiles has come out but this fundamental feature has not.
    • Some sort of API access, be it read-only or otherwise.
    • Some varspd outlets show as TBL and others show the current active output value - this is likely a bug but it is an annoying inconsistency.
    • Cloud based backup

  2. #2
    Frequent Visitor bigjim's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2014
    Carpentersville, Il
    9-5 support when you are always required to have local/physical access to your Apex is somewhat unacceptable.
    I agree with everything the OP said except for this statement. It is not somewhat unacceptable, it is TOTALLY unacceptable! I am at work Monday to Friday during these hours. It is only by going to work I can afford this hobby. I can not just stay home hopping I will be able to get someone from support to help me fix my system. If I get home from work in the evening and discover a problem with my Apex system I want to resolve it then, not the next day. I don't want to have to call my boss and beg for an unscheduled day off to fix a problem with my aquarium because of Neptune's limited support hours.

  3. #3
    Frequent Visitor
    Join Date
    Oct 2014
    South Florida
    Spot on, every bit, especially about the difficulty of cleaning the Wavs.

    Sent from my SM-N915T using Tapatalk

  4. #4
    Regular Vistor
    Join Date
    Oct 2016
    Agree here also, hoping nothing goes wrong before the Back-up feature is implemented!!

    Please give the back-up top priority!

  5. #5
    Regular Vistor
    Join Date
    Apr 2016
    I wanted to control my pH so that, regardless of what the pH is right before lights on, the Apex would control co2 injection so that a full pH point drop was achieved. If it was 7.0, then set the desired level for 6.0 for the upcoming photoperiod, but if it was 6.8 or 7.2 then make it automatically control it to 5.8 or 6.2, respectively, for the next day. So on and so fourth, that way I ALWAYS have a full pH drop during my photoperiod, REGARDLESS of what it was just prior to photoperiod. I could manually change it EVERY DAY assuming I am free to do so right before the photoperiod, but to be honest I originally got an Apex just for a co2 controller.....and snowballed from there with module after module...

    I was told this was impossible and couldn't be done. It seems like an easy thing their programmers could give us an option to do (then again what do I know, I know nothing about writing computer programming.)

  6. #6
    Frequent Visitor
    Join Date
    Oct 2014
    South Florida
    I feel ya.
    pH (x) @ (y time) - z, simple yet oh so hard.
    Maybe 1 day they'll add in mathematical programming.

    Sent from my SM-N915T using Tapatalk

  7. #7
    Regular Vistor
    Join Date
    Nov 2015
    new zealand
    I also agree on all points above.

    And yea, the DOS and DDR must have gold plated wiring or something, way over priced!

    Also when ever you read the Camera & Media Integration with APEX Fusion forum, its the same thing over and over again. Can Neptune give us a list of supported devices, come on Neptune complete your eco system!

  8. #8
    New User
    Join Date
    Jan 2016
    PST - Bellingham, WA
    Agreed on all points above, I would also say EMPOWER YOUR DEALERS, let them help you, allow them to do swaps. My tank was just KILLED by my energy bar (and it killed my apex classic too, oh and it may have killed the replacement that was smoking when I plugged in the aquabus). Set up a "CRITICALITY" if someone says the unit is dead and my tank is dying, or is dead prioritize. ApexFusion is a joke you can't backup your settings or clone a unit, and it doesn't alert you anymore when you lose contact. It did at one point if I can remember. not one last dying word as it destroys everything.

  9. #9
    Frequent Visitor
    Join Date
    Jun 2015
    Great post! I was wondering, did you ever get a response to your post/did you send directly to Neptune also?



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