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Thread: Ideas, Complaints, Frustrations, etc.

  1. #1
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    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.

    Suggestions:



    • 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
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    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
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    Spot on, every bit, especially about the difficulty of cleaning the Wavs.

    Sent from my SM-N915T using Tapatalk

  4. #4
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    Agree here also, hoping nothing goes wrong before the Back-up feature is implemented!!

    Please give the back-up top priority!

  5. #5
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    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
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    I feel ya.
    pH (x) @ (y time) - z, simple yet oh so hard.
    Maybe 1 day they'll add in mathematical programming.

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  7. #7
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    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
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    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
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    Great post! I was wondering, did you ever get a response to your post/did you send directly to Neptune also?

  10. #10
    New User Gonesailing's Avatar
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    Love My Apex Controller

    Well I have to say that so far no mayor complaints with the Apex Classic other than the AFS which when I get the rebuilt one back hopefully it will close all the way as for the noise all the fish hear the noise and all 70 fish come running. I bit the bullet this past Christmas and bought the Apex Classic and it snow balled pretty quickly to buying LDK, ATK, FMK, FMM, DOS, DDR, WXM, ALD and finally the EB8 power strip. Was tired of too many different companies and most software was the pits. Do agree that there should be 3 sizes of Wav’s depending on what you are doing and most of the time I want not to see the wav so smaller the better. So far I can remote monitor everything with ease and the chart comparison feature is great for seeing what’s going on never mind seeing the history is great info on either power consumption or getting a message when something goes outside the parameters set. And controlling the PH is a snap......set where you want it and the Co2 tank comes on and off in that range and with the AquaMedic1000 it’s perfect. As for Notification when an Apex is not reachable for some time well it works now as I had a DHCP problem (leases not renewing) and I got a msg within 5 min of it happening, took a little longer to solve the problem, but about 30min later everything was back up and running on the network. Technology is great, patience unfortunately is not, everything takes time, have to say Neptune is by far the most inclusive system on the market and within a couple of more months...years it will all work out, now if I can only connect one of my security cameras to the apex everything will be great this is where patience comes in (not good at that) and programmers get there acts together and come out with a simple app.
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  11. #11
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    all I have to say is STOP WITH ALL THE UPDATES!!!!!!!!!! just leave it alone !!!!!! it was working fine until all these stupid updates !!!!!!! every update ibhave to take apart my whole system to carry this thing upstairs to where my router is. waste of time!!!!! it's annoying already.

    Sent from my SM-N950U using Tapatalk

  12. #12
    Frequent Contributor zombie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DeLsREEF View Post
    all I have to say is STOP WITH ALL THE UPDATES!!!!!!!!!! just leave it alone !!!!!! it was working fine until all these stupid updates !!!!!!! every update ibhave to take apart my whole system to carry this thing upstairs to where my router is. waste of time!!!!! it's annoying already.

    Sent from my SM-N950U using Tapatalk
    Updates are optional and there is good reason for all of them from bug fixes to new features. If you don't want to go through the update process you don't have to.

    Side note: you can avoid the taking everything apart issue if you just get a really long Ethernet cable.

    You might be an engineer if...You have no life and can prove it mathematically.

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    I know updates will help, but it shouldn't stop my apex from using fusion if I don't update it. my apex works, but my fusion won't connect so I can't control it wireless through my phone or laptop. also, my tank is in basement which is far from the living room, so a cable isn't going to work. they should let people update ONLY if they want to, and don't FORCE them to. simple.

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  14. #14
    Frequent Visitor bigjim's Avatar
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    I've only updated when I needed to for a new device or to get a fix for a problem I was having.

    Sent from my SM-G955U using Tapatalk

  15. #15
    Frequent Contributor zombie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DeLsREEF View Post
    I know updates will help, but it shouldn't stop my apex from using fusion if I don't update it. my apex works, but my fusion won't connect so I can't control it wireless through my phone or laptop. also, my tank is in basement which is far from the living room, so a cable isn't going to work. they should let people update ONLY if they want to, and don't FORCE them to. simple.

    Sent from my SM-N950U using Tapatalk
    Again, they don't force you to update. Your inability to connect to fusion could potentially be due to an incompatibility that was unintentionally caused (bug) with a server update, but more than likely it's a network problem or corrupt config.

    You might be an engineer if...You have no life and can prove it mathematically.

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    I kept getting the message when I hit diagnose. you are running 4.52 and need to update to 4.53

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  17. #17
    Frequent Contributor zombie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DeLsREEF View Post
    I kept getting the message when I hit diagnose. you are running 4.52 and need to update to 4.53

    Sent from my SM-N950U using Tapatalk
    Doesnt mean that's the problem. Just one potential fix within the umbrella of things you can do. They reccomend that in the diagnostics because updating can sometimes fix a bug already on your system causing network issues and if your current firmware somehow got corrupted an update will repair that.

    I would test your WiFi adapter as that is the most likely culprit.

    You might be an engineer if...You have no life and can prove it mathematically.

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    I ended up just updating it and now it's working. I really hope I don't have to keep doing this. it's the 3rd time it happened with an update. good thing u label all my cords and outlets.

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  19. #19
    Frequent Contributor zombie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DeLsREEF View Post
    also, my tank is in basement which is far from the living room, so a cable isn't going to work.

    Sent from my SM-N950U using Tapatalk
    As a permanent installation, obviously no. But to quickly connect in lieu of tearing it apart it definately can. I personally used a 50ft Ethernet cable to connect between my computer upstairs and my tank on the far end of the main floor and then just coil it up and into a drawer when done. Ethernet cables can be ran up to 100 meters.

    You might be an engineer if...You have no life and can prove it mathematically.

  20. #20
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    good point. I'll look into that for the next update.

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  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by zombie View Post
    Side note: you can avoid the taking everything apart issue if you just get a really long Ethernet cable.
    Usually I take the laptop to the APEX and connect ethernet cable directly ... updates are always a breeze!

    All the best,
    Rui

  22. #22
    Master Control Freak RussM's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rui Manuel Gaspar View Post
    Usually I take the laptop to the APEX and connect ethernet cable directly ... updates are always a breeze!
    If you prefer to do it this way, that’s fine. But direct connection to a computer is neither the recommended way nor an easier way to update firmware and web pages for an Apex Classic model, because of the necessity to configure static IP addressing on both the computer and Apex Classic.
    I'm not a Neptune support rep. Please do not send me PMs with technical questions or requesting assistance - use the forums for Apex help. PM me ONLY if the matter is of a private or personal nature. Thanks.

  23. #23
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    they HIGHLY advise against updating wirelessly. even though that would be sooooo much easier

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  24. #24
    Frequent Contributor zombie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DeLsREEF View Post
    they HIGHLY advise against updating wirelessly. even though that would be sooooo much easier

    Sent from my SM-N950U using Tapatalk
    If it's a classic, don't even consider a WiFi update. One lost packet has the potential to brick. It is highly likely that TCP based updating will never happen to the classic.

    Although it's a pricey solution for somebody who already owns a classic, the 2016 model has built in WiFi and can be updated wirelessly even across the world directly from fusion.

    You might be an engineer if...You have no life and can prove it mathematically.

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by RussM View Post
    If you prefer to do it this way, that’s fine. But direct connection to a computer is neither the recommended way nor an easier way to update firmware and web pages for an Apex Classic model, because of the necessity to configure static IP addressing on both the computer and Apex Classic.
    I understand that Russel. Networking wise is always advisable to have fixed or reserved IP addresses where possible. So my apex has a fixed address!

    It’s just a question of fixing the laptop IP which is simple and does not take long!

    Maybe not recommended but at least you have the absolute guaranty that nothing else is interfering with the process!

    I will continue to do so as the connection is immediate and the update always smooth!

    All the best,
    Rui


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