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Thread: Aquaticlife timer replacement

  1. #1
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    Aquaticlife timer replacement

    I have an aquaticlife fixture and the timer is flakey. I would like to take the timer out and have the apex control the lighting. The timer takes a 3.6vdc signal from the fixtures transformer then sends the signal out to each ballast depending on which switch is activated (or by the internal timer). I know which wire is the power and which color would turn on which set of ballast or the moon lights.

    What I donít know is how I can get control signals out of the Apex to achieve my goal. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

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    The Aquasurf puts out a zero to 10 volt signial, as does it's apex equilivant the WMX module I believe. If that fails AquaticLife Welles the timers separately at reasonable cost.
    What model AquaticLife fixture are you trying to control?

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    Quote Originally Posted by laverda View Post
    The Aquasurf puts out a zero to 10 volt signial, as does it's apex equilivant the WMX module I believe.
    The apex equivalent is a VDM or the built in varspd ports on an apex classic or apex 2016 head unit. The WXM is for integration with vortechs and radions.

    With that said, it may not be as simple as just using a VDM. You will need to do a bit more digging such as the current draw of the 3.6V signals to make sure they won't blow the varspd ports. If the current is low enough then you will need to double check the varspd ports individually to "calibrate" them for the device. The percentages are usually pretty darn close but 3.3V or 3.6V devices are often incredibly sensitive to over/under voltage so you want to get it within 5% if at all possible. It might also be worth considering adding a voltage divider or 10V to 3.3V regulator or optical couplers that trigger the built in power supply of the light or seperate 3.6V supply so you don't blow the light or varspd ports in the possible event that 10V is ever delivered.

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    I was thinking of using the VDM output. I measured the current across the signal wire and output to the running light and measured 970 micro amps. If I use the VDM to provide the 3.6vdc I don’t know if the current requirement will be different or even if that will work to turn the light on.

    Ideally I would like to provide the 3.6vdc signal from the transformer from the light then just switch each set of lights or the fans by providing this as a signal. I was thinking a BOB might work too.

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    Quote Originally Posted by 31scarab View Post
    I was thinking of using the VDM output. I measured the current across the signal wire and output to the running light and measured 970 micro amps. If I use the VDM to provide the 3.6vdc I donít know if the current requirement will be different or even if that will work to turn the light on.

    Ideally I would like to provide the 3.6vdc signal from the transformer from the light then just switch each set of lights or the fans by providing this as a signal. I was thinking a BOB might work too.
    The current is fine for the VDM. That has a limit of 20mA combined for all 4 ports so 1mA from each signal is fine, though it does run a risk if it ever inadvertently sends 10V.

    A BOB will not help you as it is input only and cannot be used for outputs. You can get dry contact outputs by wiring the VDM outputs to 10V optocouplers and use the output of those as your dry contacts. These could be wired in parallell with your switches so that they still remain functional as overrides.

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    I am not familiar with octocouplers, but here is wher I stand today. I did ID the VDM ports and can vary the voltage and can produce 3.7vdc but I did not try to signal my lights for fear of damaging the apex. I want to test it by adding a 3-5 mA fuse but havenít found one yet. I was also thinking of using one of these https://www.amazon.com/Elegoo-Channe...XM52KXT90J1AHV
    and an external 5vdc power supply for the input to trigger the relays but have the same fear of killing my apex without a fuse. Iíd just use the VDM to trigger the relays and use the 3.6vdc from the fixture as the common on the relays then each output wire would be run to each of the ballasts triggering the lights.

    Thank you guys for your support.

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    An optocoupler works like a relay but instead of using magnetism to physically move a contact it uses light so it doesn't draw as much current.

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    I did some reading on octocouplers and I’m no electrical engineer but I know enough to get me in trouble. I ordered these https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...?ie=UTF8&psc=1 and some small breadboards. The circuit seems simple if I can use the VDM ports to be the signal and then just use the 3.6vdc signal on the inlet leg of each of the of the separate octocoupler outlets and each trigger output to the appropriate light signal to the ballast, led or fan.

    The spec’s on the octocouplers from the manufacture look like they can handle everything, what I don’t want to do is burn up the VDM outputs in my apex.

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    I would actually use something prebuilt more along the lines of this so it's impossible to screw up. Individual components will take analysis that would be incredibly difficult for someone not trained in engineering.

    https://www.ebay.com/i/172825552342

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    One thing to note...if you can't find a 10V input version of what I linked you can use the 5V one at 10V by removing the input resistors and replacing them with ones exactly double the value.

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    Isn’t that what I posted in post #6? The eBay link is for a qty of 10. It seems the input requirement is 50-60mA which would be more than the apex can provide?

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    Quote Originally Posted by 31scarab View Post
    Isnít that what I posted in post #6? The eBay link is for a qty of 10. It seems the input requirement is 50-60m which would be more than the apex can provide?
    Shouldn't be that much. I recall someone using an almost identical board in the past and is was like 5mA per port and the apex can handle 20 with zero risk. I did see a question about total current of 200mA in the QA but that is from VCC which is for the electromechanicals that are triggered from the optocouplers using a seperate source.

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

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