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Old 07-24-2018, 12:27 AM
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Default Biopod help, anyone good with electronics?

I've posted before about my lemony Biopod Aqua.

To sum up the plot thusfar, I have major buyer's remorse but Biopod won't refund my $ or replace the damn thing. They sing me sad songs, and will only send me parts, so I'm stuck with it. And they've already sent me parts 3 times.

The problem is, they AREN'T sending me parts any longer... They gave me a 2 week ETA over 2 months ago, and then stopped responding to emails completely. And the part in question is important- the circuit board is fried (no doubt related to one of the leaking/flooding incidents).

So the Biopod isn't working (no lights, no nothing) and although I have some lights shining in from the side, the hood makes it impossible to light well. I'm basically resigning myself to the fact that they will never send me anything, and the unit is toast.

What I'm wondering is a) has anyone else had similar issues? and b) does anyone have clever ideas for at least getting power to the lights? At this point I'm fine giving up on the dawn/dusk cycles, and using my own timer. I'll hand mist the goddamn thing. I really would just like to get the lights on so the plants don't die, and I can get some frogs.

Help anyone?
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Old 07-24-2018, 12:50 AM
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Default Re: Biopod help, anyone good with electronics?

Oooh, so within minutes of posting this I got a facebook message reply from Biopod!

The apologized for the delay in communications and in sending out my plant pack, assured me it was a shipping interruption with the plant supplier, and told me that the plants should be headed my way shortly. Hooray!

Except.... that wasn't the issue. In fact, they already told me that the plant pack certificate I got in my shipment was an error and I wouldn't ever be getting any plants.

So I messaged them back and explained the issue again. We'll see what happens. In the meantime, not holding my breath (about parts OR plants) and still enthusiastically accepting suggestions for a work-around.
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Old 07-24-2018, 01:39 AM
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Default Re: Biopod help, anyone good with electronics?

Sorry. I won't be any use helping with the electronics.

I think they might've blocked me on facebook. My messages don't go through anymore. I'm curious to find out if they actually ever send you any parts or just keep feeding excuses.

EDIT: I've had issues with the sensor on mine but nothing as far as a whole breakdown. I think there might be a way to remove the whole silver bit from the back and top? I'm not sure how though
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Old 07-24-2018, 05:23 AM
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Default Re: Biopod help, anyone good with electronics?

I had problems with mine too, they sent me a new board plus other parts that needed fixed.
I am still waiting on my 2nd aqua from them, for the backer I did with them. I had been trying to contact them about it for over 6 weeks, finally they answered said the are waiting on the packing to get redone, well they have been saying that for over 3 months now.
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Old 07-24-2018, 04:29 PM
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Default Re: Biopod help, anyone good with electronics?

I dont have a Biopod, but in theory it should be somewhat easy to isolate the wires that power the lights and then just splice in an external power. They are LEDs so if you can access the top part you should see one pair or wires running the LED "board" that you can splice into or solder the old ones off and solder in a new power supply.
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Old 07-24-2018, 10:52 PM
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Default Re: Biopod help, anyone good with electronics?

Wow, I've been thinking about what I would do if my Grand craps out.

For those of you replacing boards, do you have to have access to the bottom of the stand? Can you pull the equipment box out without moving the tank?

Do you have the manual that basically tells you how to build the biopod with all the parts they provide? That gives some detail.

Using that manual I would take the back of the tank off and access the wire harness going to the LED lights. Lets keep it simple at first and just try to control the regular LEDS. We would need to find which wires on the connector to provide voltage to. IIRC you can see some writing on the LED board but since my unit is working I don't want to take the light cover off.

If you take the light panel off and can see if the connectors say what voltage goes where you could get a simple power supply and manually controls the lights.

Its the heating cable, the Vent heating cable, and the RTD cable I would like to know part numbers for. If I had those I could get a controller for them.

The Biopod is really nice, if it works continuously for 10 years... Lets keep this thread going.
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Old 07-24-2018, 11:48 PM
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Default Re: Biopod help, anyone good with electronics?

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Originally Posted by jeffkruse View Post
For those of you replacing boards, do you have to have access to the bottom of the stand? Can you pull the equipment box out without moving the tank?

Do you have the manual that basically tells you how to build the biopod with all the parts they provide? That gives some detail.
In answer to the first, yes. With the aqua model, you can slide out the equipment box from the back. You do have to drain all of the water, which is a PITA, but you can indeed get to the parts. So I have that going for me.

But, um, a manual? YOU HAVE A MANUAL?!! This is a thing that exists? Because no. No I do not have one, nor did I ever get one. I had to assemble all of the included hardscape stuff without one, as well as replace all of the previous parts without one. They do have a few videos online and those were helpful. But no manual. And no wiring diagram. I can probably muddle through this without one but it sure would be nice...

I did actually get someone from Biopod to chat with me for a few minutes on facebook last night. They confirmed that the part is still on backorder, asked a few questions "to make sure they were sending the right things" and then, when I asked for an estimate on when I could expect to see the parts, ghosted. Sooo... yeah. Looks like I'll be trying to do this myself.

It's a shame, because there were supposed to be so many good features to this thing, and I really would love to get back to the point where the misting system and the heat and the lights all worked....
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Old 07-25-2018, 06:59 AM
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Default Re: Biopod help, anyone good with electronics?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Auri View Post
I've posted before about my lemony Biopod Aqua.

To sum up the plot thusfar, I have major buyer's remorse but Biopod won't refund my $ or replace the damn thing. They sing me sad songs, and will only send me parts, so I'm stuck with it. And they've already sent me parts 3 times.

The problem is, they AREN'T sending me parts any longer... They gave me a 2 week ETA over 2 months ago, and then stopped responding to emails completely. And the part in question is important- the circuit board is fried (no doubt related to one of the leaking/flooding incidents).

So the Biopod isn't working (no lights, no nothing) and although I have some lights shining in from the side, the hood makes it impossible to light well. I'm basically resigning myself to the fact that they will never send me anything, and the unit is toast.

What I'm wondering is a) has anyone else had similar issues? and b) does anyone have clever ideas for at least getting power to the lights? At this point I'm fine giving up on the dawn/dusk cycles, and using my own timer. I'll hand mist the goddamn thing. I really would just like to get the lights on so the plants don't die, and I can get some frogs.

Help anyone?
can you take some pictures of the electronics? especially the cables that run away from the light? and maybe figure out what the voltage / watts are on the lamp so we might be able to hook it up to an alternative power source

probably a picture from the mainboard would help as well but this will probably not be easy to hack without someone getting hands on with one of the things. but only pictures can tell
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Old 07-25-2018, 02:33 PM
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Default Re: Biopod help, anyone good with electronics?

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In answer to the first, yes. With the aqua model, you can slide out the equipment box from the back. You do have to drain all of the water, which is a PITA, but you can indeed get to the parts. So I have that going for me.

But, um, a manual? YOU HAVE A MANUAL?!! This is a thing that exists? Because no. No I do not have one, nor did I ever get one. I had to assemble all of the included hardscape stuff without one, as well as replace all of the previous parts without one. They do have a few videos online and those were helpful. But no manual. And no wiring diagram. I can probably muddle through this without one but it sure would be nice...

I did actually get someone from Biopod to chat with me for a few minutes on facebook last night. They confirmed that the part is still on backorder, asked a few questions "to make sure they were sending the right things" and then, when I asked for an estimate on when I could expect to see the parts, ghosted. Sooo... yeah. Looks like I'll be trying to do this myself.

It's a shame, because there were supposed to be so many good features to this thing, and I really would love to get back to the point where the misting system and the heat and the lights all worked....
Whats the best way for me to get the manual to everyone?
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Old 07-25-2018, 02:45 PM
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Default Re: Biopod help, anyone good with electronics?

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can you take some pictures of the electronics? especially the cables that run away from the light? and maybe figure out what the voltage / watts are on the lamp so we might be able to hook it up to an alternative power source

probably a picture from the mainboard would help as well but this will probably not be easy to hack without someone getting hands on with one of the things. but only pictures can tell
I looked at the connector PCB on my LED's (Grand model). One wire is for 24VDC. There is another wire labeled as DIM. I don't think it would hurt to apply 24VDC on the 24VDC pin and GND to GND. My guess is you will get full light or no light. In order to dim the lights either a resistance could be put on DIM or a voltage. My guess is a variable voltage is put on DIM to dim the lights.
I don't know what L1GND and L2 GND are.
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Old 07-28-2018, 10:05 PM
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Ok, for those of you following along at home....

I drained the water and pulled some stuff apart. Here's a link to a photo of the offending hunk of junk:
https://photos.google.com/photo/AF1Q...fbHRDZ8WeYHPcA

The LEDs cable connects on the lower left (the 5pin connector marked L123).

I unplugged that and pulled the cable out underneath the pod for easy access. I thought I was clever, and bought a cheap LED controller on Amazon to try... but although it showed a male 5-pin connector it showed up with a female connector. So I'll probably strip the wires and do some sketchy electrical tape connections to try it out, then solder if it works. Unless someone else has already tried something similar and can definitively say that controllers meant for RGBW LED tape won't work for this sucker...
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Old 07-28-2018, 10:34 PM
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Default Re: Biopod help, anyone good with electronics?

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Originally Posted by Auri View Post
Ok, for those of you following along at home....

I drained the water and pulled some stuff apart. Here's a link to a photo of the offending hunk of junk:
https://photos.google.com/photo/AF1Q...fbHRDZ8WeYHPcA

The LEDs cable connects on the lower left (the 5pin connector marked L123).

I unplugged that and pulled the cable out underneath the pod for easy access. I thought I was clever, and bought a cheap LED controller on Amazon to try... but although it showed a male 5-pin connector it showed up with a female connector. So I'll probably strip the wires and do some sketchy electrical tape connections to try it out, then solder if it works. Unless someone else has already tried something similar and can definitively say that controllers meant for RGBW LED tape won't work for this sucker...
that link to the images does not work
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Old 07-28-2018, 11:51 PM
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Well so much for doing that the easy way... worked for me but probably because it's a google photos pic and I own it. I'll just upload the photo.


[IMG][/IMG]
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Old 07-29-2018, 07:07 PM
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Old 07-29-2018, 08:44 PM
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Update: Nope, a controller meant for RGBW LED strips does not work.

Using the original biopod power supply as a tester, I have discovered that the green wire marked "24v" will power on the UVB bulb, but didn't do anything for the LEDs.

I'm a little afraid to repeat the experiment with the other wires that aren't specifically labelled for 24v for fear of damaging the LEDs. I'm sure I wouldn't have any better luck getting replacement lights from Biopod...
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Old 07-29-2018, 09:17 PM
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do you have any pictures of the other end of the cables? do all of them go to the lamp unit?
also if possible take a really good picture from the backside of that board so we can identify some routing of those pins.
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Old 07-29-2018, 09:32 PM
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Most of the cables from the PCB do not go to the lighting unit. The others are for the air pump, water pump, irrigation, heat, misters, etc. The only one that goes to the lights is the white cable.




Here's a photo of the connector to the lighting panel. That fat white wire you can see heading off to the right connects to the UVB bulb.



Honestly, I'm about to just do what I should have done 2.5 months ago when this thing broke, and order some daylight white LED tape , stick it up there with some double-sided tape, and hope they send me the part by Christmas.
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Old 07-29-2018, 09:49 PM
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ok so the colors are not used in a traditional way but at leas tehy wrote on the input pcb what the cables are used for.

i see there is a dedicated power input on the LED so its not powered via the PCB but the power supply and all the cables are just for some dimming action i would say at this point.

- white: ground (probably for the UVB)
- green: as mentioned by Auri will drive the UVB (strange that would be powered by the PCB)
- yellow: ground for one LED strip?)
- red: ground (for 2nd LED strip?)
- black is the dimming

but its unclear with the knot there where that cable goes since that alone can not drive 2 independent led sections. my assumption at this point is that this is the power for the yellow and red ground and there is some circuit on the LED that will manage the states.

can you try to get some more pictures where that white wire goes? and it looks like it also runs down on the outside of the lamp?


at this point i would probably test that dedicated power supply, i have some cheap LED lamps and had to replace the power supply a couple of times.
i think even if the board is broken we should be able to bridge it so you could attach a timer to the power supply.
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Old 07-30-2018, 01:24 AM
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i see there is a dedicated power input on the LED so its not powered via the PCB but the power supply and all the cables are just for some dimming action i would say at this point.
Ok, so here's my struggle. I assume you're talking about the black wire on the other side of the white knot as the dedicated power input.... But I have NO idea where that comes from. As in, it doesn't seem to lead out of the lighting unit.

So here are some more pics (sorry about the glare, it's really hard to take pictures with decent light inside this thing).

The black wire and the white one both go inside that casing along the side of the unit....



And then the white wire comes out the other side. The black wire doesn't.



The only things that lead up to the hood from the guts of the biopod are the water lines, the white cable with the 5 wires inside it, a grey wire for the humidity sensor, and a black wire from the camera. Or at least there would be a wire for the camera if I hadn't already thrown the camera away in a fit of rage. (side note, that would have been plugged into the USB port on the PCB in the first picture)
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Old 07-30-2018, 10:13 AM
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hm this is confusing... is the thing in the middle that is attached to the white cable also some light source?
it might be that the plug is entering the other side of the lamp again with another white cable and into that middle thing, whatever it is. is it the UV-B lamp?

that would mean we do not need to care about that black cable since we are interested in getting the LED's working. this would mean that the RED and YELLOW are the ones of interest and they will be using the same 24v green power to drive the LED since RED and YELLOW are labeled as ground as well.
so my guess is now that the L1 and L2 are variable resistances to control the brightness of the LED's... i will have a closer look at the PCB to see if i can figure out how those lines are controlled.


is the plug on the side a micro usb or something like that?

Last edited by kromar; 07-30-2018 at 10:33 AM.
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Old 07-30-2018, 11:01 AM
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is from what i can make out on the pictures both the RED and YELLOW line are controlled with a logic level mosfet. this one https://datasheetspdf.com/pdf/653569...OWER/SPN9977/1

which is working like a dimmer, so a low variable voltage can be applied on the gate and that is what changes the voltage, and we get the dimming effect. if there is no voltage on the gate the lights will be off.

so at this point we probably need to see what is currently working in that circuit. on the pics it looks like the mosfets for the light are covered with a transistor which is probably converting the voltage for the lights but that thing heats up and mosfets need to stay away from heat sources since they need to dissipate a lot of heat them self so that might have caused them to fail... i would say not the best design.

so if we have our 24v on the green cable and add some voltage 5-10v on yellow or red the led should come on.

it would probably be good to get some multimeter and measure if there is juice on the green line and what happens on the red/yellow when you turn up the lights.

that should tell us if the main power has failed or one of the dimming controls.
hm it would be strange if both of the mosfets died, so i would guess there should be no juice on the 24v (green line).

in that case you could hook up a new 24v pwoer supply (which we would need to see how much watts would be required) and the dimming might still be working via the control board.
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Old 07-30-2018, 03:31 PM
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Ok, I actually have a multimeter, but it's going to have to wait for a day where I'm feeling ambitious... Since I can't take things apart I'll have to take the lid off and work upside down in the tank... Which I will probably eventually do, for science.

In the meantime I am shocked that you have identified a shoddy design element in this device. Shocked, I say. However, I don't think it's the current problem... probably saving that meltdown for after the warranty ends.

Anyway, the reason I've been fixated on the main PCB as the issue is that this whole problem started after they sent me a replacement lid- I was adjusting the camera and slid it too far, and it fell off the track and came apart. Obviously not a secure connection.... Like an idiot, instead of just pulling out the camera at that time (it's a super shitty camera and I never used it) I decided to reconnect it. I was pretty sure I had the orientation of the wires correct, and re-inserted all 5. Bad idea. The lights flickered and died. I wiggled the wires, they flickered on again... And then they went out for good. Nothing everything else in the Biopod functions either. Oh, and when I opened the equipment drawer in the back to remove the camera, I plugged the Biopod in to see what would happen with the camera gone... and what happened was smoke rising from the PCB. So it's literally toast.
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Old 07-30-2018, 06:13 PM
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Don't forget about the IR lamp. I don't know how the 5 wire connector controls the LED's, UV, and IR with 10% increments. This is something I really would like to know just incase my unit goes bad as well.
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Old 07-30-2018, 07:13 PM
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Ok, I actually have a multimeter, but it's going to have to wait for a day where I'm feeling ambitious... Since I can't take things apart I'll have to take the lid off and work upside down in the tank... Which I will probably eventually do, for science.

In the meantime I am shocked that you have identified a shoddy design element in this device. Shocked, I say. However, I don't think it's the current problem... probably saving that meltdown for after the warranty ends.

Anyway, the reason I've been fixated on the main PCB as the issue is that this whole problem started after they sent me a replacement lid- I was adjusting the camera and slid it too far, and it fell off the track and came apart. Obviously not a secure connection.... Like an idiot, instead of just pulling out the camera at that time (it's a super shitty camera and I never used it) I decided to reconnect it. I was pretty sure I had the orientation of the wires correct, and re-inserted all 5. Bad idea. The lights flickered and died. I wiggled the wires, they flickered on again... And then they went out for good. Nothing everything else in the Biopod functions either. Oh, and when I opened the equipment drawer in the back to remove the camera, I plugged the Biopod in to see what would happen with the camera gone... and what happened was smoke rising from the PCB. So it's literally toast.
hm that sounds like something shorted out:/ not the best news^^

did you see where the smoke was coming from? i will have an other look at the PCB since the LED controller are on the opposite side of it... but i dont have high hopes to be able to identify the issue on the PCB.
on a first glance the solder joints on the USB connector look like they are fused together, but its hard to tell with the image sharpness.

EDIT: i noticed on the top left side of the PCB seem to be some measurement points for the different LED's with some small indicator LED's that should probably light up when a lamp should be enabled, so taking some measurements there would probably be possible without taking the unit apart. also the pin outputs for thee light can be measured on the PCB which also avoids taking apart the top.


speaking of bad design, i was watching some assembly video from them and i was quite shocked to see that the PCB is placed below the water pump. if i see things like that i know there was not much common sense involved in the design which speaks for itself.
they also showed the camera connection and pointed out to connect it the right way... well how about using a asymmetrical connector so one cannot shorten out the whole unit which apparently happens when its plugged in the wrong way...
i would say the flaw that i identified is the least of their worries but they certainly could need some professionals doing some proper designs over there.

and i am not a professional, i have been learning some electronics over the last years to get my projects going but there are some pretty fundamental things like not putting a heat source next to a heat sensitive component or putting electronics below a water circuit that show the quality of design and thought that went into it.



@jeffkruse: huh there is a IR lamp as well? could you take a image of the lamp and mark the UV and the IR lamps? that would be great.
as i wrote in the post before the 10% steps are regulated via
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Old 07-30-2018, 08:01 PM
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I would assume the IR LED's are the different looking LED's on the panel and there might be fewer of them.
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Old 07-30-2018, 08:10 PM
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I would assume the IR LED's are the different looking LED's on the panel and there might be fewer of them.
from what i have seen until now i would guess that they are just hooked up with the other LED's
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Old 07-30-2018, 08:41 PM
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from what i have seen until now i would guess that they are just hooked up with the other LED's
I don't see how they are controlled differently than the LED's. I haven't turned them on and checked for a temp difference.
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Old 07-30-2018, 10:32 PM
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I don't see how they are controlled differently than the LED's. I haven't turned them on and checked for a temp difference.
after googling a bit for IR LED's it looks like those are not heat emitting but light in the infrared spectrum.
so no need for a special circuit
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Old 07-30-2018, 10:37 PM
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Default Re: Biopod help, anyone good with electronics?

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Originally Posted by kromar View Post
after googling a bit for IR LED's it looks like those are not heat emitting but light in the infrared spectrum.
so no need for a special circuit
Biopod says they are for heating and the app has a separate control for them.
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Old 07-30-2018, 10:49 PM
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Default Re: Biopod help, anyone good with electronics?

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Originally Posted by jeffkruse View Post
Biopod says they are for heating and the app has a separate control for them.
after some more searching im quite sure that the stripe thing in the middle is the heat lamp and is most likely not led.
and since the UVB are available in the same format as normal LED's they are probably the different looking ones on the lamp.
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Old 07-31-2018, 02:56 PM
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Default Re: Biopod help, anyone good with electronics?

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Originally Posted by kromar View Post
after some more searching im quite sure that the stripe thing in the middle is the heat lamp and is most likely not led.
and since the UVB are available in the same format as normal LED's they are probably the different looking ones on the lamp.
Nope, the rod in the middle is the Cold cathode tube for the UVA/UVB. If you set the UV to 100% you can see a glow from that tube.
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Old 07-31-2018, 08:06 PM
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Default Re: Biopod help, anyone good with electronics?

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Nope, the rod in the middle is the Cold cathode tube for the UVA/UVB. If you set the UV to 100% you can see a glow from that tube.
well ok but in that case there are no IR "heat" LED's unless there are some other bulbs that are nowhere visible on the pictures.
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Old 08-01-2018, 01:13 AM
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Default Re: Biopod help, anyone good with electronics?

Please make sure when you guys are working on these lights, not to look directly at the uv lights unprotected. They can and will damage your retinas. Stay safe!!!
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Old 08-06-2018, 04:07 PM
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Default Re: Biopod help, anyone good with electronics?

Ok, here's where we are now.

I ordered some LED tape, and pulled off the lid panel so I could actually install it under the hood. While I could stick my head inside the tank I verified that there are no other wires coming in to the light panel. Everything is controlled by the 5 wires that come out of the white cable.

The LED tape wasn't as bright as I hoped, so I left a warmer lamp shining in from the side. I kinda like the effect, reminds me of early morning sunshine.



Now I can hopefully at least keep my plants alive.
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Old 10-28-2018, 07:01 PM
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So in a glimmer of good news, it seems as though someone at Biopod is trying to do damage control!

They're finally sending me a new PCB. I had to pay shipping, which is something they've never charged for warranty items before this, but oh well. At least I'm getting the part.

Note: I only got a response (despite many emails over many months) AFTER I joined the Facebook group "Biopod Global owners group discussions and help." I did some minor bitching on there, asking if anyone had ever received a PCB covered by warranty and complained that I'd been waiting months... and within 15 minutes I had a reply to my most recent email to Biopod. So that's my tip for any of you that are struggling to get parts. Join the Facebook group, because it seems as though Biopod people are watching it.
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Old 10-28-2018, 07:08 PM
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Default Re: Biopod help, anyone good with electronics?

Glad it to hear its sort of working out for you... Do you know if they modified their designs after their initial offering or are they still exactly the same?
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Old 01-14-2019, 04:16 AM
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The Biopod Disaster that was 2018 may have actually been resolved now that it's 2019....

Replaced the PCB. Spent approximately 3 weeks troubleshooting when I couldn't connect the Biopod to the Biopod servers (Of course no lights or function during this time) Wrote about 1,000 emails to tech support in both Canada and India. Learned a lot about WiFi.

Currently Podrick Pane II is up and running, connected via a dedicated WiFi hotspot running on my laptop.

The fish is still alive. Have I mentioned the fish? Apparently I missed one emerald rasbora when evacuating the water portion in May after the original PCB went up in smoke. I didn't know there was a fish in there, so it went without heat, filtration, or food (aside from some dying aquatic plants) for over 7 months. And I drained the tank to work on it 4-5 times at least.

So yeah. Worlds toughest fish.

In other good news, the replacement PCB is an upgraded part. And the Biopod company (and Biopod tech support) seems to be rising from the ashes after a bunch of drama. Seems like they're essentially starting over, personnel-wise. So if you have a busted Biopod (which, if you have one at all, seems likely) and you've given up on tech support, now would probably be a good time to try again.
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Old 02-05-2019, 10:15 AM
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Default Re: Biopod help, anyone good with electronics?

You mentioned you'd learned quite a bit about WiFi.
Well, since moving house I've been unable to find the Biopod hotspot. I go through the motions of connecting Biopod to the WiFi and when it comes to connecting to the Biopod, the viv's connection doesn't show up.

At the moment it seems to be running based on my previous settings which is okay but not ideal.
Any ideas?
It's the Biopod Aqua II that I've got and no ethernet port to my knowledge on this model.
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