Designing a Vivarium Controller: What features/price do YOU want? - Dendroboard
Dendroboard

Go Back   Dendroboard > Vivariums > Parts & Construction
Register Blogs FAQ Calendar Mark Forums Read Advertise

Support Our Sponsors
No Threads to Display.

facebook

Reply
 
LinkBack Thread Tools Display Modes
  #1 (permalink)  
Old 01-01-2012, 08:13 PM
Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2011
Posts: 454
Thanks: 6
Thanked 18 Times in 17 Posts
Default Designing a Vivarium Controller: What features/price do YOU want?

Hey all,

In building a "high end" enclosure for my panther chameleon, I have been researching controllers.....and they are lacking....severely.


Please educate me if I am missing anything but our options are....

1) Ecozone (VERY pricy)
2) Various REEF controllers (also pricy and not specifically designed for our use)
3) Individual controllers per unit (separate lighting timer, pump timer, thermoterer, etc).



Due to this issue, I have been looking into designing a more useful vivarium controller that is more of a "mid-market" price point. Currently things like the ECOZONE are awesome, but the price is just absurd imho (and probably partly due to the complete lack of competition).



Long story short, I have been working with a friend recently in possibly designing a mid-level vivarium controller for use in frog, chameleon, and other vivaria...

I would like your feedback on features, price points, and the like that would interest you.

Currently, I am working with the following considerations:
-Temp/humidity probes
-Multiple (4?) power outlets
-INDIVIDUALLY programmable dimmable timers (to the 1 second) for EACH outlet.
-Water/humidity proof casing

Other considerations:
-Wifi?
-LCD/LED screen?
-Remote control / Internet controls

I am looking at 2 initial models, "basic" (price point) and "everything" (performance)


QUESTIONS FOR THE HOBBYISTS THAT WOULD USE VIVARIUM CONTROLLERS:

1) What do you consider to be *NECESSARY* features (ie things the "basic" model MUST have)?

2) How important is a DISPLAY on the unit? Is a visual showing of current temp/humidity(/time?) really worthwhile for everyday use? I realize the benefit of a screen when PROGRAMMING the unit, however this aside, is there really any benefit to it?

3) Do you need to CHANGE the programming often? (I am assuming it would be, roughly, a set once and forget it kind of thing).

3a) Does it matter to you HOW you program it? (If you have to use your computer, use LEDs/buttons on the device itself, use an LCD on the device, etc). ***This can affect the final cost substantially and is why I ask in conjunction with question 3. If a drop in price is worth a tiny headache in programming since you only do it once as I am assuming, it seems to be worth the price drop.

4) HOW MANY outlets do you typically need for *ONE* enclosure? I am currently assuming 1 water, 1 power. I realize chameleon enclosures in specific tend to have 2 lights; do most of you need 3 outlets?

5) What price point would be reasonable for a "basic" or "everything" model? I am currently aiming/hoping for roughly $139 and $199....are these still too high to warrant their use?

6) 1 vivarium controller per enclosure is my current design. Is this foolish? I am looking at high-end large-scale vivs that would need to be individually controlled, but that is simply what I work with. Those of you with LARGE frog or chameleon (or w/e) rooms....do you have any desire for a master controller or somesuch? What controls (consistent factors) do you have among your tanks (generally, I would guess sunrise/sunset/humidity/etc would be mostly the same, at least on a per-species level). What factors are DIFFERENT / unique to each individual tank that would not/should not be controlled by a master controller? How beneficial is the modular ability to add additional temp/humidity probes?

7) How important is a built-in DIMMING function / timer ? To me, this is essential...but perhaps it is not necessary for a "basic" model?

8) Would it be plausible to require a 24/7 always on PC connection for the unit to work properly? Or would such a requirement be a "deal breaker"? One consideration currently is to have the entire unit controlled and programmed by the PC, but this would require a PC that is always on and always connected to the unit to receive/analyze the data.

9) Are there any SPECS in particular that are of high importance? If so, please tell me the spec and WHY it is of importance. Minimum voltage/amperage requirements, types of dimming signals, etc etc.

10) For those who do have experience with other vivarium controllers (ESPECIALLY reef-controllers or high-end viv controllers such as the Ecozone) can you tell me the best and (more importantly) WORST features of these controllers? What are they doing wrong or simply not doing that they SHOULD be doing?


Thanks for the input all!


Please direct any private questions or comments to me via PM or email me at [email protected], but I would appreciate all comments openly on this thread
Reply With Quote
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
  #2 (permalink)  
Old 01-01-2012, 09:39 PM
Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2011
Posts: 454
Thanks: 6
Thanked 18 Times in 17 Posts
Default Re: Designing a Vivarium Controller: What features/price do YOU want?

I hate that I can't edit....

As per other forums, users have suggested considerations for dimmable/programmable HEATING as well as lighting (and possible cooling or humidity).
Reply With Quote
  #3 (permalink)  
Old 01-01-2012, 09:46 PM
dtfleming's Avatar
Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: Maryland
Posts: 359
Thanks: 24
Thanked 15 Times in 15 Posts
Default Re: Designing a Vivarium Controller: What features/price do YOU want?

Digital aquatics make a herp one. I also saw another one, but I think it's just for controlling multiple UTH or flexwatt.
__________________
Don
Dendrobates, Epipedobates, Phyllobates, Rantiomeya
Reply With Quote
 
  #4 (permalink)  
Old 01-02-2012, 12:25 AM
Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2011
Posts: 841
Thanks: 0
Thanked 51 Times in 45 Posts
Default Re: Designing a Vivarium Controller: What features/price do YOU want?

pwm controll for dimming would be essential. also would need alot more than 4 controlled outlets. i would consider 8 to be a bare minimum. that is what my digital aquatics one has. i feel temp sensor and humidistat to be vital. needs to handle about 2000 watts to handle my lighting on my big tank. would also like to control mister and fogger depending on humidity and controll over exhaust and circ fans would be good. just as a heads up my viv now is using 11 outlets and im sure that number will go up over time. i was considering a herp keeper but they are from digital aquatics and i havent been thrilled with my reefkeeper over the years which is why i now have a neptune apex for my new reef to come. hope you get going on this it would be nice to have more entries in the market.
Reply With Quote
  #5 (permalink)  
Old 01-02-2012, 12:29 AM
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: Union Bridge, MD
Posts: 3,076
Thanks: 412
Thanked 127 Times in 121 Posts
Default Re: Designing a Vivarium Controller: What features/price do YOU want?

would there be warning lights, alarms, whatever if functions are failing???
Reply With Quote
  #6 (permalink)  
Old 01-02-2012, 12:53 AM
dtfleming's Avatar
Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: Maryland
Posts: 359
Thanks: 24
Thanked 15 Times in 15 Posts
Default Re: Designing a Vivarium Controller: What features/price do YOU want?

Judy, most controllers have alarms, can send emails alerts etc. When I had my reef tank up, I had my controller setup to be able to access remotely and receive email alerts.
__________________
Don
Dendrobates, Epipedobates, Phyllobates, Rantiomeya
Reply With Quote
  #7 (permalink)  
Old 01-02-2012, 02:53 AM
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2011
Posts: 42
Thanks: 0
Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Default

An important feature imo would be expandibility. The ability to increase features through module upgrades would be absolutely paramount for the keeper to make the transition to hobbiest to even breeder. One controller per viv would ultimately drive me away as a consumer, but if you had some sort of expansion module that would allow a link to the inital controller, at a fraction of the controller cost,that would be worth some consideration.

As for pc connectivity, I see great advantages to remote accessibility/connectivity. I currently utilize an automation system intended for commercial manufacturing and I can access it via internet through a java web page. I imagine if you were so inclined to produce a phone app where you can check all of your data in real time, it might ease some minds while vacationing, herp keepers and cham keepers alike and add that "piece of mind" value to your product.

PM me if you would like additional input/ideas, I have some backround in electrical engineering.

Thanks
TN


Sent from my SAMSUNG-SGH-I997 using Tapatalk
__________________
D.Azureus 0.0.2, D.Leucomelas 0.0.3, P.Vitittus 0.0.4
Reply With Quote
  #8 (permalink)  
Old 01-02-2012, 03:19 AM
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2011
Location: Utah Valley
Posts: 10
Thanks: 0
Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Default Re: Designing a Vivarium Controller: What features/price do YOU want?

I second TechNerd. I want my controller to be expandable and to control a room of tanks.
Reply With Quote
  #9 (permalink)  
Old 01-03-2012, 01:40 PM
motydesign's Avatar
Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2011
Location: SL,UT
Posts: 1,131
Thanks: 10
Thanked 78 Times in 42 Posts
Default Re: Designing a Vivarium Controller: What features/price do YOU want?

http://www.dendroboard.com/forum/par...g-systems.html
Reply With Quote
  #10 (permalink)  
Old 01-05-2012, 12:51 AM
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2012
Location: calgary canada (eh!)
Posts: 43
Thanks: 0
Thanked 1 Time in 1 Post
Default Re: Designing a Vivarium Controller: What features/price do YOU want?

An arduino based unit - something one can source locally (or mostly) and build at home (dip components not smt) open source and expandable so users can adjust to suit their own needs...

I'll post in DIY when I've got the schematics finished up by the weekend... but I'll need a bit of help with the programming...

Last edited by andyl; 01-05-2012 at 12:54 AM. Reason: stupid autocorrect
Reply With Quote
  #11 (permalink)  
Old 01-05-2012, 01:14 AM
Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2011
Posts: 138
Thanks: 0
Thanked 7 Times in 7 Posts
Default

It would need some form of display and having it hooked up to a computer all the time isn't a favorable thing to me, I love the features of the exozone but it's drawback is that its not expandable past 4 controllers. Also do some research on good RH/temp probes they are expensive and can kill your price point temp only is a lot cheaper. I'm interested to see where you go with this because I want a universal controller but all the ones out there have things I don't like, price isn't my concern.

Len
Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are On


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Need help designing hexagonal lid d-prime Parts & Construction 11 11-04-2011 03:46 PM
Designing a Vivarium and other questions for beginner. thatguy Beginner Discussion 6 05-10-2009 01:38 AM
I need help in designing my new tank. MonopolyBag Parts & Construction 5 09-25-2007 06:52 PM
Fisher price my first vivarium- 29g(Update 8/7) RBroskie Parts & Construction 11 03-13-2007 02:01 PM

Powered by vBadvanced CMPS v3.2.3

All times are GMT. The time now is 03:50 PM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8
Copyright ©2000 - 2019, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
Search Engine Optimization by vBSEO 3.6.0
vBulletin Security provided by vBSecurity v2.2.2 (Pro) - vBulletin Mods & Addons Copyright © 2019 DragonByte Technologies Ltd.