28 May 2012

New Kalkwasser Reactor & Lighting Problems

Finished assembly of a new Kalkwasser reactor today.  It's a simple reactor, made with parts obtained from Avast Marine Works and took the day to assemble (allowing for hour glue drying periods bewteen steps.)  It was quite easy and will plumb it dowstream of my peristaltic pump that I use for an ATO unit.  The TKE float switch will serve as the ATO level sensor and I'm still deciding whether I will use a single or double switch level indicator.

On other fronts, I downloaded all of the firmware for the RKE system and assembled the unit.  The chain looks like this:

RKE Head --> PC4 --> ALC --> (Basement) PC4 --> SL1

I do not terminate with a SID unit since I will be programming and running the unit d=from the RKE head module.  Everything went smoothly and powered up well.  I fabricated a serial data cable by splicing the ALC SDO cable to a piece of AI data cable terminating in a small 3-connection jack.

It worked like a champ, running a program I placed in the Advanced light function but only one of the two AI Sol LED modules resonded to the signal.  The second flickered, pulsed and finally went out, not able to start again.  I contacted both AI and DA for help and will update how it all progresses.  I knew things were going along too smoothly!

26 May 2012

Bulding AI SOL Suspension Frame

We decided that in setting up the new 90 gallon tank, we wre going to make some lighting changes.  Our old 2 x 250 watt metal halides were in need of at least 1 new ballast and transformer and the remaining working electronics showed some cracking as well.  Rather than repair the old unit, we decided to try LED lighting.

After doing some research, it seemed as if the Aquailluminations Sol units had many of the features I wanted.  Independently controllable white and blue channels, enough power so that two units would allow me to grow stony corals in my 90 gallon tank, a price tag less than the equally intriguing Radions, and finally, the ability to interface with my Reefkeeper Elite controller.

One issue was in mounting.  The ceiling wire mouting brackets that come as an option with the AI Sol lights allow for mounting across the width of my tank, not down the long axis.  I saw one person on YouTube mount them down the long axis of the tank on a single mounting rail, but I saw two problems with this.  First, the lights balance on a single rail so the smallest amount of weight, say from a power or data cord, would tilt the light away from an an angle normal to the water's surface.  Second, a single suspension bar running down the length of the fixture blocks the cooling fan which is centered on the AI Sol module.

I built my own mount using 80/20 aluminum extrusion.  Using the 1" x 1" Series 10 material, I simply made a frame using two 36" lengths of extrusion as well as four 12" lengths. The 12" cross braces were set far enough apart so an AI light module could hanng from two of the cross braces using the OEMs mounting screw.  I used a plug tap (13/64") to thread the ends of the 36" extrusions in order to accept an M10x1.0 screw which attached the entire frame to my ceiling mounting wires.

The assembly and mounting are shown in the video.

Thankfully it all went well.  The lights look great.  I was worried that they would be too blue but at 100/100/100 they give out a great, cool white light.  The photos make it look far bluer than the eye perceives.  Tomorrow I wil work on setting up the controller and cleaning up the data and power cables on the unit.

16 May 2012

Generator Arrives!

Today our generator arrived, a Briggs and Stratton 15kW unit with 200 amp service and an auto transfer switch.  The folks from Toreku Tactor in Ayer did a great job….I'd highly recommend them to anyone looking to make a similar purchase.

THe raeson this is in the blog is that after the past power losses, I vowed that we would have no aquarium until we had some power back-up for the house.  Now that it's here, we're almost in business.

Next we need to get LPG tanks installed and finally have the electrician hook up the transfer switch and install the outlets in our "fish room".  Can't wait!

13 May 2012

Starting the project.

About 4 years ago, a December ice storm left us without power for almost 2 weeks.  We were left with a dead aquarium which has set dry and empty since then in our family room.  After another week long power outtage this past October, we decided to purchase a whole house generator which opened up the possibility of restoring our tank.  This will log the construction and startup of the new tank.