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Old 07/30/2019, 01:57 PM   #1
Oldreeferman
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Best heater controller ?

Id like advice on the best hands down water heater controller on the market that is...... NOT made in China using toy quality electronics. I installed a Finnex digital heater controller & it only lasted 1 week then shut down at 78 degrees when it was set to shut down at 85. I looked at the box & yup says Made in China!!!!!!!! I looked at several online but they do not state where they are manufactured so i would greatly prefer the info and advice from those who have exp. with the best & most reliable setup, ty in advance. I can't just run 2 smaller heaters for backup & safety from overheating as my digital heater has to be in my DT since i don't run a sump or id go with 2 low power heaters & not even worry about a controller.


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Old 07/30/2019, 02:06 PM   #2
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Ranco would be my first choice and a controller like the Apex or Profilux as the failsafe. Ranco controllers are truly commercial grade controllers and are VERY reliable but I always like having a failsafe too. That said, most of the installs I do involve an aquarium controller so I generally have the luxury of having a failsafe for the heater and even chiller controller.


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Old 07/30/2019, 02:09 PM   #3
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Ranco ETC series is likely what you are looking for..
It is an "industrial" solution (still potentially made in China though.. in todays age what isn't)
Dwyer is another.. Johnson Controls is another, Honeywell,etc...

https://www.grainger.com/category/hv...ature-controls


Beyond that Omega, Red lion,etc... din industrial temperature controllers..

If you want reliability go for common "industrial grade" suppliers..


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Old 07/31/2019, 04:02 AM   #4
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Ranco hands down. One of the best brands out there.


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Old 07/31/2019, 07:27 AM   #5
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Thanks for the feedback. After reading all over the web of issues from various setups using controllers ive been led to believe from pros that do setups for others simply put 2-3 small low watt heaters in my tanks are the easiest & safest setup since if 1 does fail in the on position it can't overheat my sys & getting cooler isn't an issue here just overheating, so that is the rout im going to take, i want simplicity not complicated automation. Ill get 2 Neo Cobalts that are designed to run a tank 1/2 the size of mine & run 1 in ea. corner with power heads blowing on them. My tanks are covered so even evaporation has been no issue i simply top off with distilled water ea. day which is only about a cup of water a day so no ATO needed either, just another sys. that requires matinance, and room & can fail, ive read horror storys on them too. That is why i want to minamize all automation & do it myself, ill sleep better that way since i don't live on a smart phone as most do anymore these days.......... not my thing apps and all.


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Old 07/31/2019, 10:35 AM   #6
Uncle99
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Sounds good in theory but a $35 inkbird controller is great insurance


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Old 07/31/2019, 06:37 PM   #7
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Hi Uncle99,
Yes id considered what your thinking yet that controller is also made in China using hobby grade electronics & can not be trusted any more then the one i now attempted to use. That being said its just another part to have to be concerned failing on me. Ive read very positive revues on the low power Cobalts no complaints at all only the 200 watt models at one time. I realize that most of my components are made in China but i can live with my filter, skimmer, etc...going out it won't kill my tank, even no lights not an issue just a constant on heater is my fear so, also its less stress on 2 heaters to bear the load then on just one also. I like the flat appearance of these models also so i can hide them behind my live rock in a area that is close to the back wall yet still get water flow past them. Time will tell. The guy who sold me the controller won't even contact me so again just another warrantee issue now to deal with, sigh. At leat it was on Ebay so im covered.


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Old 07/31/2019, 07:23 PM   #8
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I ran a Ranco dual for years and found it to work very well. Then I switched to a Reefkeeper, well.....


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Old 07/31/2019, 07:38 PM   #9
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Read the revues about the Ranco on other sites its disturbing ive read the owner is a real bear to deal with if it has an issue. And there has been many issues, you were lucky as were many but the unlucky ones well they go silent............Until you read their plight storys. Its that way with all components everything eventually fails im just flat out NOT a fan of cheap Chinese hobby grade electronics in my work field all i see is daily failures due to bad manufacturing & bad QC in their industry we get what what we pay for i guess here in the good ol USof A now thanks to cheap trade.


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Old 07/31/2019, 08:38 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Oldreeferman View Post
Hi Uncle99,
Yes id considered what your thinking yet that controller is also made in China using hobby grade electronics & can not be trusted any more then the one i now attempted to use. That being said its just another part to have to be concerned failing on me. Ive read very positive revues on the low power Cobalts no complaints at all only the 200 watt models at one time. I realize that most of my components are made in China but i can live with my filter, skimmer, etc...going out it won't kill my tank, even no lights not an issue just a constant on heater is my fear so, also its less stress on 2 heaters to bear the load then on just one also. I like the flat appearance of these models also so i can hide them behind my live rock in a area that is close to the back wall yet still get water flow past them. Time will tell. The guy who sold me the controller won't even contact me so again just another warrantee issue now to deal with, sigh. At leat it was on Ebay so im covered.
I use the new fluval e series heater which will turn off heat when it goes beyond 81 degrees, or the heater is removed from the water. It is also a digital heater not a contact heater which are known to fail at one point. The ink bird is a second redundancy if the safety in the fluval fails.


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Old 07/31/2019, 08:40 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by Oldreeferman View Post
Hi Uncle99,
Yes id considered what your thinking yet that controller is also made in China using hobby grade electronics & can not be trusted any more then the one i now attempted to use. That being said its just another part to have to be concerned failing on me. Ive read very positive revues on the low power Cobalts no complaints at all only the 200 watt models at one time. I realize that most of my components are made in China but i can live with my filter, skimmer, etc...going out it won't kill my tank, even no lights not an issue just a constant on heater is my fear so, also its less stress on 2 heaters to bear the load then on just one also. I like the flat appearance of these models also so i can hide them behind my live rock in a area that is close to the back wall yet still get water flow past them. Time will tell. The guy who sold me the controller won't even contact me so again just another warrantee issue now to deal with, sigh. At leat it was on Ebay so im covered.
I use the new fluval e series heater which will turn off heat when it goes beyond 81 degrees, or the heater is removed from the water. It is also a digital heater not a contact heater which are known to fail at one point. The ink bird is a second redundancy which turns off at 83 degrees and turns on a fan if the safety in the fluval fails.

By the way, Cobalt heater are excellent IMO and have the least flux on the market today: your theory is sound


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Old 08/01/2019, 07:59 AM   #12
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Ranco without a doubt.


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Old 10/07/2019, 11:51 PM   #13
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Just a thought, but if you had 2 Johnson controllers hooked in series and the second one is wired to two different heaters.

In this scenario:
1 heater fails you have another one still working.
1 controller fails or sticks on second one still shuts off both heaters at high temperature limit
1st controller fails heat goes out, tank slowly cools. (could have a wifi based alert to text you).
These Johnson controllers (421 is current model) do require a little wiring but are industrial grade being used on boiler systems that if fail can blow up.
I would rather trust several thousand dollar investment to a company that has that responsibility and years (atleast 40yr) proven reliability.
They are also IP67 waterproof.


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Old 10/08/2019, 10:27 AM   #14
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I've used Rancos for 30 years and only had one go south on me. I'd take those odds any day, regardless of where it's made.


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Old 10/08/2019, 01:01 PM   #15
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My Chinese heater with built in digital controller + a Chinese digital controller allows me to sleep well. Both controllers would not fail at the same time. Chinese does not always mean poor construction.

1 redundancy is sufficient.


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Old 10/08/2019, 02:12 PM   #16
Oldreeferman
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Thanks for all the ideas guys, ATM im using a new digital 100w heater which is only 1 degree off so pretty accurate, i tested its true temp verses what it was reading with my Cooper digital meter. Since all is well im doing nada ATM but my plan eventually is to still get 2 small 50w Neo Cobalt heaters & place one in ea. corner to replace the 100w digital i have now and not even bother with a controller... but since its accurate ill run it for a while to get some use from it then switch to the 2 50w models lateron & then have no concerns.


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Old 10/11/2019, 11:52 AM   #17
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Thanks for all the ideas guys, ATM im using a new digital 100w heater which is only 1 degree off so pretty accurate, i tested its true temp verses what it was reading with my Cooper digital meter. Since all is well im doing nada ATM but my plan eventually is to still get 2 small 50w Neo Cobalt heaters & place one in ea. corner to replace the 100w digital i have now and not even bother with a controller... but since its accurate ill run it for a while to get some use from it then switch to the 2 50w models lateron & then have no concerns.
Had a new Eheim Jäger get stuck on, lucky, I caught it within an hour.
Never again will I not use a heat controller.

Two heaters does not ensure you don't cook your tank, however digital heaters likely don't fail in the on position, that's more of a trait of the contact heaters.

Even digital heaters fail.
Without a redundancy, ( controller) your taking a risk. A bad heater stuck on will kill fast.
My controller just kicked on yesterday. It's the second time in this year.
First time was in the spring (environment heating up air conditioning not on yet), the second, yesterday, (air conditioner off now but furnace turned on)

In both cases, the controller stopped the heater and turned on the fan (for cooling)

Always have a heat redundancy.


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Old 10/14/2019, 09:26 AM   #18
Kevin Guthrie
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I had a heater cook an aquarium once. I have a controller running a power strip that has 3 smaller heaters plugged into it. The controller runs things; the smaller heaters are set to turn off about 1 degree hotter than the controller. If the controller fails in the "on" setting the heater thermostats should take care of things, and I don't expect them to fail because they never do any day-to-day on/off switching. If the controller fails in the "off" setting then I have to notice and take action.


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Old 10/14/2019, 12:29 PM   #19
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The controller failing in the off position is what concerns me, in the Winter anyway as i don't want my tank to get cold either, (lesser of 2 evils) at least with 2 smaller heaters im covered either way. As only 1 will fail odds are so ill still have temp stability without having to constantly monitor it since i don't use a dedicated computer controller using a ph. app for that issue.
Ive read from many who work on customers systems that they prefer the 2 smaller heaters IF the aquarium does not have a dedicated computer controller running everything on apps for the same reason i just stated so depends on the situation & office/room temps and temp zone you live in. Honestly im way way more concerned of a power outage during winter then anything else as it reached a freaky -40 F below 0 last Winter thank God i did not loose my home heat that week......................I have a portable generator but at temps like that just 1 hr. would be all it would take to really drop down fast.
Without backups on everything like an auto generator its just a matter of time anyway is how i see it long term in my weather zone unless i just happen to be home when power fails. If that ever happens & i loose everything im out of the hobby.. fun as it is as im not going to purchase a Generac auto generator, just can't justify the expense as it would cost way way more then my aquarium and we usually only loose electric in a rare instance such as a freak ice storm every few yrs. since my electric isn't underground its on poles with lots of trees everywhere.....................


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Old 10/21/2019, 12:47 PM   #20
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Which model Ranco are folks using? https://www.grainger.com/product/RAN...-Control-3ZP77


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Old 11/11/2019, 12:05 PM   #21
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Got one from Grainger. Seems like it's a lot more heavy duty than the ones on the aquarium sites. Wasn't pre-wired though. Sacrificed an outdoor extension cord that was pre-wired with three outlets and hooked up to the controller (youtube instructions). Plugged in two heaters so if one fails got a backup. It's set to kick on at 77 and off at 78. So far so good.


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Old 11/20/2019, 02:47 PM   #22
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I have an alarm on my big tank. I don't remember who made it, but if the temp goes too high, it starts to beep, and if the temp goes too low, it beeps. I have it on a seperate circuit from my heaters.


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