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Old 08/29/2019, 06:29 AM   #1
pisanoal
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Maxspect Gyre 300 series and ICV6 review

I wanted to write a hopefully fairly comprehensive review on the new gyre 300 series pumps (specifically the 350), mainly because there is not a ton of information from users out there yet, and I had a lot of trouble finding answers to my questions about them before finally deciding that they looked good enough to try. Spoiler alert, I like them quite a bit so far even though there are a few negatives which are minor for me at the moment.

This review will address flow, noise levels, tank integration, and control via the Syna G app and ICV6 module. Iíll give some background next, but skip ahead a few paragraphs if you donít care about that.

First are some tank specifics of what I am running them in. It is a 6í x 30Ē x 30Ē 280 gallon reef. Pretty open rockwork, probably 60/40 sps to lps. I have 2 xf350s mounted on either end as close to the water as I can get without sucking air in. For other flow, I have an over the back closed loop with 6 eductor type nozzles running on a jebao DCP-20000, currently running on max output, although Iím looking to turn this down or even off at some points throughout the day. Noise is a big deal for me on this tank. Itís in a fairly small room, and we sit very close to it and spend a lot of time in there. My sump is remote, the closed loop is very quiet, BA overflow, so basically any powerhead is going to be the loudest thing on my tank. And tank noise drives me crazy. I also value small footprint in the tank.

For comparison, here is a short list of other powerheads I have owned. MP-10W (loud) and MP40QD (awesome pump, but doesnít really reach any further then three feet, so I wasnít able to alternate flow as much as I wanted. Maybe if I had about 4 or 5 of them), Tunze 6065ís (great pumps but large and not all that quiet with a bunch of them in there). XF 150 and XF250 (LOUD and dissonant with each other). Various Jebaoís most recently OW-50 (these actually were fine, just a bit obtrusive and lack of control, similar in noise to the tunzes).

The Actual Review:
Build Quality: Not much to say here other than seems solid. Controller is nice and sleek, chords are heavy duty and seem to be attached and sealed well. I like the new magnets, although some have complained they are a little weak. Mine is on 5/8Ē glass and I would say any thicker, I might have a problem with one of the pumps. The dry side sticks to the glass and is actually pretty difficult to get off which is good and bad. The new flow directors are a nice addition, but are seemingly an afterthought on build quality. The feel pretty flimsy and donít attach all that strongly. They donít fall off of their own accord, but are easily dislodged if you are messing with the pump. Also, the pumps disassembly method is different. They made it much easier to disassemble to clean and looks to have made it more durable by using different style bushings. I donít know for sure that they will last longer, but they did include an extra set as well. There are videos out there on how these new ones come apart, so I wonít go into any more detail.

Flow: Flow maybe seems a little better than the previous 250 model? I donít have much in the way of comparison since I never ran my 250 or 150 higher than 70% due to noise. I like the sheet of water, however on a 30Ē tall tank, you do need some planning to get good velocity at times in the middle height of the tank, especially close to the side of the gyre. This is not exclusive to the new pumps although maybe a little more pronounced with the flow directors. Overall, itís one of the best pumps for complete flow that I have used, which is why I migrated back to them.

Noise: I was very impressed with the noise level on these pumps. They blend right in to my canopy fans, which are low voltage quiet computer fans. They are not completely silent as many people seem fond of saying. However, they are some of the quietest powerheads I have used. I donít tend to ramp them up and down, at least not fast enough that you would constantly hear them, so that may still bother some people. But when they are running in constant mode, they produce a quiet, not entirely unpleasant hum. I am very satisfied with the noise level on these things, even up to 100%. I canít accurately compare them to the MP-40QD as its been a while since Iíve had that pump but Iíd guess its comparable.

Tank Integration (cord management, controller, mounting, etc.): The cords as mentioned are heavy duty. They are plenty long for me to mount my controller on one side under my stand and still have the powerhead on the far side reach. Iíve seen some info floating around that you need two power supplies to run these two pumps, whereas previous versions you could run two pumps with one controller on one power supply. That is inaccurate. Looking at the controller, there are two pump outputs and two power supply inputs. However, a simple y adapter (included) connects the power supply to both inputs. The basic controller is essentially the same as the ďadvanced controllerĒ from the 200 series in that it looks similar and programs the same way. It does have a nicer, higher-end feel. As for mounting the powerheads, I already discussed the magnets. One advantage of these is how high you can mount them in the tank. I probably have about 2Ē of freeboard above the top of the flow director and every once in a while, if the flow is perfect, it will suck some air in. But it has only happened a couple of times that Iíve notice. The available flow patterns are no different than the previous advanced controller with the exception of one additional mode called custom. Iím not sure if it is programmable on the controller or if you need the app to use it, but Iíll discuss the mode in the next section.

ICV6 and Syna G: The ICV6 module is very basic looking. Itís about the same size as the advanced controller, just a couple of buttons and a small led display. It comes with a usb power cord and a wall plug which is nice because if you have a usb outlet on a power bar for your apex or other controller, this doesnít take another plug. One relief is this thing was very easy to sync up the Syna G app and the pumps. It communicates wirelessly with both, and while not the most intuitive, it was simple with basic instructions. Also of note, I did not have to fumble with it to get to work which is so often the case on some of these standalone device controllers. I did not link it through my wifi router, I connected to the unit directly through my phone which is fine for me. I believe you can connect it through your router too, I just did not care to.
The app itself is fairly intuitive. It has an easy mode which allows you to do a basic setup or pick from a couple of preprogrammed flow patterns. These are their same Lunar Tidal Cycle and Oceanic Gyre Cycle. There is also an advance mode which allows you to pick up to 24 time periods and set the individual flow pattern for each pump in the group for that time period. It is very much worth noting that getting the ICV6 and Syna G app does not really give you extra options here as you pretty much do the same thing on the regular controller. For example, in alternating gyre mode, the max ramp up/down time is still 10 seconds. One additional pattern you can choose is the custom pattern. Like I said before, itís possible you could program this on the regular controller, but I wouldnít want to try if you were doing more than just a few time slots. One thing that is a bit confusing about the ďcustomĒ pattern is its really not a custom pattern. Basically it allows you to pick up to 3 of the pre-established modes and have them rotate through at specified time intervals. This was actually very useful to me which I will explain in a second, but itís a pretty big misnomer in calling it custom. Essentially, all it allows you to do is take the 24 available time periods, and break them out even further. To elaborate, I could have 24 1 hour time intervals set to Custom. Inside those custom modes, I could have it switch from constant mode, to alternating gyre, to pulse mode on as fast as 10 second intervals. But if for the example I set them at 20 minute intervals, that means inside of that one time period, my pumps will have switch modes 3 times. So over a 24 hour period, I could have 72 different flow modes, instead of just 24. Hopefully that makes sense.
In getting this controller, I was hoping
to be able to simulate the flow pattern that BRS uses in their video here (https://www.bulkreefsupply.com/video...nk-trials-ep9/) at 15:15. Basically itís an alternating gyre mode, where the flow is in one direction for about 45 minutes, then for 45 minutes one pump slowly ramps down, while the other slowly ramps up. For the next 45 minutes the other pump runs at peak until its time to switch again. This cause a turbulent zone to sweep across the tank, helping to clear settled detritus give corals a brief higher flow period before going to a more gentle laminar flow. I was basically successful utilizing the custom wave mode which is where I did the ramping. It allowed me to switch the flow every hour with an hour of transition for most of the day, and then I put the tank in gentle random for the night. I would have really appreciated if maxspect would allow a much longer ramp up/down period on their alternating gyre mode which would make this a VERY simple process. 10 seconds just isnít long enough to get the same effect. Instead, it took me several hours to ďprogramĒ.

Overall: As I said above, I really like these pumps so far. The biggest deal breakers of the old styles have been eliminated for me. The only real annoyances (albeit minor) is the programming limitation through the Syna G app. I wish there was more of a true custom mode. I have put a ticket in with maxspect with some recommendations, but we will see if they do anything about it. There is also the option to go with the coming-soon Hydros Wave Engine. The unit looks like it will cost $400 and will also integrate pumps from other makers like vortechs, reef octopus, DC Tunzes and a few others with the list growing. It will all the pumps to be integrated in one interface, and powered by one power supply! I know the apex already controls most of the pumps on the list, but you still need the native controller and then hook it into the apex or other controller. This in most cases eliminates the need for the native controllers. If you are buying more than two gyres, it would be cost effective to get the Wave engine and pump only kits as the Wave Engine will control up to 4 wired pumps, and more wirelessly (vortech). It also appears to be more truly customizable instead of just an easier way to do the same things the advanced controller can do like the Syna G app.

Sorry for the long post, but hopefully this review helps if someone is looking for information.


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Old 08/29/2019, 07:07 AM   #2
Big E
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Thanks Tony!

Please update this in the future if you can


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Old 08/30/2019, 06:40 AM   #3
pisanoal
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Thanks for looking Ed.

I just got response from my email to maxspect, and they said they will "consider my recommendations for future gyre products", which of course is less then helpful. Most of what I asked for should be a simple firmware update. The request i want the most, an increase in ramp time in gyre mode, seems like it would be incredibly simple. Not that i expected them to say "sure, we will push an update out tomorrow!" But i was hoping for a little bit more support.

Also, I'm not sure why, but my custom mode programming does not appear to work correctly. I have it set for 30 minute increments. Inside those 30 minutes it is supposed to change by 10% power every 10 minutes, effectively slowly ramping one pump up and ramping the other pump down. It appears that whent the gyres hit this mode, they sit on the first speed for the full 30 minutes. So more to come on that.


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Old 09/12/2019, 01:54 PM   #4
hkgar
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Tony,
Thanks for the write up. I was just sitting here thinking about upgrading from my 250's (2 opposing on sides of a 180).

Reduced noise level seems to be the most significant gain by upgrading, but being a bit hard of hearing (comes with the age), noise is not significant consideration for me.


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180 gallon, 30 gallon sump, 8 80W ATI T5's, MTC MVX 36 Skimmer, Apex controller Aquamaxx T-3 CaRx

Current Tank Info: 2 Barred Rabbitfish, Yellow/Purple, McMaster Fairy, Possum, 2 Leopard Wrasses, Kole, & Atlantic Blue Tangs, 2 Percula Clown, 4 PJ and 2 Banggai Cardinalfish , Swallowtail and Bellus, Flame, Coral Beauty Angels
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Old 09/20/2019, 01:39 PM   #5
pisanoal
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hkgar View Post
Tony,
Thanks for the write up. I was just sitting here thinking about upgrading from my 250's (2 opposing on sides of a 180).

Reduced noise level seems to be the most significant gain by upgrading, but being a bit hard of hearing (comes with the age), noise is not significant consideration for me.

Yeah, I'd say that is the only major benefit. The easier to clean part and the flow directors are nice, but not a reason to spend $500.


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