Anyone using Reef Angel

Discussion in 'Equipment' started by HiFidelity, Jul 19, 2013.

  1. HiFidelity

    HiFidelity Guest

    Hello guys,

    I think I have stumbled across a great deal on a Reef Angel system w/ a rather large relay box (10 outlets) and I am seriously considering picking it up once the seller & I agree on price.

    I have researched different controllers and eventually narrowed my reading down to Reef Keeper, Apex & Reef Angel, it seems that the Apex & Reef Angel are the more capable of the 3, I do not want to shell out the money for an Apex so I've ruled that out and ended up with Reef Keeper or Reef Angel for my options but leaned towards Reef Keeper since Reef Angel new costs almost what the Apex does, I don't love the lack of control of the Reef Keeper when compared to Apex or Reef Angel, but I also have no experience with code and I would have to do some studying in order to use the Reef Angel.

    My question is this, are there any avid Reef Angel users in the club that I can ask question when needed?

    I consider myself technologically inclined; worked as a technician for sprint, built computers my whole life, rewired cars, rewired homes and been a photographer for my whole life so naturally I'm quite used to a difficult learning curve when it comes to software (funny, but that statement reminds me of my time spent in college studying 3d animation) so basically I'm not someone who's afraid to learn something new in the digital age. I actually plan to pick up java script on my free time in the future.

    I only ask because it seems that most people who ask about Reef Angel are answered with "you need to be comfortable with code" but on the bright side everyone who uses one seems to say that you can have all sorts of control w/ Reef Angel in any and which way imaginable, is it really that flexible?

    Your feedback and support of course would never go unforgotten and I will certainly extend myself when and if needed in return, also any sign of available guidance will most certainly affect my decision on this purchase.
  2. denzil

    denzil Webmaster

    I'm pretty sure there's quite a few of us that understand code and are willing to help you out. I'm pretty familiar with these types of systems since my senior project was an embedded systems project which is exactly what these aqua controllers are. Also, I have a Raspberry Pi sitting here not really being paid attention to, haha.

    I imagine the coding shouldn't be too complicated for some of us.
  3. HiFidelity

    HiFidelity Guest

    It comes w/ factory loaded settings & I am told that the RA forums have quite a bit of pre-coded content available but I'm one of those people who always has to have things personalized & adjusted haha so I imagine I will end up learning something completely new just so I can execute one stupid task o_O
    denzil likes this.
  4. zeroinverse

    zeroinverse Guest

    I considered reefangel when thinking about buying another controller for my garage setup.

    At the end of the day, I realized that although I know how to write code, the apex has enough power for me to code what I want in a simple enough manner.

    Reefangel also is very piecemeal and for my configurations (2 pH probes-tankPH & CaRxPH,3 water level switches-low/mid/emergency, 8 outlets, remote display, 1 temperature, & optionally Analog voltage control)... I decided the angel was too many modules.

    With Apex, I have Apex full controller box (with 2 probes, temp, and analog voltage, plug for 8 digital switches), one remote display, and one 8 outlet strip.

    With reefangel, it was like one display/controller (with pH, 2 float switch ports, 3 temp probes), one relay box. By default that is not bad. But I needed to buy a pH module at least and if I wanted analog control, that was another module, which means I need to buy the expansion hub, which is another module.

    So the RA would bring me to 5 modules and I can't put the display on my tank front (or anywhere "display able"

    The apex's remote display looks great velcro'd to my tank and I can easily spotcheck my parameters whenever I pass by my tank.

    Just my thoughts. If RA was designed a bit more like Apex hardware configuration/combination, I would probably go with it, but it's current combination is not great for the way I like to manage my tanks.
  5. denzil

    denzil Webmaster

    I'm personally getting an Apex as well. I like the complete package and would rather spend my time on other personal projects. :)
  6. Coral reefer

    Coral reefer President

    Roberto, maker of reef angel, is a member and a sponsor on here. New hobby is his handle and he is very helpful.
    HiFidelity likes this.
  7. HiFidelity

    HiFidelity Guest

    Thanks for the input guys, I know all the benefits of the Apex and I actually love the interface both software and hardware but the problem like I said earlier is that it's currently out of my budget, perhaps in a year form now after I've purchased all the other important items that I would like to have (couple of LED fixtures, frag tank, plumbing through the house, RO/DI & holding tanks etc. etc.)

    So you can understand why I am seriously considering the RA I'll just go ahead and spill the beans haha; I found the Reef Angel for $100 w/ 2 temp probes, PH probe, 2 float switches, cables, and a 10 outlet relay box, so as is it will do everything I currently need it to do until future upgrades. Even the RKL used goes for almost twice that, which as we know it can't even hold a candle to the Reef Angel system.

    Sounds like I can get some help if I get stuck so between BAR and the Reef Angel forum I should probably be OK at least for now... My tank setup is still very basic and I'm still working on expanding it, so I don't need much beyond light control, heater control, temp & PH monitoring and ATO.
    denzil likes this.
  8. neuro

    neuro Webmaster

    I have a reef angel. I don't believe they make an 10 outlet box. Not sure where you're seeing that.

    If anything, I would get the RA+ if I had to start over. The new libraries are bigger and you can't do much customization without extra memory.

    Also, the ato will cause stray voltage so your ph meter will read incorrectly if placed in the same water the ato is in. I would go for the water level expansion if you can't separate the ato/ph probe.

    Besides that, there is almost nothing advanced that I can't do with the reef angel.

    Oh, got a problem on Sunday afternoon? MSG robert and he'll get back to you ASAP.

    One last thing, anything can go wrong still. Even for someone with decent programming skills.
  9. HiFidelity

    HiFidelity Guest

    So you're saying it can be problematic even when you know what you're doing?
    I'd have to say that's quite discouraging since I like things to always work the way they're intended to...

    In any case, it's not looking like a deal anymore since the seller simply quit responding (hate dealing with people like that)
  10. neuro

    neuro Webmaster

    Yes, it can still be problematic even if you know what you're doing. But my problems consist of things I thought I understood but in reality the functions didn't work they way I expected.

    Sorry it's not working out for you!
  11. HiFidelity

    HiFidelity Guest

    nah no biggie, thanks a bunch for the input...

    worst case scenario I'll end up with the RKL, speaking of which anyone have experience with the RK2? I know it's older but I've never heard much about it.
  12. rygh

    rygh Supporting Member

    I used a reef angel for a while. Quite happy.
    Decided to build my own for fun.

    Decent product, low price, SUPER customizable.
    Add-ons are low cost as well, and since the interface is standard I2C,
    you can actually connect a whole ton of other things.
    In fact, while I built my own, I had both communicating with each other.

    Source code and schematics are provided : AMAZING.
    What other product does that.

    It comes pre-loaded, so is usable as-is.
    Support was good, forums are great, Roberto is nice.

    One issue is that the whole Arduino environment is a bit finicky.
    Especially after the last major upgrade. Not a Reef Angel problem,
    but if you plan on real coding, can be a pain.

    Only downside is that both the product and code are not exactly polished.
    Not saying it is bad, just a bit of a work in progress.
    Oh, and case is not sealed, so beware of moisture issues.
  13. Piper

    Piper Guppy

    I have one and love it. I looked at all the various controllers for several months before I pulled the trigger on my RA and never had an ounce of regret. There is definitely a learning curve for programming the RA but there is a wizard that will get the basics going for you. And, in my opinion, you're not going to find better customer support for a controller. I definitely recommend the RA+ if you're going to buy new. You'll want the added memory.

    I agree that it's not exactly polished (code more so than the hardware) but I find that the features, expandability, and support more than make up for it.

    The only time that happens is if you have a faulty/leaking float switch. That happened to me shortly after implementing them and replacing the bad float eliminated the problem. The other float has been on the tank for ~5 months without issue. The stock floats are probably not top notch quality but easily replaced with quality floats if/when you need to.

  14. neuro

    neuro Webmaster

    Ahh now that's good advice. Where did you get the quality floats?
  15. Piper

    Piper Guppy

    neuro likes this.
  16. neuro

    neuro Webmaster

Share This Page