Controller temp calibration

Discussion in 'Equipment' started by HiFidelity, Feb 2, 2014.

  1. HiFidelity

    HiFidelity Guest

    This became an issue for me when I threw 3 glass thermometers, 1 digital thermometer & 1 temp probe from a controller in the same tank and each had a slightly different reading so I began to think "hell, what temp do I calibrate my controller to?" and thus a search began until I came about a cost efficient means by which I hope to achieve an accurate temp calibration, I bought this NSF doohicky;

    but now I am curious, what's your process?
  2. aqua-nut

    aqua-nut Supporting Member

    I gave up on those crummy glass aquarium thermometers some years back. They never agreed with each other!

    I use a similar instant read thermometer. Of course, to be really accurate you need to calibrate it. Easy in boiling water. Should read 212 or 100 depending on your scale preference!

    Even if it's not completely accurate, it's really easy to be consistent from one tank to the other because you are using the same thermometer.

    The manual for my Apex says to calibrate with a 'NIST traceable' thermometer. Might be just a little bit of overkill? :)

    Note the specs for that thermometer is an accuracy of +/- 0.9 degrees F.
  3. HiFidelity

    HiFidelity Guest

    According to the manufacturer it is pre-calibrated as required by NSF standards and they claim that it should not need calibration (we'll see I guess) of course I can verify that in a pot of boiling water. I was aware of the +/- 0.9 degrees but anything more accurate would probably cost me the price of the controller.

    I am wondering if this would be more accurate;

    If you are aware of a product that is more accurate please point me to it, I just purchased the one in my first link last night so I'm sure I can cancel the order before it ships tomorrow...
  4. Kensington Reefer

    Kensington Reefer Supporting Member

  5. HiFidelity

    HiFidelity Guest

    well I have an aquacontroller which is what I was calibrating and my heater is well within the amperage range of my DC8 I was going to buy a heater controller before I got my hands on the Neptune unit but now I'd like to have everything plugged into a single box and nothing else, all these years of power strips and household timers have left me scarred lol
  6. aqua-nut

    aqua-nut Supporting Member

    Sorry, I didn't mean to imply you had made a bad choice. You didn't!

    The glass thermometer you linked to is +/- one degree C. So it's not as accurate as the instant read! If you've ever used one of the glass ones, you remember how easy it is to break and how slow the response is.

    The Apex manual says an appropriate accurate thermometer should cost about $60! I don't think the fish/corals care if the temp is off by a little. I could be wrong!

    What I really like about the instant read is the ability to check many containers of water quickly. In addition, getting rid of those stupid 'aquarium' glass ones is a real bonus.

    A word about using the controller. Set your heater's thermostat to SLIGHTLY above your desired temp. When temp probes fail they tend to report really low temps which might cause the heaters to be on all the time. If the heater's thermostat works (and it should because it's never used with an external controller), the tank won't get to cooking temps before you can correct the situation.

    Similar reasoning behind using two heaters, each less than required for full temp. If one fails on, it shouldn't cook the tank.
  7. HiFidelity

    HiFidelity Guest

    The ThermoWorks digital thermometer came in, stuck it in an ice bath and it read 32.00 so then I stuck it in the tank & calibrated the controller. Considering that it took me 5 seconds to verify my temp it will be easy to make a habit of doing this at least once a month. +/- 0.9 is close enough for me and price wasn't too bad :)
  8. Marc

    Marc Guest

    So where do you guys like to keep your temps at? Or does it depend on the type of coral in the tank?
  9. denzil

    denzil Webmaster

    My tanks are generally between 78-80.
  10. aqua-nut

    aqua-nut Supporting Member

    77.5 to 78.5

    On hot days it will creep up to 80-81. No chiller, no AC. LED lights. Santa Rosa heat waves 3-4 times a year.

    If you had deep water corals or deep water fish you might want to go with cooler temps.
  11. HiFidelity

    HiFidelity Guest

    I'm trying out neptune's seasonal temp table which will vary the temp from 76-80 depending on season
  12. bondolo

    bondolo Supporting Member

    I am using a reef angel controller. My heater, a 500 watt titanium submersible, and small cooling fan on a Ranco ETC and will never use any other system. The Ranco's are bullet proof if you don't damage the sensor cable or probe.

    I have the heater set to go on below 76F and the fan to go on above 78F. According to the reef angel my actual temperature range through the day is 76-81F though most days I don't go above 79F.

    The Thermoworks is a great kitchen thermometer though there's no reason to believe it's more accurate than the Apex thermometers.The Reef Angel thermometers, which are Dallas Semiconductor 1-wire sensors turned out to be quite well matched. I found only one out of six that was off by more than 0.1C from the others and it was only 0.2-0.3C off.

    If the glass thermometer is a good quality one like the one Erin linked would trust the glass thermometer over the bi-metal ones for absolute accuracy.
  13. rygh

    rygh Supporting Member

    +1 on the reef angel sensors being quite good.
    Especially if you add a bit of code to average out 20 or so samples. There seems to be a bit
    of noise, and they jitter a bit.
    HiFidelity likes this.
  14. HiFidelity

    HiFidelity Guest

    I plan to use Reef Angel after my system is built & I can afford the extra luxuries, my budget currently goes entirely towards building a second tank.

    The Apex & Reef Angel thermometers are pretty accurate I'm sure, except I'm not using either of these.
    I was calibrating a Neptune Aqua Controller, which frankly has no sense of accuracy whatsoever pre-calibration, I had my hands on a couple of controllers & a hand full of temp probes, I plugged in both controllers & used a combination of all thermometers with both controllers and not a single one was accurate except for my ballpark calibration I initially made which was .4 degrees off, the rest were off by as much as 5 degrees.

    I might grab the glass thermometer at one point but so far the electronic one reads dead accurate in boiling water as well as ice bath.
  15. kavcheung

    kavcheung Guest

    BRStv says use a couple of thermometers then calibrate to the average

    Sent from my ASUS Transformer Pad TF700T using Tapatalk

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