Heater boiled everything in my 100g tank.

Discussion in 'Equipment' started by juanfdezdc, Jan 5, 2019.

  1. scuzy

    scuzy Supporting Member

    The ranco are ready wiring. You just need and extension cord and that's about it. Maybe a a wire nut to make it not move around.

    I've wired 4 now it's not hard feel free to send me a message if you get stuck.

    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk Pro
  2. Vincerama2

    Vincerama2 Supporting Member

    You know, this is silly, but I actually have an old Aquacontroller Jr which I use simply for checking the temperature of the tank. I really should just connect the power thingy (if I can find it) and plug the heaters into it. I mean, what the heck I bought the stupid thing, I should probably actually use it ... after uh 10-15 years. It should still work, but who knows. Maybe that's all I need.

    I thought the Ranco thing you had to open it up and wire in the input 120 and the output. I mean, you could take an extension cord, and cut it in half, then wire it into the Ranco?

    I found the Ranco instructions here


    If the AC Jr doesn't work or I can't find the parts, I'll go Ranco.

    And I will message you if I get stuck!

  3. xcaret

    xcaret Guest

    Ranco are easy to wire, there's no going wrong with them.
  4. sfsuphysics

    sfsuphysics Supporting Member

    To follow up, Vince is 100% correct the Ranco controllers are NOT plug and play. Sure it might be easy, sure it might not take much to do it, but it's not one of those open the box, and plug it in and you're good to go type of situations.

    That said the AC Jr could work just fine. But you do have to worry about how much heating you have on each plug. Arcing is the devil with continuous high current devices like heaters, and in a humid environment that we typically have controllers in is perfect for arcing.
  5. JVU


    I’ve had good luck with the InkBird controllers as the redundant system. No "easy" wiring required, and less expensive.
  6. Vincerama2

    Vincerama2 Supporting Member

    Hi Mike (and sorry for the thread jacking), what do you mean by arcing?

    Oh and as a side note, I swapped out all my metal halides to new LED fixtures because I noticed that every time I touched the reflectors of any of them, I'd get an electric shock. It was time to put them out to pasture. A multimeter showed voltage from reflector to water!! Hey, who knows, maybe there is a leaking heater in there and the reflectors were actually just providing a path to ground.

    OK, back on topic ...

  7. rygh

    rygh BOD

    Wow, major sympathies. It would be horrible to lose a tank like that.


    You can buy pre-wired Ranco. controllers


    Heaters are basically a wire resistive loop. The resistance in a wire is much lower when cold.
    So when they first go on, there is a large inrush current.

    As relays close (turn on), you get a spark across the gap, which generates a lot of heat, like an arc welder.
    The more current, the more heat.

    Combine that, and you can easily get relays essentially arc welding themselves together.
    At least a little. And the small springs in small relays are no match.

    * However : With cheap heaters, it can often be the electronics that fail.
    They are lumped in right next to the heater, and may also get wet if anything leaks.


    Me: I am paranoid about that also.
    The Apex has a relay.
    The heater also has a relay, and is plugged into the Apex.
    I use heaters that have an external sensor and relay, not combined in one rod.
    And I use two separate heaters and two Apex ports.
    So any one relay can fail, on or off, and the tank will be fine.
  8. sfsuphysics

    sfsuphysics Supporting Member

    Also as an outlet gets older the expanding and contracting due to the heating/cooling causes it to not be as tight, then when you get those humid conditions all it takes is a small gap for electricity to move from one conductor to another, this is "arcing" and this actually creates way more heat than electricity (current) flowing through a conductor which can melt things very easily.

    I have one such outlet on a controller that no longer exists as a result of this... of course I'm taking blame on that because I plugged a 1000 watt heater into it. Still have that heater, but that's for emergencies only. But I have plenty of melted holes on those DJ power strips outlets from years of having 250W+ heaters in them.
  9. rygh

    rygh BOD

    Maybe. But I am betting it was more about corrosion and simply overloading a poorly designed power strip.
  10. scuzy

    scuzy Supporting Member

    Tell that to the ink bird I had running for 2 months and now it's if by 6 degrees.

    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk Pro
  11. bondolo

    bondolo Supporting Member

    You can get the Rancos with the extension cord already attached. I've bought most of mine that way. I did have to wire up one of them which I got used but with a sacrificial computer extension cable that I cut the end off and was able to figure out the instructions from a video: (the one I watched was different but this one seems OK, there are several to choose from).
  12. jccaclimber

    jccaclimber Supporting Member

    Some additional thoughts on temperature controllers and electronics in general:
    1) Not that it matters, but 6 of the 8 outlets on EB8s (not EB832s) are triac, not relay. You can also pick up a solid state relay fairly easily.
    2) Heater controllers having a somewhat loose control aren't a huge deal if they are your backup. If your tank normally runs at say 78°F and has the cutoff kick in at 80 or 84 instead of 82 that isn't a huge deal, and hopefully you notice something is off. It's preventing it from leaping to 92 that you want.
    3) You can still have your heaters regulating different portions of the tank, just have the master control a couple degrees warmer instead of having the individual heater controls warmer than the master.
    4) TEST YOUR SAFETY SYSTEMS! I can't stress this enough. I've had at least one case where someone set a remote probe as a backup, the remote probe ended up outside the tank, and several months went by. Fortunately the primary control didn't fail so it didn't matter, but your safeties are only good as long as they are working, and both methods of control have known failure modes that should be periodically checked for.
    5) I no longer advocate putting electronics you care about under a stand unless they are isolated from the sump humidity and vented to the outside. Personally I'm slowly heading towards putting all of my electronics above the tank, or at least next to it by such a distance that any spills near the tank cannot get to the outlets. A drip loop doesn't save you long term when you keep the entire outlet in an area that gets splashes, spills, salt creep, or even salt mist. Once there is salt inside the outlet it's just a matter of time.
    JVU likes this.
  13. Flagg37

    Flagg37 Supporting Member

    I had my electronics outside the sump area but it was all connected to the outlet that was inside the sump area. I did install an outlet cover that is for exterior use, so drips and splashes weren’t an issue but it doesn’t do much for humidity.
  14. jccaclimber

    jccaclimber Supporting Member

    Agreed about the humidity. Ideally even outlets are outside the sump area, and everything is on a GFCI. Sure a nuisance trip is a real risk, but so are electrocution and house fires. On one of the prior iterations of my 170 I ended up installing a plywood wall in the stand next to the sump. All of the electronics were on one side, open to the outside, and the sump was on the other. Even with lids on the sump I still ended up with salt eventually getting all over the wet side of the wall. I would have thought it would remain clean, but obviously this was not the case, and I wasn't even sealed.
    The great flaw with that particular setup as it turned out was that when water dripped down the side of the tank and wicked along the stand it still ended up on the "dry" side of the wall. Had I kept it up longer I would have eventually shielded it with plastic.
  15. juanfdezdc

    juanfdezdc Supporting Member

    Finally last weekend I was able to get all the water parameters to a normal level so on Wednesday this week I bought 2 damsels (cheap but resistant fish) and some invertebrates and they all did well, so today I got a yellow tang (couldn't resist) and a zoa frag and also doing great.
    In addition the user Hermit kindly gave me yesterday a frag of a green birdnest and seems to be doing good also.

    So the restart has started! So happy about it!
  16. xcaret

    xcaret Guest

    Glad the tank has settled and can support beautiful life again!
    Members-only swap is coming up! But before that there’s the Coral Farmers Market next month.
  17. juanfdezdc

    juanfdezdc Supporting Member

    Thanks Mario again for your help.
    Yes, I'm looking forward both events! One year ago this is the time my tank was empty and thanks to both events I was able to start all the corals in it.
  18. Coral reefer

    Coral reefer Past President

    Damsels? I'd remove them before you add other fish. They are assholes and you will almost definitely regret having them at some point.
  19. jccaclimber

    jccaclimber Supporting Member

    I second that.
  20. xcaret

    xcaret Guest

    More than welcome Juan.

    What Mike says; I don't like the idea of damaels as "test pilot" fish but they should've been given a different common name honestly; they are more suited for an aggressive system than a community reef.

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