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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
http://www.aptinstruments.com/pdf/SP100FOPS.pdf
I've been looking into things, and might make this my next project. I would get a sprinkler system timer ($20) that would send a 24 volt signal for one or more minutes (depending on dose) to up to 4 pumps (with the model I picked). I would use a transformer to convert the 24v to 110v to drive the Peristaltic Pump listed above (I think, don't know to much about electronics)? I think the sprinkler controller uses standard plugs on the 24 volt side (I've never touched a sprinkler controller)? Total system would cost under $100 (depending on number of pumps). Compared to what these guys are doing,
http://www.automatedaquariums.com/
Greg
 

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Ingenious devices meant mostly for steady, long-term delivery of solutions. I had many a chance to see them in action this summer during visits to a friend in hospital on a ventilator. It strikes me that there should be some device that fits the gap between the Eheim Liquidoser (a once or more times daily delivery system) and a peristaltic pump plus controller/timer. Therein lies the chance to invent something....

Given a choice between an auto-doser or an automatic water changer, I would take the latter. Usually, I can program family members to deliver vials of chemicals on a once- or twice-a-week basis :)

Andrew Cribb
 

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My limited electrical knowledge makes me think you'd need to add in some form of relay that would be triggered by the 24v sprinkler timer to switch on a 110v power source.

I have something (home made from RadioShack parts) in that vein hooked up in my home theater that uses a 12v trigger signal from my receiver to trip a relay that sends power to my power amp. Essentially it's a black box that plugs into a wall outlet. On it is an outlet (that my amp plugs into) that only gets power when the 12v trigger signal from my receiver trips the relay. Powering off the receiver opens the relay and cuts the power to the amp.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
I guess for an extra $6 bucks the pump listed earlier comes with the power plug. You could then just get a simple electronic timer at home depo to control it,
http://www.reefgeek.com/products/categories/lighting/104174.html
Tom, so which two? A bottle of Po4 and No3 mixed together, and then one for the micros (alternating days)? That wouldn't cause any problems with chemicals interacting?
Greg

Thomas Barr <[email protected]> wrote:
The automatic level controller that cost 59$ is a great addition for anyone wanting to do the automatic water changes with the sump or without one. A timer can drain a tank once or twice weekly and refill, run the tap water supply for the refills through a carbon filter(20$) prior to entering the tank.

You can use a float switch also, but this method can use remote pumps, reserviors etc.

A two pump system is about all you need for dosing. X-10 controllers can do a lot also.
Eventually I'll get the set up set the way I want.
Once I do that, things will run pretty smooth and I'll just garden and procrastinate that instead.

Light
CO2
Dosing
Water changes

Not much left then except pruning and fish feeding which can easily be automated also.
It would be nice to have it all intregrated and data logging also. But for each nutrient that would get expensive and tough. pH, Temp etc, I'm not concerned about, NO3, NH4, Ca, Mg, PO4, DO etc I am.

Now for an "automated gardener"....hehe.
Interesting site though.

Regards,
Tom Barr
 

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IUnknown,
Thanks so much for the link to APT Instruments. I have wanted to automate the liquid ferts dosing in my 240 and my 30 cube tank for some time, but the only alternatives seemed to be really expensive dosing pumps ($300+) or the refurbished IV pumps (expensive as well) or the Aqua Medic fixed rate dosing pump, which has too high a flow rate (3 liter/hr) for dosing my micros/macros.

The SP100 pumps are just the ticket. I only dose 2 ml/day in the 30 gallon and that pump in the lowest cycle/min with the 1/32" ID tubing allows me to dose that 2 ml over a period of about 30 minutes, which is great.

That is the problem with automating liquid ferts for smaller planted tanks. Most dosing pumps available are too high flow or just too expensive.

Anyways, I ordered two of the SP100s, with the case and the US power cord. The one for the 240 gallon has larger ID tubing than the other. I should have them next week. Hook each one up to a digi timer and I'm all set.

Thanks again for the link. A low cost, accurate, low volume delivery peristaltic pump. Fantastic!

Dave
 

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Dave, would be very interested in knowing how it goes... I'm also looking around for a way of automating fert dosing.
 

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I agree with using a relay rather than a voltage converter. You can also get digital timers that don't have any "minimum" ON time, you have to read the box but some you can turn on and off for just a minute. Some of the appliance timers have a minimum of 5-10 minute intervals. But you can pick up used IV pumps with built in timers on ebay for around $50, these have worked well for me in the past.

Giancarlo Podio
 

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Just so I'm sure I understand how these work :? :

There are two tubes that come out of the pump, one goes into the container of a liquid you want to dose and the other goes into the aquarium. When the pump is on, it will "drip" x ml/minute of the liquid into the aquarium. Therefore, using a timer, you turn it on and then off after it doses the amount you want. For example, if the pump is rated at 1ml/minute and you want to dose 3ml per day, you just use the timer to turn the pump on for 3 minutes once a day?

Is the above about right? If so, how does one "prime" the pump? I mean in order for it to start dosing, the liquid must be drawn up from the holding container and then into the aquarium no?

Also, because of the way the pump works, it can actually be under the aquarium, in the stand?

Thanks! :D
 

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Laith,
These pumps self-prime. Technically there is only a single tube with one end going into the solution bottle and the other into the aquarium. The pump actually works by having a series of spindle mounted rollers create a vacuum in the tube which pulls the liquid out of the bottle.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
"Technically there is only a single tube with one end going into the solution bottle and the other into the aquarium."

Some refurbished pumps add two lines on one pump (for dosing equal amounts). After the initial priming, they stay primed.

Also, because of the way the pump works, it can actually be under the aquarium, in the stand?
Yes, with a check valve and a tee you can dose in-line of you canister tubing.
 

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IUnknown said:
"Technically there is only a single tube with one end going into the solution bottle and the other into the aquarium."

Some refurbished pumps add two lines on one pump (for dosing equal amounts). After the initial priming, they stay primed.
Point taken, but it's still one tube per solution, unlike an impeller-driven pump where there are dedicated inlet and outlet lines. It's nice that with this type of pump you can add additional tubes without cross contamination.
 

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Ok, thanks, I think I understand how they work...

Still wondering how to get the dosing right though. Let's say I've got it running up to the point where the fert mix has reached the end of the tube going into the aquarium. Then I set it up to dose 5ml per day. Isn't the fert liquid going to drip out of the end of the tube that's feeding the aquarium, even with the pump off? Or are the tubes narrow enough where surface tension of the liquid doesn't allow it to move with the pump off?

These pumps seem to be exactly what I want! :D

Quick question: are they noisy when they're on?
 

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Laith,

I don't know if you noticed, but you can order these pumps with a European power plug on them. Nice!

I bought some 1/16" 90 degree elbows and norprene tubing from ATP Instruments along with the pumps. I am going to have the tubing go up and then use one elbow at the top outside of the tank frame, connected to another elbow on the inside top of the frame. The assembly will hang there and the fert will just drip into the tank. No need to have the tubing in direct contact with the water.

I guarantee you it wouldn't drip out of the tubing. Even if it did, it would be consistent in the amount lost, so you'd still be dosing the same amount of ferts each day anyways.

That will be the setup for the 30 gallon. The 240 has a sump so I'll just drip the ferts into that with the second pump.

These are probably very quiet pumps. I'll post a follow up after I get them, which should be tomorrow.

Regards,
Dave
 

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Hi everyone,
I got the pumps a few days later than I thought, but all is well. I hooked them up and basically used a timer to measure how many minutes it took them to dispense the appropriate amont of fert, then just divided up the total time by three, and set the digital timer to come on three times a day for 1/3 the total time needed. So each pump doses 1/3 the daily amount three times a day.

Nice when you need thirty minutes to dose 2 ml. of TMG into a 30 gallon tank, hehehe!

I'll check the flow rate periodically to make sure they are calibrated correctly.

Once again, the website for the pump company is www.aptinstruments.com. I am a satisfied customer.
 

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Thanks for the update Dave.

So, are they quiet?

Also, what fert mix are you using? I was wondering if one can mix trace elements (ie plantex CSM+B) with KNO3, K2SO4, PO4 etc due to chemical "incompatability" or something?

Or does one need several pumps?
 

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Laith,
The pumps are so quiet you don't know they are running unless you see them. Most, if not all, peristaltic pumps are like this.

I dose Tropica MasterGrow only. I add some powder Seachem Alkaline Buffer and Equilibrium to keep the GH/KH in line.

I really cannot help you with the compatibility of the chemicals you use. I think the main problem, if there is one, would be some kind of precipitate forming if you mix all the chemicals together.

My main issue was forgetting to add the Tropica MasterGrow. Not a problem now.
 

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Great. I definately need to check into this. Not only good for regular dosing but also less hassle if one is away on a trip! :D
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
DIY Automated dosing/topoff

I'm planning to finally order this stuff. Here is the journal that I've written up,

For under $100, you can put together an automated dosing or evaporated water top off system. The system I designed allows me to dose 1mL up to 14mL of fertilizer, into my canister filter line, any day of the week. For a top off system, measure your average evaporation and determine how much R/O water to add using the SP100 cut sheet. I use a simple digital timer, the DT17 (available at HD), to dose (minimum of one minute). The SP100 Peristaltic Pump is available from http://www.aptinstruments.com. I selected the 15 RPM motor that uses 1/16" ID Norprene tubing to dose .9 mL per minute. I could have used silicone to get closer to 1 mL per minute but I was worried about back pressure in my canister filter. I've added a check valve and TEE to feed the fertilizer directly into my canister. The following is a list of adapters that I got from www.ryanherco.com. You can also simply dose the fertilizer straight into the tank.

http://www.aptinstruments.com/pdf/SP100FOPS.pdf
http://www.intermatic.com/images/instruction_sheets/dt17.pdf

1/16" tubing neoprene 2'
1/8" tubing neoprene 2'
1/4" tubing neoprene 2'
0706-103 1/8"x1/16" reducing connector
0706-153 1/4"x1/8" reducing connector
5111-0-03 PP tubing check valve 1/4"
0715T-050 1/4"x1/4"x1/2" polyethylene TEE

 
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