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AlanM

Interested in Apex/RK controlled d120's?

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It's not old telephone cord.  It's cat5, and I say what they are in my post, blue/white is 0-10v from Apex, green is negative from Apex (ground).  I also describe what those black and red ones are in my post.  I also describe how I pulled the two resistors with no change. 

 

0.25Amps is on the LED light string, not on the Apex or the dimmer lines.  250mA is the lowest current it goes to with the opamp between the Apex and the d120.  When hooked up directly up to the Apex it goes to 170mA on the LEDs. 

 

I don't know if pin6 follows pin3.  I'll check.  What do I reference them both to to check?  Pin 4?

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I missed that apparently since I had the picture open on one screen and the datasheet open on the other, I wasn't actively looking at the post. I should have been.

 

Reference to pin 4, the shared circuit ground. Also, measure Vmin at pin 6 when the Apex is set to max dimming (min brightness).

 

Finally, manually short pin 3 and 4 to see if that drives the light to off. I'm interested in seeing if it's the Apex drive or the rail-to-rail performance of the 741. The 741 was never really a good rail-to-rail performer, but I was hoping that at low current it would do better. If it's the Apex, it may be that it needs to drive into a better load. You don't happen to have an oscilloscope handy that you could look at and characterize the pin 3 voltage, do you?

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I do have an old Fluke Scopemeter that I can check between pins 3 and 4 to see what is coming out.

 

I'm nervous about shorting pins 3 and 4 since the Apex input is on those.  Dave S said the following earlier in this thread:

 

 


The apex 0-10v outputs are super sensitive.. Just shorting the ends when you supply voltage can cause the fets on the board to fry. Curtis admonished me once when he replaced the entire board for me under warranty but said "never again"... I would be super carefuke to ensure this wont cause problems and/or void the warranty.

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Take the Apex offline when shorting pins 3 and 4.

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Glad to see you are mindful of the apex input. I just found out I Apparently messed mine up again and they had to replace some ICs... $60, shipping to CA, and 2 weeks without my apex....

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Ok, so the opamp should still get power from the header pins 2 and 4, and that's what I'm testing right?

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Yes, power from the header. It should be about 12 volts as I recall from your earlier post. Disconnect the drive from the Apex and short pin 3 of the amp to pin 4. Measure the DC volts out of pin 6 relative to pin 4 (which is your circuit ground).

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It seems to work fine just going to the two pins on the d120 and only dimming to 170mA.  I haven't been able to do the tests with the opamp that Tom suggested, but I would like to before the fragfest.  Just don't know when to get the time.  Also, I'd eventually like to make a jumper cable to just go between the dimmer board and the driver so no wires need to be clipped.

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Let me know if you ever figure out the style of that 4 pin connector, I thought it was the same as a PC fan but it doesn't appear to be. Looks like this will work fine with an AquaSurf on the older AC3 controllers too. From the testing I've done so far, it seems there are 13 viable voltage outputs in the 0-10v range an AquaSurf can provide.

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Ok. I am getting more dimmer board from the latest groupbuy to reassemble mine, but I will figure out the connector and try to make up a bunch of jumper cables so one won't have to cut their wires to add 10v dimming.

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Does the dimmer board have to remain connected? Can't I just disconnect it entirely and short pins 1 & 2, then hook up to 3 & 4 via the female connector? I'm not sure why you have to cut the wires?

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It official, this will work just fine with an AC Jr, AC3, or AC3 Pro. What you'll need is an AquaSurf module, that's originally designed to control Tunze pumps. Here are some details:

 

- The PSU that came with my AquaSurf supplies 14.7v (though it's marked as a 9v PSU)

- There will be 13 viable "Intensities" that the AquaSurf can use to control the LED lights

- In order for this to work, here is an example of the program string in my AC:

 

Timer "LED" corrisponds to controller address E01

Timer LT1 is a channel (Blue or White) of my LED light

If Time > 14:30 Then LT1 ON

If Time > 14:30 Then LED PF1

If Time > 15:00 Then LED PF2

If Time > 15:30 Then LED PF3

If Time > 16:00 Then LED PF4

If Time > 21:00 Then LED PF3

If Time > 21:30 Then LED PF2

If Time > 22:00 Then LED PF1

If Time > 22:30 Then LT1 OFF

Pmp MODE sd for PF1

Pmp Int 006/006 for PF1

Pmp OSC 10/10/0 for PF1

Pmp MODE sd for PF2

Pmp Int 024/024 for PF2

Pmp OSC 10/10/0 for PF2

Pmp MODE sd for PF3

Pmp Int 054/054 for PF3

Pmp OSC 10/10/0 for PF3

Pmp MODE sd for PF4

Pmp Int 078/078 for PF4

Pmp OSC 10/10/0 for PF4

 

What all this does is has 4 defined intensities of light that are scheduled to happen at different times durring the day (the AC Jr can only have 4 profiles, AC 6, and AC Pro 7). You can see that at 2:30PM the lights come on, and are set to minimum intensity. At 3:00PM they jump to +/- 30%, then 65% at 3:30, and about 100% at 4:00. After remaining there they ramp back down in backwards order. The only statement that needs changed is the "Pmp Int" statements that define the light intensity.

Here are a list of intensities that the AquaSurf can output (with my 14.7v PSU, a smaller PSU of about 9v will stall at intensity 072)

 

000= 0v

006= .7v

012= 1.36v

018= 2.19v

024= 3.15v

030= 3.68v

036= 4.43v

042= 5.54v

054= 6.66v

060= 7.41v

066= 7.94v

072= 8.9v

078= 9.73v (this is where I would stop because from what AlanM says the control voltage didn't measure above 10v for him)

084= 10.38v

090= 11.13v

 

 

The pinouts for the AquaSurf are as follows (using a standard CAT 5e patch cord)

 

White/Blue stripe wire = P1 + (or P3)

Green/White stripe wire = P1 - (or P3)

White/Orange stripe wire = P2 + (or P4)

Orange/White stripe wire = P2 - (or P4)

Edited by Tink

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So, what's the deal? Is everything here tested and confirmed not to blow things up? Is there some cable that us purchasable / constructable? Would someone mind summarizing this in layman's terms?

 

Thinking of scrapping my long planned out one day DIY build and grabbing a pair of these but still confused reading this? Is there another thread somewhere that has more info?

 

Thanks.

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No guarantees it wont fry anything, but it does seem to work fine to hook it directly up to the two dimmer pins from the apex. I never got the opamp to work right. Some d120s only have the pot on the little board, and nothing else. I dont have one of those, so iI have no idea how those would work.

 

Wiring is left to the reader for now. 8)

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I have the Evergrow Nova A8s. I purposely got the lights with rheostats instead of their fancy controller to save $ and also to hook it up to my Reef Angel. While the dimmer board is more complicated (It has what looks like a 12V PWM generator), the same mod works fine -- short pins 1 (on/off) and 2 (+12V) and then supply 0-10V PWM on pin 3 and tie the grounds on pin 4.

 

I would like to make some jumpers and little boards without cutting off the connectors from the LED drivers.

 

Has anyone found which 4 pin connector these are using? The connector that AlanM shows on the top of his dimmer board is the same as on mine.

 

On the Nova A8 there are 4 LED drivers per unit  -- 2 for blues/2 for whites  -- or whatever colors you have mixed in. Appears you can then do 4 different channels per Nova A8.

 

Here is a pic of my board:

DSC_4172.jpg

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Are you talking about the 4 pin connector on the right hand side of the board? Can you show a closeup of the other side? From the back, it looks like a 4-pin header with pins on 0.1" centers.

 

Sent from my phone

 

 

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I have the Evergrow Nova A8s. I purposely got the lights with rheostats instead of their fancy controller to save $ and also to hook it up to my Reef Angel. While the dimmer board is more complicated (It has what looks like a 12V PWM generator), the same mod works fine -- short pins 1 (on/off) and 2 (+12V) and then supply 0-10V PWM on pin 3 and tie the grounds on pin 4.

 

I would like to make some jumpers and little boards without cutting off the connectors from the LED drivers.

 

Has anyone found which 4 pin connector these are using? The connector that AlanM shows on the top of his dimmer board is the same as on mine.

 

On the Nova A8 there are 4 LED drivers per unit  -- 2 for blues/2 for whites  -- or whatever colors you have mixed in. Appears you can then do 4 different channels per Nova A8.

 

Here is a pic of my board:

DSC_4172.jpg

Interesting that the pin on yours says PWM. Not dim+ or dim-. Yours might be easily controllable by arduino.

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Interesting that the pin on yours says PWM. Not dim+ or dim-. Yours might be easily controllable by arduino.

DSC_4279.jpg

 

here is the top of the board.

There are two connectors and two boards since there are two rheostats on each unit. Each board connects to two Well-Lit LED drivers. As you can see on the pic of the bottom of the board, each connector is simply jumpered together.

 

I have it dimming via the Reef Angel and the PCA9685 PWM chip.

 

Since there are 4 LED dimmers (2 blue and 2 white) you can have 4 channels of dimming and stagger the channels to get better lower levels of light at the far ends.

 

Just want to make some boards up with the same connectors so I don't have to cut the wires on the drivers and can leave the existing boards in place. Not really necessary, but makes undoing the mod a 2 second job.

 

Another option is to put a small arduino powered off the +12V and create a wireless dimmer. I may go that route just for fun. Last year, when I had more time, I made an Arduino compatible board with the RF12B transceivers. You can see them here:

http://scurvyrat.com/2011/09/15/ruby-v1-0b/

and

http://scurvyrat.com/2011/08/06/bejouled-ruby-v1-0a/

They are based on the Jeenode boards.

 

Should be cake to wire one of those in to the light. Then I can send wirelessly from the Reef Angel to set the dimming.

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Are you talking about the 4 pin connector on the right hand side of the board? Can you show a closeup of the other side? From the back, it looks like a 4-pin header with pins on 0.1" centers.

 

Sent from my phone

correct, they are 0.1" pin headers. Just want to see if I can match up to what they are using.

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I didnt check yet on the connector. We have drawers of them at work. I will get back to you. I think Tom is right with a 4 pin 0.1 header.

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