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RKE Setup w/ Chiller, Heater and Fan

Discussion in 'Digital Aquatics' started by jmadd, May 6, 2014.

  1. jmadd

    jmadd Copepod

    I have been reading around the DA Forums and the internet about how to setup the RKE so that it can control my 1/4 HP JBJ Artctica chiller (has built in thermostat & temp probe), heater (w/ built in thermostat), and a fan to blow across the surface of my water for evaporative cooling. I still do not feel confident after cruising several threads, so I am here for local expertise.

    I would like to have my tank's temp to be maintained at 77F +/- one degree. I would first like for the fan to kick on and have the chiller be a back up. This way the fan will run first and then the chiller will kick on in the event that the fan isn't enough to drop the temp back to 77F. Plus this will help reduce number of cycles the chiller goes through each day.

    My biggest concern is having the heater work against the fan and chiller or not having them work efficiently together, for example, the heater is running while the fan or chiller is running etc.

    What would be the best way to set all this up, on the RKE, so that everything works well with each other without these three pieces of equipment having conflicts with each other or their own internal settings and the RKE iTemp?

    All suggestions and feedback is greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance.

  2. deboy69

    deboy69 Barracuda M.A.S.C Club Member

    I can't remember too much about the rk but I would program them separate. Example

    Temp for heater on at 76 and off at 78
    Same with the fan just a degree above. On at 78.5 and off at 79
    Chiller would be on at 79.5 and and off at 78.

    Adjust as you see fit and how much of a spread you would want

    Last edited by a moderator: May 6, 2014
  3. jmadd

    jmadd Copepod

    Thanks for the reply. I understand how to program them in the RKE individually, but how do I set the heater and chiller up since they both monitor the water temperature separate from the RKE temperature probe?
  4. jahmic

    jahmic Shark M.A.S.C Club Member

    Keep them set to temps just outside the ranges programmed in your RKE so that they are guaranteed to be "on" when your RKE switches on the outlet.

    To maintain 77 +/- 1 degree I would do:

    Heater: RKE on at 76, off at 77. Then set the heater up so that its internal thermostat is set to 78. The RKE will shut it off before it gets that high, and if the RKE fails then at least you will only be heating the tank to 78 degrees before the internal Tstat on the heater (hopefully) shuts it down.

    Fan: RKE on at 77.5, off at 77.

    Chiller: RKE on at 78, off at 77. Set the chiller target temp to 77 degrees. The RKE and chiller will both be programmed to turn the chiller on at 78 degrees. And again, the RKE will shut the chiller off before it gets too low; if the RKE fails then you should only be decreasing temp to 76, which is still within your target range.

    Hope that helps...and makes some sense. You should easily be able to keep the equipment from "fighting each other" with that programming.
    Last edited by a moderator: May 6, 2014
  5. jahmic

    jahmic Shark M.A.S.C Club Member

    As an aside...the chiller may be tricky. I had a JBJ mini-Artica chiller, and I'm pretty sure that the target temp reset whenever you cut the power to the unit. I could be wrong...but check on that to be safe. I could be remembering incorrectly, but I wanna say the default auto-off temp on the chiller was 77 degrees. It'd still work for you since it'd cut off at 77 degrees when the RKE also shuts it down...but there may be a slight variance between the chillers internal Tstat and the probe for your RKE.
  6. jmadd

    jmadd Copepod

    Thanks for the detailed response. Everything you say seems like it will work very well. Could you offer some input on how the chiller will respond when the JBJ Arctica chillers operate in the following way; You set the chiller to a target temp, we will use 77, and when the chiller senses the temperature at 78 it kicks on and pulls down the temp to 76 then shuts off. Will this be an issue since there is a 2 degree temperature change that the RKE will sense?
  7. jahmic

    jahmic Shark M.A.S.C Club Member

    In your example, the JBJ just wouldn't be able to run long enough to bring the temp down to 76 degrees. Sorry...forgot they run on 2 degree ranges.

    So basically if you set the RKE to trigger the chiller at 78 degrees, that would turn on the chiller when the RKE probe detects 78 degrees. If the internal Tstat on the chiller (programmed to maintain a temp of 77 degrees) also picked up a 78 degree temp, it would turn on immediately and drop the temp down. The chiller's internal thermostat/programming would "want" to run til it hit 76...but the RKE would shut it off early at your programmed 77 degree mark.

    I don't really see where it would cause any issues. You should revise my description in my previous post to set the chiller's internal Tstat target temp at 77, like you stated. That way it's internal Tstat will be inline with your RKE programming and have it kick on at 78 degrees and the RKE will shut it down before the chiller drops the temp to 76.
    Last edited by a moderator: May 6, 2014
  8. jmadd

    jmadd Copepod

    Sounds like we have come up with the best way to get the heater, chiller and fan to work with the RKE. I'll set this up and let you know how it goes. Thanks for insight. I now feel more confident.
  9. jahmic

    jahmic Shark M.A.S.C Club Member

    That's great! I think you'll really enjoy the automation once it's all setup. Keep us posted :)
  10. jmadd

    jmadd Copepod

    Figured I'd post an update. The set up works like a charm. The chiller wont kick on yet due to the colder weather right now, but I did a test run at lower temperatures, so I am confident that if/when the time comes everything is function as theorized. Thanks for the help!

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