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Thread: DIY Neptune Apex Breakout box.

  1. #1
    Mr. Reckless
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    DIY Neptune Apex Breakout box.

    Hey guys, While I can't say this is an original idea there are some things I incorporated that may differ. Neptunes Breakout box allows you to add switches via wire clips. A lot of people have reported problems with the clips on the unit and frankly stripped wire going into clips looks like crap. So here is a DIY breakout for your water on floor detectors and Float switches.

    First you will need the following materials

    Parts Needed:
    1 Project Box - Project Box
    2 x 1/8" Mono Panel-Mount Audio Jack (3 per pack) Audio Jack
    20 Gauge Wire - -Wire
    8 PIN Mini Din plug Mini Din OR Order a 8 pin mini-din M/M cable.
    4 pair wire (networking cable)

    When it comes time to add float switches or another type of open/closed circuit, you can wire/solder them to these:
    1/8" Shielded Cable Float switch plug

    Tools Needed:
    Drill
    1/4" Drill Bit
    Dremel or Razor Blade
    Low Wattage Pencil Tip Soldering Gun (you don't need a blowtorch here! A low wattage gun will work fine, and the pencil tip is more precise)
    Solder (I used Electronics Solder)
    Sandpaper (optional if needed)
    Needle Nose plyers
    Heat gun (optional)


    Ok now onto the build
    Last edited by akunochi; 07-15-2011 at 03:10 PM.

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    Mr. Reckless
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    OK step 1: Take apart the Mini-Din plug to reveal the pins. Using a pair of needle nose pliers pinch the pin and PUSH it out of the black pattern holder. Once the pin releases you can pull it out from the other side. Using a heat gun at the solder cup side to heat the plastic can help release the pins. Repeat and pull all 8 (You only really need 7)






    Step 2: Strip back just a small portion of wire sheathing from your 8 wires on the networking cable. You will now solder these wires inside of the solder cup on each pin. Make sure to make the solder joints clean. You have a very small area to reseat these pins so any boogers may cause a short.



    Step 3: Reseat the pins. Make sure you know which wires correlate to which pin position as you do this. The order I used was Orange stripe(1), orange(2), blue stripe(3), green(4), green stripe (5), blue(6), brown(8). In parentheses is the pin location. Pin 7 is unused by the neptune Apex. Brown wire is unused. In the pin out image below from top to bottom left to right the Pin numbers are :

    Top Row : 6, 7, 8
    Middle Row: 3,4,5
    Bottom: 1,2



    Step 3: Ok your cable is done so set that aside for now. Take your project box and using a razor remove the ribs that are inside it. Finish flattening it with sandpaper.

    Before:


    After:

  3. #3
    Mr. Reckless
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    Step 4: Drill 6 holes along the long side of your project box and 1 additional hole where you want your DIN cable to to enter the box.



    Step 5: Insert your audiojacks backward into the project box (Yes soldering ears outside the box). Take the 20 Gauge wire and cut a strip the length of the box plus a couple inches. Remove the sheathing where it will contact the audio jacks. You will be soldering it to the ear opposite the J hook on the audio jack. Leave a tail when done.




    Step 6: Remove the audio jacks and place them in the box the correct way with the grounding wire facing down inside the box.

    Step 7: Cut your DIN cable the length you need it and feed the end without the plug into the project box. Solder the wires to the audio jacks (Remaining ear next to the J hook) that correspond to the pin location of that wire. So in my box Orange Strip was pin 1. I soldered the orange stripe to audio jack 1 (either end however you number them). Then proceed to pin 2, pin 3, pin 4, pin 5, pin 6. The remaining wire that corresponds to Pin 8 gets soldered to the ground wire tail that you left earlier. Once again there is no pin 7 so just clip that wire.

    Last edited by akunochi; 07-15-2011 at 03:42 PM.

  4. #4
    Mr. Reckless
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    Step 8: Take your Madison Float switches and solder the wires to the pre-tinned tails on your audio plugs. It doesn't matter which wire goes where.



    Step 9: Ok time to test.

    First add a virtual switch to your apex base module (Refer to user guide) Go to configure outlet and set the switch# you want to test to

    If Switch# OPEN Then OFF
    If Switch# CLOSED Then ON

    Then go to your Snd Alarm outlet and add the line

    If Switch# CLOSED Then ON

    Where # is the switch plug number 1-6

    Plug in the float switch into the jack you chose to test and place it in the closed position. Your base module should sound an alarm. Repeat for all 6 plugs.

    That's it. You can use this for float switches to manage water changes, ATO etc. Other uses include water on ground sensors, door bells to control lights and any other switch that has an open and closed position using 2 wires.

    Enjoy

    *Some pictures were used from another build thread on another site either because I forgot to take them or mine were unclear.
    Last edited by akunochi; 07-15-2011 at 03:51 PM.

  5. #5
    Mr. Reckless
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    Completed work



    Close up


  6. #6
    Kevin
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    Nice work! looks real neet and tidy! I just screwed all mine to the wall for now and letting the wires hang. I think i'm just exuasted from my home theater project where I spent thousand and thousands on quality cable and trying to keep them all neat...and in the end its a ratsnest still, or at least not as streamlined as I would like.

    Do you have any info on wheather or not you can bundle probe wires to keep them neat? my way is to keep all signal wires seperated a bit but don't don't how much it matter here.

  7. #7
    Mr. Reckless
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    I'm not sure. I doubt it would cause major problems, but then again I have no idea of the shielding on these cables.

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