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Aquacontroller owners

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tonym

Member
Joined
Jul 18, 2003
Messages
12
Location
West Seattle, WA
For those of you that own an Aquacontroller, what VHO and Metal halide ballasts are you using? I'm current fighting a battle of noise/interference being emmited by my VHO ballast (ARO AS-220). As soon as the ballast turns on, my temperature reading drops 3 degrees. I've contacted Curt at Neptune, and he suggested ensuring ground to the ballast, adding EMI/choke filters, but this has not completely solved the problem. I think my only other option at this time is to replace the ballast with a different one. I'm thinking Icecap 430, but I wanna make sure I'm not going to run into this problem again.

Thanks,

Tony
 

DonW

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Joined
Dec 15, 2003
Messages
8,753
Location
Tacoma, WA
Use an extension cord and run it to a outlet on a different phase. If this works its in the power line or if you have an older electric dryer turn it on and see if it fixes it. If it doesnt its noise and can be shielded with a aluminum box. If it does fix it use a PLC type filter made for x-10.

Don


Don
 

tonym

Member
Joined
Jul 18, 2003
Messages
12
Location
West Seattle, WA
Thanks for the quick response Don.

Just wanna make sure I understand, your saying that if I have the ballast plugged into a different phase than the Aquacontroller, and it fixes the problem, then its in the power line and can be filter out with a noise filter, and if it doesn't then the ballast is emitting noise and can be resolved by enclosing it in an aluminum box?

Thanks again,

Tony
 

DonW

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Joined
Dec 15, 2003
Messages
8,753
Location
Tacoma, WA
Yes exactly. You do have to get the right filter, not just a RF choke. The choke is nothing more than a capacitor you need diode's. The PLC units sold at smarthome.com work well.

Don
 

tonym

Member
Joined
Jul 18, 2003
Messages
12
Location
West Seattle, WA
Well, I determined that the noise is in the AC line, so I bought the 10 Amp version X-10 filters from smarthome, and to my suprise, it didn't help at all. The choke filters I got from radio shack help to about a 1 degree difference, but not a thing from the X-10 filter. These are the filters you were talking about right Don?

Thanks,
 

DonW

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Joined
Dec 15, 2003
Messages
8,753
Location
Tacoma, WA
tonym said:
Well, I determined that the noise is in the AC line, so I bought the 10 Amp version X-10 filters from smarthome, and to my suprise, it didn't help at all. The choke filters I got from radio shack help to about a 1 degree difference, but not a thing from the X-10 filter. These are the filters you were talking about right Don?

Thanks,

Sorry I guess I should have warned you about some of the cheap stuff. That is typical smarthome junk. The Leviton is the best. I use the whole house unit. Here is a good one http://www.smarthome.com/4835.html

Don
 

tonym

Member
Joined
Jul 18, 2003
Messages
12
Location
West Seattle, WA
I was afraid of that. That unit you recommended is the unit I was initially going to get, but for some reason I was afraid that It couldn't handle the current. I do like the idea of wiring these inline with the ballast (doesn't take away plug space).

Well, lets send these back and see what the leviton units do.

Thanks again.
 

DonW

R.I.P.
Joined
Dec 15, 2003
Messages
8,753
Location
Tacoma, WA
Before you spend more money try this: If you have an old car speakers lying around. You need the large magnet with the hole in the middle (donut). Run your cord through the hole 3 or 4 times, just in, out around and back. If it goes away then great its magnetic interference.
Dont forget to check your panel. In order for chokes, or filters of any design to work your ground needs to be on the same buss as neutral.
I assume when you changed phase it went away. Also be sure that you are filtering the right device. What I mean is that your controller should filter some noise on its own,the ARO could be just part of your noise problem on that phase tipping the scale.
Also try moving the filter to the power supply to the controller, catch it where its going in not comming out.

Don
 

tonym

Member
Joined
Jul 18, 2003
Messages
12
Location
West Seattle, WA
Hi Don, thanks for all the great suggestions. I definitely feel that I made sure that the noise was coming from my ballasts and not another source. When I first was trying to diagnose this problem, I had several power cords that were running next to the ballast power cord, and I was getting mixed results when testing the other phase. I then removed my canopy and set it a few feet from the tank. I did this to make sure that there was no chance the interference was "bleeding" through other power cords or power strips. I then plugged the ARO ballast using an extension cord to another phase on my house, and the problem went away. I then plugged in the power supply of the aquacontroller to the same extension cord, and as expected, the temp reading dropped. I then tried several combinations with the X-10 filters (using the extension cord on the other phase). Plugging the power supply to the filter, plugging the ballast to the filter, plugging both to filters, nothing. I then removed the filters and added a couple chokes to the ballast power cord, and it improved the reading to about a .6 degree difference. That is where I left it, assuming the filters were not working.

I just checked my panel and luckily its on the same buss. I unfortunately do not have car speakers lying around, but I assume the choke's are essentially the same thing, just not as strong.

I'm tempted at this point to take my canopy and aquacontroller to work and / or to a neighbors house to see if there's a difference, that way I can verify it's not my house wiring.
 
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