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Old 01-10-2013, 06:32 PM   #1
Jan 2007
Posts: 140
Liked 2 Times on 1 Posts

I have more hobbies than I care to admit, two of my favorite are brewing beer and my reef tank (saltwater aquarium). In the past few years one of the trends in the reef hobby has been aquarium controllers. Recently I purchased and received my first controller, an Apex Jr which cost about $140. There are more advanced systems that go up to about $500 but this fits my needs. My controller has 4 outlets along with a processor and web server which allows me to control lights, heater, and pumps. It also includes a temperature probe. Here is a picture:

I am able to control and view stats on my reef tank via any computer with a web browser and there are also apps for iOS and Android. The outlets are each highly programable for instance you can set the heater to operate or not operate based on the temperature of the water taken by the temperature probe. The unit also keeps a record of temperature and can show it in a graph form. From the dashboard or apps you can instantly see the status of any outlet and also control it. Here is a picture of the dashboard, as you can see you can also add a feed from an ip camera:

So as I am driving today and excited about my new reef tank controller I begin to wonder if it wouldn't be the ultimate fermentation temperature controller? A Ranco two stage temperature controller cost $140...same price as the Apex Jr. but I think the Apex Jr would offer so much more.

1. The Apex Jr has 4 outlets so it could control two fermentation chambers...two coolers and two heaters. No different than what the majority of us do with our temperature controllers now. Plug the freezer in one outlet and in my case a small heater in the other.

2. The Apex Jr comes with a temperature probe that is submersible in saltwater so I would assume the same would be true for the wort. No more worrying about taping the probe to the side of your fermenter or buying a thermowell just drop it in the fermenting wort.

3. The Apex Jr is HIGHLY configurable...I have only had mine a day so I have a lot to learn but you can set up emails alarms...maybe an alarm if you temperature gets over 80 degrees or something similar. Maybe you are out of town and you want to move your temperature down 2 can do that from your phone. How about an IP camera in your fermentation chamber so you can see it from work? If it's dark you could use on of the 4 outlets on the controller to turn a bulb on and off from anywhere you are.

I think for the same price as we are now paying for ranco this offers much more. Another think that interests me that I need to learn more about is an expansion module for the system that checks salinity which is measured in specific gravity although the module reports a conductivity value which would need to be is the module:

Not sure if it would work for beer but how cool would it be to monitor SG from your comptuer? I am going to post on the Neptune forum to get a little input as to how the temperature probe would fair in wort but I may just buy a second one of these and give it a try with my beer.


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Old 01-10-2013, 07:43 PM   #2
dannyhawkins's Avatar
Jul 2012
San Antonio, Texas
Posts: 190
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This is great!

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Old 01-10-2013, 08:06 PM   #3
Aug 2012
Posts: 193
Liked 49 Times on 26 Posts

If you love your motorcycle, set it free. If it comes back and hits you, you high sided.

"Gave my 500ml Pacman starter that I made last night a hug and wished it a good day before I headed off to work. He's growing up so fast!! Will be a 2liter starter by Saturday and will probably start ignoring me, think he knows it all and end up knocking up some skanky belgain strain before I know it." ~BigTerp

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Old 01-10-2013, 08:08 PM   #4
Sep 2012
Silver Spring, MD
Posts: 636
Liked 123 Times on 88 Posts

I'm listening.
For they garner the succulent berries of the hop and mass and sift and bruise and brew them and they mix therewith sour juices and bring the must to the sacred fire and cease not night or day from their toil, those cunning brothers, lords of the vat. -James Joyce

On deck: Orange Cranberry Wit, Dusseldorf Altbier
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Secondary: none
Bottles: Northern Brown Ale, 1/10; English IPA, 12/31; Cider, 12/9; White House Honey Ale AG, 12/9;

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Old 01-10-2013, 08:22 PM   #5
Jan 2012
Ortonville, MI
Posts: 154
Liked 15 Times on 11 Posts

[QUOTE how cool would it be to monitor SG from your comptuer? Mike[/QUOTE]

Real Cool! I'm all ears.

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Old 01-10-2013, 08:32 PM   #6
Psych's Avatar
Mar 2011
Kelowna, BC
Posts: 780
Liked 37 Times on 34 Posts

I was going to come in here and denounce your controller for being subpar to the STC-1000 Ebay Temp/Aquarium Controller but you win, this looks sweet action if you feel OK with putting out $120 more than the STC-1000. That's a nice feature set for sure and no wiring needed.

Good find!

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Old 01-10-2013, 08:46 PM   #7
Dec 2012
waterloo, iowa
Posts: 117
Liked 7 Times on 7 Posts

PLEASE for the love of god. Keep us updated. Thank you for the info

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Old 01-10-2013, 08:55 PM   #8
Editor-in-Chief, Zymurgy magazine
QuaffableQuips's Avatar
Sep 2009
Fort Collins, Colorado
Posts: 397
Liked 28 Times on 23 Posts

This sounds fantastic. Look forward to hearing what you do with it!

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Old 01-10-2013, 09:06 PM   #9
blange3's Avatar
Nov 2010
Woodbridge, NJ
Posts: 15

We share hobbies and I have often thought of doing the same thing with a leftover AC Jr. But I also bought an STC-1000.
Peace Love Brew Crew

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Old 01-10-2013, 09:09 PM   #10
Jan 2007
Posts: 140
Liked 2 Times on 1 Posts I missed one thing, you would only be able to control one fermentation because you only have one temperature probe, but you still have 4 outlets.

Check out this video....although it obviously talks about controlling a fish tank the controller doesn't care what it controls it's just a box following instructions.

I posted over on the neptune forum to see if I could get a bit more information about the probe and if it could be submerged in wort.

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