Deluxe 1
AC 3
Deluxe 2
Deluxe 4
AC 2
Universal 1
Universal 2
Deluxe 5
AC 1
Deluxe 6

What can Robo-Tank and reef-pi do?

Did you know you can keep your kidney and still have a fully automated aquarium controller for your freshwater or reef tank?

It's true and Robo-Tank can do it for you too!

Robo-Tank is a reliable hardware solution for the open-source reef-pi aquarium controller software that runs on a Raspberry Pi. The controller available in a DIY kit for those who enjoy getting their hands a little dirty or you can receive it fully assembled in a 3D printed case.

A new era has arrived in aquarium controllers…

Robo-Tank controls the equipment on your reef tank or freshwater aquarium with flexibility, ultimately you can use any sensor parameter, timer or macro to control any equipment using the power of reef-pi.

Robo-Tank Deluxe Aquarium Controller for reef-pi

Compatible Equipment and Sensors

  • Control AC power outlets 120v – 240v
  • Control 12v-24v DC powered equipment
  • Ports that can output PWM or Analog signal at 0-5v or 0-10v to control factory equipment
  • Setup multiple automatic top off systems
  • Setup multiple automatic water change systems
  • Monitor temperature and humidity
  • Monitor pH
  • Monitor various water sensors

Hardware Design

The Robo-Tank aquarium controller was designed to be extremely flexible, affordable and most importantly, reliable. It's constructed using high quality components with various levels of protection built in to ensure it withstands the test of time. It's available bundled in a nicely printed 3D case to protect it from the elements or as a DIY kit. Guaranteed to cover small to large size aquariums with a whopping 42 ports and even more can be added.

4 Layer PCB

4 Layer Circuit Board

Robo-Tank is constructed using a high quality 4 layer PCB with brand name components, our commitment is an affordable controller not lacking in quality and this is a big step in that direction.

The obvious downside to 4 layer circuit boards is the cost but the advantages over 2 layer PCB's is great. 4 layer boards offer excellent durability, improved EMI performance, lower emmisions required by FCC or CE regulations and has a dedicated power plane and ground plane.

pH Probe

Fully Isolated pH Circuit

With the built in pH circuit you can accurately monitor the pH levels in your aquarium and control equipment based on the value, plus you always have the option of adding more.

The circuit is fully isolated on the data and power lines so noise from the controller or other probes in your aquarium won't interfere with each other.

The pH is calculated every 3 seconds using its own dedicated microcontroller and you can perform a 1 or 2 point calibration through reef-pi.

120-240v AC Ports

Control AC Equipment

The controller has two DB9 serial connectors on the side which allows you to plug in two Robo-Tank 120v-240v 6 or 8 outlet AC power bars or any of the available extensions, there's a total of 16 ports available.

All ports are compatible with any standard Arduino relay module, they can be connected directly allowing you to DIY your own AC power bar.

AC outlet 1 and 2 on Power Bar 1 have a dedicated backup float switch port that's wired to bypass the Raspberry Pi and electronics ensuring if the Raspberry Pi, controller or code fails the outlet can still be turned off adding an extra layer of protection. These are great for critical applications such as your automatic top off pump or valves you may be controlling.

Essentially these ports are universal and can technically do anything any other port can by adding a basic circuit. We also offer a variety of extensions to easily repurpose these ports.

reef-pi is also compatible with the tp-link HS103, HS110 and HS300 switchable Wi-Fi AC power outlets.

12v-24v DC Ports

Control 12v-24v DC Equipment

Robo-Tank is loaded with 6 high powered, speed controllable DC ports that are perfect for controlling dosing pumps, water pumps, LED strip lights, valves, cooling fans and whatever else you can come up with.

Each port is protected from inductive loads such as motors and they can operate in a range of 6v-24v depending on DC power supply powering the controller.

DC port 1, 2 and 3 have a dedicated backup float switch port that's wired to bypass the Raspberry Pi and electronics ensuring if the Raspberry Pi, controller or code fails the outlet can still be turned off adding an extra layer of protection. These are great for critical applications such as your automatic top off pump or valves you may be controlling.

Auto Fish Feeder Port

Feeder Port

The controller has a 3.3v port to run an auto feeder, ultimately this port operates like a DC Port but only supports low powered devices under 200mA.

Connect your Eheim feeder or most others that operates at 3.3v, you can find a wiring diagram by clicking here Sorry I don't have diagrams for other feeders.

Selectable PWM or Analog Ports

Selectable PWM or Analog Ports

The controller is fitted with 8 selectable outputs. Each port signal can be changed using the included jumpers. They can put out a 0-5v PWM, 0-10v PWM, 0-5v Analog or 0-10v Analog signal that you can use to controller you LED or other controllable equipment.

These are great for Kessil LED lights, simple black box LEDs, Meanwell drivers and much more.

Level of control will vary based on equipment and some features may not be controllable. Here's a list of some equipment from Bulk Reef Supply.

Ports Extend to 3.5mm Plugs

Selectable PWM or Analog Ports Extend to 3.5mm Plugs

Six of the selectable PWM or Analog ports are extended to three 3.5mm sockets on the side of the controller. Each 3.5mm socket has 2 channels and are compatible with most equipment that has a 0-10v output.

Now you can plug and play using Kessil LED lights, Jebao pumps and much more.

Water Sensor Ports

Sensor Ports

Robo-Tank has 6 ports designated for sensors, 3 are located on the controller and 3 on a small extension. The ports on the controller have 3 convenient pluggable jumpers which allows a variety of readily available Arduino type sensors to be compatible. Set the corresponding jumpers to the sensor type your using, add the pluggable screw terminal connector to your sensor and you'll be set.

Each of the sensors ports are compatible with Arduino type 5v sensors even though the Pi is only 3.3v. Safely use optical, non-contact, float switches or most other Arduino based analog or digital sensor. Please note if you sensor is analog it will only read on or off which is acceptable for most sensor types.

You can also configure these ports for DS18B20 temperature sensors, this allows you to easily add more temperature sensors without needed to share the same signal, this improves overall reliability when using multiple sensors.

Water Sensor Ports Extension

More Sensor Ports

This small module is referred to as a sensor extension, it has 3 ports that are wired for optical sensors and non-contact sensors. With this you can plug these sensor types directly in without needing to cut any wires. These sensors only come with 1.5 feet of cable so this allows you to extend the cable length via an Ethernet patch cable, it's been tested up to 50 feet.

DS18B20 Temperature Sensor Ports

DS18B20 Temperature Sensor Ports

Robo-Tank has 3 temperature ports for the popular DS18B20 sensor. These operate at 5v allowing longer cable lengths.

3 ports doesn't mean 3 sensors though, technically you can run more by adding extras to the same connector, internally they have a unique address that reef-pi uses to identify them. The limiting factor is overall cable length, it's tested with three 5m long sensors with no issues. You can also connect DS18B20 sensors to the sensor ports so they don't share the same signal which is better.

Intergrated Real Time Clock RTC

Intergrated Real Time Clock

You no longer need to rely on a network connection to keep the Raspberry Pi and reef-pi ticking, Robo-Tank has a built in real time clock or RTC that keeps track of the date and time. This improves reliability and allows the controller to run offline and not reliant on a network.

The RTC has a CR1220 battery connected that lasts 5-10 years and ensures you never lose the date and time during power outages.

12v-24v DC Power Input

12v-24v DC Power Input

The controller has its own highly efficient voltage regulator that will power up the controller and Raspberry Pi and keep it protected from short circuits, over/under voltage, reverse polarity and there's an auto resettable fuse to keep everything safe.

You can power the controller using a 12v-24v DC power supply with a standard 2.1mm x 5.5mm barrel connector.

12v DC Power Inputs

Optional Cooling Fan for Raspberry Pi

Although nothing on the controller gets warm the Raspberry Pi does, more so with the Pi 4. Robo-Tank was designed with this in mind so an internal 40mm x 10mm cooling fan can be easily installed and you even have full control over the speed of the fan through the reef-pi interface, this can be useful to silence the fan. Simply mount the fan to the lid and plug it into the controller board. Note you should use 12v or 24v fan based on the voltage of the power supply for controller.
12v Cooling Fan - Amazon affiliate link
24v Cooling Fan - Amazon affiliate link

120v-240v AC Power Bar

Robo-Tank 120v-240v AC Power Bar

This is the Robo-Tank AC power bar, it's available with 8 North American outlets or 6 Universal outlets both of which are compatible with 120v-240v.

The power bars use high quality Omron relays, high quality North American outlets, a replaceable 10 amp fuse and an AC/DC power module to power up relays. The power bar is able to withstand up 10 amps on each outlet or a maximum of 10 amps between all outlets.

Although the power bar has no official approval it has a safe design using a single circuit board, there are no wires internally and the outlets are soldered directly to the board. It can be mounted in the available 3D printed case and designed to be easily removed or use your own custom case.

The AC input connector is your standard IEC-320 socket, same as a desktop computer, and it connects to the controller using a DB9 serial cable. The power bar can also be directly connected to any Arduino or Raspberry Pi for your own projects.

Customer Reviews

The controller board is essentially a shield for any Raspberry Pi with a 40 pin I/O header. If you use a Pi 3 or 4 two of the edges line up with the controller board so you have access to the USB ports, Ethernet, HDMI and audio ports externally when the board is put in a case. You can use a Pi Zero W or Pi Zero 2 W but won't have external access to its ports.

reef-pi Open-Source Software

Dosing Pumps


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