A new era has arrived… Did you know you can keep your kidney and still have a fully automated system on 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 software that runs on a Raspberry Pi. It's available in a complete DIY kit for those who enjoy getting their hands a little dirty or you can receive it fully assembled in a 3D printed case.
What can Robo-Tank do?
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.
- Control AC power outlets 120v – 240v
- Control 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
Robo-Tank 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.
Fully Isolated pH Circuit
With the built in highly accurate pH circuit you can monitor your aquarium and control equipment based on the pH 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 or use the available Linux script to store the calibration data on the microcontroller ensuring your calibration is never lost.
Control AC Equipment
The controller has two DB9 serial connectors on the side which allows you to easy connect two Robo-Tank 120v-240v 6 or 8 outlet AC power bars, 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.
Essentially these ports are universal and can technically do anything any other port can by adding a basic circuit. Coming soon I will have extensions so it's easy to repurpose them.
reef-pi is also compatible with the tp-link HS103, HS110 and HS300 switchable Wi-Fi AC power outlets.
Control DC Equipment
Robo-Tank is loaded with 7 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 3v-12v however using an external power supply or regulator you set the max voltage between 6v and 30v.
Three DC ports have a dedicated backup float switch port that are wired to bypass the Raspberry Pi and electronics ensuring if a Raspberry Pi, controller or code fails you'll still have protection. These are great for critical applications such as your automatic top off pump or valves you may be controlling.
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 400mA.
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
The controller is fitted with 8 selectable outputs. Each port signal can be changed using the handy dip switches. 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 so 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.
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 two convenient pluggable jumpers which allows a variety of sensors to be compatible and lowers the chance of needing extra resistors. Set the two 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.
More Sensor Ports
This small module is referred to as an optical sensor extension, it has 3 ports that are wired for optical sensors. Using this you can plug the sensors directly in without needing to cut any wires. The module plugs into the controller via a USB port so you can extend the range of the sensor easily, and has been tested up to 50 feet using optical, non-contact and float switches.
The optical extension is compatible with other sensors by adjusting some solder jumpers on the board, set the jumpers, re-wire you sensor to the port pinout and you'll be set. These 3 ports are considered auxiliary and can be used for other features, soon I will have a variety of extensions that plug in.
DS18B20 Temperature Sensor Ports
Robo-Tank has 3 temperature ports for the popular DS18B20 sensor. These operate at 5v ensuring you can run the maximum cable length.
3 ports doesn't mean 3 sensors though, technically you can run many 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, the controller has been tested with three 5m long sensors with no issues. If you find you hit the limit you can always configure another port that you might not be using and setup another sensor bus.
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.
It has two convenient inputs, use a 12v DC power supply with your standard 2.1mm x 5.5mm barrel
connector or any other 12v DC power supply with the easy to use pluggable screw terminal connector.
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.
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 but won't have external access to its ports.