The Electrical Needs of the 280g Reef
How my 280g reef is powered...from August 2004 to June 2007: I had a lot of power cords that needed to be plugged in, and I wanted something tidy and water resistant. This cabinet affixed to the wall housed everything, including some handy switches to toggle gear on and off. With the door swung closed, it hid most everything and keep it clean.
From left to right, top row:
- VHO, MH Left, MH Middle, MH Right, EMPTY
- X10 controller, Heater, Heater, pH Controller/MaxiJet1200, Co2 Shutoff/Mag 7(calcium reactor circulation)
- Grounding Probes, EMPTY, EMPTY, Aqua Controller II, EMPTY
- Tunze Stream, Phosban Reactor, Euro-Reef Skimmer, Tunze Stream, Return pump
Each outlet has a small label on the coverplate. T1 - T8 are the top 8 switches on the DJ Power Center. B1 - B8 are the bottom 8 switches.
Each switch is labeled so that I can turn off the appropriate device. When I need to turn off the skimmer, I don't have to unplug two Sedra 5000 pumps. I flip the switch and both pumps shut off. And if I have to find the right plugs, I match the button to the correct outlet and know what the plug goes to. So if I turn off B3, the plugs go to the skimmer. If I turn off T3, all equipment associated with the Calcium Reactor is shut off at once, which is really nice.
The top powerstation is plugged into a 20amp GFCI circuit, and the bottom one is not. Since a GCFI can trip (and that includes even a nuisance trip), I don't want it shutting down the tank. Everything plugged in the top unit is something that might possibly hurt me, like the heaters or my accidentally pulling the light rack into the water. I want the breaker to trip and save my life.
The white modules you see are X-10 devices. Using my Aqua Controller II (by Neptune Systems), it talkes to the main module (T1). That module talks to the other X-10 modules (T2, T5, T6, T7 & T8). This system turns lights and heaters on and off based on how the Aqua Controller has been programmed. The blue metal boxes you see are drivers that Tunze uses to power the Stream pumps.
The bottom set runs on a regular 20 amp circuit, and keeps the pumps running which provides circulation to the tank even if the lights and heaters are off (as mentioned above). This has really worked out well over the past 12 months.
The power centers are made by American DJ, and are Model # 100A. I bought them at Guitar Center for $29 each; they are also available via Ebay. Each unit is designed to handle 15 amps, and has 8 outlets in the back matching the 8 power buttons on the front.
Everything is housed in a cabinet with a door to help avoid this panel getting sprayed with water.
Click here to see the new and improved Power Stations that I set up in 2007.