A normal heater.....no

Discussion in 'Test Kits, Controllers, Reactors and Dosers' started by deadmeat2016, 4 Jul 2013.

  1. deadmeat2016

    deadmeat2016 Wouter

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    Hi all

    In light of me breaking up my tank :( I feel I should share my experience with my Fluval E300 heater.

    Some of you may have spotted my for sale thread a while ago advertising a brand new E300, Imraam was lucky enough to snap it up before anyone else and Ikraam has dibbed my current one I have used for the past 2 years.

    What is so special about a simple heater? The fact that it is not simple :)

    Lets take a first impression look via the following 2 pics

    What one can notice is it has a little LCD display and the whole heater is enclosed in a plastic 'cage'.

    Why the cage? Have you ever had an invert like a turbo snail crawl onto your heater while its off and then when the thermostat kicks in, heater heats up, snail goes byebye. The 'cage' is to prevent invertebrates from climbing over the element or aggressive fish breaking the glass. ok great....not too amazing......

    heater.JPG

    heater2.jpg
     
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  3. deadmeat2016

    deadmeat2016 Thread Starter Wouter

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    Next, lets take a look at that display. What does it show? the actual tank temperature in real time with increments of 0.5 degrees....thats pretty accurate.....

    But you set it don't you? of course
    The little orange lever at the top, right for warmer, left for colder, again set in 0.5 degree increments. Ok, again great, nothing mind blowing but quite useful.
    So as you set the temp with the orange lever, it shows you what you set it to and then returns to displaying the actual temp in the tank.
    OK, awesome, it reads temp accurately and you can set it accurately, is that it?......No

    Another look at that display, lets say for example you want 25 degrees in your tank, ok - orange lever - dial in 25.0 degrees, awesome.......1st pic - just as 25 is set, it shows you 25 degrees but then reverts back to the temp in the tank..........
    Oh no, the tank is 26.5 degrees says the heater, thats too warm, the LCD display changes to.......pic 2, RED! showing the real time tank temp, better let it cool down then.

    If it goes to 27 degrees, way too warm, the display will start flashing

    heater ok.jpg

    heater warm.jpg
     
  4. deadmeat2016

    deadmeat2016 Thread Starter Wouter

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    Now, the opposite scenario......set heater to 25, awesome, display reverts back to real time temp, O dear, too cold, lets change that display......to.....blue! showing the water temp is cooler than the temp the heater is set to. A bit more extreme case, its 2 degrees below 25, what does it do? you guessed it, flashes!

    heater ok.jpg

    heater cold.jpg
     
    Last edited: 4 Jul 2013
  5. deadmeat2016

    deadmeat2016 Thread Starter Wouter

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    Ok great, it monitors the temp accurately and lets you know whats going on just by taking a quick glance and noting the colour, convenient or what!!

    Thats all great but is that all it can do? no theres more.

    The special thing about this heater is that the electronics are all digital and utilizes a microprocessor with 2 temperature sensors which is why it is able to be so accurate. Not only that, have you ever had a heater break from heating up too much and not transferring the heat to the water efficiently enough?

    Not a problem, the heater monitors the heat output and regulates it if there is not enough water movement to transfer the heat, preventing it from 'over'heating' and breaking itself. That's pretty clever but how do you know when flow is a problem, not permitting enough heat transfer? Again the display comes in, flashing 'LF' meaning low flow, the heater wants to heat the water but cannot conduct the heat efficiently enough so has to cut the power to the heating element to prevent breakage. That isn't something every heater has.....
     
    Last edited: 4 Jul 2013
  6. deadmeat2016

    deadmeat2016 Thread Starter Wouter

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    Ok, it all sounds great and impressive but is it really reliable? This is where my experimentation comes in

    Took a large tub of water, 6 different thermometers, 3 digital and 3 analogue. One was borrowed from a local lab, a Hanna instruments temperature probe accurate to 0.0001degrees, you cant get more accurate than that!!

    Test 1 - Set heater to 24 and examine with probes.
    water 23.3476 degrees as determined with the Hanna meter, Fluval heater shows 23.0, analogues shows 21, 24 and 24. the other 2 digitals 23 and 22.5

    wait an hour - Hanna meter says 24.3278 degrees and fluval 23.5 and 24 after a furthur 15 mins.
    Analogues 22, 26 and 27, digitals 26 and 24......

    Pattern here? yes, analogue thermometers seem most inaccurate due to external factors likely, depth of water, age, inability to calibrate etc, the digitals are more accurate but the temps shown by the Hanna and the fluval seem to agree with each other as they are both designed to measure temperature in water, the other 2 digitals was a laser temp gun for cooking food etc and a temp probe used in computers to monitor temps inside a computer case.

    The analogues would be great as they are simple, cheap and uncomplicated but simply not reliable enough for accurate temp measurements.

    As the Hanna is the most expensive bit of kit, around R6000, its results could be used as a control. As the fluvals temp agrees closely with the Hanna, one can conclude that it is infact as accurate as it says on the tin.

    2 furthur experiments were done at 20 degrees and 28 degrees, again the Hanna and the fluval were in close agreement with measured temp differences between them at around 0.3-0.4 degrees.
    The analogues, out by 3-4 degrees, one showing 3 degrees less than the fluval and Hanna, the others 3 and 4 degrees above the values of the Hanna and fluval. The digitals, more accurate but still out by 1-3 degrees.
     
  7. deadmeat2016

    deadmeat2016 Thread Starter Wouter

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    Is the heater really that good? In a sense yes, the heater is awesome as you cannot put a price on piece of mind, my experience with the heater has only been good, one quick glance and you know what the temp in your tank is, if its ok and safe and if that display is flashing, you know you have to act and can have confidence in the readout of the heater.

    But it just looks like a normal heater! doesnt it?? Lets take the cover off......
     
  8. deadmeat2016

    deadmeat2016 Thread Starter Wouter

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    The heater taken out of the 'cage', notice the circuitry, this is not what your average analogue heater looks like, is it?

    WP_000152.jpg

    WP_000153.jpg

    View attachment WP_000155.jpg

    WP_000156.jpg
     
  9. deadmeat2016

    deadmeat2016 Thread Starter Wouter

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    Just thought I would share my experience with this piece of kit and the comfort it has provided me with knowing that one of the most simplest and often overlooked but critically important parameters is constantly being monitored, taking only 2 seconds to check, it could possibly save a tank from disaster giving you a early warning or indication that something needs to be checked, switched off or simply adjusted.

    Right the heater sounds cool and very dandy to have around providing that extra bit of security and reliability, there must be a catch............tiny tiny catch

    well firstly, I have not seen these heaters offered here in SA, both I acquired were from the UK which I don't really visit too often. So if you ever see one of these fluvals, do not hesitate, check the price and buy!

    secondly, the temp sensor is so accurate and sensitive, you have to be careful where to put it. example, I had the fluval and another cheapo R200 heater in the sump, the cheapo heater was on ocasionally but the fluval kept displaying red while it was set to 26, showing that the tank was 27.5. removing the other heater, I noticed the heat produced by the other heater was affecting the readout on the fluval, making the temp reading incorrect, due to the lack of waterflow, the cheapo was conducting its heat to the fluval! Moved the other heater to opposite side of sump, temp readout dropped and bobs ur uncle, 100% accurate again.
    another example, when I first started using the heater, it was set to 26 but the display stayed blue for 2 days showing 24.5 degrees, upon closer inspection, i noticed 'LF' flashing on the heater display indicating low flow around the heating element. Solution, added a small pump to add more water movement around the heater, bang! problem solved, tank heated to 26 in an hour with a comforting green colour on the heater display.

    So its accuracy can be a disadvantage if not positioned properly and can easily be affected by the smallest external factors. I have made this mistake many times, blaming the heater, where in fact the heater was working more than perfectly, I just positioned it like an idiot!!

    So its accuracy can be a double edged sword.....great that its accurate and reliable but one must be careful on its position so it provides an accurate readout and thus accurate performance.

    Anything else? Well yes, I love the heater and the technology but its supposed to be a 300W heater right? It doesnt heat the water like one, more like a 150W which is why I used 2 heaters, a cheapo set to 25ish and the fluval at 26, this seemed to do the trick but still, would expect more power from such an advanced piece of kit........

    If you want to see one of these little marvels in action and operation, contact one of the 2 Raam's, Ikraam or Imraam, they are now the proud owners of the E300 heaters and I hope they serve them as well as they have served me.

    Thanks for reading, peace
     
  10. deadmeat2016

    deadmeat2016 Thread Starter Wouter

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    Ah, lastly, the price on the heaters, 34 great british pounds. So around R400, as I mentioned, you can't put a price on piece of mind.

    Also makes me think, how is everyone measuring their tank temp? what are the chances that the reading is wrong or inaccurate? how many peoples aquariums are relying on cheap, inaccurate analogue heating elements? and how can one establish a universal calibration test for differing thermometers? analogue and digital.

    Lastly, I am very tired and its 4am. What temp measuring devices do you all use and how accurate do you know it is?

    Any comments and questions welcome, naturally
     
  11. ccwilke

    ccwilke Majestic Pets Solutions Sponsor

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    Nice review and smart heater.When I had my first tropical tank I took one of my father's Fluval corner filter and what a filter.I still havebit today.Still working and it's older than me......
     
  12. Visser

    Visser MASA Contributor

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    Lol, interesting review!!!:tt2:
    But yes, I would have to agree. The things ive heard about this heater is simply astounding for such a "simple" piece of equipment!
    I hope they become more readily available locally in the near future!
     
  13. Rookie

    Rookie

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    Great review. No so badly priced either. Where are they available from in SA? Havent seen them in the LFS's I frequent.
     
  14. the fish

    the fish

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    @Rookie you will have to import them. they are not available in SA unfortunately
     
  15. deadmeat2016

    deadmeat2016 Thread Starter Wouter

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    Hmm, you guys are making my brain work, If I can organise a couple from the UK I can do that but will take about a month as my family are flying from the UK this month or the next. They could always bring a couple along, I just can't understand why they aren't available here. I'll start a new thread when I get more details on them from my family in UK.
     
  16. shan

    shan

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    Wow that is very good, and for R400, that's nothing
     
  17. Zandy

    Zandy

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    Interested tagging
     
  18. butcherman

    butcherman Moderator MASA Contributor

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    Thank you for taking the time to do this. Rep added ;)
     
  19. deadmeat2016

    deadmeat2016 Thread Starter Wouter

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    Awesome, thanks buddy.

    Very grateful for the compliments and I am happy to have done the review, hope you guys are eager for these heaters, I am on my way out of the marine hobby due to work but I have a couple of items that were very special to me that I will hopefully review before I have to start at the daily grind at 3.5km underground mining platinum :(

    Cheers guys!!
     
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  20. Nemeziz_za

    Nemeziz_za

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    Rep Added, great write up, the included pictures and well laid out writing made me click the "Thanks" button on the left ;) (Not the agree button... thats different)
     
  21. MistaOrange

    MistaOrange

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    What they said.;)
     
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