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Slipshodman

PC converted to Aquarium controller ? Can it be done ?

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Hi all

This may just be the stupidest idea but thought i would ask 

I have a second hand slim style PC at home, i can do any hardware and software changes needed

I was considering if a pc could be set up like a Neptune Apex controller of sorts ?

Has anyone tried ? 
Should be able to rig lighting and heating at a minimum at very minimal costs and should be able to run over multiple tanks

I assume software may be a bigger issue but surely larger aquariums (like small public aquariums) would use something that was customized for them 

Just putting it out there 

Thoughts ? Is it possible ? Would it even be worth it to try ?

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its absolutey possible. the only reasons you wouldn't do it is
-because the processing power is overkill for the task at hand
-and it would be just as much work in terms of programming as using a rasberry pi.
-the easiest way to relay between sensors/outputs and your PC would be through  a microcontroller

so by the time you'd got your microcontroler you might as well just hook up a monitor and keyboard to that and start coding

thats not to say you shouldnt do it though, go for gold! thats just why it probably(?) isnt a common practice.

public aquariums probably use microcontrollers at each system that feed info into the local network and the information and outputs can be controlled from a PC

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Thanks for the feedback @joller   , i may do it just for the sake of it if I can find the time 

I was thinking something like this, quite cheap and i am reasonably savvy with electrical 

Its the software i am thinking may be harder to find, i know this particular board comes with its own but i think i would want to get more out of it 

8-Channel-MICRO-USB-RELAY-MODULE-Upper-Computer

 

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Agree with joller that it's possible and also overkill functionally.  Suggest the following though; depending on your planned setup and plumbing etc, I'd really be having a think about what happens if you have PC availability issues (e.g.  crash).  There's a lot of value in robust simplicity in my view.  You just want things to work and be reliable.  Thinking back to the days of MediaCentre in the MS OS, it struggled to get traction in my view because it was overcooked and unreliable.  People just want to turn their TV on and watch content and not faff around booting a PC, flaky drivers etc.  I have two Apex Controllers.  Never skipped a beat.  They've had development and testing as well as loads of support and advice.  They just work and I trust them to do water changes and the like when no one is home.  I wouldn't have that confidence with a PC solution.

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