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Neptune Systems AquaController Apex VDM Variable Speed/Dimming Module
Neptune Systems AquaController Apex VDM Variable Speed/Dimming Module

Please Note: Return of electrical equipment to LiveAquaria for exchange or refund is limited to 30 days from the date of purchase. Beyond 30 days, please contact the manufacturer for repair or replacement as covered by the manufacturer's warranty.

 
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Overview

*Apex expansion module for controlling different brands of LED lights
*For aquarium devices with 0-10V interface or serial port connections
*Integrate aquarium devices to your Apex Controller system

Wirelessly control different brands of aquarium devices, with 0-10V interface or serial port connections, from your Apex controller system. Neptune Systems AquaController Apex VDM Variable Speed/Dimming Module is an expansion accessory for your AquaController Apex Controller System and Neptune Systems AquaController Apex Jr System that unlocks amazing wireless control!

Neptune Systems AquaController Apex VDM Variable Speed/Dimming Module provides complete control of Apex Ready+ LEDs that use the serial interface, allowing you to easily configure Sunrise/Sunset, Lunar Cycle, Clouds, and Lightning profiles. Four independent 0-10V variable speed ports can be used for light dimming, variable speed control for Tunze Stream Circulation Pumps (models 6105, 6155, 6255), or with other 0-10V compatible devices. Once integrated with your Apex controller system, you can control them based on time of day, in response to feed timers, or any event you can think of using the powerful Apex programming language.

Neptune Systems AquaController Apex VDM Variable Speed/Dimming Module features a serial interface and four 0-10V variable speed ports. Modular design allows you to easily add multiple VDM modules to enable more channels of control. Enjoy complete control of your lights and/or wavemaker from the Apex Dashboard or any of the Apex Mobile Apps. Connects to and powered by the Apex system via the Apex AquaBus Connections Ports.

Neptune Systems AquaController Apex Cables required for Apex control of LED dimming and variable speed control of Tunze Stream Circulation Pumps. Each sold separately.

Features
  • Complete control of Apex Ready+ LEDs that use the serial interface.
  • Simulate Sunrise/Sunset, Lunar Cycle, Clouds, and Lightning with Apex Ready+ fixtures.
  • Adds 4 independent 0-10V variable speed ports to the Apex system.
  • Variable speed ports can be used for light dimming, Tunze Stream variable speed control, or with other 0-10V compatible devices.
  • The VDM attaches to and is powered by the Apex system via AquaBus.
  • Plug and Play. Automatically recognized when installed into the system.
  • Two AquaBus connectors for flexible expansion via AquaBus.
  • Comes with 3 ft AquaBus cable.
  • Fully upgradeable via future firmware upgrades.
  • LED Status indicator.
  • Compatible with all Apex Systems.
  • NOTE: The VDM does not include any interface cables for your LEDs. You must purchase those separately.

Physical Installation
WARNING: Your Apex Base Module must be running firmware version 4.04 or higher to support the Wireless Expansion Module (VDM). The current firmware version can be checked from the Apex Display on the Self Test screen. If needed, please upgrade the Apex Base Module firmware before proceeding with the installation. See the Apex Setup and Programming Guide for firmware upgrade instructions.

The AquaController VDM should be securely mounted in a location free from moisture. Use wood screws through the mounting tabs of the expansion module case or if mounting on drywall, use drywall anchors (mounting hardware not included).

  • Mount all modules above the water line of the aquarium.
  • Be sure to utilize drip loops on all power cords, AquaBus cables and probe cables.

WARNING: Water damage will void your warranty! Mount all modules in locations safe from moisture exposure.

Initial Connections
Plug one end of the included AquaBus cable into one of the AquaBus ports on the VDM and the other end into an available AquaBus port on your existing Apex system. It makes no difference which AquaBus port is used and you do not need to power down the system when connecting AquaBus accessories as the system is plug-and-play.

WARNING: NEVER plug standard USB devices into any AquaBus connector or AquaBus accessories into computer USB ports. Damage to the AquaBus accessory and/or USB device may result.

When connecting the VDM to an AquaIllumination lighting system using the optional interface cable, it is important to plug the phono connector first into the AI Lights and then plug the DB9 end into the serial connector on the VDM. Failure to do it in this order may result in damage to the VDM.

Start Up
As soon as the VDM is connected to an active AquaBus, the module will power up and begin to initialize. When first connected to an AquaController Base Module (through the AquaBus), the VDM will automatically be assigned an AquaBus address and be added to the AquaController configuration. The LED Status indicator on the VDM will flash yellow while it is being initialized. Once initialized, the LED Status indicator will be solid green. The LED Status indicator will flash when the VDM is powered on and communication with the AquaController Base Module is lost.

Verify the Installation
Verify the VDM was initialized and added to the AquaController Apex configuration:
Apex Display: Setup> Module Setup> Modify Name - From this screen, you can see all AquaBus modules installed on the system.
Web Interface: Configuration> Module Setup - Verify the VDM is listed in the Apex Module List. Also 6 outlets are automatically created which can be configured Configuration - Outlet Setup. The initial names of the VDM outlets are VarSpd1_X_1 to VarSpd4_X_4, BluLED_X_5, and WhtLED_X_6.

Update VDM Firmware
A new version of firmware for the VDM may be included with Apex Base Module firmware updates. You should check the firmware version status when the VDM is first installed and after updating the AquaController Base Module firmware. See the section titled Updating Firmware in the AquaController Apex Setup and Programming Guide for instructions to update AquaController Apex Base Module and WXM firmware.

To check or update an Apex module firmware:
Apex Display: Setup> Module Setup> Update Module - Use the Up/Down arrows to highlight the Apex module to update, push Select to update.
Web Interface: Configuration> Module Setup - In the Module Configure area, in the Module box, select the Apex module to update from the dropdown list, click the Update Firmware radial button, click the Submit Module Update button, a new browser window will open to display the update status.

Configuring the VDM
When the VDM is installed, the Apex automatically installs 4 variable speed outlets (named VarSpd1_X_1 to VarSpd1_X_4) that can be used to control Tunze Streams Pumps or lighting ballasts with 0-10V variable intensity features. Also it automatically adds two lights (to the system to support the Aqua Illuminations interface). The default names for the LED lights are BluLED_X_5 and WhtLED_X_6 for the blue and white LEDs respectively.

The 4 variable speed ports and the 2 Aqua Illumination lights can be turned on and off with normal programming commands. However, this does not provide a way to vary the output voltage, which in turn varies the speed of the pump or brightness of the lighting. To take full advantage of variable/dimming features, we use Profiles. You can define up to 16 Profiles, each of which can define a unique set of operating conditions. The Profile in use for a port can be switched based on programming events such as feed timers, time of day, switch levels, etc. Each variable speed port can be programmed to use a different Profile, or they all can use the same Profile, it is up to you. The VDM supports 3 different types of Profiles; pump, ramp, and weather.

Pump Profile Type
The Pump Profile is typically used to oscillate the speed of a pump from one speed to a higher speed and back. Popular use of this feature is to create resonant or chaotic waves in larger tanks depending on if the waves are synchronized or not. The Pump Profile uses the Minimum Intensity setting to specify the speed of the pump when set "off" by the Profile and the Maximum Intensity setting to specify the speed of the pump when set "on" by the Profile. When the pump is turned off by a line of program code like "If FeedA then OFF", the pump will be totally off (the Minimum Intensity setting is not used). The pump Profile contains the following parameters:

Synchronize: When enabled, a port using this Profile will synchronize its Initial Off time with the previous pump Profile (i.e. if enabled on Profile 2, it will sync with Profile 1). Synchronize is useful for creating large waves through constructive interference with pumps on either side of the tank.
Divide by 10: When enabled, all times in the Profile are divided by 10 (i.e. 56 seconds becomes 5.6 seconds)
Initial Off Time: When a pump with this Profile is first activated, it will be OFF initially for this time (in seconds unless divide by 10 is enabled).
On Time: Once the Initial Off Time expires, the pump will be ON for this amount of time (in seconds unless divide by 10 is enabled).
Off Time: Once the On Time expires, the pump will be OFF for this amount of time (in seconds unless divide by 10 is enabled).
Minimum Intensity: The port output in percent when the pump is "Off".
Maximum intensity: The port output in percent when the pump is "On".

WARNING: Tunze recommends an intensity of 30% or higher for Tunze Streams Pumps. For best results and longevity of your pumps, never set the Minimum Intensity lower than 30%.

For example, assume the following settings:
Synchronize = off
Divide by 10 = off
Initial off time = 10
On time = 15
Off time = 20
Minimum Intensity = 30
Maximum Intensity = 70

Using this Profile, the pump will run at 30% for 10 seconds, 70% for 15 seconds, 30% for 20 seconds, 30% for 10 seconds, 70% for 15 seconds, 30% for 20 seconds, etc.

Ramp Profile Type
The Ramp Profile is used to ramp the port output voltage (up or down) from one intensity to another over a period of time. It is typically used to ramp lights on or off but can also be used with pumps to simulate varying intensity of tidal currents for example.
Ramp Time: Period in minutes over which the ramp should occur. Start Intensity: The starting intensity in percent.
End Intensity: The ending intensity in percent.

Weather Profile Type
The Weather Profile is used to simulate weather changes. Sunny, cloudy, and lightning effects can all be specified with this profile.
Light Maximum Intensity (%): The lighting intensity during sunny periods.
Cloudy Light Intensity (%): The intensity of the lights during a cloudy period.
Cloud Duration (MMM): The number of minutes for each cloudy period.
Cloudy Time (%): The percent of time that it will be cloudy.
Probability of Lightning (%): A metric which sets the frequency of a lightning strike during cloud cover. 0% means no lightning will occur and a 100% value means that lightning will occur almost continuously. This parameter is only valid for the Aqua Illumination White lights. Not valid for the variable speed ports or the blue LEDs.
Lightning Intensity (%): The "lightning" white light intensity during a lightning strike. It can be set between 0 and 100%. This parameter is only valid for the Aqua Illumination White lights. Not valid for the variable speed ports or the blue LEDs.

Programming Examples
Refer to the Apex Owners for instructions on how to configure and program outlets. These examples will give you a sample of the flexible control that is available by the VDM to control pump and lighting systems.

Simple Light Program Example
The following program and profiles are used for each of the Aqua Illumination outlets. They cause both the blue and white LEDs lights to simulate sunrise (0% to 100% intensity) from 8:00 to 9:00, turn full on from 9:00 to 20:00, and then simulate sunset (100% to 0% intensity) from 20:00 to 21:00.

BluLED_X_5
Fallback Off
Set OFF
If Time 8:00 to 9:00 Then RampUp
If Time 9:00 to 20:00 Then ON
If Time 20:00 to 21:00 Then RampDn

WhtLED_X_6
Fallback Off
Set OFF
If Time 8:00 to 9:0
0 Then RampUp
If Time 9:00 to 20:00 Then ON
If Time 8:00 to 9:00 Then RampDn

The RampUp and RampDn Profiles are defined as follows:

RampUp Profile
Ramp time: 60 minutes
Start intensity: 0
End intensity: 100

RampDn Profile
Ramp time: 60 minutes
Start intensity: 100
End intensity: 0

Advanced Light Program Example
The following example assumes that the VDM is connected to the Aqua Illumination lighting system via our interface cable (part # AICABLE). The desired operation of the lights is to simulate sunrise and sunset, have cloud cover and lightning on certain days, and a lunar simulation.

BluLED_X_5
Fallback Off
If Moon 000/000 Then MoonInt
If Time 8:00 to 9:00 Then RampUp
If Time 9:00 to 20:00 Then ON
If Time 20:00 to 21:00 Then RampDn
If Outlet
Storm = ON Then Weather

WhtLED_X_6
Fallback Off
Set OFF
If Time 8:00 to 9:00 Then RampUp
If Time 9:00 to 20:00 Then ON
If Time 20:00 to 21:00 Then RampDn
If Outlet Storm = ON Then Weather

A virtual outlet 'Weather' is also declared, which will schedule when storms should occur:

Storm
Set Off
If Time 18:00 to 18:30 Then ON
If DoW S-T-T-S Then OFF

And the profiles are defined as:

RampUp Profile
Ramp time: 60 minutes
Start intensity: 0
End intensity: 100

RampDn Profile
Ramp time: 60 minutes
Start intensity: 100
End intensity: 0

Weather Profile
Light maximum intensity: 100
Cloudy light intensity: 50
Cloud duration (MMM): 5
Cloudy time (%): 50
Probability of lightning (%): 50
Lightning intensity (%): 100

Advanced Pump Example
The following program assumes that there are two pumps in the Aquarium - one on the right side, and one on the left side. This example shows how each pump can be controlled independently, and its mode of operation changed multiple times throughout the day.

PumpLeft
Set Calm
If Time 8:00 to 10:00 Then WaveLeft
If Time12:00 to 14:00 Then ON
If Time 16:00 to 20:00 Then OFF
If Time 22:00 to 06:00 Then Night
If FeedA 000 Then Off

PumpRight
Set Calm
If Time 8:00 to 10:00 Then WaveRight
If Time 12:00 to 14:00 Then OFF
If Time 16:00 to 20:00 Then ON
If Time 22:00 to 06:00 Then Night
If FeedA 000 Then Off

The following table shows the profiles required for this program example.

Profile Name Mode Notes
WaveLeft Pump Max Intensity 100%, Min Intensity 0%, Int Off 10, On 10, Off 0
WaveRight Pump Max Intensity 100%, Min Intensity 0%, Int Off 0, On 10, Off 10
Calm Ramp Start Int 50%, End Int 50%, Time 1
Night Ramp Start Int 30%, End Int 30%, Time 1

Table 1 - Profiles Defined for Program Example

Time Left Pump Status Right Pump Status
08:00 to 10:00 Pumps cycle from 0 to 100% every 10 seconds Pump cycles from 0 to 100% every 10 seconds. Runs 180 degrees out of phase with the left pump
10:00 to 12:00 50% intensity 50% intensity
12:00 to 14:00 100% Intensity Off
14:00 to 16:00 50% Intensity 50% Intensity
16:00 to 20:00 Off 100% Intensity
20:00 to 22:00 50% Intensity 50% Intensity
22:00 to 6:00 30% Intensity 30% Intensity
6:00 to 8:00 50% Intensity 50% Intensity

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