So Much More Than Just a Power Strip!
The Energy Bars available for our Apex systems are much more than a glorified power strip. In fact, this component of your aquarium controller equipment is far more important than most people realize – and not all systems are created equal!
It is obvious that this component is key to controlling things on your aquarium, but what is not so apparent is how it is critical to preventing catastrophe in your aquarium. Here’s how.
Let’s Start with Construction
We have put a lot of thought into the construction of our Energy Bars. Unlike our competitors and simple power strips, our Energy Bars are made out of 16 gauge, powder-coated aluminum. They are built to be bullet proof – almost literally!
Sure, like our competitors we could have gone with a slick, inexpensive plastic enclosure, but that would not provide you with the best protection against catastrophic failure. You see, plastic timer powerstrips and power bars used by some of our competitors can easily catch fire should saltwater enter them and cause a short. With our solid metal Energy Bars, if such a short did occur, it would be far less likely to spread to the tank or your home.
Each of the independently controlled outlets on the Energy Bar are independently switched and easily carry the current load specified on the label. In fact, we intentional underrate our outlets just to provide that extra level of security. So, depending on which Energy Bar you purchase, each outlet is rated from 5A to 10A at 120V AC or 8A on our 240V European model.
Current Sensing Device
The Energy Bars continually send their information on their present current drain to the Apex controller. This is incredibly useful information for a number of reasons. First, it enables you to recognize what the overall power consumption is on any Energy Bar so that you can better distribute the load across your multiple Energy Bars. Also by having this feature you can accurately determine the power utilization of your tank to compare different lights, pumps, skimmers, etc. (Not supported on Energy Bar 6)
Soft-Start Extends the Life of Pumps
Imagine revving the engine in your car and dropping the shifter from P to D. That is exactly what happens when many controllers turn on the power to your pumps. Just like in a car, this kind of instantaneous application of power to your return pump after a feed cycle or to your power heads will certainly lead to early failure. With the Energy Bar, power is slowly ramped on so that every motor is safely brought up to speed without the damaging torque.
Power Failure Detection, Communication Error Protection and Pre-programmed Failsafe State
Each Energy Bar outlet can be configured to be either in an off or on state if the power were to fail and then come back on or if there was a communication failure with the Apex base unit. This means that if, for instance, your heater was on when the power went off, you could have it programmed to be off until control was reestablished with the Apex base unit. Or, as another example, you could program your main return pump to always be in the on position in case of failure.
This feature is very important as many other controllers on the market may leave the outlet in its last position or possibly default all of the outlets to off or on. This is even true if they simply lose communication with their base unit due to a system failure, software bug, communication issue, lightning strike, etc. Not good. Imagine if you were away from home and a storm took out your Apex – the Energy Bar would just fall back to the Failsafe state you had programmed for such an incident. No worries.
One additional advanced feature is that when you use an additional Energy Bar on a UPS (uninterruptible power supply) you can have key lifesaving devices (low power power heads and bubblers) on there that will automatically go into their Failsafe State once power failure is detected. This can keep your tank alive and healthy for hours on a good UPS until the power comes back online. This will run completely unattended and is ideal to give you peace of mind when you are away from home whether out for the evening or on a two-week cruise!
It is easy to see the importance of this one small feature that differentiates the Neptune Systems Energy Bars from the rest and how once again Neptune Systems is looking out for every possible way for you to avoid catastrophe in your aquarium.
Extra AquaBus Connections
Each Energy Bar has additional connectors so that you can easily expand to other modules. This is very helpful for those that want to use one Apex to control multiple aquariums. The Energy Bar becomes an AquaBus “hub” at any location you choose – allowing you to connect more modules in that area. This is called a “star topology” and is unique to the Apex. Many other controllers require you to daisy chain together every module or they require you to buy a separate “hub” to connect everything together.