Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
TheClark

DIY Calcium Reactor Peristaltic Pump Prototype - $50

Recommended Posts

Why A Peristaltic Pump?

    This is covered in great detail on the internet.  In summary:
    
        ○ More reliable consistent flow
    
    
    Read more about the official MasterFlex Calcium Reactor thread here.   They are spendy, 200-400 dollars.  And they are awesome.
    
    (hint, if you can spare the reef $$, stop reading this and go get one!)
    
   http://www.reefcentral.com/forums/showthread.php?t=2368618


For me personally?  I needed to babysit some SPS.  I knew that my CR flow would dip and sometimes clog.  Rather than risk someone else's coral I decided to step up the game a little.  

Check out my flow before and after:

BEFORE

g9iYRzx.png

 

AFTER:

 

Yf956Vq.png

 


    Why A DIY Peristaltic Pump?

    The primary reason is simply to save money.
    
    By saving money, you might be able to have a spare on hand.  
    
    For me, I try to have 2 of anything critical because reef stores are not open 24/7 and Amazon cannot ship fast enough to save your coral if things go wrong.
    


    
Building One - Parts

    Pump and Motor - $30

 

pumpandmotor.jpg

        The pump and motor itself.  Search ebay for 'large peristaltic' and you will find this one:
        
       https://www.ebay.com/sch/i.html?_from=R40&_trksid=p2380057.m570.l1312.R1.TR4.TRC0.A0.H0.XLarge+peri.TRS1&_nkw=large+peristaltic&_sacat=0
        
        Pumps come and go.  It is nice to have one with:
        
            § At least two rollers (anti siphon)
            § Stainless steel bearings (not a plastic, noisy pump)
    
        This setup requires a brushed DC 12v motor so that it can be PWM controlled.  A better setup would be a stepper motor based motor and controller.  Future?
    
    
    Motor Speed Controller - $11
    
        You want a PWM speed controller.  This controls the speed so the flow can be dialed in.
        
       https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00DVGGWC0/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o00_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1
    
       PWM controller.jpg
        

          Note:  There are tons of cool options here.  Web controlled, LED speed display etc.  I did find though that certain PWMs cause the motor to overheat so you may need to experiment if deviating from this one.


        
    Power Supply  - $6.50
    
        12volt 2 amp power supply with a wiring adapter.  

 

 

     Here is one on amazon:
        
       https://www.amazon.com/Adapter-Switching-100-240V-Connector-Security/dp/B06XPF9NPL/ref=sr_1_14?ie=UTF8&qid=1507776121&sr=8-14&keywords=12V+2A+Power+Supply
        powersupply.jpg
        It is better to find one that is UL Listed.  Once you are past the power supply though, everything is low voltage.

 

        The wiring adapter is key (the green thing in the pic).  It makes taking power from the adapter simple, just turning a couple of screws.
        


    Wire - Free to $16
    
        If you have any kind of wire laying around that is 16 gauge or bigger, feel free to repurpose it.
        
        Some wiring connectors such as 2 spade connectors can be soldered onto the back of the motor or possibly crimp
        
    
Building One - Assembly
    
    
    Wiring
    
        The wiring is very basic and covered with the PWM controller documentation.
        
        Basically the power goes from the power adapter, to the PWM controller, to the motor.
        
        Everything is labelled, it is super easy.

IFPb3VI.png
        
        The hardest part is attaching the wires to the motor.  You can use a variety of methods, but a crimp on spade connector can work.
        
        Be sure to use the right gauge wire.   I used 16 gauge because I had some from other projects.  It's nice to use 2 different colors, pick one such as red for positive, black for ground and be consistent.
        
        
    Boxing
    
        There are allot of options.  Mine is stuffed into a double gang electrical box ($2).
        
        I just drilled some holes and routed wires. 
        
        
        288563F9-D0AD-44C7-A572-AD153720EA54.thu
    
    

Here is the inside

 

67306AD0-D26A-4532-A469-88B2A9F27246.thu
    
    
        

For more details etc check out this thread:

 

The results are detailed in another thread:

 


Special Considerations:

 

  • Tubing wears out and fails, you need to place the pump in a location such that if this happens, water will drain into the tank instead of onto the floor!
  • Ideally monitor the flow with the APEX flow monitoring kit 1/4" adapter.  That way when the tubing goes you can quickly replace it.
  • Sound!  This is a pretty quiet pump, but it is not as quiet as an MJ sitting underwater in the sump.  So keep that in mind...
  • Super Important:  Don't turn down the pump so low that it does not run smoothly.  That will overheat the motor as it is basically starting up from stopped several times per second.  The pump should run smooth with no visible lurching...

 

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Oh snap! Glad you did this! I had this pump saved in my eBay favs for future experiments.

 

looking at the pump head...any chance you think 2 could be linked together for a stenner style dual head auto water change pump? You don't have any pics of the head removed? As you were mentioning, changing to a stepper would be cool too, would be interested to see the input shaft/pump head interface.

 

keep on DIYing Jeremy!

 

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
9 hours ago, Blue Z Reef said:

Oh snap! Glad you did this! I had this pump saved in my eBay favs for future experiments.

 

looking at the pump head...any chance you think 2 could be linked together for a stenner style dual head auto water change pump? You don't have any pics of the head removed? As you were mentioning, changing to a stepper would be cool too, would be interested to see the input shaft/pump head interface.

 

keep on DIYing Jeremy!

 

That would be amazing!  If you could track down the parts, I bet you could stack the heads.  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
9 hours ago, Bicyclebill said:

Awesome!!!!! I'm building one! Thanks Jeramy!!!!

 

 

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

 

Right on Bill!

I gotta say the SPS are liking this steady flow.  Stuff I am babysitting is already growing new tips...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hey Jeremy looking at this project you picked up I see a potentiometer in which I assume adjusts the speed of the motor? whats the range of mL per Minute on that? I'm thinking on my new build of tacking on a peristaltic pump to use for when I drip acclimate, was looking at the Milwaukee one but having a variable speed might prove more efficient. Nice work by the way!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
28 minutes ago, Exodus said:

Hey Jeremy looking at this project you picked up I see a potentiometer in which I assume adjusts the speed of the motor? whats the range of mL per Minute on that? I'm thinking on my new build of tacking on a peristaltic pump to use for when I drip acclimate, was looking at the Milwaukee one but having a variable speed might prove more efficient. Nice work by the way!

Hi Exodus,

I used a PWM controller.  It has a potentiometer, but that varies the PWM frequency rather than directly interfacing with the motor.  They work well on brushed DC motors if you don't turn them down too far.  Sounds like a cool drip acclimate project, just be sure to get a much smaller peristaltic head.  One of those 10 dollar ones should work great and they have a much lower flow.  This one won't go much lower than 80 mls / minute I don't think without burning up the motor.

Post back if you get her hooked up!

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Alk has been rock steady, I do believe this is making a difference.  

9/25 - 164

9/26 - 162

9/29 - 168

10/4 - 166

10/5 - 164

10/12 - 166

Some of the deviations are just me dialing in the reactor PH for the new coral influx from Steve.

 

 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Update:

Had my first peristaltic tubing rupture. 

Totally normal for persistaltic pumps, but I did not expect this only 15 days in. 

Replacement tubing took about 15 minutes to install, back up and running.

Will report back how long this tubing lasts.  In the mean time, I am going to find some masterflex tubing.  It is reportedly much thicker and will last longer.  

On a high note:

  • APEX alerted me flow had dropped.
  • Pump was mounted over sump, so the drips went back into the tank.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
23 minutes ago, TheClark said:

Update:

Had my first peristaltic tubing rupture. 

Totally normal for persistaltic pumps, but I did not expect this only 15 days in. 

Replacement tubing took about 15 minutes to install, back up and running.

Will report back how long this tubing lasts.  In the mean time, I am going to find some masterflex tubing.  It is reportedly much thicker and will last longer.  

On a high note:

  • APEX alerted me flow had dropped.
  • Pump was mounted over sump, so the drips went back into the tank.

 

Thanks for the update!  This has always been the one drawback that concerns me with any peristaltic pump setup having used them for many years in a research setting.  Glad you had the monitoring in place and the physical arrangement to mitigate the fallout!  Keep us posted on the master flex tubing - still interested in experimenting but I don't (currently) have flow monitoring capacity so need something more reliable than 15 days!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
28 minutes ago, albertareef said:

Thanks for the update!  This has always been the one drawback that concerns me with any peristaltic pump setup having used them for many years in a research setting.  Glad you had the monitoring in place and the physical arrangement to mitigate the fallout!  Keep us posted on the master flex tubing - still interested in experimenting but I don't (currently) have flow monitoring capacity so need something more reliable than 15 days!

Yes, this is super disappointing.  After going through the pump head and thinking about it, I am not sure that this motor could handle the thicker tubing at a lower flow without burning up.  Might be back to the drawing board!

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Looks like LS17 is the correct master flex tubing for this pump (3/8 od). I found a chunk of tygon 3/8s od for 20 bucks.  Should be allot tougher than the silicone tubing that came with the pump.  Will post back...

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
18 minutes ago, TheClark said:

Looks like LS17 is the correct master flex tubing for this pump (3/8 od). I found a chunk of tygon 3/8s od for 20 bucks.  Should be allot tougher than the silicone tubing that came with the pump.  Will post back...

 

Should be interesting.  I would worry that the tygon may start to compress/distort and not maintain even flow but will be will be curious to see.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
33 minutes ago, albertareef said:

Should be interesting.  I would worry that the tygon may start to compress/distort and not maintain even flow but will be will be curious to see.

I'll be all over that metric with the flow meter!

Its gotta be better than my previous MJ based flow :fingerscrossed:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The flow was epic-ly stable before the tubing burst...

So I am holding out hope that using better tubing like a masterflex will give more than a 15 day run time!

xs7gSav.png

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I am calling this experiment a bust!  I had another motor burn up in the middle of the night.  No CR flow for several hours.

The peristlatic pump itself is great, the motor is junk... So I am gonna go on the hunt for a better motor and repeat this experiment down the road.  For now I am back to my noisy plastic peristaltic, which ironically has been rock solid but quite loud!

 

  • Like 1
  • Sad 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, TheClark said:

I am calling this experiment a bust!  I had another motor burn up in the middle of the night.  No CR flow for several hours.

The peristlatic pump itself is great, the motor is junk... So I am gonna go on the hunt for a better motor and repeat this experiment down the road.  For now I am back to my noisy plastic peristaltic, which ironically has been rock solid but quite loud!

 

Bummer Jeremy.  Guess I will have to live with my siphon feed for a while longer.  Was working fine 'til my CO2 unexpectedly ran out... can't really blame that on flow control though.  Keep us posted if you find a good alternative.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Just now, albertareef said:

Bummer Jeremy.  Guess I will have to live with my siphon feed for a while longer.  Was working fine 'til my CO2 unexpectedly ran out... can't really blame that on flow control though.  Keep us posted if you find a good alternative.

Thanks!  I am going to mess with a stepper motor, wifi controller, and better tubing for the next prototype.  Will post back!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The dream is still alive!

I swapped out pumps six weeks ago and it has been going strong!

4nZx90m.png

 

Ao1WJ8L.png

The only downside is noise.  These things make some noise, but they are rock solid.

This pump uses Tygon tubing. 

I also use these pumps for topoff and ATO from the garage.  Those ones have been in service for at least a couple of years with not tubing breaks.

Speaking of the garage, since this pump is noisy, I moved the pump to the garage.  I just ran tubing all the way to the garage and back (about 30' horizontal, 8' vertical).  It pumps with 0 issue and now the noise is in a better place.  The calcium reactor was not moved, it is still right under the tank.  Kind of a nice bonus of peristaltic.

 

So, this is basically the exact build as described at the beginning of this thread, but use this pump instead:

Ebay 29 bucks,

https://www.ebay.com/i/161666772861?chn=ps

Or amazon, with prime, 33 bucks

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01DER02OE/ref=oh_aui_search_detailpage?ie=UTF8&psc=1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  

  • Similar Content

    • By RockChalk
      I'm the living embodiment of a DIYer (chicken coop✅, playground ✅, keeping the house from falling down ✅).
      I've been really inspired by all the stories on this site and others to take on a new tank setup from the ground up. 
      So I'm looking for a tank that is at least 60 gal (I'm not stuck on this size and am curious about everyone's thoughts on an ideal size) to begin. 
      I'd also love to hear recommendations (and horror stories) that might help guide this spring/summer project. 
      My goal is to build the stand to fit the tank and then add all the equipment and plumbing (slowly since my money tree died). This will be my first foray into sump land. I've used every other type of filter out of fear of all the components involved in a sump, so I'm going to try and overcome that fear. 
      Thanks for being a great resource and creating such a robust community. 
    • By Trailermann
      I have been going nuts trying to adjust my bubble count with the Milwaukee MA 957 CO2 regulator.  I set the needle valve for a nice even bubble flow, and then later, I have to open it up more for the same flow.  This went on several weeks as I tried to adjust the effluent flow, the primary and secondary CO2 pressure gauges, and whatever else I could fiddle with, hoping to get a steady bubble flow.  Finally I saw mention of a clogged needle valve and found this instruction:
      MA957 Clogged Needle Valve Repair Procedure
      Over time dirty CO2 gas flowing through the regulator will start to deposit dust and dirt in the small gas line located inside the needle valve. When these deposits become large enough the gas flow becomes restricted and eventually will stop. When you add more gas pressure, forcing the gas pass the inline restriction, the flow will start back but as the backpressure subsides the gas flow and bubble count will also diminish and will again eventually stop. This yo-yo effect causes the operator to apply even more pressure from the large black main regulator knob (Macro adjustment) until the backpressure is so high that the solenoid will not close, even when power to the solenoid is turned off. This high backpressure in the solenoid piston chamber will allow gas to continue to flow through the regulator dropping the pH to 5.5 causing a catastrophic effect on all biological life in a tank. Field repair procedure - Turn the tank off and take the regulator off the tank. Take the bubble counter off the regulator needle valve. Open the needle valve all the way open by turning the knob counter-clockwise until it stops. Use a 1/16” drill and go through the top hole of the needle valve and drill through the base of that hole until you feel the drill pass through into the main chamber. Drill time is only about 2 seconds at full drill speed. Turn the regulator over and tap the needle valve on a table to knock out the drill filings. Remount the regulator. Note: If 1/16” drill is not available then go to next size which is a 5/64” drill bit. 
      Eureka, I found the problem.  So I drilled out the valve and reassembled.  ......Started out fine, but after a short honeymoon, it again slowly shut off the flow of gas.  So either I did the procedure wrong, or something else is wrong.  
      OK, next solution -- install the highly touted CarbonDoser.  Should solve my problems, right?  Not!!!  The used unit I bought for $250 did not work.  No gas flow.  So I put it into a box and sent it into AquariumPlant.com for repair.  Back to manual daily two part dosing.  Crapola, solving our country's immigration challenge would be easier than this.  FYI, I already know the answer to that problem.  
    • By bamburgb
      I am starting to get curious about calcium reactors and how hard they are to get started using? I have never been able to get SPS growing well and am debating on getting a calcium reactor to help get my tank levels more stable to assist with that. 
       
      What is everyones preference? I have always used B-ionics 2 part but am seriously considering switching.
      How much maintance does a calcium reactor cost?
      what media do people run in it?
      for minerals do you need to dose anything extra for trace elements?
      How often do you need to refill/change the media?
      how often do you test your parameters once its dialed in?
       
      I have seen a few people selling some used ones which is also adding to the possibility to switch. 
       
    • By TheClark
      Man, it would be nice.  
      Especially now that APEX showed me how wildly the flow varies off of my MJ1200 feed pump.
      Flow is in liters per hour.  That means I have been ranging from 56 mls/min to 98 mls / minute.  I do have to think it would be much more consistent with the peristaltic...  
      Going to be looking for some cheap options as my reef budget will not allow for a good one at this point (400 dollars...)!
       

×