Aquarium AC Control Units

Rack Mount Power Strip
One of two rack mount power strips with ten receptacles each
Power Strip Showing Outlets
One of the power strips showing the ten receptacles on back

Building the AC control units for the aquarium was truly a fun part of the project. I did find a controller on eBay that had six receptacles but the mounting was sorta weird, and there was only one of them, so I passed on it. I’m really glad I did and decided to get these. As shown on the previous page, the units have the label “MOR-PSH” on the front. I take that to mean “more fish.” Hubba-hubba.

Both of the two units have a power switch and a circuit breaker on the front panel for convenience and protection.

The manufacturers design of the rack mount power strips is pretty clean and simple so adding the Arduino relay boards was, although time consuming, pretty straight forward. I may refit one of the controllers later to add some sort of dim-able control such as triacs, SCR’s or something for the lights, but for now, I’ll stay with relays.

Learn Basic Electronics in One Jam-Packed-Package – “The Easy Way” – At Home And At Your Own Pace

I disassembled each of the units and removed the black “HOT” wire running between each of the receptacles. New 14 ga wire was prepared and installed on the backs of each receptacle and pulled out to its relay board. Each wire was tinned and trimmed to about a quarter of an inch where it will go into the relay board terminal.


Power Strip Innards Showing RecpBack
Power strip innards showing the clip on the backs of the receptacles holding the wires. Note one of the clips removed.

Power Strip Innards
The black wire running along the bottom is the ‘HOT’ wire that will be removed, and replaced with leads to the relays.

Arduino Relay Board for Power Strip
8 channel relay board. This allows the Arduino to turn on and off things plugged into each receptacle.

2 channel relay board for Arduino
2 channel relay board for Arduino. This will go on one of the power strips to fill out control of all ten receptacles.

Power buss soldered on relay board
Power buss soldered on relay board to supply power to the relays which will be switched to the receptacles.

Preparing Receptacle HOT Wire
Preparing the receptacle HOT wire. Each wire was stripped, tinned and cut to about a quarter of an inch.

Wiring in the relays
Wiring in the relays. Each receptacle’s hot lead is wired to its associated relay.

Power Strip With Relays
Power Strip With Relays showing the 8 relay and the 2 relay boards. Second unit only has the 8 relay board installed

The second unit has only eight switched receptacles of the ten on the unit. The other two receptacles are HOT all the time (as long as the unit is powered on) and they will power the main pump and the Arduino controller computer.


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