ReefKeeper lite how to Program and a review:

Discussion in 'Reef Aquarium Articles and How To's' started by yamaharider73, Dec 4, 2010.

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  1. yamaharider73

    yamaharider73 Kole Tang

    Feb 11, 2009
    Reef Keeper lite Review/Programming:

    First I would like to say I am in no way an expert or claim to know everything about setting up or Programming the Reef Keeper Lite. What I am going to say is that when I did receive my RKL I was excited and disappointed at the same time. The instructions are ok but do not really give the purchaser a lot of information on the actual set up. I have done a lot of reading and asking questions on the features and set up of the RKL and have been working to put something together to make this a little more user friendly for myself and others. The real reason I have been working on these programming steps is so in the future when I forget how it was programmed or need to make changes I will have a guide to use. I know there are others that have and will purchase these in the future and wanted to share what I have learned to remove some of the frustration and answer some questions you may have.

    I would like to say I really have enjoyed learning about the RKL. It has been frustrating and an enjoyment at the same time. I feel a lot better about having some of the safety features that go along with it. Some of the things I see as a Safety feature are being able to help control temperature with the Itemp probe. I have mine set up to turn the MH's and T-5's off if the temperature goes above 83.9 degrees. My fan will come on at 80 degrees to keep the tank cool and go back off at 79.9 degrees. My heater is set up to come on at 77.9 degrees and off at 78 degrees. I have the Alk dosing pump set up to trip if the PH goes above 8.5.

    I will start off with letting you know how I have set my RKL up and how it is configured with Timers and Alarms and the PC4’s.

    Timers: There are 16 available for programming

    01 set to run for 20 minutes
    02 set to run for 15 minutes

    Alarms: There are 16 available for programming

    01: Set to alarm and trip at Itemp above 83.9
    02: Set to alarm and trip on Itemp below 78 deg
    03: Set to alarm at PH above 8.5
    04: Set to alarm and trip above 81.0 degrees

    PC4 outlets: You are able to control 4 PC4’s giving you 16 available outlets.


    1: Moon lights ….. Set to come on at 10:00 am off at 10:45 PM
    2: T-5’s …..Set to come On at 12 noon off at 9:30 active on alarm setting #1 and turn off at 83.9 deg
    3: Alk dosing pump….. Set to come on at 9:00 pm for 20 min then back on at 3:00 am for 15 min will trip on alarm setting # 3 above PH 8.5
    4: Cal dosing pump…..Currently run manually as needed


    1: Refugium light…..Set to come on at 7:00 PM off next day at noon
    2: cooling fan….. Set to come on above 80 deg is active with alarm setting # 2 and will trip below 78
    3: Heater…..Set to come on at 77.9 degrees and go off at 78 degrees
    4: Metal Halides…..Set to come on at 1:00 PM and go off at 7:00 PM active with alarm setting #1 to shut light off above 83.5 deg


    1: Wave Maker A…..set to run for 30 seconds off for 30 seconds
    2: Right side PH…..Turned on
    3: …..Not being used currently
    4: ATO system….. Set with switch A

    I will start with letting you know the steps to set up a Channel Outlets, Timers, Alarms and then how to program the channels with alarms and timers. I will be using MY set up and it will be for MY System, Your selection may be different but process will be the same.

    PC4 Channel outlet Programming:

    Select menu, then select output and hit enter. Select desired channel and hit enter. Select mode hit enter then use the up and down arrows to select Auto, on or off then enter. Go to function and hit enter. Select light then type will be other then hit enter. Select start and set time you want it to come back on and hit enter. Select end and enter time you want to turn off and hit enter. Your programming is complete at this point. You will need to hit the back button and the channel will be flashing SAVE. If you do not hit enter to save it will not save your settings and you will have to start over.

    This is one of MY channel set ups: (PC4-1) For Moon Lights

    Output…..Channel 1
    Function…..Light =Other
    Start…..10:00:00 AM
    End…..10:45:00 PM

    Timer Programming: (01)

    Select menu, select timer hit enter. Go to desired timer (01) and hit enter. Select day of week and hit enter. Now select the days of the week you want it to be active and hit enter. Go to start and enter desired time to come on (9:00 PM) and hit enter. Go to on duration and enter how long you want it to be on (20 minutes) and hit enter. You will go through each timer and set up the same way. There is an off duration, repeat count and oscillation feature that I do not currently use.

    This is one of MY timer set ups: (01) For Alk dosing pump

    Day Of Week:
    Start Time:
    09:00:00 PM
    On Duration:

    Alarm Programming: (01) for ITEMP

    Select menu, select alarm and hit enter. Select Alarm (01) hit enter. Select alert and decide on what you want (Flash & Beep, Flash, Beep, None) and hit enter. Select device (ITEMP) and hit enter. Set temperature and hit enter. Select trip and hit enter. Select above and hit enter. When setting up trips on alarms you will need to decide what you are wanting the alarm to do as far as alarming or tripping a device either above or below your trip point.

    This is MY typical Alarm set up: (01) for ITEMP

    Alarm 01
    Alert…..Flash & beep
    Set point…..83.9 Degrees

    Setting up Channels using Timers and Alarms:

    Select menu and then enter. Select channel (3) and hit enter. Select mode and hit enter. Select (auto) and hit enter. Select function and hit enter and then Multi-timer and hit enter. Select Timer 1 then the timer you want to use (01) and then enter. Select Timer 2 and then which timer (02) and hit enter. Select Alarm and hit enter. Select Alarm (03) and then enter. Select Action off and hit enter

    This is MY Channel, Timer, Alarm set up: (PC4-1)

    Channel 3….. Enter
    Timer 1….. (01)
    Timer 2….. (02)
    Alarm….. (03)
    Action….. Off

    Wave Maker set up programming:

    For the Wave Maker set up select menu and enter. Select WM A/B and hit enter. Select WM A and program the time duration you want it to run and hit enter. Now select WM B and program the time duration you want it to run and hit enter. Now hit the back button and Save. Now the WM feature and time is set.

    This is MY Wave Maker set up: (PC4-3)

    I am only running one pump on the WM so this is my programming.
    Output.....Channel 1
    Function..... pump
    At Night.....ON..... Set to run at night. If you want it off at night then select the OFF function
    This is for a one Pump Wave maker.

    To set up 2 pumps for a Wave maker you would select an outlet channel for WMB and repeat
    Output.....Channel 2
    Type.....WM B
    At Night.....ON.....Set to run at night. If you want it off at night then select the OFF function

    Auto Top Off set up programming: (PC4-3)

    How to set up the ATO function:
    -Float switch is plugged into switch A port on SL1. (you will need the adapter plug)
    -pump is plugged into channel 1or 4 on pc 4.
    -select menu, select outputs, select channel 1 or 4, select auto, select switch A, select on 00, select off 01. The pump will turn on or off based on float switch position. The pump will come on when float is in the down position and will turn off when it floats to the top. The Switch will active in this fashion “on when/off when” selection is 01(float at the top) is off and 00 (float at bottom) is on. Note: This is how my float is configured. Your float may be different and you will either have to flip the float on the stem or reverse your selection to 00(float at the top) is off and 01 (float at bottom) is on.

    This is MY ATO set up:

    Channel 4….. Enter
    On When….. (00)
    Off When….. (01)

    What comes with the RKL3:

    1 x RKL head unit
    2 x PC4 power controller 4
    1 x SL1
    1 x DA Itemp temperature probe
    1 x DA PH probe
    1 x 7 PH cal solution
    1 x 10 pH cal solution
    1 x SID- System interface device
    1 x 6’ bus cable
    1 x 3’ bus cable
    1 x Programming Coupler
    8 x mounting screws

    Here are a few Pics:




    A few things about the RKL that I like:

    When selecting which light you are controlling you have 2 choices MH and Other. If you have chosen the MH option if you lose power and it comes back on it will not fire for 15 minutes. The Other will immediately fire once power is restored.
    Setting an alarm on the PH you are monitoring I can make sure that if the PH gets to high it will trip the ALK dosing pump to make sure it doesn’t come on and continue to raise the PH.
    I like having the Temp probe and having the option to turn the fan and heater on or off as needed.

    A few things about the RKL that I dislike:

    Lack of good detailed programming instructions. The instructions IMPO are extremely poor. For such a great product I would feel the manufacture should have put more thought and effort into giving the purchaser better detailed programming instructions. I don’t think I should have to go to a forum and search for or ask questions when the answers should have been in the instructions sent with the product when purchased.
    My overall opinion of the RKL:

    IMPO I am extremely satisfied with the Quality, Performance, and Features of the RKL. I like being hands on but it is nice to be able to look at the read out and know the temperature and PH. I like being able to adjust my dosing time with the press of a button. I like having the Alarms on my tank to alert me and protect my tank when something is not right. My overall rating on a scale of 1-10 would be an 8. It would have probably been a 10 in my book but due to the lack of instructions that come with the controller I can’t score it any higher. Once you understand the basic concept of programming the RKL it is not complicated but getting to that point can be frustrating.
    As far as I am concerned I would purchase and recommend this to anyone.

    Here is a link to the Digital Aquatics web site for more information

    Digital Aquatics
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 23, 2011
    3 people like this.
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  3. jkat21

    jkat21 Bangghai Cardinal

    Feb 6, 2009
    S.I. N.Y
    I to have the same RKL,and love it,best purchase I have made by far..I also agree about the programing,the instructions are soo bad...I'm very glad you took the time so others will find it much easier to program...great little write up...
    Also for the halide sure on feature it works great on skimmers that may overflow after a power outage..also you can place a float switch in the skimmer cup ans it will shut off skimmer if it gets to full...
  4. vtecintegra

    vtecintegra Fire Worm

    Mar 20, 2010
    Good job on the write up. I just got mine a week ago. Definately takes some time to learn the menus, but I'm really happy with it so far.
  5. steve wright

    steve wright Super Moderator Staff Member

    Feb 17, 2009
    shenzhen Guangdong PRC
    Great review Yamaharider

    question on the wavemaker timers

    how many power heads can it control
    and what would be the min and max times you could control them to operate
    and what power head types are compatible with this unit

  6. makeshiftcrew

    makeshiftcrew Gigas Clam

    Jun 14, 2010
    i was actually looking at this earlier...seriously debating on getting do you have your heater set up? just plug-n-play?
  7. yamaharider73

    yamaharider73 Kole Tang

    Feb 11, 2009
    Thanks Steve, I have been working on it for a while and decided to finish it up today.

    As far as how many PH's I am going to guess 16 due to that is the maximum amount of outlets that the controller will control (You could probably cheat by using a power strip). I know I can run 2 PH's on WM-A and 2 more on WM-B. When setting the channel outlet 1,2,3 or 4 you will select "pump" and then type would be "WM-A" and then save and every 30 seconds (in my case) the pump will come on for 30 seconds and then switch back off for 30 seconds.

    As far as maximium times you can set the WM-A or WM-b, it appears to be 11:59:59. I Havent tried running it this away but this this appears to be it. The minimum setting is 1 second but timing it it is more like 2 or 3 seconds.

    As far as what type of PH's I know the Korillas will work and from what I have read as long as the PH is capable of being controlled they will work.

    I have a 200 watt heater turned up all the way. I have it plugged in to one of the PC4 outlets. When the temp drops below 78 degrees the controller flips a relay inside the PC4 and energizes the outlet. When the temp goes above 78 degrees the controller drops out the relay and de-energizes the outlet. I have a back up alarm and have it set to trip the relay if the temperature gets above 81 degrees as a back up.
    Last edited: Dec 4, 2010
    1 person likes this.
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  9. makeshiftcrew

    makeshiftcrew Gigas Clam

    Jun 14, 2010
    sounds easy enough, i think this will be my next purchase
  10. yamaharider73

    yamaharider73 Kole Tang

    Feb 11, 2009
    It is a great addition to the tank IMPO. I dont think you can go wrong with by having one.
  11. makeshiftcrew

    makeshiftcrew Gigas Clam

    Jun 14, 2010
    agreed, cant hurt anything...i might just go with the 279$ one though...
  12. yamaharider73

    yamaharider73 Kole Tang

    Feb 11, 2009

    Thats the one I got. I bought the switch adapter for the ATO and an extra PC4. ;D