View Full Version : Ranco ETC Dual Stage Temp Controller review


sammy33
02-02-2008, 12:27 AM
Product: Dual Stage Temp Controller
Manufactorer: Ranco ETC (www.rancoetc.com (http://www.rancoetc.com))
Review Type: Initial Report
Overall Rating: NA

Pros:
Great collection cup

Cons:
Heavy wattage

In Depth:
I picked up a Ranco Dual Stage temperature controller and 300w Hydor heater today in hopes of narrowing my temperature swings in my tank. I have 3 heaters (only 350 watts) and six cooling fans on my 125g (150g system) and depend on timers and built-in thermostats to keep temps. :doh:

My recent temp swings from day to night have been almost 5 degrees from 74F to 79F with the lights really being the only heat for the tank. The recent cold has been too much for my old heaters to handle.

The Ranco controller has a power plug with two outlets - one for cooling and one for heating. You can also program it for dual cooling or dual heating. You can use the cooling function with a chiller, cooling fans, etc. It has a 2" temp probe with a suction cup and an 8ft cord. Digital temp and status display with touchpad controls. Temp range, -30F to 220F Differential range, 1F to 30F (can be switched display F or C).

I added a 300 watt heater and took out the smallest heater out for a total of 600 watts then hooked up the heaters and the second set of fans to the Ranco Controller. I also moved the second set of fans to the sump. I set the temp to 79 for both the heating and the cooling and then set the differential to 1 degree.

The temp has remained at 79 (within 1 degree) since I hooked up the controller. Before the temp would spike up with the lights on and then slowly drop through the night. The extra heater has helped maintain temps for hours now and will probably hold through the night at 79F!

I have heard that these Ranco controllers are fairly reliable and this unit seems well built. I think the temp stability will be much better than I had beferore with only about a 1 degree swing now. The control resolution of 1 degree is fair but most higher end aquarium controllers (ReefKeeper, Neptune) have a .1F resoultion for temp control.

The programming on the Ranco is very easy with the touchpad butons and the digital display. Overall this is a grea unit for controlling reef aquarium temperatures and allows effective, accurate use of your heaters and chillers/cooling fans. This Ranco temp controller seems a good value at about $130 retail.

I think this new level of temperature stability is going to be a huge benefit to my reef. I can only hope for better coral colors and fat/happy fish as a result. This Ranco temperature controller will also help quench my controller junkie aquarium automation thirst until the ReefKeeper Elite is released sometime in late Spring. :jumpy:

Specs:
NA

Similar Products Used:
NA

Aquarium Information:
NA

Lifestudent
02-02-2008, 7:33 AM
I have heard that these Ranco controllers are fairly reliable and this unit seems well built. I think the temp stability will be much better than I had before with only about a 1 degree swing now. The control resolution of 1 degree is fair but most higher end aquarium controllers (ReefKeeper, Neptune) have a .1F resolution for temp control.


While I have not yet setup my dual stage Ranco ETC-211000 controller that I received this week, I have talked with several reefkeepers around the US that have large aquaculture systems and they use and like their Rancos for controlling temperature.

I too would wish that the Ranco units controlled temps tighter than 1F degree like the RKs or Neptune controllers. Nonetheless, Rancos are a great value. If you search around, you can find the Ranco single stage controller for under $50 and the dual stage for under $110.

Linda Lee
02-02-2008, 7:54 AM
I'm definitely going to check into these. I've never taken temperature that seriously, but I do have swings.

While watching a show the other night about the bleaching of corals along the GBReef, the cause stated for the bleaching was temperature. That got me wondering about my bleached anemone. This 'nem has sufficient light, sufficient food and sufficient water quality, but still won't regain its color. Could the problem be the temperature?

Cameron
02-02-2008, 8:20 AM
Another great post ripe for our hopefully new review forum area. Many thanks Sam.

mojo
02-02-2008, 8:28 AM
Just wanted to throw my two cents in. I have a Ranco single-stage thermometer sitting on a shelf b/c of some weird E2 message. I unplugged it from the wall when I was moving plugs around, and when I plugged it in again, all I got was "E2", and it hasn't performed as a temperature controller since.

My point? Rancos are great - almost bulletproof. I'd still recommend them over any other temperature controller. Just be aware that they do fail.

Lastly, does anyone know where I can get this thing serviced or what to do to get the error code fixed?

Linda Lee
02-02-2008, 8:35 AM
Double-check the label, Chris.

Does yours say Ranco? Or Ronco?

(sorry... I'll go do housework now.)

sammy33
02-02-2008, 12:40 PM
Lastly, does anyone know where I can get this thing serviced or what to do to get the error code fixed?

I have the list of error messages in the instructions I got. I will look that one up when I get home.

sammy33
02-02-2008, 12:41 PM
Another great post ripe for our hopefully new review forum area. Many thanks Sam.

Dang :doh: I completely missed the fact that we had a review forum. Cool! Thanks for moving the thread.

sammy33
02-02-2008, 1:12 PM
I'm definitely going to check into these. I've never taken temperature that seriously, but I do have swings.

While watching a show the other night about the bleaching of corals along the GBReef, the cause stated for the bleaching was temperature. That got me wondering about my bleached anemone. This 'nem has sufficient light, sufficient food and sufficient water quality, but still won't regain its color. Could the problem be the temperature?

Temp swings could be the problem. I have had some corals lighten in the last month or so and after careful examination of my water chemistry, flow, calcium additions, etc. I determined the only thing left that I don't have under control is temperature. My temp swings have been upwards of 5 degrees a day!

My nano reef at the office is doing excellent compared to my tank at home. The coral colors(SPS) are rich and growth is good. The one major difference on this tank is that I have a RK2 controller running the reef. The temperature control functions keep the tank with a .5 degree tolerance. I think this stability has contributed to the success of my nano and I hoping to see similar results at home. :)

sammy33
02-03-2008, 4:49 PM
Here are the error message codes and explanations. Mojo - Have you tried pushing the buttons to change the display? Unplug everything and try it?

mojo
02-03-2008, 6:18 PM
Here are the error message codes and explanations. Mojo - Have you tried pushing the buttons to change the display? Unplug everything and try it?

Yeah- several times. I also read that if it does it in Farenheit, then it may not do it in Celcius, so I tried changing it to Celcius, but no change...