GHL ProfiLux 4

GHL ProfiLux 4 Initial Thoughts and Review

I’ve been using my GHL ProfiLux 4 and a 4 pump Doser 2.1 for about 4-5 months now, and have it configured with some basic automation tasks running daily. So far this unit has been “Rock Solid” and extremely reliable. Below is my initial review of the product(s), why I decided on GHL, as well as an overview of the programming I currently have configured.

Why GHL?

I have been looking at the various options for automating some of my repetitive maintenance tasks for a while now. As I live in Colorado while the rest of my family lives back east, I don’t really have any one local who I can rely on to take care of my tank when I travel. My choice in controllers would need to meet three primary criteria; it would need to be built on reliable hardware, provide ease of use, and be backed by great customer service.

I had heard of GHL through various online forums, so I researched them and a few competitive products. After reading user reviews on retail sites, and forums, it became clear that reliability and customer service were both potentially serious issues with the competition. That would be strike one and strike two for me. Ease of use, was also questionable as it seems you almost need to learn some form of machine programming to use the competitors products.

In my research of GHL, all reviews I found made it clear that reliability was never an issue with their products. The GHL ProfiLux has been out for a while now, currently in Version 4. Many reefers I found online, are still using the ProfiLux 2 and 3 models, as they still run reliably so they have not had a reason to switch.

If you read through posts in the GHL forums, you very rarely find complaints and any you do find are immediately addressed by the team at GHL. Their customer support is one of the other key reasons I chose their product, as they are very active on their own forums as well as many other popular reefing forums and their Facebook groups. Add in the ease of programming the controller, and for me, the decision was a no-brainer.

Hardware

I decided on the ProfiLux 4 “mega-set” as my initial purchase as this includes all the components necessary for my immediate automation needs. The kit includes the ProfiLux 4, power supply, water temperature sensor, pH probe, Redox probe, conductivity probe, powerbar, calibration fluids, and the USB cable. I also ordered the doser 2.1 in a 4 pump configuration so I could automate my supplement dosing right away.

The hardware is compact in size, so it all fits nicely on a shelving unit I built next to my tank stand. The casing is metal and hard, durable plastics, designed to be functional long term. The pumps in the doser are replaceable so if something were to go wear it, you can just order a replacement component rather than needing a entirely new doser.

The ProfiLux 4 supports connectivity to most common aquarium equipment such as wave makers, pumps, lighting, heaters, and chillers through either the control ports on the back of the P4 or standard on/off control through the PowerBar. One of the key features for control is through the use of the ProfiLux Aquatic Bus or PAB, this is essentially a proprietary CAN BUS system for signaling other devices, enabling advanced control functions. GHL sells and recommends the use of their own PAB cables, however the interface is a standard RJ-45 connector, so you can get away with using traditional Cat5e or 6 network patch cables.

The Connection ports on the back of the P4 include:

  • 4x Sensor Connections for Temperature, pH/Redox, Redox/pH, Conductivity (White BNC-connectors)
  • 2x Connections for Powerbar (Red RJ-12 socket)
  • 1x Digital light control interface for Mitras Lightbar and compatible devices (Black RJ-45 socket, on the right next to power supply inputs) or RS232
  • 3x Expansion slots for additional controller cards (2x external, 1x internally accessible)
  • 2x PAB Ports (Black RJ-45 sockets)
  • 2x Level sensor ports (Double allocation, up to 4 sensors)
  • 3x 1-10V-interfaces (Yellow sockets, double allocation)
  • 1x Power failure monitor port
  • 1x USB Connection
  • 1x GHL Control Pad Connection
  • 1x DCF Receiver Connection
  • 1x AUX Connection
  • 1x Connection for power supply unit (12V DC hollow socket)

GHL ProfiLux 4 aquarium controller connection portsAdditional  features include:

  • Illuminated blue graphical display
  • Control panel with capacitive buttons
  • LED Status indicator (color changing based on function or alert status)

 

Programming

My initial programming of the controller consists of some fairly standard maintenance. I am using it to control my heaters, dose Alk, Calcium, Magnesium, as well as handling ATO functions. I also purchased add on modules to control my Kessil A360we lights and my gyre pump, but those will be configured in the coming weeks.

Programming is primarily configured trough the use of the GHL Control Center application which connects to the device either through USB or over your Wi-Fi network. I won’t go into detailed configuration here as that is covered in my other blog posts, but I will say that I have found programming through the GHL control center app to be very intuitive.

GHL also provides control and monitoring through the use of their MyGHL.com website (once your device is networked), and they have recently re-released their Android and iPhone app “GHL Connect.” The app is currently

The interface is separated into logical groupings for doser pumps, sensors, power-bar outlets, and then some more advanced logic options if needed.

Configuring the temperature control was as simple as assigning my heaters to the power-bar outlets, and then associating them to the included digital temperature probe. I configured my temperature probe in the control center for a nominal value of 78.8 and the ProfiLux turns on the primary and secondary heater outlets as needed.

For my ATO functions, I chose to utilize a single optical sensor. I then configured this sensor with the fourth pump on my doser for the built in ATO function. After that, it was just a matter of submerging my doser tubing into my RODI container, and it does the rest.

Overall impressions

i have been running the GHL equipment for a little over a month now, I have made few tweaks to my dosing schedules but nothing else out of the ordinary. My first big test will be during an upcoming vacation where i will be away for 2 weeks. GHL also recommends re-calibrating the probes every couple months, so i will be doing that work when i return from vacation. As of now, i can say the hardware has performed up-to and beyond my expectations, and has really helped to free up some of my time i used to spend on daily maintenance tasks.

The controller is easy to manage and adjust when needed, it is compact and well built, and still provides a touch of ‘modern’ aesthetics to an otherwise traditional reef tank set-up.

Since the initial purchase, I have also ordered an additional doser as well as pre-ordered the kH Director, due for release in December. If it performs as advertised, the kH director device will monitor and maintain my alkalinity at my desired level, provide views into long-term levels, as well as alerting on any changes. I will provide a review of the director once i receive it and get it configured.

GHL Products

GHL ProfiLux 4 Aquarium Controller
GHL ProfiLux 4 Controller – White
GHL ProfiLux 4 Aquarium Controller
GHL ProfiLux 4 Controller – Black
GHL Profilux 4 Aquarium Controller Ultimate set
GHL ProfiLux 4 Controller Ultimate Set
GHL MitrasLX7 LED aquarium light
GHL Mitras LX7 Aquarium LED – White
GHL MitrasLX7 LED aquarium light
GHL Mitras LX7 Aquarium LED – Black

 

 

 

 

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