We’ve been running a Reef Angel controller for a long time now, and so far it has performed very well. Setting up timers, auto top off, heaters and such was a slight hassle (especially since Reef Angel was still in it early days) but since it was setup the reef angel has performed like a charm. We recently got our hands on a wifi expansion module, and boy does it improve the Reef Angel experience. Once the Reef Angel is hooked up to the interwebz, it just becomes a new beast altogether, an unstoppable and completely customizable beast that is.
Upon first installing the Reef Angel wifi module you do have to configure a few things, but an easy to follow step by step application makes it a breeze. Like all other controllers on the market, the Reef Angel is not accessible from an outside network unless some sort of port-forwarding is setup. Now, the same app that was used earlier to configure the wifi, does offer automatic port forwarding, but if you are unlucky like us and your router is not compatible with the software, you’ll have to do it the hard way. Fortunately the Reef Angel support team was extremely helpful, and was able to smoothly guide us through the process.
Once the wifi is setup there is a massive variety of options available to connect to your Reef Angel controller. An iOS and an Android app are available for the smart phone users, and there is a html web page for everything else. If apps and html based interfaces don’t float your boat there is even desktop software (PC only) that can be installed on your home computer. Basically, whatever method you might prefer to communicate to your wifi enabled Reef Angel controller, one of these options meet your needs.
The Android app and iOS app were created by two different people, and for two different platforms. As a result both apps are very different, but interestingly they share many of the same features and in some cases even the same layout. Thus, which ever platform you going to use, you won’t be missing anything. On the welcome screen both apps give you quick statistic about your tank (temperature, pH, water level, salinity, ORP etc.) and allow you to do basic things such as switch on lights, or initiate feeding mode. It absolutely great to be able to just pull out your phone, and change the light spectrum on a whim. No more need to reach under your cabinet or deal with controllers!
When digging a little deeper, both apps allow you to configure basically everything about the controller. Whether it is adjusting pH, temperature, the photo period, dosing pumps, turning off a powerhead, or anything else, the app will be able to take care of it. You won’t be able to do emergency water changes (although in theory you could, it’s a Reef Angel after all) or replace a faulty heater, but it should certainly provide some additional ease of mind when you are on the road.
The html based web app, or Reef Angel Portal can be found on the Reef Angel website and requires your forum ID to log in. To connect to your Reef Angel you just have to fill out your IP and port, and you’re all set. The portal allows you to do everything we mentioned above (beside SMS), and offers an intuitive sliding drawer interface. Since the software is in the cloud, the portal runs 24/7 so you won’t have to worry about leaving your computer on for email notifications. The portal is html based, so you should be able to access it from any computer whether your run mac, pc, or even an obscure Linux build. It is also great for phones that allow internet access but do not run android or iOS.
If you intend to get the Reef Angel, we definitely suggests getting the wifi expansion to go with it. With so many options, and so much control it really does make the Reef Angel a that much more pleasurable experience. Not to mention that the wifi actually make the Reef Angel easier to use on a day to day basis. Additionally you no longer need to plug the Reef Angel into the computer if you want make some minor changes, with the wifi expansion it can now all be done without cables.
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