Eco Zone Vivarium Control

On Friday my EcoZone EZ400 arrived. The creator, Tony Escobar, asked me if I could put the EZ400 to work with chameleons and give him some feedback. I am going to use this thread as a sort of log to track my thoughts and progress. The thread will serve as a reference for those people interested in how this can be used for us cham keepers. I can tell you this is a powerful tool in regulating temp, lights, misting and monitoring your daily temps.

First notes. The packaging the EZ400 comes in is great! Very clean pack and presentation. :D

Comes with a reuseable shopping bag.



The two extra temp sensors I ordered. It comes with two standard, but I wanted to mess with four total :D



Some literature.



the box that the controller comes in.



User manual.



The two temp probes that come standard.



And the unit......



lol sorry guys... I didn't take pics of the 'unit' outside of the box. :eek: I was opening this up like a kid at christmas and then had to run out the door. :(

The first go around with the controller, I just hooked it up to my computer and played around with the interface. I was trying to get familiar with the way you set things up. There are a bunch of features to utilize. When I get into it more and actually have the controller controlling some lights and sensing some temps I will report back. Until then feel free to ask any questions, I will try to answer as best I can. If you have any simulations or ideas on how it should be set up, let me know!

Just a tease..... here is the controller status page that reports output levels, output status (on/off/%) temperature ranges you have set and current temperatures being read by the probes.



 

Gluuvan

Established Member
Looking forward to seeing how this unit runs for you Summoner. I have been very interested in the eco zone for some time now but have not takin the leap. Hope it works out wonderful, cant wait to see what u have to say about it. One question, Does it run both wins and mac? Would be very awesome to have it hooked up to the iphone!:D

O yeah would love to see how ya set it up also bud
 
Looking forward to seeing how this unit runs for you Summoner. I have been very interested in the eco zone for some time now but have not takin the leap. Hope it works out wonderful, cant wait to see what u have to say about it. One question, Does it run both wins and mac? Would be very awesome to have it hooked up to the iphone!:D

O yeah would love to see how ya set it up also bud
The interface is web based.... So I believe it will work for both operating systems. To log into the controller you enter the IP address in your web browser and away you go. It is sorta like your home internet router for your home computer network.
 

Syn

Avid Member
Not sure how that will work for me, since I run on Sprint internet and it's USB-based?
 

Gluuvan

Established Member
Sounds awesome. Going to look into it more. Looking forward to your feedback on the system.
 

chams1

Member
Kevin, after checking out Tony's stuff at the Super Show, I have a proposition for you:

I will pay for your flight here for the show this weekend if you get me one of these. :p
 
Kevin, after checking out Tony's stuff at the Super Show, I have a proposition for you:

I will pay for your flight here for the show this weekend if you get me one of these. :p
sure I can get you one, but I am gonna need more than a plane ticket lol
 

Marty

MistKing
Site Sponsor
My EcoZone is still in a box...I have to start setting it up. Just been too busy. Looks great... Tony gave me the run down at the Pomona show. Very impressive unit...so much so that you can now get it at MistKing.com :) I'm keeping an eye on this thread
 
working on setting this baby up right now! gonna set it up on two cages and a free range. will have some more details in a bit....
 

Gluuvan

Established Member
Looking forward to more pictures and input. Glad to see they are a sponsor on the site now also.
 
OK. So today when setting up the EZ-400 I ran into an issue that Tony says should be corrected next software update... but I thought was kind funny. Currently there is an issue with the date causing the unit to reset... Y2K anyone? LOL the simple fix for right now is to change the date to 2009 instead of 2010..... This will be fixed and is nothing to deter anyone from buying this product. The best part of this thing is that Tony is easy to access and get info from and to give feedback to. He takes notes of everything and implements new ideas as soon as he can. This is very refreshing! Today my unit spazzed out... I am sure my neighbors could hear this since the unit sits near a window and the window was wide open. I could hear it loud and clear walking from my car :eek: The issue is that I set a basking lamp to maintain 100*F and the over temp alarm default is set for 90*f. The unit is trying to warm up.... but at the same time not happy because it is too warm. Tony has told me he is changing the default, so that the user must select the unit's actions when reaching a max temp.... in other words you must select what action the unit takes when reaching a max temp. The current default is to shut down and sound an audible alarm. This is no big deal.... if your home LOL :D. I set the new temp and left for an hour or so and came home to a unhappy EcoZone :eek:

Again, this is a test and Tony is very very very responsive to the input I and others with the unit give to him. You don't find that from the 'big guys' and I am very thankful for this reactive approach.

Today with my setting up of the free range and two veild cages I was able to get one cage done. My slow set up is souling my issue. I have 14 chams to look after and othe activities during the weekend that keep my time. If I could jus focus my attention for more time I could have this done in no time. But since I am in ten places at once please bare with me. Getting one veiled cage set up didn't takemuch time. I had to change my setup a bit because I was using misting domes on my two cages instead of installing the misting nozzles into the cage. :eek: The domes take up more space on top of the cage and in my situation were slowing me down. The whole idea behind these domes is that I don't need to damage the screen by cutting holes. The mist just sprays above the cage in an enclosed 'dome' and then causes 'rain' in the cage.





I made these back when Dave Weldon loaned me a cage and asked that I not cut holes in the screen for misting.... haha So it made me do some thinking.

I will update tomorrow with more info. So far so good, I love this thing! :)
 
Sp I was able to get both veileds setup today. Both are running their basking lamps off of the heat feedback. The UVB dims in and out at dawn and dusk. Next step is to get the free range dialed in.

Right now I have the veiled basking spots set at 100*F and am using 50w halogen PAR20 lamps. I angled the lights so that they enter the top of the cage at a slight angle so that the temp probe gets light even with the chameleon standing on top of the probe. So far so good! To maintain heat the lamp dims and intensifies based on temp feed back. The system is very accurate.

I changed my times for lights on and off a bit so the chams weren't ready for lights out. They seemed a bit confused and the light got dim. I hope to see them 'settle' in on the new times soon. I changed the times because my work hours have changed and I want to make sure things are working OK before going to work.
 
Been playing with the EZ400 as of late. I moved away from the temp controlled basking lamp control and just put the basking lamps on a ramp on/off mode (dawn/dusk). The reason I did this is because the temps have been mild. Another reason is that I wasn't liking how if you set the ramp for a long time the heat lamps come on and off as the cage slowly is ramped up to the preset temp. The controller is working as it should... but imagine... you tell the controller to ramp up the temp in the cage over the course of an hour? well if you were using a heating element you wouldn't notice the device turning on and off. but with a heat lamp you see it turning on and off as it controls the temp of the cage. This didn't look right to me. So I went to the dawn to dusk mode where the lamps just slowly ramp on over a set time, by the user. This looks way better. The only down fall is that the temp in the cage won't be changed by the controller unless you set a 'over temp' action to turn off the heat lamps. In the 'heat control' mode, the lights are only as bright as they need to be to maintain heat.

With the temps starting to climb here in SoCal. I decided to switch back over to the 'heat control' mode of the basking lamps. This time instead of ramping up over the course of an hour I set the time to 5 minutes. This avoids the issue i mentioned before. So the Veileds get light a slow ramp up of the UVB lamps in the AM and then once at full the heat lights have a 5 minute ramp. this is less noticable for the chams. It is kinda funny to watch because as the lights come up slowly they chams wake up..... climb from their sleeping spots and move to their basking spots. They relax for a bit and then over 5 minutes the heat lamps come on. The veileds have set up their routines around the lights dimming. It is so natural looking to watch them get ready as the lights go out. I seriously believe they feel more at 'home' with the lights dimming vs. clicking on or off. When lights turn off and on without dimming the chams seem to guess what time to get ready for bed... they end up in different places. I have noticed that my veileds with the dimming light are in their spots ready to sleep by the time lights out.

I posted this image in another thread but wanted to post here as well so I could 'get the word out' about it.... it is important to have UVB and heat in the same place so a chameleon can process it's calcium better. It is a good idea to place a UVB lamp down the center of the cage and place the heat lamp at an angle so that the cham can get both UVB and heat/UVA rays at the same time.

 
Check this out... So had an issue... todl Tony... he did a software update for me with new rainforest defaults! bitchin! already loaded the new software, just need to do a few adjustments to the settings and should be done.
 
I haven't posted in a while.. thought I would share some updates.

In the last month or so I have changed cable/internet providers. I went from Time Warner (total crap service) to AT&T Uverse. With the new service I got a modem/router. With Time Warner I had been using my own router and cable modem. So since the router/modem have to be near the DVR in the living room, I was unable to connect my internet devices to my network anymore. The cables weren't long enough and I didn't wanna buy new ones......... SO I started looking into wireless access points and found I could change the firmware on my 'old' router and turn it into a wifi bridge. I converted the router I already had, and then jumped on Craigslist to find another. Only certain hardware versions of the linksys routers can have the firmware changed. the newer models or versions have less memory, capacity to handle the third-party firmware.

Here are some links to help you find info on the firmware... I used a firmware called Tomato.

Tomato FAQ

Linksysinfo.org

With the new firmware, you can turn the router into a wifi bridge. This is when you plug web devices into the router, and the router connects to your wifi network and bridges the connection between the main router and the web devices. The router you loaded the software onto isn't really a router anymore, it is a 'bridge'.

If ya look through the links above you'll find info on which versions of the linksys routers can be loaded with new firmware. The cool thing is that these routers are all over and can be picked up for a decent price. I got my second one off craigslist for $30 :).

Here are some photos with the EZ400 and my craigslist router errrr.... wifi bridge.





Here is the underside of the router... you need to look at the serial number to determine the version of hardware inside of the router. in the tomato FAQ you'll find a list of compatible versions.

 
There is a new feature worth mentioning with the latest software update. The EZ400 now has email notification. There is an issue at the moment with my IP that doesn't allow me to use this feature, but this can be resolved by putting the EZ400 into an auto IP mode rather than giving the device a custom IP address. I just haven't gotten to it because I've been lazy :eek: :rolleyes:

In the last update there was another update worthy of mention. There are now min/max temp logs for each probe. This is pretty nifty. Tells you the time and date of the max temp. That is good because when you normally look at min/max temps on a thermometer, like the ones from Home Depot or Lowe's, it won't tell you when the probe saw the min/max temps. You only know 'well it happened sometime since I reset the min/max values'.
 
Slight update here.... I now have TWO EcoZone controlers! One is the one you see in the thread above, and I now have one with the humidity control. I still have yet to play with it. Thinking about using it on a frog vivarium and/or a green tree python setup. I am not a snake person at all but one of my clients breeds GTPs and I've been checking them out lately, they seem pretty cool. I even did an install at a pet shop this past weekend with three nippy babies. Had to keep one eye on the snappy GTPs and another eye on the work at hand. I just hope the adults aren't snappy!

I will post more when I get the new EcoZone setup!
 

Jammonlee

New Member
I was just looking at buying this today.

I've been reading the site description, am I right about what this can do? It monitors the temperature in the cage and if too hot, dims/turns on/off lights to lower/raise the temperature? If the humidity is too low, turns the mister on to raise it? During peak hours of sunset and sunrise it will dim the lights up and down to recreate the sunset and sunrise effect?

To me, that is just amazing. I think I will tally up the cost today and see what I need to spend.

Will a dimming standard 60w house light bulb work in the basking area, so if it gets to hot the basking light will dim down rather than turn off like mine does now?
 
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