I am a huge fan of automation. If you have been following my work at all, you know that I have been extensively covering things that will make our reefing hands as free as possible, ad make everything more enjoyable. With that said, I’m pleased to cover this brand new, exciting product called Mastertronic from Focustronic.
Mastertronic in its infant stage; planning the interior and exterior designs.
Focustronic has done extremely well with their very first product, which pushed them into the stratosphere of the automatic testing world: Alkatronic. With Neptune System’s Trident dominating the market, this product was one of the few legitimate dark horses that was giving Trident a run for its money. In my personal opinion, I think this is because cheap reagents, and accurate consistent results; it’s easy to use and has a polished graphical user interface. With this product under their belt, the company went to work on creating a device that tested many more parameters that we hobbyists test often, hoping to to ensure that the water conditions are pristine and optimal for our animals.
I actually covered this product in detail previously so I won’t bore you bu repeating myself. You can read about the mastertronic here on my other article.
What I want to do is to get an update on this highly anticipated product.
So naturally, I contacted the owner of the company to squeeze out more information.
Here is my interview with Eric Tang, owner of Focustronic:
(I’m in bold.)
The time is nearing for the highly anticipated Masteronic to come out! Can you give us some more details? How big is this unit so that people can make space for it.
Mastertronic’s dimensions are 33cm (L) x 24cm (W) x 33cm (H)
How is the production going since we last spoke? Still on schedule for the summer release?
We are still expecting summer release but probably late summer. Development was slowed down due to COVID-19; at the same time we do not want to rush it but rather take our time and offer the best product.
I know we spoke about this before but let’s list out all the elements that it’s able to test right now. Can you tell me what made you choose these parameters in particular?
Currently we do Nitrate, Phosphate, Magnesium, Calcium,and OLI.
The reasons are simple. As we all know, alkalinity is the most important element in a reef system which can vary over a matter of few hours if not monitored/controlled well. This could be a malfunction of a reactor or a dosing pump or as simple as the dosing solutions are not refilled. Once dkh is controlled and kept stable with the Dosetronic, we can easily dose a balanced amount of kh/ca/mg because the consumption of the Ca and Mg has a direct relationship to the consumption of KH. We have been telling our users that with Alkatronic/Dosetronic, all you need is to maybe measure Ca and Mg every week or every 2-3 weeks (if you are lazy, LOL), just to keep it in track. With that said, nutrients are next on the menu for regular and consistent measurements. Although PO4 and NO3 may not change as quickly, sometimes a dead fish that died and got stuck within the scape can cause a spike or an inefficient skimmer. With a way to measure and keep track of the nutrient readings, we can automate a lot of things like the run time of a fuge light or a skimmer, a reactor that absorbs the nutrients, or lighting (Solartronic) because we all know the higher the nutrients, the higher the lighting intensity should be.
When we have the nutrients in check, then the next step would be to automate Ca and Mg just to make sure these two are within range. Although the consumption of Ca and Mg has a direction relationship with KH, over a longer period of time, the three can have small deviations and it’s is good to keep an eye on it, in case any adjustment is needed.
For OLI, this is a measurement of the organic load which the user can use as a guide to run activated carbon.
Mastertronic testing parameters.
Will there be additional options for different parameters down the road? (Will you be able to switch out the reagents to test different parameters?)
Yes, we are putting out the most immediate parameters when we release the Mastertronic but we built the code for future expansion. So if the user has the Alkatronic and Mastertronic, they will already have these parameters monitored/controlled (KH, NO3, PO4, Ca, Mg, OLI, pH, PAR).
NOTE: with PAR, we cannot monitor it directly but can use the data to adjust the PAR output of Solartronic. For example, if you are running a schedule with 70% intensity, when nutrients are higher, the intensity will be adjusted by 5-10% (user defined). When nutrients are back to normal, the increase will be disabled and return to the default schedule.
I know that each parameter will vary, but can you give an estimate of how long we’ll have to wait for results?
We are still working on the fine tuning, but we expect it to be around 30min or less for each test.
Will this be also apex compatible?
We are open to this, and it will depend on the decision makers to allow an API between the 2 platforms. With our roadmap, we will soon have accessories for other sensors like temperature, salinity, leak detector, flow detector, ATO, and the most exciting will be the Powertronic which is a smart power strip that works together with Alkatronic and Mastertronic to control any third party equipment.
Any other key information that we should be aware of?
Like all our products, Mastertronic will be a stand-alone product so it can run on its own without the need of other products. It will utilize a new connection protocol and works directly over WiFi. There are plans to make our own reagent for the different tests rather than using off the shelf test kits. Pro is that with off the shelf kits, it would be readily available but could be slightly more costly. Therefore, we have plans to offer the Focustronic reagents if we can bring down the costs for the users so they can test as much as they want without too much consideration of the cost per test.
There you go guys. All the latest information on possibly one of the hottest new product of 2020. We can’t wait for this release!
What do you guys think of this product? Will you be getting one? Let me know and happy reefing!