It's older technology but it works as deisgned By Jay B on 12/3/2016
Jay B would recommend this product to a friend
First of all, the reason that I bought the RKE was my JBJ heater controller failed and fried my corals. I didn't realize it until most of them were bleached by my local version of climate change. I was stupid and didn't read all the stuff online about how free standing temperature controllers and sensors are very prone to failing after about a year or two of constant service. It never occurred to me that it would fail unsafe. Next, be careful about reading ANY customer review of the controller systems, either on BRS or anywhere else. None of the two major consumer controller manufacturers (Neptune and DA) have perfect products that work for 100% of the users straight out of the box. They all require some level of technical knowledge and tinkering. If one starts with that attitude, then one won't be disappointed with either brand controller. And read the manual thoroughly.
Now to the RKE. It is not the Digital Aquatics' product line that is equivalent to the Neptune Apex. The DA Archon is their high end cloud-base, wireless controller. The RKs are the previous controller generation and that's why they are somewhat lower in price. The RKE consists of a collection of daisy-chained devices attached to a head unit with a small LCD display. The RK Elite Plus comes with 8 controllable AC outlets, a pH sensor and a temperature sensor. Setting everything up via the head unit is more of a vision/dexterity test than anything else, so if you don't feel like using a magnifying glass to read the display, connect the system to the USB connector and use a laptop to program the RKE (just like it says to do in the BRS video). I had no problem setting up my two Gyres, skimmer, main circulator pump, heater and Ca reactor. I left the top-off to the existing Tunze controller.
There are a few other modules available, but the only ones IMO that are worth considering are the salinity package (a BRS exclusive at the moment) and the NET module. The NET module allows Ethernet connection via your home network. Some people have actually been able to add a wireless bridge device to the NET module, but if you are going down that rabbit hole, I suggest that you look at either the Archon or Apex instead. The NET module gives you the ability to send alarm messages to your email address and cell phone. It is also possible to upgrade the RKE with the Archon head unit as almost all the RK modules work with the Archon.
In summary, I am very satisfied with the RKE and I cleaned up that accumulated snaggle of wires and AC power strips (also exactly what the BRS video states).
Works when hooked up right By Alexander on 6/30/2016
Alexander would recommend this product to a friend
I'm going to add another review here now that I have had this system running for years without any problems.
A lot of the negatives here I believe are related to not understanding the devices and ports correctly. This highlights the one major fault of Digital Aquatics in not providing readily available, easy to understand, direct instructions on what equipment is used where and when. Installation is a learning experience - be prepared to read and spend several hours over a weekend/week to set this up.
When purchasing this system or the power bars, any buyer MUST go read and understand the difference between solid-state and relay based electrical outlets. Plugging in a fan into the wrong type of outlet in the power bar module WILL cause your system to fail outright, alarm prematurely, or fail to activate a device among other things. There is a reason both types of receptacles are provided on the power bar - any buyer must go to the forum and download the latest information on when and what to plug into which socket.
After you read the detailed information packets online about each module, a buyer MUST update every module and the header to the latest firmware. Not doing this will cause your system to have issues or crash. This is a computer system and all the modules must be updated to the same level of code to work properly.
One negative, and positive, is that this system does require some computer savvy. A potential buyer must be comfortable updating their own computer and installing software. If this does not describe you, save yourself the headache and go to the other options.
I have contacted the DA support several times and have not had near the experience of other users. I received responses from DA support in no more than 24 hours and the latest experience I had a response and resolution in no more than 10 minutes. I'm not sure what is causing other users to have issues but from what I can tell as long as the conversation is respectful the response is immediate and quick.
All in all the system is great for the price. However, as with anything a cheaper price means more user driven interaction. In this case, the user/buyer must be willing and able to read all the material provided and understand the details. Know the amps each component that is to be plugged into the system and take the time to ensure that the right motor is used in the right place and does not overload the system.
Another gotcha with the power bars (and power bar, actually), is that there is a limit to how many amps can be run through the module. With larger fans/motors, although there are sockets available one large motor may be the limit for that power bar.
Great system when understood and connected correctly. I have had no issues with lighting, multiple motors, auto-topoff, temperature etc. in years with this system. Has never crashed or failed to turn on a motor/heater.
Even with this system, always use independent verification processes for critical equipment such as heaters. Protect your investment regardless of which controller is used!
Not worth the investment By HaleMoana on 5/14/2016
HaleMoana wouldn't recommend this product to a friend
Honestly.... If you are looking to buy a controller, the other manufacturer is what you want.
I am so heavily invested into the RKE and can't switch to the Apex right now, but I will once I can.
Digital Aquatics, really the first into the market, has since fallen way behind.
Awesome Controller that makes my life more simple By Trevor on 5/1/2016
Trevor would recommend this product to a friend
This device has really help automate my system. I have basically everything in my tank hooked up to it. It helps reduce the chance of chance of heater failure. Can control your ATO either by float valves or osmolator. Lights are on a timer. I have a fan programmed to come on if the tank starts to overheat. If the fan cant keep up I can shut off the lights and program it to email me. I have the net version and it does work in my home which is super cool. The only reason it doesn't work outside my home is because my router doesn't support anything other than dynDNS and I dont want to pay 40$ a year. If you have a supported router it should work. Now heres the thing...this controller requires alot of reading and understanding. Watch the BRS videos and videos on youtube they are more helpful than the DigitalAquatics forum. People bag on there customer service but I haven't needed to call them so I can't comment. My advice would be to take this product for what it is and not turn away purely because of customer service. I love mine! If you are able to spend more then the Apex might be more suited for you just because more of the community uses them.
Nothing but trouble from day one!!! By Louis on 1/31/2016
Louis wouldn't recommend this product to a friend
DigitalAquatics is garbage!!
Reefkeeper Elite By jeff on 7/19/2015
jeff would recommend this product to a friend
Would have given 5 stars except for lack of instructions and support. Once you figure it out, it works great.
Basic Functionality works well especially for the price. By Mark B on 6/7/2015
Mark B would recommend this product to a friend
Controlling & monitoring basic functions such as Temp, Ph, water levels, basic lighting & simple pumps, are handled well, especially for the price. You select the type of device you want to control and the time it should go on\off and its controlled.
The user interface is a little hard to work with but you can download free software which runs on your computer that's easier to use.
Advanced functionality and finding info is really hard which is why it gets 4 stars.
I wouldn't run a tank without a controller like this.
Multiple issues By Kim on 3/31/2015
Kim wouldn't recommend this product to a friend
I don't know why BRS recommends this product at all. I look to their expertise to guide me away from the products that should have never reached the sales floor. This is one of those products that I am going to have to trash altogether.
1. PH calibrated in solution and then in the sump is never anywhere near correct
2. Temperature is all over the place. At times it matches my JBJ true temp and at other times it's around 120+. Other times it just jumps around.I hooked my fans up to be trigger by temp. Sometimes they trigger sometimes they don't. I bought this to be my back up. It is so unreliable it's actually dangerous. Thank God I was home when I realized it wasn't working. If you can't hook your fans up to it, what good is it?
3. The whole system cuts out, turns off, fails completely for minutes to hours at a time. It just goes wacky for a lack of a better word. And will come back on as if nothing happened.
4. Customer service is the worst I've seen. I've called 10-20 times a day sometimes. No answer. If I had to guess I would say this company is some guy working out of his garage. When he gets your number and associates it with a problem he blocks it and doesn't call back.
5. I've emailed. No email back. Again, I had a problem with this unit from the beginning. I got a person one time who walked me through the initial problem. Then no answer on phone or email from that point on.
6. The computer part of this device is completely malfunctioning. Sometimes works, sometimes doesn't, sometimes everything goes wacky.
7. I can't find anything anywhere on how to turn this alarm off. I set it up and now even when it cleared it, canceled it, it won't shut off and there is nothing on their website that answers the most basic questions. The instruction are horrible. And the alarm runs on and on.....
I am so sorry I bought this. I've read from others who have purchased it and they are in the same boat. This thing is so horrible as a device and as a company I can't believe BRS has highlighted it let alone sells it. It's trash and now I'm stuck. No where to turn. Lost all that money. BRS does a video on how much money this thing will save you. YOU HAVE TO BE KIDDING ME! It's trash. A total waste of $350.
A GREAT Controller for your REEF!! By Jarrod on 3/8/2015
Jarrod would recommend this product to a friend
BRS was out of stock and so I bought this on eBay and it was the best purchase ive made for my aquarium. The DA RKE doesn't come with any instructions but you just go to DA website and go to downloads and select your unit and pick the instructions you want. About their Customer service, when I got my RKE PLUS my display had a blotch on it when I opened it, I contacted DA's customer service and they answered first ring and told me to email a picture and receipt and they said to use it and play with it to get use to it in the mean time while I wait for my new headunit. I've also called them a couple times since with questions and they have answered first or second ring every time and have been very helpful and friendly. I would buy it again In a heartbeat!! Hope this helps.
Works very well By Alexander on 12/8/2014
Alexander would recommend this product to a friend
I am just back into the hobby after many years of hiatus. I have to say, after much research I am glad I went with DA RKE.
As with any hobby, when buying these types of systems you have to expect some 'figure it out yourself'. Expect as much with this item.
They do not come with documentation and must be found online. This is not a big deal for me as I would go online anyway to get the latest info on the system anyway.
Expect to update the modules when you get them. Just like with any technical system, update the firmware on all the modules before trying to setup anything. This is a slightly technical process so be prepared to learn how to do it. I am actually quite impressed that the ability to completely reprogram a bricked module is possible.
Some modules may come with the same ID number programmed. This will cause an error and may give you the indication the system is broken. This usually happens with the PC4. Just reset one of the modules that has the same ID as another and ensure that they all are different.
Some of the new modules don't all work in all ways of programming them. For example, I had to program my DA DP1 via the header as it is not recognized on the software or net programming at this time. Not a huge deal as, again, we are talking a hobby product and I can still program it.
All in all, this system works great with some minor learning. As always, we can expect the more expensive product to be more user friendly. But if you have some patience this product works great.
Expect to spend a few hours on a weekend getting everything setup. I have a SL1, 3 PC4's, a NET, and a DP1 with 2 float switches, temp probe, and PH probe working great.
Patience will save you money in this case.