EcoTech Marine introduces VorTech Pump & Radion Light control from your smartphone via ReefLink controller.
Most of us are familiar with the EcoTech ReefLink system that has been available for a few months now. It allows you to program and control the Radion LED systems from just about any internet connected device (smart phones, computers, tablets, etc.) via either a web page or iOS/Android application. EcoTech recently upgraded the smart phone applications introducing control to the VorTech pumps via the same simple and easy to use interface. I found the control functions to work very well and very easy to operate. The interface is like a digital version of the physical controller but with helpful features like the ability to easily pull up a description of each pump mode, and easy sliders for things like pulse length and pump strength (vs the wheel/button combinations).
At the moment VorTech control via EcoSmart Live only works via the smart phone application but I would imagine that the browser version is coming soon. There seem to be some hints to this in the software, for example the browser interface now shows that I have pumps connected to this ReefLink and in my tank, I just can’t make any adjustments to them. There is also a calendar icon in the smart phone application that looks like a button but currently doesn’t do anything. We already know that the web interface demo’s a VorTech scheduler function so it seems reasonable to think that functionality will be usable in the smartphone interface as well when the feature is implemented.
To use the VorTech pumps with the ReefLink you need update the firmware on them and add them to your Reef Link. The process isn’t complicated and the smartphone app walks you through it pretty easily but I didn’t find any other instructions so figured I would write up the process here for those who are curious.
The first step is to download and install the EcoSmart Live application to your smart phone (in my case it’s an iPhone).
I found that updating the VorTechs worked better if the ReefLink was in close proximity to the pump controller. Seeing as how ours is connected to our Wi-Fi network, I just unplugged it and moved it to an outlet near the pump controller. I would suggest doing this while the application downloads.
Next you want to select the aquarium you want to add a VorTech to. As you can see we have multiple, but its entirely possible you only have one tank to choose from here. Pressing the gear will bring up the devices attached to your tank.
On the blue bar at the bottom of the screen there is a + icon. Pressing this will trigger the ReefLink to start searching for devices. Don’t worry when it doesn’t find any VorTechs. They don’t have the most up to date firmware so they won’t appear here. They need to be updated. Pressing the button at the bottom that says “Missing Devices?” and then pressing the VorTech option on the following screen will allow you to start the process. Heed the warning message that the process is done individually for each pump and press dismiss to continue.
At this point you want to unplug all of the VorTechs that you have and press the next button in the app. Now you need to hold down the Set and Mode buttons while plugging in the power cord. Continue to hold the buttons until the controller starts to flash Red/White. When you get the red/white go ahead and press the next button in the application.
Now you’re going to hold down the Set button (middle button). After a few moments it will start flashing blue and green. When this happens you can letgo and the firmware update process has started. You don’t need to do anything on the pump or application. If you look at the application it will have automatically begun the updating process.
Once the process is completed, when the ReefLink searches for devices it will find your VorTechs and you can add them to your aquarium. At this point you can control them via the EcoSmart Live app on your smartphone.
From now on the process is pretty straight forward and similar to the physical controller. You tap the big mode button in the middle to switch between the different types of modes, and slide the icon around the button to adjust the speed of the pump. If you happen to use a mode with a configurable pulse length (like long pulse) a slider will appear at the bottom allowing you to adjust the timing of the pulses.
All in all this process only takes a few minutes for each pump. I think my favorite feature is the ability to engage feed mode from my phone. Everyones tanks and setups are different but most folks I know don't have their VorTech controllers in the most reachable of places, so having these in an easy to access location makes life a lot easier.