This thread is being started to help growers choose a CO2 controller that works. I myself purchased a CAP PPM 3 controller and have been tormented by it's performance. The PPM 3 controller will work fine in many grow rooms, but justNo digital ballasts
just save yourself torment and don't try it with digital ballasts.
There's a more compelling reason to maybe look at other products and that is The PPM3 and 2a were both released in 1998. So the product has been sold for 10 years with no major advancements or changes. It's not like CAP is saving us any money by discounting a product which I'm sure all of their design and build out expenses have been recovered many years ago. I think CAP's a great company and I'm not writing this to slam them, but they should have a significant disclaimer concerning the PPM3 and digital ballasts "They Don't"
I have lost many hours of sleep and had damage to my crop by the controller locking up at 1450PPM and having my generator run continuously. Not to mention the many hours spent tying up heavy buds and Colas which were falling over due to teperatures exceeding 90 degrees in my room.
CAP says the PPM2a doesn't have any problems locking up like the PPM3. They recommend using this product with digital ballasts and that's ok if your using a reg 1 & co2 tank. If your using a generator like me though why pay $170 more just to get a product which works. You need to disable the fuzzy logic when you use a generator.
I called most of the companies and distributors out there looking for CO2 controllers that works with digital ballasts. I think I've found the product which I'm going to buy to replace the PPM3. The manufacture is Sentinel and the product is the CPPM-1.
1st lets talk about Sentinel. The engineer I spoke with was 1 of the original engineers on the PPM3 &2A. He knew the products intimately and was able to discuss differences between CAP & Sentinel. He said he and other workers left CAP in 2004.
PPM3 design: The PPM3 is a basic CO2 sensor wired into a trigger. There is no sheilding in the PPM3. The PPM2A he said was designed 1st and utilizes the same CO2 sensor they use at Sentinel. The PPM3 uses a more basic CO2 sensor. He said there is no sheilding either in the PPM2a but using the upgraded CO2 sensor might account for CAP's claim that it doesn't lock up with digital ballasts.
Sentinels design CPPM1: The controller and sensor are in different housings and the CO2 sensor is sheilded. One real nice feature is the photo sensor which allows me to eliminate a timer. The price point of the CPPM1 is $500 and the fuzzy logic is built into it. Sentinel's installation manual deals directly with digital ballasts recommending the mounting of the controller be 8 feet from the digital ballasts. The CO2 monitor has a 15' cable to connect to the controller. The only warning on mounting the monitor is not to get it wet and not to run it's cable close to HID light cables coming from the ballasts.
I'm attaching a link to the installtion manual for the Sentinel CPPM1. I really like the fact that Sentinel deals with significant issues in their installation manual and not making you call to find out the bad news after you've bought and installed the product.
Hope this helps people looking to add CO2 to their system. I just ordered my CPPM1 and hope to have it in a few days.
I want to reitterate my statement earlier. This post is not being written to slam CAP. I think they are a great company with many great products. I will very possibly buy other products from them in the future. I just think they could have and should have dealt with known issues with digital ballasts up front. That would have saved me lot's of torment.
Peace all, KB