Recommendation wanted for an Inkbird or Biogreen thermostat

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Aiko
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Recommendation wanted for an Inkbird or Biogreen thermostat

Post by Aiko » Sat Nov 10, 2018 10:23 pm

I am on the lookout for a additional thermostat. I have read into this on this forum, and it looks like most of you have either an Inkbird thermostat or a Biogreen Thermo 2 one. I have broswed around the digital world and I think one of these are indeed a good buy.

I will be using them to heat (keep frost free) a cold frame (which resides inside my unheated greenhouse), to allow for frost protection for my winter active succulents.

It only needs to register a temperature of <0C, after which it should kick in the simple heater that I have. At around 5C I want it to shut down the heater again, allowing for the frost to dissipate the heath slowly to <0C, so the thermostat kicks the heater on again. A simple cycle.

But both have their own pros and cons and I just can't decide on which of the two to get.

Inkbird
+ Cheaper compared to Biogreen (about 2/3 of the price)
+ Displays shows temperature in tenth of a degree, which I really like
+ The wire of the sensor seems sturdy enough, and can also be replaced if the wire gets damaged (which is why I need to replace my current thermostat, as the wire is about to fail sending sensor information)
- The set-up looks a bit vague, after watching Youtube videos on setting it up
- Seems hard to buy up here in the Netherlands (I prefer buying it locally, or maybe from Germany)
- The socket to attach appliances is on an additional outlet that is attached on the Inkbird, which will take up additional room in my small cold frame due to addional wires and socket box

Biogreen
+ Setting up seems easy and straightforward, same as my current thermostat
+ Easy to order in multiple garden webshops up here
+ The socket is straight on the Biogreen thermostat, so keeps things compact for me
- Much more expensive than the Inkbird (about half the price of the Inkbird higher)
- Display shows temperature only in a full a degree instead of tenths of a degree
- I am not so sure if the wire of the sensor is sturdy enough it will last many years without getting gnarled, especially at the base. I don't know if I can replace the sensor, if the wire gets damaged.

So any more recommendations, pros or cons according to your experiences that might help me to make a decision?

And will both of them remember the setup after having been on summer vacation? Or do I need to set things up every time the power disconnencts? My current thermostat remembers its setting.
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Re: Recommendation wanted for an Inkbird or Biogreen thermostat

Post by agavemad » Sun Nov 11, 2018 5:36 am

I have Bio green and I have had no problem with them. I have 3 and they seam pretty reliable. I have a max min thermometer in the greenhouse. The only thing I have noted is the temp drops a degree below what I have set it at before it comes on.... There maybe something in the settings to stop this however I am not that technical. I set it to 8 degree C and the greenhouses have never been below 5 degrees C which is what I aim for
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Re: Recommendation wanted for an Inkbird or Biogreen thermostat

Post by ragamala » Sun Nov 11, 2018 8:02 am

agavemad wrote:
Sun Nov 11, 2018 5:36 am
There maybe something in the settings to stop this however I am not that technical. I set it to 8 degree C and the greenhouses have never been below 5 degrees C which is what I aim for
agavemad - the reason this happens is that the Biogreen has a fixed temperature differential between switch on and switch off the heater. This has been reported as 2 degrees, but isn't stated in the manual. In other words if you want to maintain 5, as I do, you set the heater temperature to that plus 2 = seven. The heater switches on at 5 and off at 7.

I have found in practice the variation can be slightly different, not surprising as the Biogreen spec says temperature accuracy +-1C. I can't judge from results right now as my temperature logger shows minimum of around 6 degrees for the last couple of nights, and the heater probably didn't kick in at all from the record.
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Re: Recommendation wanted for an Inkbird or Biogreen thermostat

Post by ragamala » Sun Nov 11, 2018 8:26 am

Aiko wrote:
Sat Nov 10, 2018 10:23 pm
I will be using them to heat (keep frost free) a cold frame (which resides inside my unheated greenhouse), to allow for frost protection for my winter active succulents.

It only needs to register a temperature of <0C, after which it should kick in the simple heater that I have. At around 5C I want it to shut down the heater again, allowing for the frost to dissipate the heath slowly to <0C, so the thermostat kicks the heater on again. A simple cycle.

------------

And will both of them remember the setup after having been on summer vacation? Or do I need to set things up every time the power disconnencts? My current thermostat remembers its setting.
Aiko, I think you will see from my post replying to agavemad's that the Biogreen will not in fact be able to do what you want here. If you want to be frost free, starting heating at 0, then the Biogreen will switch the heater off at 2 degrees only.

This is why the Biogreen is simpler to set up than the Inkbird. The Inkbird is more versatile, it has the ability to set the temperature difference between switch on and off as you require (5 degrees in your case), and will do what you want. I would add that it does have other facilities which are settable, separate cooling differential, but I am assuming you wouldn't need that, and if you haven't got cooling as well as heating you can ignore all but the main two settings, temperature and heating differential, so it is actually simple to set up. The Biogreen, too, can be set to cool function, but manually and not at the same time as heat function is active.

As for other major differences, the Inkbird can only handle a heater load of 10amps / 2kw, but I imagine this is more than you need for your cold frame. The Biogreen can output 16amps/3kw.

I have one of each of these, and have found them reliable in operation for the last three years, and far superior to the results obtained from the built-in thermostat of my heaters, which are pretty useless in comparison.

As for retaining settings on power loss or switch off I have found both do indeed retain their settings. After three years there has been no wear to the sensor leads, which are roughly the same, and no rusting of the metal sensor cover on the Inkbird (the Biogreen's is plastic covered). I doubt you can get replacements sensors from the manufacturers as they are not detachable from the thermostat casing without DIY.

Overall I think the Inkbird is a clear winner on price and facilities (I assume we mean the Inkbird ITC-308)UNLESS you need the capability to handle a 3kw heater.
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Re: Recommendation wanted for an Inkbird or Biogreen thermostat

Post by Aiko » Sun Nov 11, 2018 9:40 pm

Thanks for the information. So it looks like the Inkbird is the best choice. Indeed I had my eyes out on the Inkbird ITC-308, but there is an ITC-306T too. The main difference looks to be that the first has a socket for a heater and a cooler, and the second has two sockets for only a heater.

But will that be the only difference?

If so, I am more tempting to order the ITC-306T with two heater sockets. I do have two cold frames to heat, so when my current thermostat fails eventually, I can use the ITC-306T to heat both of the cold frames.
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Re: Recommendation wanted for an Inkbird or Biogreen thermostat

Post by ragamala » Mon Nov 12, 2018 1:35 pm

Aiko wrote:
Sun Nov 11, 2018 9:40 pm
The main difference looks to be that the first has a socket for a heater and a cooler, and the second has two sockets for only a heater.

But will that be the only difference?

If so, I am more tempting to order the ITC-306T with two heater sockets. I do have two cold frames to heat, so when my current thermostat fails eventually, I can use the ITC-306T to heat both of the cold frames.
If you are sure you will never want cooling the 306 will work. Also as long as yu want to assume the temperature in cold frame 2 is always same as cf1. But of course the 308 will also work with a plug adapter to give two heater outlets, although I appreciate you want to simplify rather than complicate sockets etc, provided in both cases you don't exceed the 10a total.

I need the cooler control in summer. But IF you have a "heater" which operates only on fan-only ie cooling mode then both would do that job.
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Re: Recommendation wanted for an Inkbird or Biogreen thermostat

Post by Aiko » Mon Nov 12, 2018 2:15 pm

I don't need a cooler. I always have my windows and the main door open in summer. But I don't mind it begin 50C in the greenhouse on an occasional day. I don't think a fan will help much getting that down a lot.

But the 306 can also be used to time things, which I assume is optional and not a mandatory setting? I want the controller to work based on temperature, not on time.

But in a future eventually I could use the same thermostat to maybe control growing lights. Anyone out there using the 308 for that purpose?
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Re: Recommendation wanted for an Inkbird or Biogreen thermostat

Post by Jim_Mercer » Wed Nov 14, 2018 8:49 pm

The inkbird ITC-306UK with the timer function I bought lets you set a different set of temperature parameters based on the time so I have mine set to have a lower temperature at night and a slightly higher temperature when I expect there to be some daylight. Set up is fairly simple once you work out what the display is showing as you cycle through the different settings
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Re: Recommendation wanted for an Inkbird or Biogreen thermostat

Post by Aiko » Wed Nov 14, 2018 10:25 pm

Thanks for all advices. I made a decision yesterday. The ITC-308 should already be on my way. Hopefully well in time before the night frosts will be more structural.
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Re: Recommendation wanted for an Inkbird or Biogreen thermostat

Post by el48tel » Thu Nov 15, 2018 3:46 pm

Been following this thread with interest because I am in a similar position, i.e. of needing to buy for my new greenhouse.
So what is the difference between the Inkbird ITC 308S and the Inkbird ITC 308 (apart from one letter code). I can't really see a great difference in the specification. But then I don't really know for what I should be looking.
Could someone point me in the right direction please?
Beginning a new journey of discovery as I grow cactus seeds and offsets for the first time; discover all kinds of wonderful plants in Cactus Nurseries; just love Echinopsis
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