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Nova Tec IceProbe Aquarium Chiller

and Power SupplyTroubleshooting Guide


The Nova Tec IceProbe is manufactured with high quality components and thoroughly tested to ensure years of reliable performance. Though a qualified technician may be required for certain repairs, most problems can be easily diagnosed and resolved by anyone.  This guide is designed to assist you in evaluating and resolving any problems that may arise.


Situation: The probe is not cold

The Nova Tec IceProbe has a straightforward diagnostic system that makes it easy to quickly determine what may be causing performance problems.  By observing the status of the LED on the electrical cover and determining if the fan motor is operating, the most common failures can be identified and resolved.


In applications where the IceProbe is cooling large volumes of water, such as in aquariums, the temperature of the probe will only be slightly cooler than the liquid around it.  In smaller well insulated reservoirs (e.g. one gallon or less), the probe should become cold enough to form ice within 12 hours of operation under normal conditions.


The easiest way to verify whether or not the IceProbe is functioning properly is to simply remove it from the reservoir and run it with the probe in the open air.   If working properly, the probe should be noticeably cold to the touch within several minutes and should get cold enough to form dew or even frost within 30 minutes.  If the probe does not get cold, please refer to this diagnostic chart:




Most Likely Causes



  • Power cord not properly connected at wall outlet or to  chiller.

  • No power at electrical outlet.

  • Power supply failure.



  • Fan failure.



  • Safety thermal fuse has opened.



  • Thermoelectric cooling module failure.

Situation: The IceProbe does not appear to be cooling effectively.

The Nova Tec IceProbe is a 50 watt cooling device.  It is designed and intended for small-scale liquid cooling applications.  In larger volumes of water (e.g. a 20 gallon aquarium), it can take several days for the IceProbe to achieve its maximum temperature differential.  In order to work properly, the IceProbe must have adequate ventilation around the unitís heat sink and fan area.  Also, overall cooling performance is greatly influenced by how effectively the liquid reservoir is insulated from the surrounding environment.


Ventilation.  Proper ventilation is critical to the IceProbeís successful performance.  Often, poor ventilation is a contributing factor to diminished cooling capacity. First, ensure that nothing is blocking the airflow around the fan motor or heat sink.  Next, determine if the warm air exhausted from the heat sink is getting trapped and re-circulated back into the fan intake.  For example, operating the IceProbe in a closed cabinet without separating the air intake from the air exhaust will seriously degrade the unitís performance.


Insulation.  In applications where ice formation is desired, we recommend that the entire reservoir be surrounded with one inch of polyurethane or  a similar material with excellent insulating qualities.  Insulating panels can also be used on larger reservoirs or aquariums to greatly improve temperature differentials.

 Situation: Liquid is leaking at the bulkhead seal.

The silicon washer provided with the IceProbe is designed to provide an effective watertight seal in non-pressurized water reservoirs.  The washer is designed to seal a 1.25 inch hole in a flat wall surface.  If liquid is leaking at the bulkhead seal, please verify the following:


1. Correct washer orientation.  The silicon washer has a flat bottom side and a slightly tapered top side.  When installed properly, the tapered side should enter the hole.


2. Correct hole size.  Ensure the hole is 1.25 inches in diameter.


3. Flat wall surface.  The wall surface must be flat in order form a proper seal.  Ensure that the wall surface around the hole is not curved, warped, or uneven.


4. Proper wall thickness.  It is often difficult to achieve a watertight seal with wall thickness under .125 inches.  Thinner wall often distort when the nut is tightened.


5. Proper nut tightness.  While a watertight seal can often be achieved by hand tightening the nut, we recommend using an adjustable wrench.  However, be careful not to over tighten the nut by applying excessive force.

 Situation: The coating on the probe is compromised or flaking.

The IceProbeís solid aluminum probe is coated with a very durable FDA compliant material.  Care should always be taken when handling and installing the IceProbe to ensure that this coating is not scratched or chipped.  If the coating is compromised, the underlying aluminum may begin to corrode and the coating may eventually fail.  While failure of the coating material degrades the appearance of the probe, it will not affect the IceProbeís cooling performance or the watertight seal.  While aluminum exposure is generally considered safe (e.g. aluminum cookware), you may want to confirm that direct aluminum contact is acceptable in your application.

Nova Tec Customer Service


At Nova Tec, your satisfaction with our products is our top priority.  If you require further information or assistance, please Contact Us.


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