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Old 04-27-2013, 05:05 PM   #1
headfullahops
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Default Chill Wizard Inspired Pump/Chiller Station

I live in Michigan and we get some fairly cold and snowy winters. Even though I do most of my brewing outside on a propane burner, this hasn't stopped me from brewing year-round. That being said, up to yesterday (April 26th), I haven't brewed since mid-October because of my work schedule. I did, however, use the time off to collect some new gear and do some pretty in-depth brainstorming on how I want to use it and update my process.

The thing that was the biggest change for me was incorporating a Chugger pump and 30-plate chiller from Bobby_M at brewhardware.com into my brewery. I don't have a brew stand/sculpture or really any place to store something like that if I did, so I need my gear to be modular enough for one person to haul up/down to/from my basement as well as condensed enough that I'm not spending all day on the stairs (if that makes sense).

So, I wanted to come up with a cradle/carrier that would incorporate the plate chiller and pump in a way that would take as little time to set up, sanitize, clean, tear down, etc. and still be able to use the pump at other points in the process without using tools and teflon tape. All that to say, I was very intrigued by the concept/design of the Sabco Chill Wizard and at the same time very turned off by the cost. Here's what I came up with:

• A 3/4" PVC cradle/carrier with the pump and chiller mounted to 3/4" finish pine boards mounted to the PVC with pipe straps.





• All connections on camlock QD's (hose QD's from Ace Hardware) plumbed with 1/2" ID silicone tubing.
• 1/2" MPT fitting on out-side of chiller that incorporates a digital thermometer and inline oxygen stone.




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Old 04-27-2013, 05:30 PM   #2
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99.9% of my first brew day with this rig went without any issue. The one problem I had was regarding my digital thermometer on the wort-out fitting.

The thermometer I used was an oven probe style with the probe on a heat shielded cable. I used it (as I always do) at other points in the process, but I think I may have gotten liquid down in the probe from the point where the cable actually enters the probe and shorted the sensor (thermistor?) in the probe tip. My temp measurements were dead on until I started recirc'ing wort to sanitize near the end of the boil. The temp read like 310˚F so I knew something was rotten in Denmark.

After I added flameout hops I turned on the coolant flow (outdoor garden hose), which I would guess couldn't have been warmer than 50˚F at the moment. The temp on the readout said it was 135˚F with the hose and pump at full blast. So, now I'm flying blind on my first run with this gear. Awesome. I don't know for sure what the temp of the wort was coming out at, but the whole temp/oxy fitting was COLD to the touch, so I close the valve on the pump,move the hose over to the fermenter, ran the oxygen, and pitched my starter. The carboy felt cold to the touch as well, so I highly doubt I pitched hot, but I really would like to know FOR SURE what temp I am hitting at the chiller output.

BTW, the batch was fermenting normally when I checked it this morning so I'm not sweating it. I just tend toward being a control freak when it comes to this stuff.

Cheers!

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Old 04-27-2013, 11:04 PM   #3
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could you add a 1/2 npt thermowell for the probe?

btw: that thing is awesome

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Old 04-28-2013, 12:05 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by amandabab
could you add a 1/2 npt thermowell for the probe?

btw: that thing is awesome
I don't know about thermowells, but I believe the compression fitting I have the probe in will take up to a 1/4" probe. It's just a 1/4" compression to 1/2" MPT fitting (with a pair of silicone o-rings instead of a metal ferrule) in a 1/2" tee fitting. I believe I bought everything on the wort side from brewhardware.com

I'm certain none of that had anything to do with your thermowell question, sorry. Cheers!

EDIT: The problem didn't begin in the chiller fitting. It started when I dropped the probe into wort in my MLT (like an idiot). I ordered a pair if replacement probes today, just in case.
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Old 04-28-2013, 12:40 AM   #5
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Great job on this. It's like a briefcase of awesome!

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Old 04-28-2013, 12:49 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by goodgodilovebeer
Great job on this. It's like a briefcase of awesome!
She's a stout briefcase. I bet it weighs 20+ pounds with all the fittings mounted.
Thanks, cheers!
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Old 04-28-2013, 02:36 AM   #7
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I also plan on painting the PVC and wood black, probably tomorrow. I wanted to wait to run it during a brew day to make certain that I was happy with the layout and functionality. Should look like an $800 unit when it's finished!

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Old 04-28-2013, 01:50 PM   #8
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Man that is nice. Great design work. It's cheap, compact, very portable, AND looks good to boot!
I use a CFC, but I'm going to "borrow" the PVC stand idea, and make a transport station for my pump. I also set up on the fly with no brew stand....yet!

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Old 04-28-2013, 09:05 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Esmitee
Man that is nice. Great design work. It's cheap, compact, very portable, AND looks good to boot!
I use a CFC, but I'm going to "borrow" the PVC stand idea, and make a transport station for my pump. I also set up on the fly with no brew stand....yet!
Thanks! Yeah, everything but the pump, chiller, and camlocks were cheap. LOL! But the 1x board was a piece of scrap I had in my shed and the PVC pipe/fittings and miscellaneous hardware couldn't have cost more than $20. Plus, I still have enough PVC pipe left over to make another stand.
Cheers!
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Old 04-29-2013, 11:51 PM   #10
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I didn't mean to imply that your build was cheap.
I was focused on your design of the stand !

BTW. your PVC and plumbing work, are perfect looking. Did you even glue the PVC, Cause it's so perfect, it don't look like ya did.

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