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Old 07-24-2010, 03:05 PM   #11
gregblatz
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Interesting...

I don't have a digital thermometer with a probe, but I do have the LCD stickers on my fermenters. They seem pretty good with around 1 degree of wiggle room in my experience.

I tried the probe in water overnight, but my temp according to the controller was 60 when I woke up this morning. My setpoint is 70 so I thought this was a huge swing.

I'll try just letting the probe sit in the air away from the walls and see how it goes. I like the idea of the fan, I have a stir plate fashioned out of a tupperware container and a computer fan, so I can open it up and use it for circulation.

tomorrow is brewday and I would like to get this stabilized.

I also like the idea of keeping initial fermentation temps lower due to the heat generated by the fermentation.

Thanks for all the info.

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Old 07-24-2010, 03:16 PM   #12
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The LCD thermometers should work OK. You said the temp according to the controller was at 60F this morning. One problem with the chest feezers if you do not have a fan installed, is that there can be a huge difference between the air temp near the top vs near the bottom. This can be as much as 10-15 degrees. As you can imagine, the temp on the controller display will depend on where in the freezer you have the probe located. It will also depend on where in the on/off cycle it is at the moment. With a probe in a container of water, the cycle could be very long. It will take a long time to cool the water container and also a long time for it to warm up enough to trigger the controller. This will result in the large temp swings for sure. The fan will help with the warm/cold air stratification problem, but you will still want to monitor the fermenter temperature separately. IOW, don't focus on the air temperature, as it will swing a lot and all you are doing is spot checking the temp and that won't tell you much as it won't be the actual temp of the fermenting wort.

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Old 07-24-2010, 03:23 PM   #13
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Any geeks out there that have figured a way to wire a computer fan with a 9v battery and a resistor?

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Old 07-25-2010, 09:40 PM   #14
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I duct tape a thawed ice pack to the fermenter then put the probe in between glass and pack. Works great for getting an accurate temp of wort regardless of fermenting stage 1 deg dif.

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Old 08-20-2010, 11:40 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by djspray View Post
I duct tape a thawed ice pack to the fermenter then put the probe in between glass and pack. Works great for getting an accurate temp of wort regardless of fermenting stage 1 deg dif.
pure genius!!!
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Old 04-29-2011, 11:44 PM   #16
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I am using the A419 with a fridge. I cannot figure if i want the set point to cut in or to cut out? If I want the temp at say 48F, I assume i would want cut in? The compressor will stay off until that temp and then controller will turn on? Or do I have it backwards? I'm so confused! :-)

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Old 04-30-2011, 01:31 AM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jdauria View Post
I am using the A419 with a fridge. I cannot figure if i want the set point to cut in or to cut out? If I want the temp at say 48F, I assume i would want cut in? The compressor will stay off until that temp and then controller will turn on? Or do I have it backwards? I'm so confused! :-)
Whether you have it set to cut in or cut out at the set point doesn't make any difference except that the offset will be much different. The offset being what the beer temp actually is vs. what you set the controller to. The differential setting will affect the actual temp as well. I prefer to measure the beer temp and if it's too warm I turn the controller down and up if it's too cold.
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Old 04-30-2011, 01:16 PM   #18
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Since my original posts, I've changed my settings a bit, due in part to Catt22's suggestions.

Currently I have the ASd (anti-short cycle delay) bumped up to 10 minutes. This comes in handy when I'm doing lots of keg swapping & cleaning, or when I have parties and people are lifting the lid to get bottled beers, look inside, etc. My chest freezer isn't getting any younger, and anything I can do to ease the load on the compressor will benefit me in the long run.

I omitted the water vessel for the probe. I was cleaning everything out and replacing old hoses one day, and I decided I was sick of the probe flopping around all over the place and getting in the way whenever I move things around in there. Also, when you think about it, it's unnecessary and just complicates things. Once you allow everything to settle in, and you have a couple kegs in there cooled to serving/aging temps, the only thing that's changing when you open the lid is that the air inside is warming up. So it makes sense to only run the compressor enough to cool the air back down, and in doing so, the beer stays at the right temp. In that light, the probe should really just be sampling the inside air temp.

Even adding a full warm keg to the mix doesn't change this much, as you just want to allow the existing cold kegs to stay where they are, and only run the compressor enough to keep the inside air from drifting up in temperature. By the next day, everything is at equilibrium and your older kegs of beer never changed temperature more than a few degrees. With the water vessel acting as a "buffer", you are instead allowing the air to warm up, and the liquids inside the water vessel and kegs to warm up a couple degrees before the compressor kicks in and cools things down. You end up with a "hysteresis" loop where the compressor is coming on later than you want, and shutting off later than you want, resulting in wider temperature changes. Better to use the ASd to prevent the rapid on/off of the compressor when opening/closing the lid frequently and allow the thermostat to respond more quickly in normal situations so the inside air temp stays stable.

I still have 0 as the offset, and 2 degrees F as the differential. I've been serving my beers warmer (48-52), which is more appropriate for many styles, and also allows me to cure meats in there.

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Old 04-30-2011, 02:37 PM   #19
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Hey SixFoFalcon,

FYI, I've been running some tests just for the heck of it. The first run I had the controller probe submerged in a one gallon jug of water. This resulted in a 3.4 *deg temp swing also measured in that same one gallon jug. The temp swing should be less in a full keg or a keg containing more than one gallon. Fan ran continuously. The differential was set to 1*F and the Asd to 12 minutes. The cycles were much longer than 12 minutes, so the Asd was never activated even when the freezer was opened.

The second test was run with the controller probe in the air stream of the continuously running fan and the differential set to 1*F. The temp swing in the one gallon jug was very small with this configuration, only 0.3*F. Again, kegs with a larger volume should vary even less. I set the Asd to 5 minutes, but it only comes into play if I open the freezer lid before the time has lapsed since the last cycle.

Next two tests will be similar with actively fermenting beer. I can log min/max temperatures, but I have no way to keep track of the compressor run times. I do have a Kill-A-Watt meter hooked up. The freeszer is using very little power. Only 3.04 kwh over the past 109 hours. That's only about 5-10 cents per day depending on what the power costs are in your area.

I'll post an update when I get around to running the tests with a fermenter.

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Old 04-30-2011, 03:42 PM   #20
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Good stuff... I'm glad this thread is still alive.

I didn't mention it, but I too have added a fan to circulate the inside air. This was mainly to even out the humidity (I was dry curing several pounds of pancetta and a 22# ham) and to increase the efficiency of the desiccant that I have been using to reduce the condensation/frost accumulation on the walls of the freezer. I think I will eventually replace the office desk fan I've been using with a high-CFM 4" "PC case" type fan that will force air through a PVC tube where I can stick cartridges of desiccant.

At any rate, a little air circulation inside the freezer should really minimize any thermostat lag and eliminate any stratification of the air, so it's a win-win for my dual-purpose kegerator/curing chamber.

I look forward to your updates, as I'm really getting interested in lagering now that I have more room inside the freezer. (The meats have been moved off to a basement closet to finish aging.)

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