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Old 11-15-2012, 02:41 AM   #1
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Default Recommend a Temp. Controller?

I just found a chest freezer for a good price that I plan on using for fermentation. I already have a converted chest freezer for serving on which I use the digital Johnson Controls controller. I was wondering if anyone could recommend a slightly less pricey controller that will still perform well. I would prefer to stay digital, as I understand they are easier on the compressor. I don't know much about PID controllers, except that they are generally less expensive than the Johnson or Ranco types. Are PIDs used for a different application? Any thoughts would be appreciated. Happy Brewing!

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Old 11-15-2012, 02:51 AM   #2
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I gotta say STC-1000 is about as cheap as your gonna get and maintain digital and both heat and cool functions. There is a build thread here to follow so you don't have issues when you build it. Just pay attention to the input voltage because they have 115 and 230 available and they look identical. If you order from a fairly reputable vendor and specify 115 VAC input you will be very happy with the results. Hope this helps.
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Old 11-15-2012, 02:57 AM   #3
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I built one of the eBay Temp Controllers (I used the post here) and it works really well. Only down side is it's Celcius only, but not a big deal with a conversion chart nearby. $20 for the controller on eBay and $10 worth of RadioShack parts. Pretty easy to wire up and it does both cooling and heating. Not bad for $30.

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Old 11-15-2012, 03:06 AM   #4
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I just bought one of these: http://www.amazon.com/Control-Produc...ure+controller

It's a dual-stage (hot and cold) thermostat. I already have a johnson controls A19, but I got this for Keezer #2. Looks like the best possible solution. The STC-1000 would be quite a bit cheaper, but it only reads °C. Maybe that's a minor thing, but I don't want to look at my controller every day and do a conversion.

Everyone's idea of "value" is different. I could save $20 bucks and then blow it in an hour at the local pub. But I'd rather spend that $20 on quality and get exactly what I want and avoid remorse for the rest of my life.

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Old 11-15-2012, 03:10 AM   #5
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Make sure your freezer and heater separately draw less than 10A of current and the STC-1000 should serve you well. Most, if not all, residential freezers are going to fall under that limit but will limit your heating options a little.

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Old 11-15-2012, 03:12 AM   #6
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I have an analog temp controller and it works great. I bought a digital thermometer to attach to my fermentation fridge to verify what temp it really is. It tends to vary about 1-2 degrees. But the thermometer is useful if you want a set it and forget it. I have my kegerator set at 37 degrees just by the turn of the temp knob.

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Old 11-15-2012, 03:16 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by passedpawn View Post
I just bought one of these: http://www.amazon.com/Control-Produc...ure+controller

It's a dual-stage (hot and cold) thermostat. I already have a johnson controls A19, but I got this for Keezer #2. Looks like the best possible solution. The STC-1000 would be quite a bit cheaper, but it only reads °C. Maybe that's a minor thing, but I don't want to look at my controller every day and do a conversion.

Everyone's idea of "value" is different. I could save $20 bucks and then blow it in an hour at the local pub. But I'd rather spend that $20 on quality and get exactly what I want and avoid remorse for the rest of my life.

I like this a lot! In my case, I'm using a commercial freezer that exceeds the 10A of the STC and had to add a 24V transformer and contactor. So in my case this would have been a wash on price too! Oh well, maybe next time....
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Old 11-15-2012, 03:19 AM   #8
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I use STC-1000s for my refrigeration. Skip the PIDs for refrigeration. They will short cycle the compressor. They are great for cycling heating elements.

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Old 11-15-2012, 03:37 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by beergynt View Post
I just found a chest freezer for a good price that I plan on using for fermentation. I already have a converted chest freezer for serving on which I use the digital Johnson Controls controller. I was wondering if anyone could recommend a slightly less pricey controller that will still perform well. I would prefer to stay digital, as I understand they are easier on the compressor. I don't know much about PID controllers, except that they are generally less expensive than the Johnson or Ranco types. Are PIDs used for a different application? Any thoughts would be appreciated. Happy Brewing!
How about one of these? If the current limit is too low, use a relay.... Cesius, smelsius, it's time we joined the world...

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Old 11-15-2012, 03:50 AM   #10
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Thanks for all the informative responses! I do tend to agree with you, passedpawn. I often find myself thinking that for the price of a tank a gas, I could have this or that... One of the reasons I was looking outside the realm of Johnson/Ranco type controllers, is that I very mush enjoy the DIY aspects of the hobby, and both of these options will give me something to tinker with for a couple of days. I like the looks and functionality of the Control Products... er... product, so I'll more than likely take that approach. Thanks again HBTers for your insights.

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