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Old 01-09-2011, 02:10 AM   #1
steelersrbrun
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Default stirplate help

I read all the directions on making your own stirplate, made it to radio shack and went Tim the Toolman crazy. I bought this fan instead of the size I should have: big fan. I have a 120V cord that runs it but when it runs full speed it's too fast. Can anyone tell be what to use to slow it down and How I wire it? I'm not sure if a rheostat at Radio shack will work. I tried a fan control but no go. Magnets are glued so on a return I an screwed.

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Old 01-09-2011, 02:35 AM   #2
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Sounds like you already used a dimmer/fan controller which should work. What were the results of this?

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Old 01-09-2011, 02:42 AM   #3
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It is a 3 speed dial and the low speed it way too high.....would a light dimmer work and have get me the lower speed?

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Old 01-09-2011, 03:42 AM   #4
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I use a 80mm dc fan from a computer and use a Fan controller with a dc converter

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Old 01-09-2011, 04:35 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by steelersrbrun View Post
It is a 3 speed dial and the low speed it way too high.....would a light dimmer work and have get me the lower speed?
A dimmer may get you a little lower. Go to HD and grab one. You can always take it back.....

Jason
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Old 01-09-2011, 05:31 PM   #6
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I use the same 120v AC muffing fan from RS. I've found that the rotary type light dimmers work well for speed control. There are, however, some variables that should be considered. There will be considerable friction between the stir bar and the bottom of the flask due to the pull of the magnets. This friction must be overcome in order for the stir bar to inititally begin to spin. Once moving, the frictional forces a less and as a result the fan will sometimes spin too fast. The problem is that when you reduce the power with the dimmer, the fan can sometimes stall if there is a voltage fluctuation (not uncommon in household circuits). When the stir bar stalls, sometimes it will not self start when the voltage returns to normal. The trick is to adjust the distance between the fan and the flask so that the frictional force is just right. Not too strong and not so week as to not couple with the stir bar. This requires some trial and error adjustment to the gap. The other thing I have found helpful was to wire a light bulb (25-40watt) in series with the fan motor in addition to the dimmer. The light bulb functions as a big resistor and helps increase the dynamic range of the dimmer. This also requires some trial and error to find the best bulb wattage. So now, you have three main variables to shuffle around. The dimmer, the gap and the light bulb wattage. Much also depends on the strength of the magnets used and the type of stir bar. One last thing, I've learned that a stir plate works best when it is well leveled. I use a small carpenters level to check and adjust the level. That's a small thing, but it can sometimes really help prevent throwing the stir bar at higher speeds. Oh yeah, all of this stuff can vary considerably with the specific fan type that you are using. What works with one, may not work the same way with a different fan, stir bar or magnets.

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Old 01-10-2011, 02:19 AM   #7
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Excellent explanation....

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Old 01-10-2011, 11:21 AM   #8
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Thank you.....best advice so far....I have also been to 4 radio shacks not to mention lowes and home depot with almost zero help. I have tried a 3 speed fan control which did not work. I tried a cheap 4 dollar dimmer and that did not change the speed. I understand regarding the spacing and balance...and I will get a light set up in line. Can you suggest a specific dimmer? I keep droping money on this project....pretty soon I may realize that I should have just bought a stir plate :-)

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Old 01-10-2011, 11:33 AM   #9
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Get yourself a decent light dimmer. That is all you need. The cheapest isn't good enough, because it won't have the range (on the low end) that you want, and the top-of-the-line isn't necessary. It shouldn't matter if it's a slide or a dial.

Start it at a low speed, and bump it up in increments. You don't need a lot of action, just enough to get the wort moving and keep the yeast mixing in.

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Old 01-10-2011, 02:42 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by steelersrbrun View Post
Thank you.....best advice so far....I have also been to 4 radio shacks not to mention lowes and home depot with almost zero help. I have tried a 3 speed fan control which did not work. I tried a cheap 4 dollar dimmer and that did not change the speed. I understand regarding the spacing and balance...and I will get a light set up in line. Can you suggest a specific dimmer? I keep droping money on this project....pretty soon I may realize that I should have just bought a stir plate :-)
I've found that this dimmer works best:

http://www.doitbest.com/Electrical+dimmers+and+switches-Leviton+Mfg+Co-model-DB0-6602-0IW-doitbest-sku-530867.dib

IMO, the cheapest rotary dimmers work the best. I've built about 20 of these things for my brewing buddies so far. I'm not in the stir plate business; just build them for my friends upon request. You can buy a similar one from our vendors for about the same cost.
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