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Old 11-13-2009, 01:04 PM   #1
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Default Temp Controlled 30 gal plastic conicals?

So, I started actually cleaning up the massive piles of crap i have all over the house and realized that, if I felt like spending a day doing it, I pretty much had everything I would need to temp control some large 30 gallon plastic conicals that I had gotten from Tank Depot.

The only things I would have to buy are an on-demand pump, some stainless tubing, a small stainless tank of some kind and some glycol.

I have four of these conicals

Here's what I'm thinking:

Frame in four "closets" down in my basement and in each closet, make an extremely sturdy shelf on sliders that would pull out (ok, I would have to but that hardware as well). The shelf would have a large circular hole in it that a conical could sit in.

Each of these "closets" would be lined with 3 inch think extruded foam insulated foam boards (already have a pile left over from my walk-in build... not sure how I ended up with so much left over).

Then, next to these four closets I would have one of my ferm fridges (already have an extra one). Place a small (maybe 4-5 gallon) tank in the freezer, fill it with glycol and then plumb it through the on-demand pump and to a solenoid/manifold.

From the manifold it would split into four branches, one to each conical. Then I would take some stainless tubing, coil it into a wort chiller and mount one in each of the conical lids.

I already have extra PIDs laying around so I could wire the solenoid/manifold to open each branch via a PID temp setting. I could also, if I really wanted to, wire a simple heating blanket through these PIDs so I would have temp control on both sides, heat-chill.

Add wort to conical, set temp, close closet and walk away.

Temp rises above PID setting, the PID clicks open the solenoid creating a "demand" from the pump, the pump kicks on and pumps glycol from the freezer, through the manifold, through the stainless coil and chills the wort and then back into the glycol reserve tank in the freezer.

... not 100% positive if simply opening the solenoid would create enough of a demand that the pump would kick on. I'll have to think about that.

... but like I was saying, I have a large majority of this stuff already. I would need the stainless tubing, the solenoid/manifold thingy (gotta figure out exactly how I would do that... I'm sure I can find a very simply basic hydraulic manifold that would do the trick... and then the pump.

Yeah, "but you would have to clean those coils really well"... yeah.. not super worried about that.

"I would be leary about pumping glycol through my beer". I hear ya... but if plumbed correctly I don't see how this is a real concern.

"you're a moron"... true... true...


What else?

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Old 11-13-2009, 03:57 PM   #2
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I've been considering something similar on a smaller scale; one 15 g conical.

Stainless coils in the lid, aquarium pump, temp controller, glycol reservoir in the freezer.

The big question is the size reservoir and GPM of the pump. There are a similar projects here that use an entire chest freezer for the glycol reservoir.

I think you would need to calculate the thermal load presented by the fermenter as well as the cooling capacity the of a given volume of freezer-temp glycol. I do not have such a formula.

As for flow control, it may require a separate pump for each fermenter.

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Old 11-13-2009, 04:00 PM   #3
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Hmmm... good point.

My basement is pretty cool year round to being with (60 in the winter and 67-68 in the summer) so I was hoping that I wouldn't have massive temperature drops to acheive and i certainly wasn't considering any kind of lagering with this set up.

I was hoping that I wouldn't need to really swing temps much and that a small reservoir would handle little nudges in temp back down.

... but your point is dead on.

(see... that's why I asked)

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Old 11-13-2009, 04:04 PM   #4
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Linky

http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f51/temp...ntation-81596/

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Old 11-13-2009, 05:04 PM   #5
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Instead of an on demand pump if you just had a pump running all the time (or hooked to some smart controller to only run when necessary) you could pump it through a manifold that had the solenoids on it and a return line that goes back to the reservoir.

The other alternative is to have an individual pump for each fermenter

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Old 11-13-2009, 06:28 PM   #6
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Damn... yeah, I agree with one of the posts that says that is a TON of glycol.

Maybe I'll ping brewpastor and get his thoughts on whether or not he feels you REALLY need that large of a reservoir. It seems like an awful lot.
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Old 11-13-2009, 06:32 PM   #7
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Instead of an on demand pump if you just had a pump running all the time (or hooked to some smart controller to only run when necessary) you could pump it through a manifold that had the solenoids on it and a return line that goes back to the reservoir.

The other alternative is to have an individual pump for each fermenter
My walk-in runs 24/7... not sure I'm in a hurry to have a pump runnign 24/7 as well. My guess is it would burn out the pump pretty quick too.

I would just have to figure out a way to plumb it in such a way that when a solenoid opens, it drops the PSI slightly in that given circuit... and if it does, the on-demand pump would automatically kick on.

I think that's the easiest way to do it... It's just the plumbing that has to be right.
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Old 11-13-2009, 06:48 PM   #8
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My walk-in runs 24/7... not sure I'm in a hurry to have a pump runnign 24/7 as well. My guess is it would burn out the pump pretty quick too.

I would just have to figure out a way to plumb it in such a way that when a solenoid opens, it drops the PSI slightly in that given circuit... and if it does, the on-demand pump would automatically kick on.

I think that's the easiest way to do it... It's just the plumbing that has to be right.
I'm not sure the pump would burn out. Most of the pond pumps are rated for continuous duty. If you went with a bundled control system like the BCS-460 you could have everything controlled together. Basically have it kick on your big pump when a solenoid opens.

It seems like a lot of people working on these kind of systems have a pump to keep the glycol circulated throughout the reservoir.
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Old 11-13-2009, 07:46 PM   #9
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Quote:
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I'm not sure the pump would burn out. Most of the pond pumps are rated for continuous duty. If you went with a bundled control system like the BCS-460 you could have everything controlled together. Basically have it kick on your big pump when a solenoid opens.

It seems like a lot of people working on these kind of systems have a pump to keep the glycol circulated throughout the reservoir.
in my 3 bbl setup. 115 gallon plastic conicals, I used a temp controller for each conical wired to an asco valve connected inline to a main line run that recirculates as long as any of the 6 conicals called for cooling. i used wine tank plate chillers like the ones st. pats sells to circulate a cold water/glycol mix through held in 2 stainless 55 gallon drums plumbed in series in the freezer part of my cold room.
I keep the temp in there around 28 deg. F all the time and the mass of liquid in those drums is plenty for that much volume (95 gallons) in the fermenters.
the temp controllers send an alarm signal (24vdc) to my PID 25A SSR's connected to the 1/2" 120vac asco on/off solenoid valves. the pump is a sump pump in another small 20 gallon tank that is actually mounted under the rack I put the 55g drums on so it is gravity fed and runs continuously as long as any one of the conicals calls for it. if they are all off, another asco valve and float valve is connected to the smaller tank which then shuts off the pump and closes the asco flow valve. the float valve serves as a redundant backup for the for the asco. (basically if the asco valve didnt close the glycol/water could continue to gravity flow over and out of the pump scavenging tank and into my floor drain) that would not be acceptable.
it works great most of the time, but I would keep extra everything all the time just in case something quits on you in the middle of the night.
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Old 11-13-2009, 09:18 PM   #10
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I'm wondering if I can scale down from the ratio of glycol you have in relation to volume of fermenting wort you're chilling.

So 95 gallons of glycol is plenty for 115 gallons times 6?

So maybe 15-20% glycol/fermenting wort ratio??

And I'm assuming you're not lagering... or are you?

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