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Old 07-26-2012, 12:28 AM   #1
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Default Advice please: 1 PID control panel critique

I was going to build a HERMs system using my propane burners, but decided to go ahead and upgrade to an electric system. I've read over Kal's site, and looked at a few of the systems on this site for some inspiration.

My panel design was built with affordability in mind, hence the one PID. The idea is that the three position switch at the bottom would determine which kettle the PID would be interacting with.

When the switch is on the HLT, the PID will control the heating element, and get feedback from the temperature probe inside of the HLT.

When the switch is on the Mash Tun, the PID will be getting feedback from the temperature probe on the output of the Mash Tun.

When the switch is on the Boil Kettle, the PID will control the heating element, and perhaps be getting feedback from the temperature probe inside of the Boil Kettle.

I notice that most people use the three position switch for only two uses, and have the middle section used to separate the two. I'm hoping that by using the middle space as the Mash Tun, and thus not controlling anything, I will still be OK.

Also, do I need a button to reset the alarm, or can this be done at the PID?

I decided to skip the emergency off button as well. Instead I'll just use the main power key if needed.

So is this workable? Is there anything I need to change?

control-panel-1-pid-jpg-bmp.jpg  
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Old 07-26-2012, 01:27 AM   #2
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If you turn off your main power, do you lose power to the pumps too? What do you turn the switch to when you're done with your boil and you are running one of the pumps to chill?

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Old 07-26-2012, 01:35 AM   #3
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The switch could be put on the mash tun, as it would not control any heating element. Although, I wouldn't be opposed to an On/Off for the PID if it's needed.

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Old 07-26-2012, 01:49 AM   #4
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I've always heard you're going to get temperature variances switching between probes like that. Each one will have a couple degree offset you'll have to program into the PID. There are certainly ways around going to a more expensive build, however.

With HERMS you wouldn't really need to put a probe in your mash tun if you're doing a constant recirculation, right? I know on Kal's build whatever temperature he sets the HLT PID at, the mash stays within half a degree or something. As long as you have a trusty hand-held thermometer you could do that with ease. I have a constantly-recirculating electric direct-fired RIMS, a Brutus 20, and as long as I keep the flow open my temperature between the HLT (bk in my scenario) and the MT is 1 degree.

Or, you could go to a two-PID system and keep the mash probe/pid setup constant, then have the HLT PID calculated to the HLT probe, and just switch that PID to the boil where you don't need an accurate temperature.

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Old 07-26-2012, 01:51 AM   #5
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As for the alarm, the PIDs can turn off the alarm by changing the parameters, that's it. So if you have your alarm set to notify you when your strike water hits 160, the only way to turn it off is to raise the alarm to alert at 165 or whatever. That's where a simple toggle on-off switch is very handy.

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Old 07-26-2012, 02:04 AM   #6
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I guess I only need one temperature probe, and I can just take a manual temp to ensure the mash is at the right temp. that would eliminate the middle toggle on the switch.

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Old 07-26-2012, 02:13 AM   #7
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Just make sure that won't be something you regret. Adding another PID isn't too terribly expensive in the long run.

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Old 07-26-2012, 11:34 AM   #8
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I think I'll be OK with the one PID, and I'll be able to upgrade later if needed.

I have a limited budget right now as the wife has been laid off so I'm trying to save wherever I can.

Will I run into any problems making my control panel out of wood? I was going to build my stand from wood, and was going to incorporate the control panel right into the stand. I just don't know if things will get too hot.

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Old 07-26-2012, 12:46 PM   #9
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A thought regarding your instrument layout, if you plan on being able to upgrade to a second PID, make sure your panel layout is such to support that. Otherwise you might be looking at have to create some kind of an overlay to get the spacing for the PIDs correctly.

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Old 07-26-2012, 01:42 PM   #10
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The panel is just going to be a wooden face on a 45 degree angle with hinges. So when I'm ready to upgrade, I'll just cut out a new face for the panel.

I noticed that some people have 220v lights and 110v lights. Are the 220v just for the main power, and the 110v for the other accessories?
Also, do the switches simply need to be 110v or do they need to be 220v?
Is it safe to assume that the Key Switch will need to be 220v?

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