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Old 08-25-2011, 04:09 PM   #1
killsurfcity
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Default Budget 2 vessel e-herms build. What controller?

Been thinking recently of taking my setup to the next level. There's so much about stovetop/turkey fryer brewing that is a hassle in my situation, and I'm lusting after a greater level of control over the process.

So anyway, I was thinking I could easily get away with a 2 vessel system with most of my brews, and I already have a large cooler for the MLT, and a keggle for the boiler/HLT. To go e-herms, I'd just need a coil, an element, a pump, some fittings, and some way of controlling it all.

I'm trying to stay budget on this, and as MLT temp control is my biggest issue, I think it should be possible. Thus far the pricey-est part is the march 809.

this is basically the plan: (not my drawing)


the only deviation would be that for certain brews i'd pump sparge water from the boiler/HLT to a separate cooler for a second sparge.

So with all that explaining, what is the most economical way to control this setup?

thanks!

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Old 08-25-2011, 04:52 PM   #2
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Look at JKarp's Countertop Brutus 20. It's divine and I wish I had the spare money right now to do one as well. Good luck.

And checkout the Chugger pumps. I haven't done too much research since I don't want to be tempted to buy them, but they've got stainless heads and they're cheaper than the March as well. http://farmhousebrewingsupply.com/Sc...?idproduct=259

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Old 08-26-2011, 12:09 AM   #3
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There are lots of ways of handling your brewery. The first step is the controller which is your base question. A fairly simple controller can be built using Auber Instruments: SYL-2352 PID, SSR and some other components that they have. They also have a project box the you could easily use for your rig. You really only need a single pump as well.

Looks like it'll be close to $300 for a decent controller setup. (Plus the cost of a pump) My estimate includes the expense of having GFCI protection.

What power do you have available? I hope it is 240V with at least a 30A setup available. A typical dryer outlet will do it for you.

Let us know.

P-J

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Old 08-26-2011, 02:29 PM   #4
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iijakii, i've seen that brutus 20. that was part of my inspiration, but i don't have near that budget. the only thing i want to automate is temp control via herms. that pump looks great. saves me $50!

p-j, thanks for the input. that controller looks nice. i'd need 2 yes? also, what kind of GFCI device should i use?

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Old 08-26-2011, 05:42 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by killsurfcity View Post
iijakii, i've seen that brutus 20. that was part of my inspiration, but i don't have near that budget. the only thing i want to automate is temp control via herms. that pump looks great. saves me $50!

p-j, thanks for the input. that controller looks nice. i'd need 2 yes? also, what kind of GFCI device should i use?
You only need a single PID. The GFCI device is a GE Spa Panel from HomeDepot. It is in the spread sheet to follow and also its wiring is illustrated as well.

Ok. I finished a diagram for you.

Click on the image to see a full-scale diagram that is printable on Tabloid paper 11" x 17"




Now on to the parts I suggest you use for your build. This is an Excel sheet that shows the parts I have checked off. I shows pricing, the vendor, and a clickable link to take you to the actual web page for the parts. Click on the image to get the spread sheet. Just save it to your system and then you are good to go. BTW there is a second page on it that shows various wiring configurations for the SPA Panel for the GFCI protection.




I've included some parts for protecting the heating element connection the way Kai does it with his brewery build.

I hope this helps you.

P-J
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Old 08-27-2011, 07:55 PM   #6
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thanks p-j! that saves me a LOT of work.

i'll get that sheet and let you know if i have any questions.

one for now tho... will that pid allow me to see the temps on both the mlt and the hlt at the same time?

thanks again!

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Old 08-28-2011, 02:24 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by killsurfcity View Post
thanks p-j! that saves me a LOT of work.

i'll get that sheet and let you know if i have any questions.

one for now tho... will that pid allow me to see the temps on both the mlt and the hlt at the same time?

thanks again!
The PID will only monitor one temperature. You could rig it with a second probe to measure another temp but the probes would have to be switched. Question - why would you need to monitor the MLT temp? It is an insulated cooler after all.

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Old 08-28-2011, 04:51 PM   #8
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p-j, well, i want to do a herms setup to better maintain mash temps. i tend to experience a bit of a decrease over time in normal mashes anyway, this would hopefully help that. also, herms gives me the ability to do step mashes, and raise to mashout temp much easier. i assumed i needed a controller of all those functions, unless i'm wrong.

my concept was that one controller would be maintaining the temp of the liquid in the hlt, a couple degrees above mash, so that the herms coil can do it's job of warming mash liquor. the other controller would be watching the temp of the mash so it can cycle mash liquor through the herms when it needs to raise temp.

that's the typical configuration, no?

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Old 08-28-2011, 11:35 PM   #9
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IMHO you can do it either way. For me, even with a step mash, only one controller and temp probe is needed. With your first brew (test setup) you will know the temperature differential between the HLT water temp and the temp required to maintain proper mash temps (you determine the losses in connectors, pump and hoses). Using constant recirculation during the enire mash will maintain the mash temp you want very accurately. For step mashing, all that is needed is to reset the PID temp to the next temp setting. So on and again for each step.

If you really want a second probe, I believe you will need a second PID to handle it in your situation.. Placing a temp probe directly in the mash, howerver, might provide temperature readings that could be inaccurate. There is a hugh depends with that sort of setup. (Depends on where the probe is placed, length of the probe, + +.)

If you want to go with a second temp probe and PID, I'd be glad to change the wiring plan for you.

Just let me know.

P-J

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Old 08-30-2011, 01:43 PM   #10
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p-j, intersting ideas. i'm still really new to all of this, so forgive my noobie questions.

during mash, constant recirculation, would just be going through the pump, not herms, correct? so is it typical to have it switch to herms when needed?

you are right that if you recirculate continuously, temp can be maintained more accurately, because you can put the probe at the liquor-out point. i didn't think of that.

if you do this though, don't you need an automated switch to go between straight recirculation and recirculation via herms?

if the hlt heat is maintained manually, i assume i need some kind of rheostat or something to dial in temperature, monitoring it via a built in thermometer?

sounds doable, though i'd have to watch it more closely. (although the pid running herms would compensate some, by recirculating less, or more if my heat drifts.

part of why i'm doing this sort of setup using a cooler, is that at some point, i'd like to replace it with something else, like another keggle, or a wood-clad hdpe drum.

i also realize that drawing shows 2 pumps, which is 1 more than i'd like to use.

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