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Old 06-07-2011, 03:59 PM   #1
staab016
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Default Electric brewing without a Control Panel??

I'm very new to brewing having only 4 extract batches and 1 partial mash batch under my belt. I’ve been admiring Kal’s brewery and others for a while now, and am interested in creating my own once I get some brewing, electrical knowledge, and money under my belt.

I would like to keep extract brewing while I’m saving up for the mash tun, HLT, Control Panel, pumps, chillers, ventilation, etc... Is there a SAFE way to control the temperature for steeping grains and partial mashes without making the splurge for the Control Panel (which I plan to do eventually, just can’t right away)? I imagine I can plug the element in and it would get me to a boil pretty quick, but I’d like to have the ability to keep it at certain temps without having to convince my fiancé that I need a $1500 Control Panel…

I’m sorry if this has been answered (I searched, I swear!), or is a dumb question – I’m still learning and reading as much as I can to make sure my set up is as safe as possible…

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Old 06-07-2011, 04:11 PM   #2
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The short answer is "no"... or "not really".

I asked this somewhere else, and the basic answer was something to the effect of it's not a good thing to be plugging and unplugging the element... hence the relays, which do it for you.

Because of this, my electric brewery has been placed on semi-hold until I can get the basic stuff together.

Oh.. it was also recommended that you not use a circuit breaker as your on/off switch as well.

YMMV.

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Old 06-07-2011, 04:27 PM   #3
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The answer is you can cobble something together for a few $$. Somewhere on HBT someone posted a simple modification to a potentiometer that is available online. You need a bit of skill with a soldering iron and some odds and ends. Hopefully someone will post the link as I can't find it right now.

It's basically the same way they http://brewmation.com/Brewery.html control the boil, only without all the other stuff.

edit : this was what I was looking for http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f170/pwm...us-how-221301/

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Old 06-07-2011, 04:32 PM   #4
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http://www.midwestsupplies.com/elect...5-element.html
expensive but a ready made heat sick with thermostat just plug and play
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Old 06-07-2011, 04:36 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by staab016 View Post
I’ve been admiring Kal’s brewery and others for a while now, and am interested in creating my own once I get some brewing, electrical knowledge, and money under my belt.

Is there a SAFE way to control the temperature for steeping grains and partial mashes without making the splurge for the Control Panel (which I plan to do eventually, just can’t right away)?
Yes, you need a method to control the heat output.

A PID setup is ideal (not necessarily Kal'tastic) but you can also use simple analog controllers (e.g., think 'electric stove') if you're on a budget. Search the forum for examples.
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Old 06-07-2011, 04:57 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KuntyBrew View Post
http://www.midwestsupplies.com/elect...5-element.html
expensive but a ready made heat sick with thermostat just plug and play
Quote:
Originally Posted by samc View Post
The answer is you can cobble something together for a few $$. Somewhere on HBT someone posted a simple modification to a potentiometer that is available online. You need a bit of skill with a soldering iron and some odds and ends. Hopefully someone will post the link as I can't find it right now.

It's basically the same way they http://brewmation.com/Brewery.html control the boil, only without all the other stuff.

edit : this was what I was looking for http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f170/pwm...us-how-221301/


Thanks for all the responses.... the potentiometer looks like a pretty inexpensive option, i'll need to look into it more. I think the adjustable heat stick would be the easiest option to fend off the brewing bug while i'm learning more about electronics and saving cash, but $180 seems a bit steep for something I would put on the backshelf once the build is finished? I imagine I could find other uses for it or even sell it to a brewing friend!
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Old 06-07-2011, 05:05 PM   #7
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you could always still use it when you upgrade use for you sparge water or what not and incorporate it in your system but yes 180 is $$$

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Old 06-07-2011, 05:38 PM   #8
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Just build a simple one at first. You need a GFCI, PID controller (with heat sink), 40-60 amp SSR, temperature probe, low watt density element and an enclosure... If your creative, you can get it all for around $100.00 or so...

Here is a good place to start!

http://www.lightobject.com/JLD612-Du...oller-P43.aspx

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Old 06-07-2011, 07:39 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ryclo View Post
Just build a simple one at first. You need a GFCI, PID controller (with heat sink), 40-60 amp SSR, temperature probe, low watt density element and an enclosure... If your creative, you can get it all for around $100.00 or so...

Here is a good place to start!

http://www.lightobject.com/JLD612-Du...oller-P43.aspx
If the plan is for more functionality down the road, you might be better off getting one of the auber PIDs that supports manual mode instead. They are only $10 or so more expensive that that TET612 PID from lightobject. Either the auber or the one above will let you control a temp, but the auber also offers you the ability to control the strength of a boil.

FYI: There is nothing wrong with that TET612 PID from lightobject. I actually use one of those myself that I got on ebay from a different company for like $28. It works for temp control just dandy... it just can't control boils.
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Old 06-07-2011, 07:55 PM   #10
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I'm currently doing a cost comparison between PID and PWM options... the PID is shaking out about twice as much as the PWM. I really wish I knew more about this stuff though, I really don't know if I have all the parts I need.

Does anyone have a parts list for a VERY basic PID or PWM control?

And to be clear, due to my lack of electrical knowledge, I plan on having a licensced electrician look at my work before anything is powered up.

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