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Old 02-16-2011, 06:03 AM   #11
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"As cheap as possible" would be to only put an electric element in one kettle and make your HERMS coil movable instead of installed permanently in one of the vessels.

During mash, water is in that e-kettle and the coil is placed in it.

Pump MLT through coil and back to MLT with PID in control of heating in normal mode.

When ready to sparge, move e-kettle water to third vessel as a temporary HLT.

Pump MLT to e-kettle.

Pump HLT to MLT for sparge.

Pump MLT to kettle.

Switch PID to manual mode to control e-kettle boil strength and go.

Questions:
Are you on 120v or 240v?
Are you GFI protected already?

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Old 02-16-2011, 01:38 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by Walker View Post
"As cheap as possible" would be to only put an electric element in one kettle and make your HERMS coil movable instead of installed permanently in one of the vessels.

During mash, water is in that e-kettle and the coil is placed in it.

Pump MLT through coil and back to MLT with PID in control of heating in normal mode.

When ready to sparge, move e-kettle water to third vessel as a temporary HLT.

Pump MLT to e-kettle.

Pump HLT to MLT for sparge.

Pump MLT to kettle.

Switch PID to manual mode to control e-kettle boil strength and go.

Questions:
Are you on 120v or 240v?
Are you GFI protected already?
I have a immersion chiller I was planning to place inside the HLT with the in/out coming thru the lid. I was thinking to run my hoses so that it could not only be used as a HERMS, but when finished pump wort back thru the immersion chiller (now surrounded by ice, until I buy a plate chiller) for coolilng purposes. I can run either 120v or 240, I actually have a 220 plug in my garage. Honestly I would love to just use the 220 outlet if all possible. I simply want a box like the ebcII from highgravity.com, but I also want the control that would come with hooking 2 rancos to the unit. One sensor on the HLT and another on the MT. Is there a simple application that would control the 2 heating elements, pump and temp probes?
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Old 02-16-2011, 02:35 PM   #13
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I have a immersion chiller I was planning to place inside the HLT with the in/out coming thru the lid. I was thinking to run my hoses so that it could not only be used as a HERMS, but when finished pump wort back thru the immersion chiller (now surrounded by ice, until I buy a plate chiller) for coolilng purposes.
Yep. This is exactly what I do to chill.

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I can run either 120v or 240, I actually have a 220 plug in my garage. Honestly I would love to just use the 220 outlet if all possible. I simply want a box like the ebcII from highgravity.com, but I also want the control that would come with hooking 2 rancos to the unit. One sensor on the HLT and another on the MT. Is there a simple application that would control the 2 heating elements, pump and temp probes?
There are a zillion ways to skin this cat. Personally, I wouldn't suggest using ranco or johnson controllers because those use mechanical relays to switch things on and off. You will be switching elements on and off a lot during a HERMS brew, and that wears the mechanical contacts out, shortening the life of your system

Also, it's not really possible to control the strength of a boil based on temperature. A kettle full of gently simmering water will measure 212*F. A kettle that has a volcanic boil, splashing water up and out the top, will also measure 212*F. So, it's pointless to try and control this based on temperature.

If you are dead-set on using the ranco controller, we can go down that road, but a better solution would be to sell the ranco's and buy PIDs.

A few questions need to be answered and comments need to be made before you can really start planning this out, though.

First, 120v really isn't going to cut it here. You would need two elements in the boil kettle, plugged into separate circuits in your house. In the HLT, you would also need two more elements if you didn't want to wait around forever for water to heat up. (Or you could do primary heating in BK and then move to MLT and maintain with a single element.)

Either way, that gives many elements to control, and you wouldn't be able to run them all at the same time unless you have 3 or 4 separate 120v circuits to plug them into .

If you've got 240v available, that will by far be the cheapest and cleanest route to go.

So... questions:

1. How many amps are available from your 240v outlet?
2. Do you want to be able to run the HLT and BK at the same time?
* this decision might already be made for you if the 240v outlet doesn't have enough amps available
3. Does the 240v outlet provide 4 wires (2 hots, neutral, and ground) or just 3 wires (2 hots and ground)?
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Old 02-16-2011, 07:21 PM   #14
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1. How many amps are available from your 240v outlet?

It is a 220v 20 amp outlet.

2. Do you want to be able to run the HLT and BK at the same time?
* this decision might already be made for you if the 240v outlet doesn't have enough amps available

I do not want to run both at the same time.

3. Does the 240v outlet provide 4 wires (2 hots, neutral, and ground) or just 3 wires (2 hots and ground)?

The 220v outlet female plug is mounted on the wall and has input for 3 male connections. This connection has its own switch in the breaker box with a 30amp fuse.

So 220v at 20amp should be enough to power the system, right? I have no interest in doing a 120v setup. I completely understand your comments about rolling/vigorous boil, which was part of the reason I like the EBC II from highgravity. Is there a simple PID setup which would accomplish this, or at least someone tell me how to do it?

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Old 02-16-2011, 07:26 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by Kerberbb View Post
1. How many amps are available from your 240v outlet?

It is a 220v 20 amp outlet.

2. Do you want to be able to run the HLT and BK at the same time?
* this decision might already be made for you if the 240v outlet doesn't have enough amps available

I do not want to run both at the same time.

3. Does the 240v outlet provide 4 wires (2 hots, neutral, and ground) or just 3 wires (2 hots and ground)?

The 220v outlet female plug is mounted on the wall and has input for 3 male connections. This connection has its own switch in the breaker box with a 30amp fuse.

So 220v at 20amp should be enough to power the system, right? I have no interest in doing a 120v setup. I completely understand your comments about rolling/vigorous boil, which was part of the reason I like the EBC II from highgravity. Is there a simple PID setup which would accomplish this, or at least someone tell me how to do it?
To be clear... You said it was 220v/20A outlet, but the electric panel box has a 30A fuse in it? That seems a little odd.

Oh, and is is really a FUSE and not a circuit breaker? (ie; is your house old)?

At 220v, 20A would let you drive 3500W. If it's 30A, then you can go to 5500W.

That's enough power for 5 gallon batches for sure.
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Old 02-16-2011, 07:30 PM   #16
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Sorry... I had more to say but hit send too soon.

If you only want to power one element at a time, then you really only need a single temp controller. A selector switch could control whether that controller was powering the HLT or the BK.


Oh, and you don't really need a temp probe in the boil kettle for any part of this for the reason I mentioned earlier (boil is always the same temp, regardless of strength of the boil).

You can use two temp controllers and two probes and all that if you want, but a single controller and probe will get the job done.

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Old 02-17-2011, 01:19 AM   #17
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Yeah, there is a 30w. Its a breaker box, my house is about 10 yrs old. I was thinking dual temp sensors as a failsafe. Putting one in the MT and one in the HLT. I was thinking that because of how a ranco operates, but maybe I would not need 2 units with a PID? Can one PID monitor both, or would I only really need one with a PID? I was thinking for the BK, I would just unplug the HLT element and plug in the BK. Can anybody design or show me how to wire something like this?

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Old 02-17-2011, 01:45 AM   #18
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Originally Posted by Kerberbb View Post
Yeah, there is a 30w. Its a breaker box, my house is about 10 yrs old. I was thinking dual temp sensors as a failsafe. Putting one in the MT and one in the HLT. I was thinking that because of how a ranco operates, but maybe I would not need 2 units with a PID? Can one PID monitor both, or would I only really need one with a PID? I was thinking for the BK, I would just unplug the HLT element and plug in the BK.
Let me state again... a temp probe in the BK does not accomplish anything as far as controlling the kettle. Once the kettle starts to boil, it will reach and stay at the same temperature, no matter how hard it is boiling.

You can set it for 212*F and the kettle will boil. Or... You can set the temp controller for 500*F, and the kettle will just sit and boil at 212*F. In either of these cases, I cannot tell you how hard the kettle will be boiling. I can just tell you that it will be boiling.

You will get the same effect by just plugging the kettle straight into the wall.

Now... back to controlling the HLT, which is something we can deal with easily.

If you want to use the ranco controller, then you can have it drive an SSR and then have the SSR handle driving the heater element in your HLT. You have to do this because the ranco itself is not able to handle the load of the heater element. The SSR will act as a buffer between the ranco and the heater element.

That part is simple.

Now, for the boil kettle... since the ranco isn't going to help you with anything here, you can just directly drive the element with 240v. Maybe just a simple power switch to turn the element off and on. Or, you could unplug the HLT, plug in the BK, and then tell the ranco to heat it to something higher than 212*F. Either way, the element is going to come on and stay on and boil like a crazy m*therf*cker, depending on how many watts you put in the thing.

Now... if you want to be able to control the strength of the boil, you are going to need to do something other than the ranco. Do you want the ability to control the strength of your boil, or do you just want to let it rip?


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Can anybody design or show me how to wire something like this?
Yes. I can help you, as can a bunch of other people, but WE NEED TO SORT OUT DETAILS FIRST. That's what I am trying to do right now, and is why I am asking you all these questions. I will draw something up for you, but we have things still to discuss.
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Old 02-17-2011, 02:03 AM   #19
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I think I might not have been clear about what I meant about unplugging the HLT, and then plugging in the BK.

If the BK had its own on/off switch that would be awesome, if not I was just saying I could unplug the heating element from the on/off switch and plug in the one for the BK.

This is how the EBC II setup is designed. If it is just as easy to have its own on/off and plugin that is great.

I was thinking about running 4500w elements in both the HLT, and the BK. Ideally for the BK I would like to be able to dial up/down the power as needed (like EBC II).

I am not set on using the Ranco units for the reasons you mentioned, but would rather use a PID. I just was apprehensive about a PID because the setting and design I am not familiar with. If you able to draw something up for me to follow, which would be awesome of you, I can absolutely do it.

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Old 02-17-2011, 02:11 AM   #20
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Can you send me a link to the EBC II? I tried looking for it, but all I saw was a box, plugged into itself, with an on/off switch on it. Alternately, you could plug the ranco into it for MLT control.

But I saw nothing that indicated you could dial up/down the power for the boil, so maybe I was looking at the wrong thing.

At any rate... if you are willing to go with a PID, then you can accomplish everything nice and easy and cleanly.

Plug in the HLT, with a probe in it, and tell the PID to heat and maintain a certain temp.

Then, for boil, you unplug HTL, plug in boil kettle, and switch the PID into "manual mode" and tell it to "use 80% power" or whatever, and it will control the strength of your boil kettle. The temp probe is irrelevant in this mode. It can be left in the HLT, monitoring nothing useful. The PID does not use the probe input in manual mode.

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