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Old 06-07-2011, 04:59 PM   #11
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I think I'm going to look into the PID's, relays, thermocouplers, and the like. Of all the things with electronics, I find the PID's and temperature controlling the most interesting...I figure over the next month, I could spend $1k. You think that's enough to get me to where I need to be?

I've seen some PID kits that come with what looks like most of what you need to get you started (like this one. Plus the wiring diagram on the Auberin doesn't look toooooo complicated.

The biggest question is do I have all the tools I need to get the job done. Stuff like those punches, drill press, etc, are eating the budget alive...

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Old 06-07-2011, 05:13 PM   #12
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I figure over the next month, I could spend $1k. You think that's enough to get me to where I need to be?
That depends on where you want to be. Only you know exactly how far you want to take this, what you want to accomplish, and what setup/equipment you have to work with now, and how much you are willing to do yourself, and how much work (if any) you want an electrician to do for you.

Talk to different electric brewers and you'll find some will say "I spent 1/4 that amount" (they had most of the parts/tools already and did the install 100% themselves). Some others will say "I spent more than that just on having the electrician install a <fill in the blank> for me".

It sounds like you've got a lot of figuring out to do which is normal. Start reading, start deciding what you want, decide what your budget is, and then continually re-assess until it all meshes/fits.

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Old 06-07-2011, 05:22 PM   #13
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I'd steer away from that particular PID if you want it to control the boil as it doesn't have a manual mode, this allows you to adjust the percentage of time that the element is "on" so you can dial your boil up or down. You can't just set the PID to 213F and let it run because that will essentially make the element "always on" and running at full power.

One thing you could do in the interim if you'd like is to use a lower powered element or combination of elements sized properly for the amount of wort you are going to boil. I've found for 5-6gal batches in my uninsulated keggle that 3000w gives me a nice strong boil that is almost perfect IMHO. Now for a 10-12gal batch it's not quite sufficient.

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And I'd like to see my 1.080 beers ready from grain to glass in a week, and served to me by red-headed twin penthouse pets wearing garter belts and fishnet stockings, with Irish accents, calling me "master luv gun," but we can't always get what we want can we? :)
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Old 06-07-2011, 06:04 PM   #14
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wyz...can you show me an example (like maybe from ebay) that you would recommend as a PID controller. I love all this stuff, and find it highly fascinating. I actually have to reign in my imagination most of the time. I was watching videos on PIDs on youtube, and came across some PC based PID controllers through a usb data acquisition device. They looked UBER cool (but hard as hell to program no doubt)!

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Old 06-07-2011, 06:10 PM   #15
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jdlev: I'd recommend the Auber PID I use and link to on my site. It's an Auber SYL-2352. It has manual and automatic modes.

Complete details, wiring diagrams, and programming instructions here: http://www.theelectricbrewery.com/co...part-2?page=11

Kal

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Old 06-07-2011, 06:10 PM   #16
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Auber SYL-2352 is what most on this forum are using. Couple that with a 40A SSR/Heatsink and an RTD and you are golden!
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And I'd like to see my 1.080 beers ready from grain to glass in a week, and served to me by red-headed twin penthouse pets wearing garter belts and fishnet stockings, with Irish accents, calling me "master luv gun," but we can't always get what we want can we? :)
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Old 06-07-2011, 06:15 PM   #17
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I'm going to show my ignorance here...but what's an RTD? Is that the thermocoupler that measures the temperature at the site?

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Old 06-07-2011, 06:18 PM   #18
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It does the same thing as a thermocouple but is generally more accurate and doesn't require a special type of wire. It stands for Resistive Thermal Device.

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Old 06-07-2011, 06:20 PM   #19
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RTD = resistive thermal device

They're in the temperature probes in my brewery.

Thermocouple (TC) based temperature probes are also readily available and are often used in brewing setups. While either will work, an RTD will typically be more accurate and remain more accurate over the brewing temperature range we use as it offers better linearity.

RTDs also remain more accurate over time (less drift which means less re-calibration). The cost difference between the two is negligible on most setups.

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Old 06-07-2011, 07:53 PM   #20
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I don't understand a lot about electricity yet
Most important piece of advice I can give you: don't allow your impatience to get you ahead of your knowledge. This stuff is dangerous, and can easily kill you. I'm a DIY-minded guy with an electrical engineering degree, but when it comes to 220V/240V service... I know when to admit I'm beyond my experience (not knowledge, experience) and hire a professional.

For example, I've got no qualms about being able to wire up a safe rig, but I will be having an electrician install a 220V/50A outlet in my garage for brewing purposes.

FWIW, I've been working on my electrical setup for years. Condo living (and a wife who hates the smell of wort) meant I didn't brew much at my old place, but my e-kettle is done save the wiring. Now that we're in a big house, I'm starting to spin back up my various brewing projects, and will probably get back on the e-kettle soon - but not until I get my fermentation chamber set up, and I *might* still not brew until I get an all-grain rig built.

Parts & knowledge are two good things to be gathering until you are ready to plow ahead.
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