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Old 11-18-2010, 05:00 PM   #11
rvklein
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Ok, the brewbuddy iphone app has be rethinking which way to go. Damn. At least I didn't order the PIDs yet

One thing I do like about the PIDs is being able to look at the control panel and see the temperature. It makes it look more impressive. I wonder if you could branch off the probes to a digital thermometer & the BCS

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Old 11-18-2010, 05:05 PM   #12
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I can run the BCS from my Android phone without any extra software.

I don't know about splicing into the temp probes... and not really sure what temp meter you would use that would be compatible.

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Old 11-18-2010, 05:18 PM   #13
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I agree an automated proportional valve would work better. The OP mentioned using a BCS for control. BCS-460 does not have analog output, so I think it may be a challenge to control a proportional valve.
The controllers I have seen had only on/off outputs, one for "turn left" and one for "turn right". The DC motor had a high gear reduction to prevent it from moving too fast. The controller outputs were operated time-proportional (like our PIDs) so the motor is moving the valve from slow to very slow.

A system like this has a built-in integrator; the position of the valve, so the controller should be either straight P or PD, not PID, or else the system will oscillate.

The hardest parts here are to find a suitable valve and a motor with a high gear reduction. The motor could come from an old heating system, but the valve will need to be food safe.
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Old 11-18-2010, 05:44 PM   #14
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Ok, the brewbuddy iphone app has be rethinking which way to go. Damn. At least I didn't order the PIDs yet
Remote controls are sure impressive; they do have that WOW factor. But I wonder just how useful this is. When I brew I want to be in the brewery, not somewhere else. It would be rather irresponsible to take off for the store or something while the system is running. What if a hose comes loose or a kid walks in starting to touch things?

To each his own, but I feel similarly about overly automated breweries. I like brewing, so I want to be the one turning knobs, switching hoses, and decide when it is time for the next step, and not let some software do all this. I ask myself, when I brew do I want to be the brewer or the programmer debugging the code on a live system? For me the answer is easy. For others it may be an outlet for their coding interest, and that's OK too.
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Old 11-18-2010, 06:01 PM   #15
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I like it!

Your plan reminds me a lot of central heating systems with water radiators. If we replace your two solenoid valves with one proportional 3-port valve, which I know as a shunt valve, it would be almost identical. The furnace (HLT) is held at a constant temperature, while the shunt valve diverts more or less water directly to the radiators (MLT) or first through the furnace (HLT), to set a desired temperature of the outgoing water headed for the radiators. A controller decides what the outgoing temperature should be and operates the shunt valve via a motor to acheive that temperature. This system works very well, so your idea is on solid ground, especially if the valves were proportional.

Welcome to HBT!
On the commercial/industrial scale they are called mixing valves, bypass valves, blending valves, and 3-way valves. We have a bunch at the office. I was going to use one with a counterflow chiller. Keep the HLT at 168 and use the 3-way to control the mash. The ones we use take either a 0-10 vdc or 4-20mA signal.
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Old 11-18-2010, 06:16 PM   #16
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Originally Posted by Quaffer View Post
The controllers I have seen had only on/off outputs, one for "turn left" and one for "turn right". The DC motor had a high gear reduction to prevent it from moving too fast. The controller outputs were operated time-proportional (like our PIDs) so the motor is moving the valve from slow to very slow.

A system like this has a built-in integrator; the position of the valve, so the controller should be either straight P or PD, not PID, or else the system will oscillate.

The hardest parts here are to find a suitable valve and a motor with a high gear reduction. The motor could come from an old heating system, but the valve will need to be food safe.
I can see how that might work using 2 BCS outputs. Although I'm not sure that the result is going to be much improvement over a standard RIMs or HERMs system. I'm not really sure what the objective is, but I'd like to see it running.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Quaffer View Post
Remote controls are sure impressive; they do have that WOW factor. But I wonder just how useful this is. When I brew I want to be in the brewery, not somewhere else. It would be rather irresponsible to take off for the store or something while the system is running. What if a hose comes loose or a kid walks in starting to touch things?

To each his own, but I feel similarly about overly automated breweries. I like brewing, so I want to be the one turning knobs, switching hoses, and decide when it is time for the next step, and not let some software do all this. I ask myself, when I brew do I want to be the brewer or the programmer debugging the code on a live system? For me the answer is easy. For others it may be an outlet for their coding interest, and that's OK too.
Personally, I am interested in automation for consistency. The automation manages temps for me, but for all volumes, fluid movement, measurements, etc... I'm still doing the hands on stuff (the system is reminding me in a couple places along the way, but that about it).

I would never leave my rig during the brewing process... But with the BCS interface running on my phone, I can check the temp, timers, outputs, etc... without being right in front of the rig. If I have a guest over brewing, I might be giving them a hand and still able to monitor my progress.
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