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Old 09-29-2012, 10:19 AM   #1
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Default Highgravity's new Single Vessel controller, EBC SV

First, let me add the disclaimer. I'm not affiliated with Highgravity in any way other than being a customer.

I'm in the middle of a full electric build and didn't want to build the controller. I contacted Dave at highgravity and discussed my plans and I decided on an EBC II controller with Ranco temp controller. This was two different devices and I was really wanting a single controller. I called Dave and ask about customizing his EBC III and he was going to do that for me. However, after thinking about it, Dave told me I wasn't the only customer asking for a single vessel controller. So, I have on the way, his very first EBC SV controller. Made with one PID and a very nice unit. Just what I was looking for and I'm sure many of you eBIAB'ers are looking for as well.

Here is the link for more information: HighGravity's EBC SV



Jim
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Old 09-30-2012, 12:52 AM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ragtop232 View Post
First, let me add the disclaimer. I'm not affiliated with Highgravity in any way other than being a customer.

I'm in the middle of a full electric build and didn't want to build the controller. I contacted Dave at highgravity and discussed my plans and I decided on an EBC II controller with Ranco temp controller. This was two different devices and I was really wanting a single controller. I called Dave and ask about customizing his EBC III and he was going to do that for me. However, after thinking about it, Dave told me I wasn't the only customer asking for a single vessel controller. So, I have on the way, his very first EBC SV controller. Made with one PID and a very nice unit. Just what I was looking for and I'm sure many of you eBIAB'ers are looking for as well.

Jim
I, too, am interested in something like this. I've purchased an enclosure, but it's not too late to return it. I'm not sure I'm up to the challenge of building my own controller.

I have a few questions about the product, though. Perhaps, I should e-mail Dave.

1. Regarding his system, I notice no valve on the pump. Of course, there is the ball valve on the kettle. I've read - at least for the Chugger pump - that you must control flow using a valve placed AFTER the pump, not before. Please correct me if I'm wrong.

2. The controller appears to have both a PID and a PWM. No problem with that. The controllers that folks have discussed that use both have a switch to determine which of these is controlling the SSR and, hence, the element. I don't see such a switch.

3. It appears that the brewer is using both PID and PWM at the same time. Wouldn't this confuse the SSR? Or is this not a PWM.

4. My understanding is the, although the control output of a PID and a PWM aren't exactly the same, both control the SSR by regulating the percentage of a cycle that the switch is on.

5. The only way I can understand how a PID and PWM can work together at the same time is if the PID is in "Manual Mode" and set at 100% so that the PWM is used to control the % of time that the element is on.

At least, in the video, the device works. I admit that I'm over-thinking this. I'm just trying to understand how it works.

Thanks,
Keith
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Old 09-30-2012, 04:16 AM   #3
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Old 09-30-2012, 04:46 AM   #4
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Having the pwm knob is nice, but I just don't see the need. Is it that hard to hit the "set" buttom once to engage manual mode and then just use the PID in manual mode when you are ready to boil?

If I were using a controller like this I would order a extra temp probe and place it at the output of my wort chiller (plate or cfc) By doing so you could use the PID as a digital thermostat. That way you could get your exact temp before pitching your yeast.

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Old 09-30-2012, 02:21 PM   #5
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I'm very interested. I have a stand-alone electric HLT - and plan to keep mashing in a plastic cooler - so I'm really only interested in a boil kettle, and a controller to power said kettle.

I just have to weigh out whether this particular unit is overkill for what I'm going to use it for...... after all, a boil-only controller doesn't really need a PID in the first place, it only needs to know one temperature - 210*F.

I was itching to buy a pre-built eKettle ... But if I piece together my own boil kettle using a cheap 60qt restaurant stock pot, and the DIY guides on here for the 5500w element installation.... maybe I can do the kettle for under $200, it might justify the cost of this controller...

Which reminds me that I gotta find a couple of grand for electric work before I can do any of this. Stupid old house having a small electric panel. Probably will need a new main panel, a service drop upgrade, and then two new dedicated runs & outlets for the eBrewery before I can begin.

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Old 09-30-2012, 07:41 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ragtop232 View Post
...I'm planning on taking the PID to manual for boiling and adjusting the boil rate with the PWM.

Jim,

I'm trying to understand this last part. If the PID is in manual, then you can adjust the percentage of on cycle. If it's an Auber PID, manual mode starts at 0%, then you use the up arrow to get to where you want to be. It takes a couple of seconds to get to 100%. Are you saying you would put the PID in 100% then use the PWM to dial in the amount of power you want? It sounds redundant to me.

I'm probably not reading this right.
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Old 10-01-2012, 01:47 AM   #7
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I think I'm understanding how this device works. I was envisioning two cycling switches connected in series and was having a problem with that. I'm thinking that the ONLY way this device would function is for the PID to always be at 100%.

I was thinking that the PID pulsated like the PWM. I believe that it does, but only when in manual mode and when set at a level less than 100%. Forgetting about the PWM for a moment, when you set the PID to strike water temp, the PID is on 100% of the time until it reaches temp. When the mash cools below the temp, it comes back on at 100% to get the temp back up. I've read about "autotuning" the PID, so I don't know if the PID does something different as it approaches the set temp.

This might explain how, in the video, he shows that you can even control the amount of heat with the knob while you're heating up the water. IOW, you might not want to use 100% power to bring the temp up (to do it more gently). If you set the temp on the PID, it will want to run at 100% automatically during this ramp up time. So, you can still use the PWM.

The only time the PID cycles quickly on/off like a PWM is when you put it in "Manual" mode and set it to something less than 100%. If you set the PID manual mode to anything less than 100%, I don't think it will work well.

So, when you get ready to boil, I guess you turn the PID to "Manual" mode at 100% (so it'll stay on), then use the PWM dial to control the pulsating.

I'm thinking that the system will get confused if you set the PID for something less than 100% while you're trying to control with the PWM. The cycle times (frequencies) for the PID in manual mode and the PWM might be different, and the SSR will only be ON when BOTH the PID and PWM are in their respective "ON" phases.

I was adding up the costs of components to build my single vessel control panel and was coming very close to the cost of this device. Therefore, I might explore the possibility to get one of these instead of building a control.

Thanks,
Keith

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Old 10-01-2012, 12:43 PM   #8
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That "might" answer my question. My understanding from the "PWM Show Us How" thread is that a PWM - pulse width modulator - does cycle. It has nothing to do with controlling the "amount" of current or wattage going to the element. IOW, it's NOT the same thing as a volume control.

So, this knob must not be a PWM. I admit here that I might be incorrect. I think I'm going to e-mail Dave along with a link to this discussion to see if he can shed some light on it.

A PWM varies the amount of "heat" (nothing to do with wattage, volts, amperes) an element puts out only by varying the percentage of time the element is fully on vs fully off. IIRC, most cheap PWMs are never fully off or on, but might range from 5- 95%. Moreover, if I'm understanding the PID correctly, it does the same thing when in "manual" mode at something less than 100% as a PWM.

It's unfortunate that the electricity experts are not weighing in on this.

Respectfully,
Keith

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Old 10-01-2012, 01:29 PM   #9
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Caution: This might sound harsh. I am not questioning your decision, or those of the makers of the High Gravity EBC SV. I'm just trying to understand the logic of the system. My comments are not intended to cause undue stress or strain. If you ask me to remove my comments, I will.

Using a PWM for the Boil will be fine. I'm was just trying to figure out if the setup of the controller. At 4:20 in the video he changes the temp for the mash out using the buttons on the front of the PID. If the PID is in manual mode, changing the percentage of power is just as easy. At 4:35 he states, "When mashing..." that it's a good idea to leave the power in the mid range so it won't overshoot the mash temp so much. This is odd because the PID won't overshoot the temp if it's tuned for the system.

From the video at about 4:45, it appears the PWM is after the PID. He states at 4:47 "for mash out you might want to go ahead and max out the power so it raises the temperature faster". Here's why I find this odd. The PID provides the control circuit to the SSR. The PWM also controls the SSR. If you have two inline devices providing control input to the SSR, what's the real amount of time the SSR is off/on? The PID should be autotuned to the system. If it is, then it won't overshoot the temps. At what percentage of the PWM do you set that? 50%, 75%? But when you add the PMW and it is set to anything less than 100%, less than 100% of the control signal from the PID is going to make it to the SSR.

It doesn't make sense to me to limit the output control circuit of the PID with the PWM.

That's all I have to say. No offense to you or High Gravity.

Paul

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Old 10-01-2012, 01:41 PM   #10
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Quote:
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I'm just trying to understand the logic of the system.
Paul,

Your question/comment does a little better job of articulating my main question. In message #11, I "think" I explained how it might work. As you suggest, and I said, the main use of the PWM comes into play only when the PID is running at 100% - such as during ramp up or manual mode.

I think the way it's used during boil is that the PID is set to Manual Mode at 100% and the PWM is used to control the boil as opposed to pressing the up/down buttons on the PID.

If someone tries to set the PID at anything less than 100% when adjusting the PWM, the SSR will not get the correct switching signals, and the system will stutter.

I think High Gravity should simply include a selector switch on the front: PID/PWM. That would take all the confusion out.

I sent an e-mail to Dave at High Gravity with the question.

Respectfully,
Keith
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