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Old 01-08-2011, 03:08 PM   #11
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The BCS can control the duty cycle just like a PID. You just need to figure out what duty will maintain a good boil and tell it to do that.

The simplest way to control a boil kettle is with a pulse width modulating controller (PWM) connected to a solid state relay. You manually dial the duty cycle with a knob. Crank it to 100% to get to a boil, then adjust down to maintain a solid boil.

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Old 01-08-2011, 03:11 PM   #12
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Just to be clear, if you get a BCS you don't need any additional control - it will do it all.

You will need solid state relays for any power supply that needs to be switched on and off by the bcs (heaters, pumps, etc)

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Old 01-08-2011, 03:13 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NTabb View Post
Passesdpawn,

Would the Electric Kettle Controller http://www.highgravitybrew.com/produ...r-306p3084.htm work as well? My understanding it treats the heating element like a stove. You can just limit the amount of power going to the element to maintain a nice boil.
Yes.

Although I've never seen one of those in person, I'm sure it is exactly what I described above. The dial allows you to control the duty cycle from 0 to 100%.
There is certainly a big SSR in there.

You could build one yourself for about half the cost, but you'd only be saving money if you do not value your time at all
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Old 01-08-2011, 03:13 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NTabb View Post
Passesdpawn,

Would the Electric Kettle Controller http://www.highgravitybrew.com/produ...r-306p3084.htm work as well? My understanding it treats the heating element like a stove. You can just limit the amount of power going to the element to maintain a nice boil.
I recently bought one, it works very well. I have the one that will run pumps and controllers. I'm no electrician, and it's a reasonably cheap way to go electric without having to build a full bore control panel.
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Old 01-08-2011, 03:28 PM   #15
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BowWowz,

I do have a BCS460. I'm looking on the forum of Embedded Control now, but do you know off the top of your head how to control it.

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Old 01-08-2011, 03:32 PM   #16
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Just found it. You just saved me $200.

http://www.embeddedcontrolconcepts.c...590310656515fb

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Old 01-08-2011, 03:39 PM   #17
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I'm sorry, I don't know exactly how to do it - I am in the process of learning about it though. I am trying to decide if I should go with the BCS or not.

My thoughts are:

When programing the BCS process for boil you could have a state that takes the kettle temp up to some temp just below boiling (say 210F). At that point you could set a state to control the duty cycle of the element to a level that will bring it the rest of the way to boiling temp a bit more slowly (trial and error would be required to figure out what duty cycle is required - maybe try 50% to start). There is not way to do it based only on temperature because of the nature of boiling water - a light simmering boil is exactly the same temperature as a raging boil.

The details of programming the BCS will take some study but I think once you get the hang of it you will find it pretty easy.

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Old 01-08-2011, 03:40 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NTabb View Post
Just found it. You just saved me $200.

http://www.embeddedcontrolconcepts.c...590310656515fb
Sweet! Good luck.
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Old 01-11-2011, 04:34 PM   #19
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by the way all the goodies can easily be purchased from Auber Instruments and at good prices. I never needed support myself but I hear that they have no problem fielding questions about their product. There are about 1000 happy customers here on HBT.

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Old 01-12-2011, 12:17 PM   #20
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IMO the easiest way to control the boil w/ heating elements is to simply size the element to the boil and run it 100%. This discussion could lead one to believe that in order to boil w/ electric one needs a controller, pids, heat sinks, BCS 460's and other instruments. While not the best or most sophisticated it will certainly work running 100% as follows.

1. Connect power to proper sized element
2. Boil

Of course the downside here is that it will take longer to reach boil as you can't up the wattage to achieve boil and then reduce, not that big a deal IMO.

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