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Old 03-09-2011, 12:43 AM   #1
TheFlyingBeer
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Default My FULL-ON electric build thread

Here we go, a place for me to ramble about my E-Herms build!

For starters, I am planning this as a 4 vessel electrically powered HERMS system. The HERMS HEX will have it's own smaller pot separate from the three sankes. Initially there won't be many advantages to having the separate tank but I hope one day it might make it easier for me to do step mashes, or provide greater control to the overall process. The system will require a fair amount of manual input/control initially with the end goal to make it as automated as possible. I love brewing as a hobby not only because of the end products but also because I get to tinker with all of this fun stuff.

Much of my inspiration/knowledge has been pulled from this very board... thanks!

Below is a top level diagram of my system/plumbing:



And some of the 3D models I have been developing while determining how everything will fit together:







Nearly all of the fittings I am using are tri-clamps, not because they are in any way necessary for home brewing but because I think I am in love with them - also - I think stainless is my favorite color.

As far as the control system (my main push right now) I plan to use a PC running LabVIEW or custom SW to perform all of the top level control. I have a 15" touchscreen LCD that will be used as the operator interface. The PC will communicate with a microcontroller board I am building to provide all of the low-level system interfaces such as switch inputs, SSR PWM, sensor reading, etc.

The two big enclosures in the pictures above split the duty of powering/controlling the system. The one with the touchscreen I have dubbed the Human-Machine Interface (HMI) and the one under the table is the Power Control Unit (PCU). The PCU is run from a standalone 50A GFCI protected outlet while the HMI is on a 15A GFCI circuit.

HMI:
PC, touchscreen, DC power supply (ATX), switches/buttons, microcontroller, sensor inputs, valve control, and others.



PCU:
240V 50A contactor, circuitbreakers, power relays, SSRs, heating element receptacles, possibly pump control modules.



I have many of the parts needed to get this build underway, with many more on their way. In the meantime I have been working on building automated ball valves and triclamp heating element fittings, and a HLT ultrasonic level monitor. This weekend I should hopefully have all the parts needed to build the first phase of the PCU and brew a couple extracts with electricity.

/ramble

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On Tap 1: Rootbeer, On Tap 2: NB White ouse Honey Ale, On Tap 3: Nitrogen, On Tap 4: Air, On Tap 5: Air
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Old 03-09-2011, 02:07 AM   #2
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I'd like to hear more about ultrasonic level monitoring. That sounds like something I could take full advantage of. I have a very large system and I don't have sight tubes. Instead I use a tape measure. Very primitive but effective.

I'm all ears

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Old 03-09-2011, 02:25 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by BBL_Brewer View Post
I'd like to hear more about ultrasonic level monitoring.
Works similar to a depth finder for a boat, except in air rather than water. I was fortunate enough to grab a complete unit for next to nothing. They make all different kinds for process control but are generally very expensive. I will need to make a lookup conversion table that relates sensor voltage to gallons of water.
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Primaries: Air
Secondaries: Lakefront India Brown Ale

On Tap 1: Rootbeer, On Tap 2: NB White ouse Honey Ale, On Tap 3: Nitrogen, On Tap 4: Air, On Tap 5: Air
On Deck: DIPA, Imp Stout, Porter, Wheat, Black IPA

"No sense having empty carboys around when full ones take up just as much space. " - Me
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Old 03-09-2011, 02:29 AM   #4
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Wow!

LabVIEW is something I have tiny amount of exposure to. That should work nicely with some of the features you are planning. I can envision a GUI with a HLT sightglass on your touch screen! Schweet!

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Old 03-09-2011, 04:43 AM   #5
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Thought I would post a little brewery pr0n before I called it a night:



More stuff is on the way... Let's just say, eBay and the interwebs have been both my friend and my credit card's enemy.

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Primaries: Air
Secondaries: Lakefront India Brown Ale

On Tap 1: Rootbeer, On Tap 2: NB White ouse Honey Ale, On Tap 3: Nitrogen, On Tap 4: Air, On Tap 5: Air
On Deck: DIPA, Imp Stout, Porter, Wheat, Black IPA

"No sense having empty carboys around when full ones take up just as much space. " - Me
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Old 03-09-2011, 04:47 AM   #6
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TFB,
Major Prost to you! I look forward to watching this build AND your detailed information!
Sparky

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Old 03-09-2011, 05:09 AM   #7
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Awesome design! Look forward to seeing the progress!

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Bottled/Kegged: Red Rye IPA, Wesside Trip(Westmalle Tripel clone), ESB, Lil Trap (4% Trappist Starter Batch), Robust (Pumpkin) Porter, 3% Little Hopper, "Slick Rick" Old Engine Oil Clone(oaked w/ vanilla and balvenie scotch), Imperial RyePA,
On Deck: Quad, Belgian IPA, Orfy's Mild, Scotch Ale
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Old 03-09-2011, 08:23 AM   #8
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Im loving the design, looks amazing! Excited to see the progress!

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Old 03-09-2011, 11:20 AM   #9
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Nice!!!

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Old 03-09-2011, 11:23 AM   #10
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i'm interested to watch your build; thanks for sharing. I've begun prototyping my control software using Labview Statecharts and plan to use a touchscreen eventually -- it'll be a mouse in the beginning. I've always got a laptop with me, but may buy a dedicated SBC so that it is self contained and still allows me to have BeerSmith full screen. What r u planning for all the switches if your HMI is labview? Are the manual/safety overrides? The screen looks nice; where did you source it and the valves from.

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