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Old 06-26-2013, 06:14 PM   #1
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Default Is this possible? 1 PID, 1 pump, 1 element...but theres a catch...

I am new to electric brewing. I know just enough now to get me in trouble. I have 1 10 gallon cooler that I use as my mash tun, and a 60 quart Bayou Classic kettle that I use as a boil kettle.

Question:

Is it possible to do a RIM tube with a PID and pump, and then switch the cords and pumps over to my boil kettle after I am done mashing? I ask, because I am thinking about doing a system with 220V, 1 5500W element, 1 pump, and 1 PID. Like this one:


My plan would be to do a recirculating mash system with a RIM. Once I was done mashing, I would transfer the liquid into my boil kettle (also fitted with thermocouple and 5500W element). I would then unplug the RIM element and plug in the boil kettle element, and also unplug the RIM thermocouple, and plug in the BK thermocouple. This way, my control panel is my simpler, and much cheaper (I can always upgrade it in the future too). Basically, where the diagram says "BIAB" I will have 2 separate elements that I only use one at a time; 1 element in a RIM tube, and the other element in my boil kettle.

Would this work, or do I have a better option? I realize that it would be better to go ahead and buy another PID, and configure my control panel for 2 pumps, 2 elements, and 2 temp probes, but money is tight right now. Can I use the above drawing, and just update my panel as I go?

thanks

Andrew

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Old 06-26-2013, 06:17 PM   #2
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Simple. Do everything you just said, but instead of buying a second PID, but some 3 way switches instead of 2 way switches and have one pole be for BK and one for RIMS.

THis does mean, however, that you have to have 2 plugs on your case for the heating elements and thermocouples.

You can also do exactly what you were originally posting, just unplug one and plug another in and that will work fine also IMO.

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Old 06-26-2013, 06:25 PM   #3
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You would also need to change the thermocouple input if you are doing anything other than manual boil. (I do manual control on my BK and therefore don't have/need a thermoprobe in my BK. I just keep the probe from my HLT attached so alarms don't go off and unplug the HLT element and plug in the BK element.

(make sense? I hope so. I tend to be unclear to everyone but me. It seems everyone else has poor communication skills.)

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Old 06-26-2013, 06:37 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MuddyCreek View Post
You would also need to change the thermocouple input if you are doing anything other than manual boil.
Would that be pretty easy/fast once I got the hang of it?

So just to repeat what you are saying: I can go ahead with my plan. While recirculating my mash, I would have my PID set on auto. Once I decided to do my boil, and I unhooked my cords and reattached my BK cords, I would need to set my PID to manual. Is that correct?
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Old 06-26-2013, 06:50 PM   #5
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Quote:
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Would that be pretty easy/fast once I got the hang of it?

So just to repeat what you are saying: I can go ahead with my plan. While recirculating my mash, I would have my PID set on auto. Once I decided to do my boil, and I unhooked my cords and reattached my BK cords, I would need to set my PID to manual. Is that correct?
Yes. If you are going to use a PID to dial back boil rate, you need to use a PID with PWM output as well, i believe the Auber ones have this feature.

Someone correct me if I'm wrong here, but would he also need a coil?
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Old 06-26-2013, 07:21 PM   #6
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Many of the two element designs use a switch and an extra contactor to select the HLT or the BK. Might be convenient for minimal extra cost.

You can unplug cords as long as you turn off power to the panel.

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Old 06-27-2013, 11:38 AM   #7
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One thing to clarify - you only plan to use the PID in manual mode when firing the BK, and in auto mode when working the RIMS? This is important, as they are two different elements / containers, and you would have a difficult time getting any accurate results if using auto on both, as the PID 'learns' (after running auto-tune) the heating characteristics of the system it's connected to. If you switch back and forth, it will only be right on one system.

Let's say, however, that you'll do it as described above - only run on auto with the RIMS, only run on manual with the BK. This would work fine. Additionally, you wouldn't need to worry about a second RTD/Thermocouple/Temperature Probe, because you really don't care what temperature the BK is at - it's either not boiling, or boiling... So leave the temp probe connected to the RIMS tube at all times, and then just switch your power supply (one less thing to buy / wire up / switch).

As others have mentioned, you have 2 options. 1 - put a switch / contactor in the panel, and run one cable from the panel to the RIMS element, and a second from the panel to the BK element. Then use the switch to determine which gets power. 2 - install plug ends on both of your elements, run one cable from the panel to a female plug end. Plug in the RIMS element, run the RIMS element, then swap the plug over to the BK element, run the BK element.

The pro's of the first option - quick flip of the switch and you're off and running, no worries about unplugging heavy gauge 220v wiring. Cons - extra wires coming from your panel, and the cost of the extra wiring.

The pro's of the second option - only one cable to deal with, which would be a bit cleaner of an install. Save the cost of the wiring. Cons - you have to figure out a way to install a plug-end on both of your elements, which may make them prone to getting some moisture inside, and is difficult to do unless you use some of the more pricey switchcraft plugs or other type options. You also should kill all power to the system before swapping the plugs, which is a pain.

Personal suggestion - go for the two cables / switch option - you put in a little extra effort at the beginning, and then every brew session is as easy as flipping a switch. You'll be happier in the long run.

-Kevin

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Old 06-27-2013, 12:17 PM   #8
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Thanks man. You really described it well, and answered my questions. It sounds like I should just bite the bullet and invest a little more money into my controller; it would save a lot of hassle. I like the idea of the 3 way switch (On/Off/On) too. I guess while I accumulate more funds, I can think about my goal with my system. I would eventually like to have a 3 tier system like Kal also, so I may even want to get bolder with my control panel ideas.

I really do appreciate all of the advice.

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