Originally Posted by makubex
Something similar to this controller
, offered from High Gravity Brewing, would be exactly what I'm on the market for; though $250 seems a bit expensive for what it is.
If anyone could point me to plans for a similar device, or provide me some guidance as to how to design/build a simple controller like this myself, it would be greatly appreciated!
I'd like to suggest that you first check out other build threads that are here - even older threads still have something to offer. Not all of them will meet your specifications, which you will need to supply to us. How big are your batches (you say 5, but do you plan on jumping up later to 10), do you plan on doing back to back brews, how much power do you have access to (amps), how far are you away from your power source, how much bling do you want (lights, alarms, timers, etc)?
Make sure you read the Electrical Primer for Brewers sticky as well - at least the first post (http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f170/electrical-primer-brewers-145019/
). There are ground rules there that will help you decide which direction your build will go.
There's a thread in this forum with P-J's diagrams in it. Find that thread and review the different schematics he's put forth for HBT folks. You'll more than likely find one that is very near to your specifications if not exactly.
Plan on this process to at least twice as long and cost twice as much as you originally plan. That's how this goes some times.
The element you refer to is a 5500w element when run at 240w and is common for use in our brewing equipment. The pot you refer to will work just fine for a HLT and BK for 5 gallon batches without too much worry about a boil over. You'll need a temporary holding space for your runnings off your MLT until all the sparge water is out of your HLT - I used my brew buckets. Using a 10 gallon cooler for your MLT will work pretty well too.
Good luck and keep us posted. We're happy to help.