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Old 01-11-2013, 07:11 PM   #11
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Wow, seems like an easy solution. Why doesn't everyone use one of these to control their boiler? I understand the precision of having a temperature controlled setup as well as the fun involved in building and operating a KAL style control panel, but it seems redundant to do so when you can do everything with a few simple switches and a knob... I don't know, does the KISS (keep it simple, stupid) principle not apply to home brewing?
If you BIAB and aren't interested in a do it yourself electric build and don't mind the learning curve then this is just fine. If any of those variables changes then there are better options.

Same reason why people put digital temp controllers on fridges, I'm satisfied with the performance without one but some people want more accuracy or versatility or to eliminate the learning curve.
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Old 01-11-2013, 11:11 PM   #12
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I BIAB, and the biggest challenge for me on propane is precise control over mash temperatures. When I finally transition to electric, I expect to use a PID and more or less set and forget. A PWM is a fine solution, but it does not automate holding a tight mash temp. Just my $0.02.

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Old 01-12-2013, 04:25 PM   #13
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I don't really see where PID control is necessary in a BIAB brew. For getting a pot of water to strike temperature PID is a convenience but not really necessary.

As for holding the mash temp, if you are heating the mash tun instead of merely insulating it, you have to think about recirculating the wort too.

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Old 01-12-2013, 04:47 PM   #14
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Nice write up. The controller looks pretty basic but I don't deny the safety and convenience of buying one off the shelf.

Personally I don't recommend this kind of thermometer. I have a similar one and it says "do not immerse" in the small print. The calibration went way off when I dunked it in a mash and it hasn't been the same since.
This reviewer on amazon seemed to feel differently and I have found no problems yet with dunking this probe:

"A common problem with previous Polder thermometers I have owned is that if you get the bare, metal probe cord wet, water can get into the probe itself and ruin it by throwing off the temperature readings. I have thrown away several probes because of this, especially since I use these thermometers for beer making.

Some reviewers complained that the cord was rubber and not metal like in the picture, when in fact this is a HUGE improvement over the old probes and that it appears to still be the metal, braided cable only it's now covered in the watertight rubber seal. Us home brewers used to go to great lengths to try and waterproof these cables ourselves. Thankfully now Polder has done it for us."
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Old 01-12-2013, 04:52 PM   #15
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I don't really see where PID control is necessary in a BIAB brew. For getting a pot of water to strike temperature PID is a convenience but not really necessary.

As for holding the mash temp, if you are heating the mash tun instead of merely insulating it, you have to think about recirculating the wort too.
Absolutely agree! I find if I bring the water to 163 deg, add the grain, kill the power then the mash is at 150. After an hour, the mash is at 148 and that is with NO added heat and only a blanket thrown over the kettle. Works for me and is super simple. No pumps. No PID. I really messed up one batch trying to fiddle with adjusting the mash temp with added heat- was up to 175 before I knew it. Keep it simple.
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Old 01-13-2013, 01:46 PM   #16
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I don't really see where PID control is necessary in a BIAB brew. For getting a pot of water to strike temperature PID is a convenience but not really necessary.

As for holding the mash temp, if you are heating the mash tun instead of merely insulating it, you have to think about recirculating the wort too.
Never said it was necessary, just that I would prefer it. And yes, recirculation will be part of it.
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Old 01-13-2013, 02:58 PM   #17
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Im looking to do this. Seems VERY simple. Just need to be able to control my boil. What kind of box would work with this? Id love to be able to put in an on/off switch.

Any recommendations would be much appreciated.
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Old 01-13-2013, 11:36 PM   #18
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Im looking to do this. Seems VERY simple. Just need to be able to control my boil. What kind of box would work with this? Id love to be able to put in an on/off switch.

Any recommendations would be much appreciated.
I think I am also going to go this route. Can anyone help out with a wiring diagram for a on/off switch using one of these "knob" type controllers as well as a 110 outlet and on/off for a pump. Button type on/offs are preferred if that makes a difference.


Any help would be appreciated.
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