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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > Electric Brewing > Which thermocouple to use?
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Old 10-17-2012, 07:11 PM   #1
kburden1
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Default Which thermocouple to use?

I've been looking at buying this PID, SSR, and thermocouple combo along with a heat sink. I know the SSR is a little undersized for a 3800w element but it will get me by for now. My real question is whether or not the thermocouple could be used in my HLT/BK or if I should be looking at another sensor.

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Old 10-18-2012, 01:36 AM   #2
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That thermocouple won't work easily. Thermocouples can be a pain. You need special wire and connectors. You might want an rtd instead.

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Old 10-18-2012, 02:01 AM   #3
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What makes a thermocouple a pain to use?

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Old 10-18-2012, 02:47 AM   #4
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I don't think there's anything wrong with that thermocouple, per se. You will need to mount it on your kettle/keggle so it doesn't leak. Auber sells the same style and I recognize if from other posts, so it can be done. Some people prefer the RTD style because it tends to be more accurate, but are a little more expensive. I personally use K style thermocouples. They match up fine with my calibrated thermometer, so I haven't felt a need to move up.

The MyPin PID will be fine. I and others use them very successful.

The SSR will be fine too, if you're running 220, 3800/220 = 18 amps. You have some headroom left. Your only using 72% capacity. 80% is generally noted as the max you should run continuously through a circuit.

For my setup, I purchased some 99 cent thermocouples from e-bay and made some thermo wells. Work great.

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Old 10-20-2012, 08:35 PM   #5
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Keep in mind you have to be careful with the thermocouple wires. Be sure to keep them intact (ie: dont cut them). So, if you are planning on extending the wires I would go with an RTD like the PT100. Price wise they shouldnt be more then a few dollars more, then you gain the 3rd wire so cutting/extending the wires, and even making a M/F connector possible so that the sensor can be disconnected

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Old 10-22-2012, 05:14 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by kburden1 View Post
What makes a thermocouple a pain to use?
In short, you have to use the same special (read as expensive) alloys used in the thermocouple all the way to very close to the chip where the "cold-junction" compensation is made. Also, thermocouples very sensitive to noise such as electric elements and pumps.
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Old 10-26-2012, 07:42 PM   #7
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thermocouples are so common these days that they are no longer expensive. but otherwise, yes, you cannot use any old wire to extend the leads on a thermocouple, and you can not terminate thermocouple wires with any old cable ends. you either need thermocouple specific connectors, or to just screw the bare wire ends into the PID controller terminals.

you CAN cut the wires if they are too long. but if you cut them too short, you cant easily splice them unless you have thermocouple-specific wire to do it with.

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